Sunday, December 11, 2005

Bewitch Hero Energy

Many tattoo shops prohibit any photographs to be taken in their shops. I never really asked why but have always assumed it has something to do with copyrights. It always makes me cringe whenever I see template displays in tattoo shops with incorrect translation and wrongly written characters.

Thanks to Flickr user “Shadowbox”, I found the photo shown above.

The character with caption “to bewitch” is not necessarily correct. The Japanese 化かす does have “to bewitch” as one of its meanings, but the character by itself only means “to change” or “to convert”, and “reaction” in Chemistry. 蠱惑 is often used to describe “bewitch”.

The last character in “hero” appeared to be mirrored. The three characters only mean “main character”. If you ever stepped foot in a DVD store, you will know “hero” is , there is even a movie with the same title was made starring Jet Li.

The “energy” character means “to survive” or “to exist”. Usually is used to represent “energy” in terms of “Chi” or “Qi”, and is used to represent physical energy.

Use "HANZI2006" to save 10% on any t-shirt purchase at, and save 25% for 3 shirts or more.


  1. I think that the reason 主人公 is listed as 'hero' is because 'protagonist' is often used as a synonym for 'hero,' not in the sense of 'someone heroic,' but as 'the main character of the story.'

    Granted, it's very misleading, and it goes to show that not all words have the same different nuances between languages.

  2. Wow. That's the worst 電 I've ever seen. Even worse than when I first started trying to write characters, and I was pretty bad.

  3. In Japanese, the "lightening" character is actually used for "electricity". spelled in katakana, Gen. Used with other Kanji to make train, telephone, etc.

  4. It's entirely possible that they looked up "energy" and found the term "活力," meaning "liveliness" (literally "alive" and "strength").

    But why they would trucate it it to a solitary 活, before consulting dependable knowledge base, is beyond my comprehension.

    @Rikoshi: You're absolutely right in that "not all words have the same different nuances between languages." Great way to put it!

  5. Well yeah, same in Chinese. And it's den, by the way. You're thinking of 源 which is used in the combination 電源.

  6. I always wondered why this photo of mine was getting so many hits. Now I know. :)

    Great site.