30 People Who Can Read Japanese/Chinese Share The Most Idiotic Tattoos They've Ever Seen
Getting a tattoo is a serious decision: you want it to look great and to reflect your inner values. So it’s natural that you want it to come out perfect. However, tattoos in foreign languages sometimes have a tendency to… backfire. Especially if they’re in Chinese or Japanese!
30 People Who Can Read Japanese/Chinese Share The Most Idiotic Tattoos They've Ever Seen

Getting a tattoo is a serious decision: you want it to look great and to reflect your inner values. So it’s natural that you want it to come out perfect. However, tattoos in foreign languages sometimes have a tendency to… backfire. Especially if they’re in Chinese or Japanese and you don’t happen to know either language!

When one internet user asked redditors who speak the 2 languages what the dumbest thing they’ve seen tattooed on someone was, the floodgates opened. Scroll down for the best responses and get ready to giggle like a gaggle of geese. Remember to upvote your faves!

Bored Panda spoke to Japanese language expert and member of the VMU Japanese club Hashi Kotryna Kvietkauskaitė about getting tattoos in a foreign language. Read on for our exclusive interview and some great advice to keep in mind if you ever plan to get a tattoo with Japanese or Chinese symbols!

We’re also pretty sure that you’ll want some more hilarious foreign tattoo stories after reading this list. So be sure to check out our earlier article about people who are fluent in Chinese or Japanese sharing tales of the worst tattoos they’ve seen.

While Kotryna said that she has yet to personally see a similar tattoo in real life, she’s read plenty of similar stories on the internet. According to her, if a tourist visits Asia and gets a tattoo that turns out to be dumb or a random string of words, it’s usually the visitor who’s at fault.

“The person in question might have done something to offend the tattoo artist. Either that or they’re so convinced of their own personal interpretation of what the symbols mean that the tattoo artist feels helpless to ask if the person understands what the tattoo really means,” Kotryna told Bored Panda.

She had some useful advice for anyone who’s thinking of getting a tattoo in any foreign language (especially Japanese and Chinese). “Find a friend who knows the language. Let them check the meaning of the words or phrases you want to get tattoos of, whether they mean what you think they mean.”

Kotryna added: “Not all tattoo artists in the West know Asian languages and they might not be able to tell you that a particular phrase isn’t correct.”

“Asian languages, especially Chinese and Japanese, work differently than we’re used to. Two words combined together don’t always mean what you think,” she said, referring to Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings” tattoo that actually means “Barbeque Grill.” Ariana later unsuccessfully tried to fix the tattoo and it now says "Japanese Barbeque Finger."

Comments (42)
Krazy Kanuck
one of the members of the marina I work at has this tattooed across his back. He says it is Korean and is suppose to mean I'm a warrior, and have the strength of gods" 나는 당신의 애완 동물과 성적인 관계가 있습니다 I have a sexual relationship with your pet is the actual translation
Daniel Lewis
I used to work with a surfer dude who got an “Ocean Surfer” tattoo in Chinese language. But it actually said “Wet Pants.”
In many cases it is tattoo owners’ fault, but in many cases such misleading translation was obviously done on purpose by the tattoo artist. Like with swordsman/slut dude, warrior/drunk arsehole, eternal wealth/big father, sassy/large etc. It is so rude and unprofessional. It is not ok for tattoo artists to do this to people. If you do not like the person or the message, just refuse them service.
Andres Tejeda
I have a deeply homophobic cousin that has a Chinese tattoo on his arm. He told us it meant "Family, Honor, Strength." So one day my Chinese friend and I decided to mess with him. So I told him to "translate" his tattoo and say it meant something funny. So when my cousin was showing us the tattoo me friend also knowing my cousin was homophobic said "you know that your tattoo means: "I love Asian boys". My cousin got so pissed and started denying it. We played it off saying well he is Chinese he speaks the language and reads/writes in it. So now my cousin always has it covered still thinking it means that after 10 years.
Daniel Lewis
I knew a guy who got a “Pure Beef” tattoo in Chinese language. But it actually said “Frozen Sausage.”
I've known a couple of people who actually chose to get Kanji tattoos that name the body part they're on: shoulder and leg.
Kesondra Key
When I was a kid, I had this amazing cat who I trained and was best friends with, her name was kamoi. My friend at the time told me it meant "bringer of light" so I named her that. Later I found out it meant "upper beam of a door" but I still got it tattooed, since it is still her name. I get some funny looks sometimes.
Rose the Cook
Seen in an Export Reject shop a lot of pink Tshirts with Chinese characters saying "bite me" across the bust area. Obvious why they were rejected but couldn't help wondering what the original order asked for.
Ray Heap
Not just in Kanji or Chinese, a British guy who, let´s say he is a "challenged" Skinhead, hool type person had a Tattoo in a huge Frakture font saying "Blute und Ähre" or Bleed and Ear (of wheat) when he wanted the world to know that he had Blut und Ehre or blood and honour I also gleefully pointed out that as a typesetter I know that the font was in fact not a German fraktur but an English one. I still smile remembering how his face left the rails.
Colin Leetham
I have thought about trying to find the Japanese kanji for "A Celtic Symbol". I can see it now: "so what does that mean?" Me: It's 'a Celtic Symbol'. Them, looking confused: isn't that Japanese? Me, speaking slowly: it's a Celtic Symbol. (Simple pleasures, right?)
There was an old joke about a woman who saw some characters that she liked the look of on a menu at a Chinese restaurant and knitted them into a sweater. When a Chinese speaking friend saw it he burst out laughing and said told her that it meant "This dish is cheap but delicious".
Nikki D
These people getting tattoos in shady places in a foreign country where they don't speak the language are very lucky that a bad tattoo was all they got!
Demi Zwaan
I seriously don't understand why you want a tattoo in a foreign language you don't even speak. That's just waiting for a disaster. And Chinese is particularly hard, because one wrong line or a few symbols put together can change the meaning a lot.
elia 84631
That's why Google Translate isn't a good idea to apply asian language elements in a humorous way.
Not a tattoo but I lived in America fir a year when I was 6 grade. A girl in my class had a valentine box with kanjis on it they translated to things like: large smarts
Sarah Pryde
I worked with a girl at summer camp MANY years ago, and we had many staff from around the world as well. She had a Japanese mark on her LOWER BELLY that she told us meant "fish", since she happened to be a Pisces. Dude from Malaysia laughed, said no.....that means fish pond.......that was her nickname for the rest of the summer
At least know enough about the language to know that what you are putting on your body is correct. Are people THAT lazy that they won't even do that minimal amount of research?
Alexander Brior
My personal favorite is from another, similar BP article. It says “Beep Beep Lettuce”.
I never have understood getting a tattoo in a language you don't speak.
Sophia Cai
saw a girl with a tattoo saying "热" once. It means "hot". Except, hot, like the temperature.
Met a girl, lesbian, who said she had 'courage' tattooed on her, I informed her it was 'man', she argued with me until I showed her the difference ; 男 vs 勇. She was mortified to say the least, at least it was able to be fixed.
Jim Ellington
For some reason this article reminds me of a photograph I once saw of an Iraqi teenager wearing a new t-shirt. He was smiling widely and giving a thumbs-up while standing between two American soldiers doing the same, and his t-shirt said, "Americans killed my father and fucked my sister and all I got was this lousy t-shirt".
m. b
Just keep on giggling, you can ASK what it's supposed to mean, vut NEVER TELL THEM THE TRUTH
Lol XD
Phyllicia Goh
This comment has been deleted.
Gwyn Plaine
Why would the tattooist risk putting something insulting on someone??? He/she is paid to do it correctly! All this ''I am a foreign idiot'' reeks of malignancy against foreign people. Not really suprised Asia is so xenophobic against people who don't speak Chinese/Japanese, they don't have a great track record!
Add a Comment