And the peculiar thing is this my friends:

I got this one as a tribute to all the people who get flash Kanji and really don’t know if it says what they think it should (note the question marks).

We had a Japanese kid getting tattooed and I had him draw it up. He said it would look cooler in Chinese so we went with that..”

It literally means “Don’t know”.

By Ed Weston, Chaos Ephex (again!), Lapeer, MI.

33 thoughts on “And the peculiar thing is this my friends:

  1. mike’s comment actually amde me laugh.
    just imagining if it was spelled wrong or meant something completely different.
    oh, the irony, it’s to much.


  2. That’s so funny. I actually had a friend get a tat like that, it was supposed to say Jew (he’s jewish, and because of that, it’s his nickname) and went to a Chinese resteraunt and they started clapping.

    It said “Clap your hands if it’s your birthday this year.”

    Funny story.
    He found out what it said when he finally asked someone.
    That had the whole place laughing.

  3. Awesome. I can’t wait unitl someone comes up to him and he explains it.

    The flowers on his hips are glorious.

  4. same idea really for all lettering tattoos people don’t understand, kanji, irish the whole bunch

    why get something in a language you dont understand :)
    awesome idea btw

  5. 知道

    The direct translation is awareness, and the question marks are set up spanish style. Questionable awareness. So yeah you can feel okay about it not saying horse dong

  6. The best kanji translation fuckup story I ever heard was some dolt who tried to use Babblefish to translate “War” into Chinese. And _then_ he didn’t realize that the incomprehensible boxes he got back were the result of not having a Chinese font installed on his computer (and not actual Chinese), so he went ahead and got those Windows missing-character symbols inked onto his arm.

    He didn’t figure it out until he translated “Peace” into “chinese” for the other arm, and it came out the same. But _still_, dude was all like, “whoa, the symbols for war and peace are the same in Chinese.” Until his second tat artist was like, “um, dude, wtf?”

  7. There was an article a while back (most likely on BME, of course) about foreign lettering tattoos, how in Japan and China the tattoo artists are doing English tattoos that are just random letters or words.

    They are completely meaningless or nothing like what the person said they wanted.
    Of course, usually they think they are getting something meaning “beautiful princess” or “strong warrior”.

  8. Roo-
    Actually it was on his shoulder!
    and he’s a pretty hairy guy, think Austin Powers, so it would be pretty difficult to see it.

    It was up on his shoulder and he was wearing a wife beater I think?

  9. “The direct translation is awareness, and the question marks are set up spanish style. Questionable awareness.”

    Get off your high horse, nobody is going to read it as “awareness”. As far as conventional usage goes, it’s just “to know”.

    One common mistake is when people get 咊 on them because they think it means “peace”. Actually 咊平 means peace; 咊 by itself doesn’t have much meaning on its own when it’s not part of a compound. Sometimes it means “and”.

    平 by itself, incidentally, means “flat”. is a decent online dictionary for looking stuff up. There’s also the Unihan database for Unicode characters.

    And for heaven’s sake if you get a Chinese or Japanese tattoo, don’t go for one of those awful sticklike fonts that are the East Asian equivalent of Arial.

  10. please just get a trusted pal who KNOWS chinese/kanji(jap) to reconfirm the characters if you want them tattooed. Quite a number of uni students from Japan actually do understand English. As for Chinese, ask any Singaporeans! They are all bilingual. Primary school education’s compulsory in their country.

  11. This would only work on a non-native speaker/reader of chinese.

    Otherwise it would be like tattooing “Don’t know?”
    Actually, that could work as well.
    Just not the same impact… =P

  12. There was an article in a New Zealand newspaper last year about Asian tattoists purposfully mispelling tattoos because they felt people were using their language as a gimick. Girls would go into a tattoo shop asking for things like Beauty or something girly but would come out with things like Dirty Whore and Slut and not know they had been tricked until someone could translate it for them.

    To put it short, people shouldn’t get tattoos in languages they don’t understand. It’s pretty much asking for trouble..

  13. Just to expand on what Xenobiologista said about knowing what things mean, remember that Japanese is not actually Chinese, it just uses the same characters.

    Also, just to nitpick a bit, in modern Japanese, 咊平 does not infact mean peace, infact 平和 would be correct, even though they do look similar, the reading would be grammatically indecipherable (though you could work out the meaning from the Kanji, it would be assumed to be incorrect). Though this is probably the correct Hanzi script in Chinese, I can’t read that ;)

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