Tuesday, May 8, 2007

"Che ne sarà di noi?"

Today I received an email from Professor Gorni of University of Udine, Italy, about tattoo in the 2004 movie "Che ne sarà di noi?" (in English, "What Will Happen to Us?").


Since I personally have yet seen the film, Prof. Gorni described the scene to me as the following:
The main character gets the tattoo after his high school final exam. His buddies ask him what the chacaters mean. His answers "peace, love, bread" (yes, in this order!). When asked "why bread?", he explains that the tattooist had proposed "peace, love, freedom", but he just didn't like the shape of "freedom", and settled for "bread" instead, because it looked better.

Later in the movie, some girls ask him about the tattoo, and he gives the meaning as "peace, love, angel of death" (yes, in this order; no reference to bread).

Nowhere in the movie there is a clear indication that anybody was aware that anything specific was wrong with the tattoo. They only say, "luckily enough, nobody knows Japanese around here".
The correct translation for is "love and dream" if they are read as one complete phrase.


  1. Heh heh...love and bread, eh?
    You know, thanks to your site I have to battle almost weekly with the desire to yank some poor white person aside and break the horrible news to them that their tattoo is gibberish.

    And of course they're always HUGE tattoos. Why is it that people need their Chinese/Japanese characters seen from space?

  2. You know what they say about a person with large tattoos... ;)

  3. In Chinese, the middle character is both "and" and "peace". So Love, Peace and... is fine, but where did the bread come from?

    Nice blog, by the way!

    /Inger - sinologist in Sweden

  4. Well, in Japanese, it's the same meaning as you described, except the middle character 和 is peace/harmony.

    So, if it were read in Japanese, it would be "Love - Harmony - maerD" (i.e., three separate words). If it were read in Chinese, then yeah, "Love & (s)maerD" is it. K

  5. Another, especially bad example of a wrong-way-round tattoo of a Chinese character can be seen here:

    It's supposed to say 善悪, or "good and evil," in big, bold characters on the wearer's leg, but, aside from how poorly both are written, the first character is upside down.

  6. Seeing that "夢" backwards made me think of the cover for 張韶涵's latest album 夢裡花, where the character is also reversed. Wilbur Pan did the same thing for 反 in 反轉地球.

  7. yes, in Japanese 愛和夢 is "Love Peace Dream".

    It reminds me of something stereotypical that a girl would get to sound sentimental XD Since the first thing other students usually ask me is, "how do you write... "love", "dream", "beautiful" "cute" etc... in Japanese, when they learn that I can write Japanese.