Sunday, February 18, 2007

Help Wanted: Master's Thesis on Chinese Character Tattoos

Several days ago, Mariah Miller contacted me seeking help for her Master's thesis.

I am looking for individuals with Chinese character tattoos to fill out a short questionnaire for my master's thesis.

I am a student in the
Global Studies Programme run jointly by the German University of Freiburg, the South African University of Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Indian Jawaharlal Nehru University. This is an interdisciplinary program focused on the study of globalization in either the political, governmental or cultural aspects.

I am writing my MA thesis on Chinese character tattoos. For my study, I need as many respondents from as many locations across the world as possible. I would be very grateful to anyone willing to fill out the questionnaire and/or pass the word about my study on to their friends.


If you are willing to participate, please complete Ms. Miller's questionnaire posted above and email it to her at the following address:


  1. Many of the later questions in that survey ask about people's interest in Chinese culture specifically, so if you're a person who got a tattoo for Japan-related reasons you might not be able to answer them all meaningfully.

  2. is asking about Chinese character tattoos, not Japanese.

  3. Well... the survey says “Chinese character (or Kanji)” at one point and of course kanji is the Japanese name for Chinese characters. So the survey is a bit vague about whether they are referring to Chinese or Japanese. Of course, most people who get such tattoos probably don’t know or don’t care whether they are Japanese or Chinese.

  4. I agree. The questionnaire is inherently flawed. I'm surprised her supervisor didn't catch the fact that Chinese characters are not only China-related. May people know that Chinese characters are used in Japan as well as China, although people are often told in tattoo shops that Chinese and Japanese characters are interchangeable. Far fewer know that they are used in Korea as well to some extent.

  5. Humanities people write theses on the dumbest things...speaking as a biologist.