Friday, November 28, 2008

Mirrored Death

Another gem from, it is a mirrored (death).


  1. I love your site! A comment from Japan:

    In addition to the poor calligraphy (something you never criticize enough, IMHO!), this laughable tattoo picks an odd word for "life". Just the first character, "sei" (in Japanese), would have been fine as a contrast to "shi" (death). The two-character combination used, "seimei", is also a word for "life", but one sees it most commonly here in "seimei hoken" (life insurance). Bereft of other context, it functions as a shorthand for "life insurance".

    "Backward Death, Life Insurance" is how I read this tattoo. Or alternately, "Incompetent Artist, Gullible Customer".

  2. Anybody who feels insecure about their tattoo enough to require validation from the faceless masses of Internet users probably shouldn't have gotten one in the first place anyway XD

  3. Lol at mirrored death...

    生命(sheng1 ming4) does not have the 'life insurance' connotation in Chinese. it just means life.

  4. Traveler,

    Actually, 生命 (せいめい) is just the boring dictionary word for "life" in Japanese too. Sure, it is part of "life insurance" but it is also part of "life support" and other phrases. Only in the proper context would 生命 be construed to be shorthand for "life insurance."

    I think the reason why 生命 seems odd here is that it is a two-character combination in contrast to the single character 死 for "death."

    I think there are probably much better ways to convey the idea of "life and death" in Japanese, but it is hard to tell exactly what the person getting the tattoo wanted to say.


  5. Perhaps the best way to say "life and death" in Japanese (and perhaps Chinese too) is the simple and straightforward 生死.

    You won't get 生死 from just looking up the individual words "life" and "death" in a dictionary, though.