So I'm looking to express the great inspiration some people feel that guides admirable creations. This kind of thing.

I found 霊感 but I have very little experience with kanjis and I don't want to choose something that will look weird for someone who actually understands it.

By the way this word will be used with no context. To explain it entirely I'll be gifting someone with a painting with these kanjis in it.

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    I think the first thing that comes to mind when people say 霊感 is the ability to sense spirits... I don't know how common the "inspiration" definition is, but I suspect not very.
    – Shurim
    Dec 8, 2021 at 4:44

1 Answer 1


霊感 without no context primarily refers to a supernatural ability to feel or see ghosts, spirits or such. If a native speaker saw a painting that just says 霊感, they would first wonder if it's related to occultism or exorcism. You need enough context to use 霊感 as a word meaning inspiration (and such a usage is not very common, anyway).

The common words for inspiration, when it refers to a sudden great idea you get from nowhere or from someone, include:

  • インスピレーション (transliteration of inspiration)
  • 閃き (lit. "flash")
  • 着想 (lit. "conception", "motive")
  • 刺激 (lit. "stimuli")

It's hard to choose the best one. インスピレーション is the commonest and safest in ordinary Japanese sentences, but you may not like it since it's a katakana loanword. 着想 and 刺激 are kanji words, but IMO they are not very "fancy" words. 閃き sounds fancy enough (to me) but it's not a pure kanji word because it's a form of the verb 閃く.

  • Thanks a lot! being misunderstood and asked if I practice exorcism would deffinetely be a problem.
    – Gustavo HK
    Dec 9, 2021 at 17:29

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