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WANT A KANJI TATTOO? Read before you ask

epigene

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Time and again, JREF receives inquiries related to kanji tattoos, especially from new members.

Each time, our knowledgeable members post their opinions and suggestions to inform the inquirer about what it means to have a kanji tattoo.

For the sake of relieving our regular members of the need to post similar replies with each inquiry, I would like to ask every new inquirer hoping to get kanji tattooed on his/her skin to read this thread (originally started by Mikawa Ossan) and ask your question with sufficient understanding of the opinions of our members.


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The original post

Although we've had a lull recently, I would like to talk about those members who request translations of something into Japanese/kanji for the purpose of getting a tattoo.
I know that the general consensus is that people shouldn't do it for a number of reasons, but as much as I don't really agree with the idea of getting a tattoo in a language you don't understand, I don't see any harm in it, either. Which is to say that I basically think, "let them have their fun".
Oftentimes a new member will ask about what kanji he should use for a tattoo and gets ridiculed for it. I know that I have joined in the "fun" from time to time, but honestly, they're not hurting anybody by getting a tattoo. Do they really deserve to be ridiculed for asking about it?
I mean, they come here in good faith and want to be as reasonably sure as they can that they aren't about to make a mistake. I'd say that's better than just running out and getting it done.
Of course there's no reason not to tell them all the reasons for not going through with the tattoo, but there's no reason to be harsh about it.
What do you think?
 
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Malamis

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I try not to, as it's generally Bad Thoughts, which stem from impotence and frustration when it comes to advertisements and consultations in bad judgment. A bad idea is a bad idea no matter how much liberalism you dress it up in, but getting vitriolic because One is more enlightened than t'other is not the way to deal with it surely.
The alternative? Can't help you there :)
 

Uncle Frank

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Hard not to do sometimes.

I feel bad sometimes for new members that have the wrong ideas or incorrect knowledge on things to do with Japan. Some of the answers they get are pretty harsh or even down right rude. Sure , maybe the question has been asked a hundred times in the past few years, but try and remember it was not them who asked before . The search function here does suck although it seems some don't attempt to search I guess. I would rather see someone be ignored then have an ol time JREF member be outright nasty to them. Sometimes a member's English skills may make them sound dumb when they are not? Try and have a little compassion for those we think are not the most intelligent, not everyone can be a genius. I will confess that on a bad day, I can be a bit testy, but I try hard not to and feel guilty latter when I do.

Uncle Frank
 

Ashikaga

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Speaking solely on the subject of Kanji Tattoo questions, I don't necessarily feel too bad about the type of responses they get that is considered harsh by some.

After all, the subject matter is nothing of importance : cosmetics. I think it is good that they get to hear the types of reactions people may have towards someone who sports/looking to sport tattoos in languages they don't have a good grasp of, one of which is Ridicule.

Another thing is that many of these people with tattoo questions tend not to listen to good advice offered by those who knows the language.

Example. Some kid wants a tattoo that says "The One Who Carries The Sword Of Darkness". A good hearted member tells them that a literal translation would be long and sound weird and s/he offers an alternative. The kid answers, "...but it is really really important to me and I have to have the whole thing in Japanese!". The kind member gives them the whole thing in Japanese. The kid then goes, "...but the whole thing has to be in Kanji characters! Isn't there a way to say it all in Kanji?? It just perfectly describes who I am as a person and I want it tattooed on my body. Why can't anyone just help me!?" .....and it just goes on and on....

I usually just stay away from those Qs. :)
 

Mike Cash

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While the requests for kanji tattoo help are irritating, mostly due to repetition, duplication of effort, and pure p*ssing-in-the-wind futility perhaps the most annoying aspect is that they unfailingly bring forth someone who thinks he's being terribly clever by suggesting the correct rendition of any term is 馬鹿 (or some variant).
 

nice gaijin

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I understand the need for mature discourse, but how exactly should we tell people that they are going to look stupid even if the artist properly draws 的外れ on the small of their back?

I suppose the futility is felt most when trying to explain to people why their quirky double entendres don't make sense in a language they've never studied, or that Japanese isn't just a cool-looking font in which any English phrase can be written. There HAVE been people that have changed their minds about their tattoos after asking us for help. There have also been people that rudely lashed out when we didn't just give them the free translation they asked for without trying to explain that it's "not quite that simple." It does wear on people to be asked the same question time and again, so when a particularly ridiculous request pops up, it's reasonable to expect people to blow off some steam and maybe even crack a joke at someone's expense. As the so-called experts, we can best help people by giving them what they need, not what they want. In this case, a slap in the face is sometimes what they need. As Ashikaga put it, it's good for them to get a taste of ridicule before the get the tattoo. If they're stubborn enough to get the tattoo anyways, good for them.

I have yet to see a request where the desire for a kanji tattoo wasn't for cosmetic reasons. The closest I've seen is someone that wanted their family name in kanji, but didn't know how to write it, and despite having relatives that could tell them the correct characters, were too impatient to ask them and instead turned to us. It all comes down to either ignorance or impatience, and when those vices are washed away, the desire for a kanji tattoo is usually washed away with it.
 

ShadowSpirit

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It's an open discussion regardless. If someone asks for assistance, you provide it, and they don't like the answer. Then I say that person is setting themself up for whatever ridicule is dished out. I'm not promoting the idea of picking on people. Though I wouldn't want people like Uncle Frank to feel guilty for venting after the person he is trying to help doesn't show any gratitude for his assistance.

As for getting a tattoo. It's a person's body, they can do with it as they wish. I appreciate those who try to help people make the right choice for translation instead of letting them end up with a potential *insert funny kanji here* tattoo. Though if you want to try and deter someone from getting a tattoo. I find it most effective to remind a person that they change every year. What they might had thought was a good idea one day, probably won't hold true a few years from that time. Whereas tattoos are constant reminders of the mindset you had during the time you got it. Yet tough, you're stuck with it. I'm not saying people shouldn't get tattoos or aren't entitled to them. Only that its a decision that should be carefully considered.
 

Echigo

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I'm against tattoos for myself due to their permanent nature. If I can't even keep the same hairstyle for a year or two, then there's little chance that I wouldn't become bored of the tattoo and regret getting it.

As far as Kanji tattoos go, why get something in a language that you don't understand? They are certainly all the rage now, but I've seen a fair number of ones that had a very silly meaning and made the owner look pretty dumb.
 

Red5

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In general guys like to do tattooes with strange languge and no one can understand it , so they have only Kanji or Chinese Characters to do their fun ... and that what they think ...

in fact tattoo has a lot of harmful in body specially if the needles was not clean ...
and maybe it can infect the ill to new person from last one and we have a lot of state that they have AIDS coz of they didn't clear the needle from last person who did tattoo ..and that's one .... it has a lot of bad thing happend to body ..
but we can't say any thing , let they do what they want and you can say this proverb ..

- the drowning boat .... give him a push

Thanks for your Topic !!
 

nice gaijin

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Dirty needles as a reason to denounce tattoos? Are you in prison or something?
 

Red5

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Dirty needles as a reason to denounce tattoos? Are you in prison or something?

every time the worker has to clean it , sometimes he'd forget and maybe infect some bad illness .....

and maybe it's reason and if there is completly clean work ....
it's not good any was , it need 50 years to can remove tattoo
 

nice gaijin

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... Tattoo needles as disposable, and are never supposed to be reused once removed from their sterile packaging. Any tattoo parlor that does otherwise is violating health code regulations. The belief that tattoos==dirty is misguided.
 

ShadowSpirit

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Any responsible person will observe the parlor removing a new needle from its sealed package. This practice isn't any different then getting shots from a hospital. There are obligations that the parlors have to practice in order to stay in business. If the parlor has been around awhile, chances are they follow strict policy.
 

Mycernius

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it need 50 years to can remove tattoo
If you mean what I think you mean then you are wrong. Laser surgery can remove a tattoo at any time after you have had it done, be it 6 months or 70 years. As for the tattoo itself, it is permanent and will be with you as long as your alive. Seeing as tattos also have a tendency to fade into a greenish colour and become blurred as you age and your skin becomes less resilient to aging it is also something to consider if you are going to have a tattoo, especially if it is in a foreign script. Some Kanji characters are quite intricate and may become a smudge later in life.
 

Red5

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I don't have deep idea about tattoo coz I don't deal with it and I won't ...
by the way 50 years or 100 it's no problem and who did tattoo let him go to the hell ..it's his problem ....

Some Kanji characters are quite intricate and may become a smudge later in life.
I agree specially the kanji that it consists of 20 strokes or more than this number
 

nice gaijin

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how very narrow-minded of you. If you care so little then why bother commenting on it at all?
 

ShadowSpirit

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Laser surgery can remove a tattoo at any time after you have had it done, be it 6 months or 70 years.
I don't have a retort for this. Though I did want to elaborate a bit on the subject of laser removal since Mycernius brought it up. Just in case if anybody in this room is thinking of getting a tattoo with the mindset that it can later be removed if it is felt that a mistake was made. Keep in mind of a few things...

1) Tattoo removal is extremely expensive. It costs as much as any form of cosmetic surgery, if not more in some instances.

2) It isn't a one step procedure. You don't just get the tattoo zapped and call it a day. It requires several visits, over many months to a few years depending on the size of the tattoo and type of inks that were used on it.

3) This last point might be a bit dated as maybe there might have been marvels in technology in the past few years. Yet if things are still as I had once researched them to be, it is necessary for the laser surgeon to know where you received the tattoo at. This is so an investigation can be done as to the type of ink that was used for your tattoo. If you've had a tattoo 'touched up.' Well, you might have eliminated chances of getting the tattoo entirely removed.

Overall, try looking up pictures of tattoo removals. You'll notice that often the tattoos are still visible, just faded into a blotch. Probably not worth the time, money, or effort involved in having the tattoo removed. Basically, even though laser removal does exist. Get the tattoo with the mindset that you will truly be keeping it for life.
 

Red5

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1) Tattoo removal is extremely expensive. It costs as much as any form of cosmetic surgery, if not more in some instances
In the past they did tattoo with old style and it was so hard to remove it and maybe take 50 or 70 years ... but now with technology and they use the lizer or with X-ray and something like that ...... so they can remove it also with lizer and for that reason it's so expensive ...

and tattoo not good in general to put it in your body , but in special I hate girls who put tattoo and most of those girls who made tattoo in some point in their body like in the lower of their stomach or their back .......


it's really not moral and not for females !!! :eek:
 
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Mycernius

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it's really not moral and not for females !!! :eek:
But it's alright for men? Don't apply double standards.
Plus how is it not moral to have a tattoo? Which narrowminded bozo thought that one up? I'm sure there are many cultures, such as the Maoris, where it is tarditional, that would have a word or two to say about that.
 

Imposter253

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Concerning the issue of ridicule, I think it is better to ridicule someone for doing something like wanting a tattoo of something they don't understand and in a certain puts their external image much more beyond their control than usual. I don't want to by any means say that I have experience with these conversations that keep coming up, but I think that getting something so permanent and so personal is something you should know everything about. I mean to say that if you REALLY want to get a kanji tattoo, then you should already have a log of information on what the character REALLY means and how it'll be REALLY perceived (by people in the know or otherwise). I can sympathize with people wanting to start this study starting hear mainly because this site is such a good resource, but then the interest in primarily linguistics based.
 

Red5

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But it's alright for men? Don't apply double standards.
Plus how is it not moral to have a tattoo? Which narrowminded bozo thought that one up? I'm sure there are many cultures, such as the Maoris, where it is tarditional, that would have a word or two to say about that.

I didn't mean that , just I meant that if the girl did tattoo maybe that lose her femininity because girl has more purity to do that ....
and it's ,in my opinion, not moral for both ,,, maybe some people consider it like honor or heroic thing :rolleyes:
 

ShadowSpirit

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Sometimes it's done for spiritual or ritualistic reasons too. It's too presumptuous to say why a person does or doesn't get a tattoo. Since people all have their unique reasons. Anywhere from the love-sick teenager that gets their mate's name tattooed on them out of impulse to the tribal member that tattoos their faith. It can send a negative message depending on what the person gets or where the person has it placed. Though that is at the person's discretion of what they want to convey about themselves. I doubt such a person would much care what people think of them if they opted to get a tattoo. It is such a frivilous thing to judge a person off of in my opinion.

However, I in time came to appreciate how beautiful human skin is in its natural form. I feel that tattoos distract from that, rob a person of their beauty. So although I might not think it to be an immoral nor evil thing to get, I do think tattoos are unattractive. Not saying it defines a person or makes them overall unattractive.
 

ZenMaster

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Sometimes it's done for spiritual or ritualistic reasons too. It's too presumptuous to say why a person does or doesn't get a tattoo. Since people all have their unique reasons. Anywhere from the love-sick teenager that gets their mate's name tattooed on them out of impulse to the tribal member that tattoos their faith. It can send a negative message depending on what the person gets or where the person has it placed. Though that is at the person's discretion of what they want to convey about themselves. I doubt such a person would much care what people think of them if they opted to get a tattoo. It is such a frivilous thing to judge a person off of in my opinion.
However, I in time came to appreciate how beautiful human skin is in its natural form. I feel that tattoos distract from that, rob a person of their beauty. So although I might not think it to be an immoral nor evil thing to get, I do think tattoos are unattractive. Not saying it defines a person or makes them overall unattractive.
Honestly ShadowSpirit I agree with you 100%, with every word

Everyone has some reason for what ever they (which may or may not ever make sense to us) do and no one has the right to judge them...

As far as I am concerned I too hate tattoos as they destroy the natural Beauty that God has given us...

Well regarding the people who dont like those asking for Kanji Tattoo translations, I feel the best way is to ignore such requests rather than ridiculing them... If it is insulting to Japanese Culture for people to have Kanji Tattoos then I think, the best would be to put up an Announcement to enlighten members Of why they should not get Kanji Tattoos done and I am sure the ones who truly love and Respect Japanese People and its Culture will surely understand and never make such a request in the future...

And regarding the ungrateful ones who reply rudely to the ones trying to help them, they should be warned and then banned by moderators if the user does not stop being rude to those trying to help him... (well this is what we do to rude members in our Martial Arts forum...)
 

Putrefaction

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Most of the people in the navy or marines would be pissed at the people who say that tattoos are immoral.

As for me, tattoos are okay but I hate to see the people with massive amounts of tattoos. I've seen ones that were cool/decent and placed on the shin of a leg so as long as pants were on you could never see, some on bicep as a cross that I thought...why not a necklace? and then lower back tattoos (tramp stamps) and ankle tattoos.

I myself want one, a small one, on my left upper bicep...
 
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