I go by “Moose” as my online alias or online name in video games and have friends that call me moose as a nickname. I recently decided that I want to get a tattoo of the word “Moose” on my wrist but in Japanese characters but when I do more research on it I get so many different results and one is not consistent. I would really appreciate the help in making my decision on which spelling in Japanese to get on my wrist. Ty.


箆鹿 - herajika - seems to be the best-fitting term, being the Japanese term for both American moose and European elk. Weblio gives it as a translation of "alces alces", which is the formal species name for moose. Google Image Search also returns images of moose when you search (a good quick test that a term describes the noun you think it does), which can be a good test that a word means more or less what you're looking for. It is also the title of the Japanese Wikipedia article describing alces alces.

Some more information that may help you:

As pointed out in the comments, 箆鹿 literally means "spatula deer." That doesn't make it the wrong word - it really is the Japanese word for moose - but you may want to consider that it will look quite odd to anyone who knows what it means. The kanji are also quite rare - any native speaker would write them in katakana as ヘラジカ.

If you are specifically looking for a kanji to use as a tattoo, and you want it to mean "moose", you might also consider 大鹿, which can also mean "moose" but literally just means "big deer" and doesn't have the strange "spatula" kanji.

If you are not specifically looking for kanji, you might also consider simply going with ムース, which is simply "muusu" written phonetically and is also a valid term for "moose" that seems to be used when one wants to distinguish between North American moose and European elk.

  • "Herajika" is definitely the right word to describe a moose, but in the context of a tattoo, think of a Japanese person with the words "SPATULA DEER" tattooed on their wrist. My point is just that the Japanese "word for" moose, is really a descriptive term made of of two words, "spatula" and "deer" which has none of the cultural context of the English word "moose" like the OP's nickname. – sazarando Mar 11 '19 at 23:19
  • Is that kanji even something most Japanese will be familiar with? It's a level pre-1 kanji on the Kanken. The animal name is much more likely to be written in katakana, I would think. But I agree with sazarando, that for a tattoo, it doesn't seem like a literal translation of the animal word is what they're looking for. Especially since moose don't exist in Japan. – Leebo Mar 11 '19 at 23:43
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    @sazarando and Leebo, I totally agree with the sentiments of your comments. However, I believe my answer is the best one possible in the context of the question. It (a) is the correct word for "moose" and (b) is the only term that can be written in kanji (I believe that to have been OP's wish from my reading of his question) that reasonably translates to "moose." I don't think a tattoo of ヘラジカ or ムース would be in line with OP's wishes. The fact that a word seems silly to a proficient reader of Japanese doesn't really seem germane, since that's frankly true of most kanji tattoos. – AmericanUmlaut Mar 12 '19 at 0:13
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    @AmericanUmlaut I agree with you, definitely. I wonder if there is maybe an equivalent Japanese slang phrase that kind of has that, lovable, clumsy giant sort of a vibe though. Any thoughts on that? – sazarando Mar 12 '19 at 0:16
  • @sazarando The only thing that occurs to me along those lines is ジャンボ, which is the nickname of a lovable, very large character in the manga series 「よつばと!」, but I haven't encountered that anywhere else so I'm not sure how generally it would be understood to have that flavor. – AmericanUmlaut Mar 12 '19 at 0:27

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