Kanji tattoos

Monday, June 11, 2012

Tattoos fails: kanji / hanzi mistakes

Recently I found this image on ratemyink.com:
the chinese 5 steps / phases tattoo

and here is the description of the image, sent by the tattoo's owner: "This is technically my third tattoo. The artist is Dan Greuling from Creepy Creations in Londonderry, NH. With my design idea, Dan did the entire work freehand. The symbols come from the Five Phase (constructive/destructive) Cycle of Traditional Chinese Medicine (clockwsise from top: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water). They show growth and break down ie. how everything is connected. The root system now extends down to my left foot ending in the double koru. There is much more to this. Please ask. (For those who don't know how this website (ratemyink.com) is working: if you have a tattoo and you want to find out what other people think about your tattoo, you can send a picture with the tattoo along with a short explanation about the meaning of the tattoo.)

Unfortunately, the symbol on the top of the tattoo is not the ideogram for tree, but a meaningless phonetic katakana syllable 'ho'. The "tree / wood / timber" symbol (木) has no hook at the bottom and the 3rd and 4th strokes are attached to the 1st. In the image below you can see both the ideogram for "wood / tree" and the katakana character "ho":
the kanji / hanzi for tree / wood vs the katakana character ho

In conclusion, before you get a Kanji / Hanzi tattoo it's better to spend some time researching the authenticity of the symbols’ meaning.

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