Getting Chinese or Japanese characters, I’m sorry—hanzi and Kanji—tattooed on your body has been the craze for quite some time now; however it never ceases to amaze what people get tattooed on their bodies without checking first. This ranges from pop stars to college kids. One of the most well known Chinese tattoo mistakes is the one committed by Britney Spears (a repeat offender!) She got a Chinese character tattooed thinking it meant “mysterious”, and it actually turns out that the character she got means “strange” or “weird”. But perhaps that’s rather fitting. Apparently getting the word “Courage” or “Strength” tattooed on you is not as meaningful as getting a Chinese character, which actually ends up saying “Noodles”. Ascribing deep meaning to Chinese characters where there is none is not just confined to tattoos. There are still motivational speakers out there who claim that the Chinese character for crisis consists of two characters meaning “danger” and “opportunity”, which is just not true.
I have compiled a few Chinese character tattoos which don’t mean what the owner thought they meant. These are my personal favorites, but don’t hesitate to check out this blog for lots more!