from: Andi F.
date: Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 11:31 AM
subject: Kanji translations
Hey there! I totally LOVE your blog!
ok, so I have 2 different Kanji tattoos. I researched them myself, and was after the Japanese meanings of the characters. I didn't trust a tattoo shop book for either one. The fire/Ice tattoo is supposed to me "to be devoted". The kanji is composed out of the negative space. I was after a verb form, and I am most worried about this one.
Tell me I did it right!! Otherwise, back to the needle I go!
Granted this tattoo intended to be read from Japanese perspective, but 沒頭 literally means "no head" in Chinese, in other words "lack of common sense".
Alan has the following to add:
The tattoo is evidently 没頭る, which appears to be a "slangy" way of writing the Japanese verb "hamaru" which in itself is a slang way to say "be a fan of," "be absorbed in" or maybe "be devoted to" something like a rock band or a manga or some other pop culture phenomenon.
Originally, the verb hamaru was written 嵌る or 填る (or sometimes ハマる), but evidently due to the influence of the noun 没頭 [bottō], which means "devotion to" or "absorption in" something, people started writing the word like 没頭る but still pronouncing it hamaru. Perhaps one reason why people started writing the word with these new characters is because both of the old ones 嵌 and 填 were removed from common use in Japanese.
This use of different characters to write words is called 当て字 (ateji) in Japanese. These 当て字 can be used on a whim and there are no particular rules except what becomes popular.
Without common sense, indeed!