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Tattoo Help!


19 Nov 2019
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I know this has been asked a lot, but I want to make sure what I am requesting is not disrespectful to the Japanese culture and it’s citizens. So growing up, my parents have always said “if you fall, then get back up and continue on”. I have always lived by this saying. I did some research on tattoo ideas a few years ago and I fell in love with the saying “fall down seven times, get up eight”. I saw it written in English and then discovered the origin of the saying. I love the meaning and the lesson behind it. I have lived by this saying since I discovered it. I wanted to get it tattooed on me to remind me that no matter how many times I fail, I will always get up. I want to know if it is respectful to get it in Kanji. I’m not Japanese. I have also seen two different styles of how to write it out. Which one would be better if I did decide to get it tattooed down my spine?


12 Oct 2013
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Japanese, as a very general rule, do not appreciate tattoos. In the past, it was a way to mark criminals, and the criminals then embraced tattooing as a way of marking themselves: to let other people know who they were dealing with. It is the mark of criminality, and therefore some establishments like public baths or onsen refuse entry to people with tattoos.

So is it appropriate to the culture, well, no, not really. But young people nowadays reject old customs, and you see a lot of tattoos on young people. This is true for Tokyo, at least. But the prohibition on tattoos still exists in some places, so you find people covering up their tattoos with bandages or some other covering if they go to a public onsen.

"Fall down seven times, get up eight" itself isn't inappropriate or strange.
七転び八起き would be how it is written in everyday Japanese.

But if you are hoping to win the approval of some Japanese people by getting this tattooed on your spine, I would rethink the endeavor. Maybe impress them by passing N4 of the Japanese language exam, or getting shodan of kendō, or start collecting netsuke or some other Japanese art. That would be a far more impressive way to show your appreciation of the culture.
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