Kanji Tattoos in the Wild

Oh no! I used to work at an events company in the graphics department and I had to install anything involving decorative hanzi and kanji because it was always being displayed sideways or upside down


Looks like ガールパワー is also used.

Probably wouldn’t look all that good as a tattoo, though.


She did. But unfortunately it’s in a square pattern:

So it only works if you read it top-to-bottom and left-to-right, so a mix of Japanese and western reading styles.

I’d say it was a decent save.


It’s also important to note that some of these “kanji” tattoos may just be Chinese as well… For example, I saw a woman at the airport with a tattoo on the back of her neck with the character「率」. This character is not normally used on its own in Japanese and can mean anything from, “rate” “probability” or “percentage”. As a standalone character, I knew it was likely coming from Chinese rather than Japanese. I did a quick Google search and it looks like it has the same meaning in Chinese, along with “to lead or command” as another meaning. I surmised that it was likely this latter Chinese meaning. :man_shrugging:t2:

I just realized that there’s also a Japanese word corresponding to the Chinese meaning of “to lead, to command”: 率いる!

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There’s a guy at the climbing gym who got a 武士道 tattoo :grimacing:

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I knew a girl with the tattoo 期間(きかん) she thought it meant hope. I’m not entirely sure how anyone got hope out of that. I saw another tattoo on the back of the neck as (うみ) so standard enough. My cousin got one recently It’s her name in katakana クリスタ Not very exciting or meaningful.

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I’d read that as ‘dualities’, so I was possibly even more lost than you!


Maybe she confused it with 期待?

Ouch. That’s like a Japanese literate tattoo artist who was just having a bad day and decided to take it out on his client. A kinder interpretation would be the artist meant 期待?

When it has the “rate” meaning in Japanese it’s usually read as りつ, but with the “lead” meaning it’s そつ. There are a few words that use that meaning.



@skatefriday @Shunrin

Even if that was the case… it doesn’t seem to convey the meaning of hope insomuch as the meaning of expectations. Wouldn’t 希望(きぼう) be a better choice?


Yeah, I was just trying to figure out how the misconception arose.

Most likely a cheap tattoo parlor and a google search gone awry. no ragrats

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That’s too much america in here.


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