I really need someones help and PRONTO!! So I have finally decided my next Japanese Kanji tattoo! :) BUT I got one problem when I was doing some research on "Fall down seven times, stand up eight." I have found at lest two different ways of writing it! Can someone please help me figure out the if they're both right and have the same meaning?

1) 七転び八起き (probably most common)


2) 七転八起 (most preferred since its shorter)

Are they both correct? Does the shorter one still has the same meaning and could it be understood as the first one?

Thanks! ;)

  • 1
    Welcome to JLSE. I took the liberty to edit the title of your question. Please use a specific title so future visitors can search your question.
    – naruto
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 3:36
  • Finally, a tattoo idea that's actually good! Also, #2 could be read either way since sometimes words are written without okurigana (if you search, there are several questions about okurigana omission).
    – istrasci
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 3:42
  • google.com/…
    – BJCUAI
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 4:22

2 Answers 2


The longer one is the normal way to express this idea in everyday speech and writing, but it also means it looks fairly "mundane" to the eyes of native speakers.

The shorter one is less common but is still safely understood. Importantly, 七転八起 is a yoji-jukugo, which means it has a certain aesthetic quality. (Also see this.) Generally speaking, yoji-jukugo without any hiragana look more authentic/traditional (or sometimes even "mystic"). For example, they are more suitable in a hanging scroll of a karate dojo, or as a traditional-style company slogan. I'm not saying I'm a fan of kanji tattoos, but if I had to choose one, I would go with 七転八起.

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    Agreed. I wouldn’t make a kanji tattoo either but If I have to, I would choose 七転八起. Additional comment is, I would ask some Japanese person to do that so that the design of the letter looks good.
    – HQMA
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 11:59

Both are understandable, and both are in the スーパー大辞林 dictionary. Japanese speakers will recognise and understand both easily.

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