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10 Terrible Kanji Tattoos Translated

1. Well This Is Awkward

This poor woman thought that the katana on the top of her back read “tree” or “wood”. The rest of the symbols were meant to represent the other five elements in ancient Chinese medicine. But the top symbol really says “ho”. And yes, we mean “ho” in the hip hop sense.

2. Having A Hard Time Telling You

A long kanji tattoo leaves a lot of room for mistakes. And we’re having a hard time imagining a bigger mistake than this. This tattoo is supposed to say “ride/hard/die/free”. What it really says is “free of charge”, “passenger” “hard” “die-cast”. All together it says “freely shoving die-casted figurines up his…butt”. We can’t think of a better argument against getting tattoos in languages you don’t speak.

3. Fast, At Least

This tattoo is supposed to say “fast” and “furious”. It really says “fast” and “foolish”. At least they got the first part right. And we think that’s a better title for the franchise anyway. They destroyed a lot of cars before the credits rolled.

4. Not Exactly An Outlaw

This young man was feeling a little frisky and decided to get a kanji tattoo that says “outlaw”. What he got was “in hiding”, “criminal”. It sounds pretty close. Unfortunately, it’s more colloquial translation is “snitch” which doesn’t carry quite the same cool factor. Close but no cigar.

5. What’s In A Name

This kanji tattoo was supposed to say “Alexa”, her daughter’s name. Unfortunately, the kanji doesn’t spell a name at all. It means weeds, wild grassland or brush. Luckily there are leaves around it and she can pretend that the tattoo was inspired by nature.

6. Not Even Close

This gentleman got his tattoo from a quasi-legal tattoo shop when he was underaged. The result is a PSA for going to licensed shops with someone who reads kanji actually in the room. It’s supposed to say “strength” and “courage”. Unfortunately, it says “little animal”, “big mistake”. It may not be what he wanted, but we sort of like it better.

7. Not Friends Anymore

This kanji tattoo is supposed to say “friendship”. It really says “bad looking/ shame/ugly/unclean”. It’s pretty hard not to take this as an intentional burn from the tattoo artist. If those two were friends, they aren’t now.

8. Failed to Initialize

These tattoos are supposed to be her daughters’ initials: “ESO” and “EGO”, respectively. Except they don’t say that at all. They say “place” and “dog”, respectively. We know two little girls who aren’t going to be happy about their new nicknames.

9. 0 for 3

This gentleman’s tattoo was supposed to say “faith, passion, discipline”. It says nothing of the sort. Together these three characters means “liver, record, rash/addiction”. Basically, it’s gibberish. Or, it could mean “chronic hepatitis”. We’re not sure which one is better.

10. Placement Matters

We’re not sure what this gentleman thinks his tattoo says. The characters themselves say “autonomy” and “joy”. It sounds innocent enough. But what do those have to do with one another? We’re pretty sure he asked for something completely different . . .

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