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  #1  
Old 03-15-2007, 06:36 AM
blinkingblinking blinkingblinking is offline
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Why do people get Japanese or Chinese character tattoos?

I would like to see some replies from people who have them, if possible.
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  #2  
Old 03-15-2007, 06:55 AM
FRDE FRDE is offline
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Stupidity ?

Nothing like wandering around with 'idiot' in Katakana tattood on your arm.
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  #3  
Old 03-15-2007, 07:15 AM
Si Amigo Si Amigo is offline
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Because when you get older and you go to work for a Asian firm you want them to know that you were a SLUT when you were a kid but didn't know that is what your tat actually said.
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  #4  
Old 03-15-2007, 07:29 AM
samclem samclem is online now
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Since we're actually looking for opinions here, let's move this to IMHO.

samclem GQ moderator
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  #5  
Old 03-15-2007, 09:09 AM
Julia_Leapyear Julia_Leapyear is offline
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I was tutoring a Japanese girl and we got off-topic about tattoos. She said in Japan they’re generally considered distasteful, and she couldn’t stop laughing when she described an American she once saw who had “SAMURAI” in Japanese tattooed across his back. And it wasn't spelled quite right.

Maybe to her it would be the equivalent of an American seeing a Japanese man with “SUPARSTARR” tattooed across his chest in English.
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  #6  
Old 03-15-2007, 10:24 AM
China Guy China Guy is offline
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There's a website somewhere featuring bad kanji/hanzi tatoos. a lot of the bad one's I've seen are just nonsensical. My Chinese wife tries really hard not to laugh out loud.

I dunno, they look pretty dorky to me. Especially the ones that are gibberish. Usually the artist doesn't understand Chinese or Japanese and doesn't get the brush strokes right.

anyhoo, beats the stuffing out of me why someone that understands zero of a language wants a tat of it
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  #7  
Old 03-15-2007, 10:25 AM
control-z control-z is online now
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Originally Posted by Julia_Leapyear
Maybe to her it would be the equivalent of an American seeing a Japanese man with “SUPARSTARR” tattooed across his chest in English.
Or this guy(?): http://engrish.com/detail.php?imagen...ate=2006-06-14

My GF gave me a black t-shirt with a Chinese dragon on it and some sort of writing, but I don't want to wear it unless I know what the hell it says!
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  #8  
Old 03-15-2007, 10:36 AM
China Guy China Guy is offline
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Originally Posted by control-z
oh man, you can't make shit like this up

I remember one on a motorcyclist in Taipei: "I don't need love, I don't need money, I just need height."
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  #9  
Old 03-15-2007, 10:37 AM
Julia_Leapyear Julia_Leapyear is offline
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Originally Posted by control-z
Or this guy(?): http://engrish.com/detail.php?imagen...ate=2006-06-14

My GF gave me a black t-shirt with a Chinese dragon on it and some sort of writing, but I don't want to wear it unless I know what the hell it says!

Oh, Engrish. I finally broke down awhile back and bought a Dr. Superlove t-shirt from that site.

I have another friend who's fairly proficient in Japanese and she wore a shirt that said "I'm a Stupid American"- or something like that- in Japanese. While visiting Japan. She knew damn well what it said, too. She was just trying to be funny.
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  #10  
Old 03-15-2007, 10:50 AM
nashiitashii nashiitashii is offline
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Originally Posted by China Guy
There's a website somewhere featuring bad kanji/hanzi tatoos. a lot of the bad one's I've seen are just nonsensical. My Chinese wife tries really hard not to laugh out loud.
http://www.hanzismatter.com is probably what you're thinking of. Good site, lots of commentary from native and non-native speakers on the translations.

My rule of thumb with tattoos in languages that you do not speak: If you really want it in a specific language, find three or four native speakers to give you an translation, and make sure that you can trust these native speakers to give you accurate information. If you're not willing to go through all of this (and then probably checking with an academic who specializes in that language), you should probably get the tattoo in a language that you're very familiar with.
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  #11  
Old 03-15-2007, 11:03 AM
Glory Glory is offline
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I'll go first, I have a tattoo of Chinese characters. I've posted about this a few times before, so I'll try to keep it short. I lost 75 lbs. I have now kept it off for over 2 years. After 20 years of yoyo dieting and occasional losses followed by spectactular failures, changing my life and keeping the weight off is really important to me - I love living as a thin person.

In June 2005, I decided I wanted a tattoo to celebrate my weight loss and serve as a daily reminder how much work it takes to maintain my weight loss. I had a lot of ideas, I toyed with a pheonix or a butterfly, the idea of "transformation." Then, I started thinking about Chinese or Japanese characters which I consider beautiful. It was a way to say something profound and meaningful to me in a concise manner (limited real estate, you know).

I talked to a lot of people, got a lot of advice - from native speakers of Chinese and Japanese (I work in an international company and was very good friends with my Japanese localization vendor as well as employees of a call center in Singapore), including members of the Dope. I quickly realized it wasn't a matter of sticking 2 characters together to get a desired English meaning. Someone suggested a Chinese proverb and I found this great site . I narrowed down my choices to 5 and finally made a decision based on personal significance and beauty of characters.

After I made my decision, I ran it past many people (native speakers as well as the guy at Hanzi Smatter) to ensure it was correct. Although he tried to talk me out of the tattoo, the guy from Hanzi Smatter was very helfpul and suggested some beautiful Chinese fonts. My tattoo is 4 traditional Chinese characters of a Chinese proverb "Dripping water eats through stone." Just to remind me of the hundreds of tiny changes I made and do on a daily basis to accomplish something enormous. Even a tiny drop of water can wear away a rock. I really loved the idea of perseverance - it means a lot to me. Basically, I wanted a daily reminder not to fuck up. "Do not fuck this up" as a tattoo just leaves a lot to be desired, aesthetically.

I got the tattoo for me, it's rarely visible to other people (it's about 3 inches long, on my back, down my spine, starting about 1 inch below the shirt collar). To me, it is beautiful and significant and while I understand there is a brouhaha about Americans getting Chinese/Japanese character tattoos, I am not bothered by other people's opinions my tattoo is dumb. I got it for me and I love it.

Last edited by Glory; 03-15-2007 at 11:06 AM.. Reason: previous poster identifed Hanzi Smatter already
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  #12  
Old 03-15-2007, 12:21 PM
jakeline jakeline is offline
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Originally Posted by Glory
To me, it is beautiful and significant and while I understand there is a brouhaha about Americans getting Chinese/Japanese character tattoos, I am not bothered by other people's opinions my tattoo is dumb. I got it for me and I love it.
I've seen you post about this before and I love hearing your story. Congrats on changing your life.

When I see threads like this, I usually just roll my eyes and go read something else. As is evidenced by the majority of the posts, I've found that these threads usually serve just to bash people who have these tattoos, not to actually try to find an answer to the question.

I can't answer the question as to why other people get these types of tattoos, but I'll offer my own anecdotal evidence as I have two japanese kanji on my leg. Why kanji as opposed to english or any other language? Quite simply, I like how it looks. In my situation, the message was going the same regardless of the form whether I got it in, and I liked how it looked in kanji the best. Is that a dumb reason to get a tattoo? Sure, but no dumber than a flower, a dreamcatcher, a celtic knot, or a really bitchin' skull. I totally get that lots of people find it smurfy, but that's okay -- my tattoo isn't for them, it's for me.

To make a WAG, I imagine that americans found that chinese characters look exotic and have the bonus of being able to really personalize it and make it about them and their life philosophy.
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  #13  
Old 03-15-2007, 12:28 PM
Anaamika Anaamika is offline
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Add me to another who finds it odd at the least and uncomfortable at the most when people adopt other cultures like this, without remotely understanding what they are doing. It actually seems little bit insulting when you think about it but I can't point to what bothers me about it.

I see what Glory says and I get it...and I don't. Perhaps because I am already immersed in a culture so deep and old - E. Indian - that I don't feel the need to borrow too much from other cultures. And of course I'm heavily a part of American culture.

It seems sometimes to me that Americans - certain ones - hunger for a culture, and Asiatic is exotic, so it seems intriguing. Please, I don't mean to insult anyone - just my two cents.

T-shirts are a whole different arena of course...wear whatever t-shirts you like, I guess. It's not permanent. The idea of inking something into my skin which I can't read seems kind of horrifying to me. Some other Indian (was it anu?) said they had an 'Om' and I think that's an awesome idea - but that's my culture, and I know what the symbol for Om means without someone telling me.
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  #14  
Old 03-15-2007, 01:07 PM
Glory Glory is offline
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Originally Posted by Anaamika
Add me to another who finds it odd at the least and uncomfortable at the most when people adopt other cultures like this, without remotely understanding what they are doing. It actually seems little bit insulting when you think about it but I can't point to what bothers me about it.

It seems sometimes to me that Americans - certain ones - hunger for a culture, and Asiatic is exotic, so it seems intriguing. Please, I don't mean to insult anyone - just my two cents.
I've heard this a lot and I don't understand this at all - hungering for another culture...what? Just seems paradoxical, Americans are sometimes accused of being culturally egocentric, but we don't get any positive credit for admiring other cultures either. Just seems damned if we do, damned if we don't. In any case, I can easily enjoy the richness and variety of other cultures without "hungering" for them.

The world is a small place and getting smaller all the time. Personally, I think it's positive when any culture finds beauty and value in another.
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  #15  
Old 03-15-2007, 01:32 PM
Dante Dante is online now
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I have one.

Specifically, I have this one.

I'm getting it covered.

Please feel free to mock me. I deserve it.
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  #16  
Old 03-15-2007, 01:52 PM
Miller Miller is offline
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I don't have a Japanese or Chinese language tattoo, but I do have a Gaellic phrase tattooed on my shoulder: Aonaibh ri chiele, which I'm given to understand means "Unity." It's part of my family crest, which is what made the tat important to me, more than the specific meaning of those words.

I can understand the allure of the sort of tattoos being discussed in this thread, though. I'm sure a lot of people get Asian-language tattoos because they've seen too many Bruce Lee movies and think geting "Bad Motherfucker" tattooed on their chest in Chinese will make them look like a badass, but I think it's also possible to simply appreciate the beautiful calligraphy. And that can go for Western languages as easily as Eastern ones. If you can actually read the language, it can be kind of hard to get past the plain-text meaning of the words and appreciate their aesthetic beauty. Most of these tats are meant to work as an attractive, abstract design, and not as a way of conveying any particular message.

That said, it would still piss me off if I got one of them and found out the artist screwed it up and misspelled something.
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  #17  
Old 03-15-2007, 02:17 PM
Summerjase Summerjase is offline
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Originally Posted by blinkingblinking
I would like to see some replies from people who have them, if possible.
I have a tattoo that says 'sisters' in Chinese, in honor of my sister who was killed in a car accident at age 25 three years ago. My three surviving sisters have the same one, although in different locations. Mine is on my lower back. Of course, we made very, very certain of what the symbols/spelling/meaning was before we allowed someone to apply it.
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  #18  
Old 03-15-2007, 02:31 PM
GargoyleWB GargoyleWB is offline
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Originally Posted by Glory
My tattoo is 4 traditional Chinese characters of a Chinese proverb "Dripping water eats through stone."
After taking some Mandarin classes, I was amazed at how much characters' meanings are contextual instead of literal. It sounds like you did your research, which is very smart. You could have ended up with characters that simultaneously could mean either "Dripping water eats through stone" and "Excessive drool ruined my sidewalk" for example
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  #19  
Old 03-15-2007, 03:08 PM
Ponder Stibbons Ponder Stibbons is offline
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Originally Posted by Dante
... I have this one.

I'm getting it covered.
Nah, don't cover it up! Just get a tattoo of Mr. Peabody to go along with it.
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  #20  
Old 03-15-2007, 03:11 PM
Dante Dante is online now
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Originally Posted by GargoyleWB
You could have ended up with characters that simultaneously could mean either "Dripping water eats through stone" and "Excessive drool ruined my sidewalk" for example
I think I just decided what my cover-up will be...
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  #21  
Old 03-15-2007, 03:18 PM
Dung Beetle Dung Beetle is offline
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Originally Posted by Ponder Stibbons
Nah, don't cover it up! Just get a tattoo of Mr. Peabody to go along with it.
Genius!
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  #22  
Old 03-15-2007, 03:38 PM
jjimm jjimm is offline
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I have two Thai characters on my arm, in a design I put together myself, but they were done by a Thai guy and I know specifically what they mean.

I think other languages' scripts can look lovely. The fact that its meaning isn't immediately comprehensible to others gives a layer of privacy for something meaningful to the wearer.

But for goodness' sake make sure they're right. There's so much shit script out there. And, sadly, it's become so common these days that it can be a bit of a cliché, especially Chinese characters/Kanji.

And make sure a native speaker/writer does the art for you, and understands what you've wanted. As I've recounted before, a British friend got a Thai woman to write down the word "courage" for her to have tattooed on her foot. Just before he started inking, the tattoo artist stopped and asked "are you sure you want a tattoo that says 'curry'?"
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  #23  
Old 03-15-2007, 03:51 PM
Anaamika Anaamika is offline
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Originally Posted by Glory
I've heard this a lot and I don't understand this at all - hungering for another culture...what? Just seems paradoxical, Americans are sometimes accused of being culturally egocentric, but we don't get any positive credit for admiring other cultures either. Just seems damned if we do, damned if we don't. In any case, I can easily enjoy the richness and variety of other cultures without "hungering" for them.

The world is a small place and getting smaller all the time. Personally, I think it's positive when any culture finds beauty and value in another.
I'm not really sure what I mean, actually. I agree with you on the world getting smaller. But I do feel a faint - oh-so-faint - hint of irritation when I see someone's latched on to something from someone else's culture without ever really understanding it. I'm not saying you've done this, after all I don't know you - but generally this is what I find.

I don't think "admiring someone's culture" necessarily means adopting it. And especially in the way certain Americans do. On one hand they criticize so many aspects of foreign cultures, "they eat dog, they do this, they do that", on the other hand they're picking & choosing the bits they like best and taking it. I'm sure we all do the latter to some extent...but it still seems awkward to me.

But I mean - how could you understand me, just as how could I understand you? It's not your culture that's being made more and more comercialized and the "in thing" as time goes by. And it's not me who lives your life. (I won't attempt to state it, in case I get it wrong! )
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  #24  
Old 03-15-2007, 03:54 PM
Miller Miller is offline
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Originally Posted by Anaamika
But I mean - how could you understand me, just as how could I understand you? It's not your culture that's being made more and more comercialized and the "in thing" as time goes by. And it's not me who lives your life. (I won't attempt to state it, in case I get it wrong! )
Don't be so sure.
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  #25  
Old 03-15-2007, 03:57 PM
Anaamika Anaamika is offline
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Originally Posted by Miller
Miller, darling, my jaw dropped on that thread. Slowly though. Wow.
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  #26  
Old 03-15-2007, 06:21 PM
mnemosyne mnemosyne is offline
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My brother has a Japanese character tattoo on his wrist. It's katakana. He knows a little bit of Japanese, or at least the basic ideas behind the written language and how the characters are used to express meaning, and I know he didn't get screwed over on it, since he basically designed it himself and double and triple checked the character shapes before allowing the tattoo to be put on. (And I admit, I checked the characters online myself after I saw it!)

Why did he get it? It's the title of a book, that literally changed his life (and is a meaningful title, too!) It led him to cope with his depression and social anxiety, and he's now able to leave the house, work, see friends, date, and do all those things that the mere thought of left him crippled before.

Perfectly valid reason, and WAY more meaningful than a lot of other tattoos I've seen.
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  #27  
Old 03-15-2007, 08:09 PM
Miller Miller is offline
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What was the book?
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  #28  
Old 03-15-2007, 08:46 PM
Autolycus Autolycus is offline
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For people who understand a little of the language and culture, and have a deep personal relationship to the meaning their tattoo possesses: that's pretty cool.

Everyone else is just a douchebag with no sense of style. IMHO of course.
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  #29  
Old 03-15-2007, 09:16 PM
strawberrygirl strawberrygirl is offline
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Why do people get Japanese or Chinese character tattoos?

Quote:
blinkingblinking
I would like to see some replies from people who have them, if possible.
I have a tattoo which Chinese characters. They’re actually part of a slightly larger tattoo. My reason for another language is because I didn’t want just anyone to know what it said. Characters take up less space, but I chose Chinese because I was learning so much about Chinese culture and history at the time so that language seemed to make it more personal. I get asked what it means all the time, but usually I make jokes and say it means Gordito Burrito or Whitey Must Pay. Yeah I did research to make sure I got the right characters, but in the end you never know and since its all for me and very personal, its no one else’s business what it really says.

I don’t care if you think I’ve ripped off another culture I couldn’t possibly really appreciate or understand. I don’t care if you think the whole idea is dumb. I’d be pretty stupid to get something on MY body to please anyone but me. I don't fault people for thier opinion though. I for one don't get things like boob jobs (and yes, mine are quite small).

As far as the permanence of it, I don’t really care if you understand that either. I’m not trying to convert you into a tattoo enthusiast. I look at like this, it represents who I was at the time and it was not a frivolous decision. And I wanted a permanent reminder of that time in my life. Like Glory, my tattoo serves as a testimony to what I learned about myself that I never want to forget. Besides, this is not the only choice I’ve made that had permanent consequences. People don’t seem to realize that we make decisions all the time that have lasting effects. The difference is those effects aren’t evident right away.

Will I regret it someday? Maybe. I don’t really believe in regret, but if I’m on my deathbed and the choice to get a tattoo is the one keeping me up at night, well I’d say my life turned out pretty good. Somehow I suspect it won’t even cross my mind.

Last edited by strawberrygirl; 03-15-2007 at 09:17 PM.. Reason: forgot a word
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  #30  
Old 03-15-2007, 11:01 PM
Elysium Elysium is offline
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I have a Kanji tattoo. I studied Kanji and Hiragana for a few years, and the word Eien (romanised) from Japanese is IMHO the most beautiful word in any language. It means forever, or eternity, depending on context. I have several "favorite words" but eien is at the top of my list. They span several languages. I happen to really enjoy the sounds of many spoken words.

It's also ironic, which I enjoy.

It also represents my greatest fear.

So laugh if you like, but I know how to write the character, I know its roots and I can pronounce it in Japanese. The word and symbol both have meaning to me and I'm fine with that.

It looks like this: http://www.kanjisite.com/html/start/.../r_einaga.html

Last edited by Elysium; 03-15-2007 at 11:06 PM..
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  #31  
Old 03-15-2007, 11:33 PM
Mr. Excellent Mr. Excellent is offline
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It's not Chinese or Japanese, but I'm thinking of getting a Latin phrase inked when I graduate law school: Fiat justitia, ruat caelum. "Let justice be done, though the heavens fall". I don't speak a word of Latin, but this is one of the great bits of rhetoric in the legal tradition, and it's a fine sentiment to live by. And I imagine I'll need the reminder. I'd suppose some people get Chinese or Japanese ink for the same reason.
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  #32  
Old 03-16-2007, 12:08 AM
Mirror Image egamI rorriM Mirror Image egamI rorriM is offline
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Mr. Excellent--if you do get that tattooed, please keep in mind that Classical Latin does not use the letter J, it uses the letter I instead.
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  #33  
Old 03-16-2007, 12:17 AM
Jodi Jodi is offline
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Originally Posted by Mr. Excellent
It's not Chinese or Japanese, but I'm thinking of getting a Latin phrase inked when I graduate law school: Fiat justitia, ruat caelum. "Let justice be done, though the heavens fall". I don't speak a word of Latin, but this is one of the great bits of rhetoric in the legal tradition, and it's a fine sentiment to live by. And I imagine I'll need the reminder. I'd suppose some people get Chinese or Japanese ink for the same reason.
I think that's an excellent idea. But if you didn't want to ink it on your body, you could just make it your Message Board sig.
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Fiat Justitia

Last edited by Jodi; 03-16-2007 at 12:17 AM..
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  #34  
Old 03-16-2007, 01:03 AM
Autolycus Autolycus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elysium
I have a Kanji tattoo. I studied Kanji and Hiragana for a few years, and the word Eien . . . looks like this: http://www.kanjisite.com/html/start/.../r_einaga.html
Wow, are you sure you're not the co-worker mentioned in this thread?

Because, you know, that would be pretty awkward.
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  #35  
Old 03-16-2007, 01:32 AM
Sleel Sleel is offline
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I don't have any tattoos and I have no intention of ever getting one, but I can see why people would want to get a character tattoo; kanji are frigging sweet! The different kinds of calligraphy in particular are very compelling as an art form. They do lose some of their appeal when you can read them, but even then they're still much cooler than plain old roman letters. The calligraphic styles of roman letters have been mostly associated with Latino gangs, so unless you want that stigma attached to it, you're stuck with less compelling forms anyway.

Even in literate societies, there is still a kind of mystical quality to writing. Many of us can remember when adults used it to convey secrets that we had no way of understanding as illiterate children. It's a magic that becomes commonplace as we grow older and learn how to read and write, but writing still has the ability to move us in a way different from pictures, music, or speech. A different kind of writing from your own is even more special. The origins of shorthand are about as prosaic as you can get, but someone who uses shorthand is treated with just a whiff of the awe and deference that a shaman in a pre-literate culture might have when oracles were read.

Someone using an unfamiliar writing system might get reactions ranging from interest to aversion, but it is truly rare for anyone to say something like, "That's dumb. Why would you want to use that squiggly junk to write?" Almost everyone views being able to write in a strange way as being an accomplishment. The most basic thoughts recorded in that way seem to have a deepness of meaning beyond the ordinary.

When you can't make guesses to read it, or even find a commonality between your writing and whatever inscription you're contemplating, it is seen as being mysterious and strange. This is amplified when you connect that writing to a different, distant, and therefore exotic culture. Compare the feeling an English speaker gets seeing a sign in Spanish, which uses no special characters and only a few diacritics that aren't in the standard English alphabet, and one in Swedish. In some ways, Swedish is closer to English's origins than Spanish, but because the combinations of characters are different and because it uses some glyphs and diacritics that are really different, Swedish looks more foreign.

You're also freed from the mental constraints of attaching meaning to what you see and are able to look at it as a pure art form when the writing is completely unfamiliar. In fact, if you can't read it you have no choice but to simply see the shape and flow of the writing. That doesn't mean that you stop trying to attach meaning to something you recognize as writing, but the inability to decipher it makes it even more tantalizing.

There is also a strong appeal behind being one of the few to be able to understand the message. If you feel a connection with the culture that produced it, then that becomes a link between yourself and that culture.

That said, something like Glory's approach is probably the best way to go when getting something that indelible marked on your body. You want to avoid having something that's nonsensical or badly-formed. There are a multitude of different styles of writing the characters and it looks odd to mix them. You should be especially careful not to reverse them or drop any strokes. Dropped strokes can change meaning or make the character illegible. There's also a whole host of aesthetics in writing the characters; white space, balance, form, and flow are all important. Non-native artists will usually not be able to judge these factors well enough to know when the picture they're copying is nice or garbage. Even if you've done your research, you have to make sure to bring a good copy of the characters you want with you as a model, or face the chance that they'll screw it up.

With Chinese or Japanese characters, it's important to remember that native speakers rarely think of the characters themselves as carrying meaning. They know that the characters have a semi-independent meaning, but they're almost never used by themselves, only in combination with other characters. That's why when people choose characters based only on the core meaning, the tattoo they get often makes no sense in either Chinese or Japanese, or worse has some weird meaning in combination with the other characters. Just because it's safe in one language doesn't mean it's okay in the other either. A famous example are the characters for hand and paper. This combination, read tegami means "letter" in Japanese, but means toilet paper in Chinese. Getting an actual phrase in one language or the other is a much better idea than choosing individual characters; at the very least both Chinese and Japanese will recognize it as being meaningful in J/C, even if they don't know exactly how to read it.
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  #36  
Old 03-16-2007, 07:54 AM
China Guy China Guy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dante
I have one.

Specifically, I have this one.

I'm getting it covered.

Please feel free to mock me. I deserve it.
Well, if you have that exact one, it is just nonsense. In Chinese, I would guess it's two characters smushed together "da4 guo4" that make no sense together. It's not like it says "white boys got tiny peckers" or anything.

Glory, I remember your original thread and happy the weight and tatoo have worked for you.
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  #37  
Old 03-16-2007, 08:25 AM
Dung Beetle Dung Beetle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miller
What was the book?
I'm wondering too.
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  #38  
Old 03-16-2007, 08:06 PM
mnemosyne mnemosyne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miller
What was the book?
He used to read these boards... oh well, I guess if he has it on his arm, it's not really all that private is it? He does tell people what it is when he's asked...!

The book was "Dance Dance Dance" by Haruki Murakami. I recently read it, and loved it. In fact, I have really enjoyed all of Murakami's work (that I've read so far), in large part because of my brother's enthusiasm for it! I totally understand what it meant to him (or could have meant - we haven't discussed it deeply, I think he probably gets something more out of it than I do).

So he has the katakana writing of it on his wrist. I think he told me that the book was originally published with the katakana title, rather than the typical japanese word for "dance" which would either be in hiragana or kanji? I don't really know...! Wiki does have the title with the same characters he has, though.
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  #39  
Old 03-16-2007, 08:13 PM
Miller Miller is offline
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Interesting. I'll have to check him out.

I mean the author, not your boyfriend.

Unless he's cute?
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  #40  
Old 03-16-2007, 09:29 PM
Mr. Excellent Mr. Excellent is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirror Image egamI rorriM
Mr. Excellent--if you do get that tattooed, please keep in mind that Classical Latin does not use the letter J, it uses the letter I instead.
Thanks, Mirror Image. Good to know.
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  #41  
Old 03-16-2007, 09:31 PM
MrJackboots MrJackboots is offline
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Paging SaintCad... Did you get it? Would you like to join in here?

Sleel, I like your notion that the different styles might have contribute to the aesthetics of character tattoos, but I've seen probably a hundred done in dyslexic-third-grader-with-palsy handwriting for each one in master-artist calligraphy. Do you think this is a case of "Can't find the good stuff" or "don't care what the good stuff is, just so long as it looks pretty"?
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  #42  
Old 03-16-2007, 09:56 PM
Elysium Elysium is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Autolycus
Wow, are you sure you're not the co-worker mentioned in this thread?

Because, you know, that would be pretty awkward.

I'm not! But yeah, that would be awkward. A Japanese exchange student that I was in theatre with in college translated my tattoo as "forever," so I know that my research was correct.
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  #43  
Old 03-16-2007, 09:58 PM
Terminus Est Terminus Est is offline
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Classical Latin doesn't use the letter "U". Nor lower case. The motto should read:

FIAT IVSTITIA RVAT CAELVM
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  #44  
Old 03-16-2007, 10:17 PM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleel
I don't have any tattoos and I have no intention of ever getting one, but I can see why people would want to get a character tattoo; kanji are frigging sweet! The different kinds of calligraphy in particular are very compelling as an art form.
I think you're on to something. My best friend made me a stain glass of the character for "Friendship" and it is really interesting. I personally think it looks like a three-legged man running If you look at old books written in English there's often an effort to decorate the first letter of a chapter, but many of the Asian characters people choose for meaning or decoration are already artistic in comparison. Maybe familiarity breeds indifference...
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  #45  
Old 03-17-2007, 07:04 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miller
It's part of my family crest, which is what made the tat important to me, more than the specific meaning of those words.
*heraldic nitpick* I just wanted to let you know that there is no such thing as a "family crest". Cameron of Lochiel ("Cameron of Cameron") is entitled to the arms and crest of Clan Cameron, no-one else is. It's called "Usurpation". You're welcome to use the motto, of course. Just a pet peeve.
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  #46  
Old 03-17-2007, 12:44 PM
mnemosyne mnemosyne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miller
Interesting. I'll have to check him out.

I mean the author, not your boyfriend.

Unless he's cute?
My brother, not boyfriend (although yes, my boyfriend (husband!) is cute!)

My brother's not too shabby, but I don't think you're his type

Personally, I liked Murakami's "Sputnik Sweetheart" best.

If you want to read "Dance Dance Dance", I'd suggest you read "A wild sheep chase" first, since it does involve some of the same characters (though the stories are only somewhat intertwined... not really a sequel, but Dance takes place a few years later, with the same main character.

"Kafka on the shore" is next for me, and then I think I'll reread "Hard boiled wonderland and the end of the world" since I don't think I quite grasped Murakami's style when I first read it (the first of his that I read).
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  #47  
Old 03-18-2007, 11:58 AM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is online now
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<minor hijack> There's something I meant to ask before: is kanji a proper noun? I can't tell if it's supposed to be capitalized or not. </minor hijack>
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  #48  
Old 03-18-2007, 09:49 PM
Sleel Sleel is offline
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I've rarely seen it capitalized. To me, it feels like the words "character" or "letter" in English. You wouldn't capitalize those, so I wouldn't treat kanji as a proper noun.

Oh, another thing, I think that kanji should be treated as a non-count noun by default. I've seen people write "kanjis" before and it grates on me something awful. First, Japanese doesn't have plurals, second, English has a precedent with things like rice, water, and bread having a different usage pattern from ——s. It's not like I'm the God of English Referents for Japanese, but in my opinion, it should be "hundreds of kanji" not "hundreds of kanjis".

Notice I deliberately left off the italics with the plural s form. As far as I'm concerned, if you're using English grammar to transform the word, it's not a foreign word anymore, it's English, and doesn't deserve the distinguishing italics anymore.

This anal-retentive interlude was brought to you by the kana "ku" and "so", and the kanji "ba" (horse) and "ka" (deer).
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