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AJBryant

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There are several different ways to write both Kai and Naomi. (Sort of like someone *saying* "My name is /ashlee/ and I want a tattoo" -- but not knowing whether it was spelled ASHLEE, ASHLEY, ASHLEIGH....).

Without knowing what kanji apply, no one can help. Of course, since you also apparently are not Japan, there *is* (unless in your husband's mind) no specific kanji applied, so any kanji used are merely "placeholders" for, what is in essence, romanized kanji-less names.
 

nice gaijin

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If the names aren't legally registered in kanji, wouldn't the correct way to write them be in katakana? If you haven't picked out kanji for them you might as well do it now I suppose.

Of course, there's also English... but I guess that's only useful for if you want people to be able to read it.
 

Baby J

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Wanting to get tattoo

Hello. I am from the US, and I am slowly starting to understand how difficult it is to get a tattoo in a kanji symbol. I was wondering if I could get some help with this and another basic thing. Basic things first. I cannot read kanji on my computer. I think it is lacking a patch or program to help me read it. Is there one you would suggest? or do you know of one?

Also there is a phrase I would like to get in kanji, or even just the correct translation in japanese. It's a direct quote from Final Fantasy IX, and I have been wanting to get this tattoo since I was young so I guess you would call me stubborn (hahaha). "And while the moon still shines blue, by dawn it will turn to scarlet hue." Is it possible?

Thanks you so much for helping me out. I am have had a love for the japanese culture for a very long time, but I could never grasp the complexities of the language and writing.
 

Baby J

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Hello. I am from the US, and I am slowly starting to understand how difficult it is to get a tattoo in a kanji symbol. I was wondering if I could get some help with this and another basic thing. Basic things first. I cannot read kanji on my computer. I think it is lacking a patch or program to help me read it. Is there one you would suggest? or do you know of one?

I figured that part out, but thanks. Is there any way I can still get some advice on the kanji? Or is this a dead thread?
 

Uncle Frank

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I Think it would be a difficult tat ?

Japanese has 3 alphabets = Kanji/Hiragana/Katakana. Your tattoo would require at least two of them , if not all three. Spaceing and angle of the characters would have to be perfect to be readable. Also, many words can have different Kanji for the word , depending on how it is used in the sentence. The long sentence you picked would probably have about 20 different ways to be written, each person giving a different way? The character size would have to be fairly large to be legible, so your tat might have to run from your neck to your ankle? I'm no expert , but the sentence you want seems too impractiable to do which might be why no one replied??

Uncle Frank
 

Baby J

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:(

You don't have to be so mean. I am not one of the people you mentioned earlier. You explain= I understand.

Thank you for your prompt reply.

The character size would have to be fairly large to be legible, so your tat might have to run from your neck to your ankle? I'm no expert , but the sentence you want seems too impractiable to do which might be why no one replied??
Uncle Frank

And yes, it would be highly difficult. Sorry for getting upset, but you are correct on the difficulty level. To make it so tattoos don't run together or "gray out" overtime you have to have them appropriately spaced. I work at a tattoo shop so the difficulty I am well aware of, I just don't know the language. Thank you all again for your help. I am useless without you ^_^
 
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Toritoribe

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Also there is a phrase I would like to get in kanji, or even just the correct translation in Japanese. It's a direct quote from Final Fantasy IX, and I have been wanting to get this tattoo since I was young so I guess you would call me stubborn (hahaha). "And while the moon still shines blue, by dawn it will turn to scarlet hue." Is it possible?

月はまだ青く輝くが、夜明けまでには深紅の色に変わるだろう。

Is this what you want to know? :emoji_thinking:
 

Baby J

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Thank you

月はまだ青く輝くが、夜明けまでには深紅の色に変わるだろう。 Is this what you want to know?

I think so. I am very bad at reading it, but yes that is what I am looking for. Thank you everyone for helping me out.

Sorry for being such a pain, it's hard to talk to people about things when you know little to nothing on the subject. :p
 

Toritoribe

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月はまだ青く輝くが、夜明けまでには深紅の色に変わるだろう。
Tsuki wa mada aoku kagayaku ga, yoake made ni wa shinku no iro ni kawaru darou.

Hope this helps. :emoji_slight_smile:
 

Baby J

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Thank you

月はまだ青く輝くが、夜明けまでには深紅の色に変わるだろう。
Tsuki wa mada aoku kagayaku ga, yoake made ni wa shinku no iro ni kawaru darou.

Hope this helps.

It helps very much! Thank you!!! :)
 

Kendo Nick

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I can certainly understand the sentiments expressed in this thread, and I can hardly defend the kind of ignorance discussed here. However, I do like to defend the Western interest in and use of Kanji. Here are my two cents:

  • Would anyone react if a non-English speaker had a tattoo saying LOVE or Iron Maiden in Latin letters? Probably not.

  • Don't underestimate the strong appeal of logograms (or "ideograms") on Westerners. Latin letters are mainly functional, and simply lack the kind of deep symbolism and interesting ambiguity some Kanji symbols carry. Had we decided to keep our Runic letters, maybe this thread would never had been created? ;)

  • Some concepts may simply not be properly conveyed without expressing them in the original language. Some more or less famous examples of this are ad hominem, alter ego and casus belli in Latin, Fingerspitzengefühl, Schadenfreude and Vergangenheitsbewältigung in German, Mañana mañana in Spanish, Amen in Hebrew, cute in Irish English, or lagom in my own language Swedish. In a similar manner, the Zen Buddhist concept 無 can't simply be translated as "nothing" without losing several important connotations. (Furthermore, the romaji transliteration mu is identical with the spelling of the Swedish word for moo!)

  • It may not be obvious for Japanese speakers, but most Westerners, including yours truly, find Kanji very aesthetic. A Kanji tattoo is not necessarily only a statement, but may possibly be regarded as a modest piece of art as well, even in its simplest, non-caligraphic form.
 

nice gaijin

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I think the frustration some of us feel over kanji tattoos isn't simply that people want tattoos in an exotic, foreign language, it's that they are more often than not translating concepts from their native language to the foreign language, and not trying to express concepts unique to the language they're using. Imagine translating schadenfreude into Chinese, then getting that tattooed on your back. So many people revel in their own ignorance, caring only for the supposed meaning of the characters whilst ignoring the mangled intent.

Another consideration is the means of conveyance. Kanji is designed for the brush, not the needle; most western tattoo artists, let alone people who get tattoos, fail to realize the true beauty of a character, or the reasoning behind its form and shape. Part of the reason I don't have any tattoos yet is because I don't purport to know anything so well I can have it etched into my skin forever. In particular, I've found that the more I learn about kanji, the less I would want a kanji tattoo.
 

Kendo Nick

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I think the frustration some of us feel over kanji tattoos isn't simply that people want tattoos in an exotic, foreign language, it's that they are more often than not translating concepts from their native language to the foreign language, and not trying to express concepts unique to the language they're using. Imagine translating schadenfreude into Chinese, then getting that tattooed on your back. So many people revel in their own ignorance, caring only for the supposed meaning of the characters whilst ignoring the mangled intent.

I sympathise with your frustration. As a person with several "esoteric" interests, I've more or less resigned, though. Whenever something finds mainstream approval, it tends to get dumbed down in nine out of ten cases. As a language teacher, I've also learned to accept that languages change, however deep my love for classic linguistic elegance. To play the devil's advocate, do all Japanese people who use Kanji speak a Chinese language and use the Chinese logograms as originally intended?

Perhaps the Japanese people and Japanophiles (Nipponphiles?) should regard this incorrect use of kanji as a flattering manifestion of Western fascination with Japanese culture? If a kid decides to get a tattoo in kanji saying, "the warrior soul of a dragon ninja", it does after all mean that he (it's seldom a she, isn't it?) loves Japan as he understands it.

Another consideration is the means of conveyance. Kanji is designed for the brush, not the needle; most western tattoo artists, let alone people who get tattoos, fail to realize the true beauty of a character, or the reasoning behind its form and shape. Part of the reason I don't have any tattoos yet is because I don't purport to know anything so well I can have it etched into my skin forever. In particular, I've found that the more I learn about kanji, the less I would want a kanji tattoo.

A most reasonable aesthetic consideration. On a similar note, I've never understood why people decide to get an enzo tattoo. Sort of contradicts its purpose, doesn't it?
 

Mike Cash

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You overlook the fact that kanji done by people who didn't grow up using kanji may look somehow exotically Asian but are usually the calligraphic equivalent of something a five year old child would produce (including rotated/inverted/mirrored characters, missing strokes, wrong characters, etc). That's a large part of the reason those of us with long exposure to kanji either cringe or howl with laughter when we see what most tattoo artists produce.

I agree with radio host Tom Griswold who opines that kanji tattoos used to mean that you had traveled to some exotic Asian country....and nowadays it just means you've been to the mall.
 

Chidoriashi

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I sympathise with your frustration. As a person with several "esoteric" interests, I've more or less resigned, though. Whenever something finds mainstream approval, it tends to get dumbed down in nine out of ten cases. As a language teacher, I've also learned to accept that languages change, however deep my love for classic linguistic elegance. To play the devil's advocate, do all Japanese people who use Kanji speak a Chinese language and use the Chinese logograms as originally intended?
Perhaps the Japanese people and Japanophiles (Nipponphiles?) should regard this incorrect use of kanji as a flattering manifestion of Western fascination with Japanese culture? If a kid decides to get a tattoo in kanji saying, "the warrior soul of a dragon ninja", it does after all mean that he (it's seldom a she, isn't it?) loves Japan as he understands it.
A most reasonable aesthetic consideration. On a similar note, I've never understood why people decide to get an enzo tattoo. Sort of contradicts its purpose, doesn't it?

Your analogy still misses the point though. Japanese people could care less how Kanji was/is used in Chinese. Because they speak JAPANESE. The Chinese language making its mark on the Japanese language is just part of history and the language development you speak of. The real question, for today, is how does it apply to the Japanese language?, and that is where most Kanji tattoo dorks fall short, the don't understand dick about the Japanese language yet expect their "clever" sayings to somehow hold great meaning. It is arrogant and disrespectful at best.
 

Kendo Nick

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You overlook the fact that kanji done by people who didn't grow up using kanji may look somehow exotically Asian but are usually the calligraphic equivalent of something a five year old child would produce (including rotated/inverted/mirrored characters, missing strokes, wrong characters, etc). That's a large part of the reason those of us with long exposure to kanji either cringe or howl with laughter when we see what most tattoo artists produce.

I see. One would expect that people marking their bodies for life would make sure their tattoo artists get it right. Well, their choice, their ridicule.

I come to think of how people use umlauts without understanding that it actually changes the pronunciation of words. For instance, Motorhead spelled with an umlaut should be pronounced like "Moteurhead". An example Swedes find funny is the metal band Trojan, spelled with an umlaut; then it suddenly means sweater or cardigan.

I agree with radio host Tom Griswold who opines that kanji tattoos used to mean that you had traveled to some exotic Asian country....and nowadays it just means you've been to the mall.

Ha ha! True.
 

Kendo Nick

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Your analogy still misses the point though. Japanese people could care less how Kanji was/is used in Chinese. Because they speak JAPANESE. The Chinese language making its mark on the Japanese language is just part of history and the language development you speak of.

Good point; my analogy is admittedly flawed. Perhaps the relationship between Japanese and Chinese resembles the relationship between Swedish and German. We have borrowed several thousand words from the German language, and even a couple of German letters. However, we have changed them and use them in our own way, to the point where Germans no longer understand them.

The real question, for today, is how does it apply to the Japanese language?, and that is where most Kanji tattoo dorks fall short, the don't understand dick about the Japanese language yet expect their "clever" sayings to somehow hold great meaning. It is arrogant and disrespectful at best.

My whole point with my posts is that I think you fellows might be overreacting a tad. A fool is a fool, and not worth anger. As a parallel, people all over the world, especially Americans, mishandle Nordic mythology and runes. I get a headache by only thinking of the new "Thor" movie. I realise there's no use getting angry about it, though.
 

Rube

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Also there is a phrase I would like to get in kanji, or even just the correct translation in japanese. It's a direct quote from Final Fantasy IX, and I have been wanting to get this tattoo since I was young so I guess you would call me stubborn (hahaha). "And while the moon still shines blue, by dawn it will turn to scarlet hue." Is it possible? .

Depends on how tall you are.
 

Uncle Frank

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Bump up for new member to read.

Good info here if you take time to read it all.

Uncle Frank
 

ryuurui

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I
Another consideration is the means of conveyance. Kanji is designed for the brush, not the needle; most western tattoo artists, let alone people who get tattoos, fail to realize the true beauty of a character, or the reasoning behind its form and shape. Part of the reason I don't have any tattoos yet is because I don't purport to know anything so well I can have it etched into my skin forever. In particular, I've found that the more I learn about kanji, the less I would want a kanji tattoo.
I really like your post. It took me 1.5 year to complete my tatto, finding a good calligraoher was one problem, and the tattoo artist was another. Nonetheless, I am studying Japanese and Chinese calligraphy for 10 years now here in Tokyo, and I must tel you, that if i was to have a tattoo today, i would go with the same one again. My calligraphy teacher is 73 and he loves it. He was amazed how detailed the lines are, and how well they preserve the original rhythm an dvogour of the brush strokes. It actually looks like written with brush on paper (including the details of 掠れ)
I wrote quite a few calligraphy works for tattoos, and some of them were quite a challange. One of them is a long text in Japanese kana, that will soon go a lady's back (She is coming to Japan to have it done). Pic below (only half of the work, gold ink on red paper).
tattoogoldink12-1.jpg

I totally agree, that it is crucial that the tattoo artis understands the essence of the calligraphy brushworks and that he is able to preserve the energy.
 

Seij

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My whole point with my posts is that I think you fellows might be overreacting a tad. A fool is a fool, and not worth anger. As a parallel, people all over the world, especially Americans, mishandle Nordic mythology and runes. I get a headache by only thinking of the new "Thor" movie. I realise there's no use getting angry about it, though.
lol...great post. Most people can barely manage their own lives but have no problem in trying to "help" run yours.
I agree that you should do your research in doing...well anything... especially when you put a tattoo on your body that is a permanent thing. However, I'm sure the same people who look down their nose at "japan-o-philes" are looked down by people who don't even care about the Asian/Japanese culture as being the same. It just sucks when anyone looks down on you because "you're not an expert". Well hey, ever think some people just want a cool looking tattoo and really don't care that much about A) studying Japanese B) living in Japan C) or even if it translates perfectly...
There is some great advice in this post and I really hope people listen to the people living in Japan or experts who know the language. (Doesn't make sense to *ME* to have a tattoo that means something different than what I wanted>) Some people are so worked up (read: hostile) over this issue while the people with the tattoos working em up have absolutely no idea they even exist. Besides, did you buy their tattoo or something? lol
 

mayaa

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This post is interesting. I am thinking of getting a tattoo done in Kanji. Actually, I've thought about it for a long time, but all the phrases I wanted never translated well, so I threw those ideas away. I definitely wouldn't get it done without contacting many people who speak Japanese about what it means....wouldn't want to get some ridiculous saying tatted on me for life.
 

Ichigokun

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Hmm... Honestly I think it would be better for you to learn Chinese first before getting a Kanji tattoo and you want to know the meanings. After all, Chinese doesn't have all the other Hiragana and Katakanas that mess you up.

Chinese Hanzi and Japanese Kanji have the same meanings if written out.

---------- Post added at 16:57 ---------- Previous post was at 16:48 ----------

Also there is a phrase I would like to get in kanji, or even just the correct translation in japanese. It's a direct quote from Final Fantasy IX, and I have been wanting to get this tattoo since I was young so I guess you would call me stubborn (hahaha). "And while the moon still shines blue, by dawn it will turn to scarlet hue." Is it possible?

Thanks you so much for helping me out. I am have had a love for the japanese culture for a very long time, but I could never grasp the complexities of the language and writing.

That quote is too long I suppose. You can only put it on those body parts that are wide and long enough to tattoo on. I only know the sentence in full Kanji. Not mixed with other Katakana or Hiragana. Anyway, here it is. "当月亮还闪耀着蓝光,到了破晓它会便成猩紅色". But still, I strongly do not advise you to tattoo such a long sentence. Because 猩 means gorilla, and 紅 means red, but put together it becomes scarlet. Still, with a gorilla in that quote. It would make you look silly :p
 

lemonworld

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That is not "kanji without hiragana and katakana to mess you up"; it's just plain ol' Chinese, which is an entirely different language and very different writing system. Not all hanzi and kanji have the same meanings, and there are fewer kanji in use than hanzi.

If the person wants a tattoo in Japanese, I don't understand why they should go for Chinese instead. They are, after all, different countries and different languages.
 

Glenn

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Right, like how 走 means "run" in Japanese but "go" or even "walk" in Mandarin. And then you've got the 弔/吊 debacle that I stumbled into one day...
 
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