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Old 08-10-2009, 12:37 PM
 
Location: Up in the air
19,121 posts, read 26,715,278 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sponger42 View Post
Tatooing in Eastern cultures is considered low-class, as is tanning. Tatoos are usually the mark of a gangster, prostitute, aboriginie, or kid apeing "western" culture.

That said, I don't see anything wrong with tatooing Mandarin characters on yourself if you have a strong connection to the culture and really want to do it. It won't make you fit in anywhere, but you shouldn't get any tatoo based on what other people think.

One thing to note, if you're a westerner going to study or live in Asia--especially if you leave the "western or expat areas"--you're pretty much given a pass on anything you want, because you're a rarity. You can have a blue mohawk, tatooed face, and nipple rings chained through your nose and people will just shrug it off as some weird foreign thing. You can also be clean-cut, wear a suit, and keep a low profile and somebody will still point and shout "laowei!!" like you're a one-eyed purple people-eater, or want to take their picture with you.

Be sure you know what you're doing with the tatoos, though. My spouse and I spotted a big muscular shirtless guy strutting down the Santa Monica Promenade with a giant black mandarin tatoo on his chest. It said: "Waitress"
Hehe

There was a blog I read a looong time ago (my friend who lived in Japan showed it to me) where people posted mistranslated or poorly done kanji tattoos. A girl had a few symbols on her lower back entertwined with flowers and whatnot and the symbols ended up meaning 'explosive diarrhea'.
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Old 08-10-2009, 05:38 PM
 
1,158 posts, read 3,376,177 times
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As someone who has lived and worked in Japan and speaks and reads the language, as earlier posters have said, tattoos are generally associated with the Yakuza in Japan and many establishments will now allow you in if you have them. This even extends to baseball there, where an American pitcher was forced to wear a long sleeved jersey under his uni top so that the tattoos on his arms wouldn't be visible.

Personally, I find tattoos on anyone to be ugly and low class and I will not date any women who has them (however, service tattoos are fine with me). But that is a personal preference on my part and if people want to do that to themselves, well, it's none of my business.

As for the kanji tattoos, American tattoo artists usually don't know what they're doing when it comes to writing them properly and Japanese largely think they look silly anyway.
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Old 08-13-2009, 12:16 PM
 
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
15,541 posts, read 17,778,300 times
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I just wonder why the fascination with Kanji and Chinese characters, and it can't be explained by the recent surge in Japanophilia since it was pretty common as far back as the 80's.

Why not Cyrillic, Runes, Hebrew, foreign words/phrases in the Roman alphabet, etc? I mean, these exist but Japanese and Chinese characters dominate.

I would guess that it is in homage to east Asian tattooing traditions, but you don't see Asian tattoos of characters (not much anyway), but rather figural patterns.

At any rate, I'm not a big fan of tattoos and I find tattoos of Japanese and Chinese characters to be the paragon of un-originality and conformity in the art. Only the 'Li'l Devil, Tweety bird, and neck tattoos of pairs of aces, evil clowns, and shamrocks are lower than the whole Oriental character thing.


ABQConvict
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Old 08-13-2009, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Bergen, Norway
221 posts, read 466,499 times
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I'd love to get a kanji tattoo i think they look really awesome.

i wont get it till ive learned japanese, though.. and id be sure to ask around so that i was sure it didnt mean something crazy.
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Old 08-13-2009, 01:01 PM
 
Location: Colorado
4,308 posts, read 11,817,598 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by City of Rain View Post
I'd love to get a kanji tattoo i think they look really awesome.

i wont get it till ive learned japanese, though.. and id be sure to ask around so that i was sure it didnt mean something crazy.
Why not also look into Maori tattoos? Tattooing is considered a sacred art amongst Maori people. I have seen some truly outstanding ones on people in New Zealand BUT don't get one that replicates a specific Maori tattoo as they see this as extremely disrespectful. Instead, you can get a tattoo that looks similar but doesn't have any Maori ties.

Traditional Maori Tattoos | Tattoo Designs, Tribe Tattooing, Ta Moko
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Old 08-13-2009, 01:05 PM
 
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Aside from translation issues, a lot of tattoo artists make ugly Japanese/Chinese characters. Make sure to check with someone used reading the language before you get something that might look fine to you, but will have Chinese-readers shaking their head.
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Old 08-13-2009, 08:59 PM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
13,856 posts, read 22,994,772 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABQConvict View Post
I just wonder why the fascination with Kanji and Chinese characters, and it can't be explained by the recent surge in Japanophilia since it was pretty common as far back as the 80's.

Why not Cyrillic, Runes, Hebrew, foreign words/phrases in the Roman alphabet, etc? I mean, these exist but Japanese and Chinese characters dominate.

I would guess that it is in homage to east Asian tattooing traditions, but you don't see Asian tattoos of characters (not much anyway), but rather figural patterns.

At any rate, I'm not a big fan of tattoos and I find tattoos of Japanese and Chinese characters to be the paragon of un-originality and conformity in the art. Only the 'Li'l Devil, Tweety bird, and neck tattoos of pairs of aces, evil clowns, and shamrocks are lower than the whole Oriental character thing.


ABQConvict
Cyrillic and Hebrew are alphabetic systems. To spell whole words can take up more space. Korean and Vietnamese are also alphabetic systems, or semi-alphabetic syllabary systems, so you don't see them much either.

Kanji/Chinese really is the only major "symbol writing", I think it's called ideographic, system left so far as I know. Tattoos use of symbols is fairly longstanding. Anchor for Navy, etc. So Chinese/Kanji just fits better. Now Egyptian hieroglyphs are also well known and a symbol-system. I don't know if it's popular or not, but if it's not it might just be that Egypt is no longer fashionable or because hieroglyphics is not a living system.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:59 AM
 
Location: Bergen, Norway
221 posts, read 466,499 times
Reputation: 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by chilaili View Post
Why not also look into Maori tattoos? Tattooing is considered a sacred art amongst Maori people. I have seen some truly outstanding ones on people in New Zealand BUT don't get one that replicates a specific Maori tattoo as they see this as extremely disrespectful. Instead, you can get a tattoo that looks similar but doesn't have any Maori ties.

Traditional Maori Tattoos | Tattoo Designs, Tribe Tattooing, Ta Moko
no, itd have to be something with meaning.. not just a pattern.

a japanese kanji would be perfect!
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Old 08-16-2009, 05:04 AM
 
895 posts, read 2,147,240 times
Reputation: 358
Japanese don't like tatoos. In fact people with tattoo can't even enter onsen, we associate tattoos with Yakuza.
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