Thursday, January 19, 2006

"Freedom Fighter"

An U. S. Navy recruiter from Raleigh, North Carolina, emailed me this photo and says the young recruit (tattoo's owner) claimed it meant "freedom fighter".

The closest character would even resemble the bottom one would be , which means "[to] bury".

The top two characters and only mean "he/him" and "this/thus". The bottom character means "brother's wife" or "sister-in-law".

"Freedom" usually is written as and "fighter" is .


  1. *Snicker*

    Do these recruiters ever comment when you tell them what the characters actually mean, if they mean anything at all?

    At least this one somewhat resembles actually calligraphy - in a weird sort of way.

  2. Most of the recruiting officers just laugh about it, since these tattoos belong to someone else.

  3. Actually, if you play connect-the-dots with those zits, it does spell "自由戰士"

  4. This one is almost a lovely sort of poetry: "He thus buried" to mean "freedom fighter".

    It almost seems like a deliberate miscommunication on the part of some cynical Chinese speaker a generation ago to a naive guy who wanted a tattoo...


  5. That's some mighty fine bacne he's sporting.

  6. I think the last word is not 埋, but 娌, which means "wives of brothers".

  7. O yes, bad kanji tattoos are one of the most sadisticly funny things for us who can read them. hehehe

  8. Are you sure the recruiter wasn't wanting to know what it said because he was concerned, and had procedural grounds for doing so?

    If he was just a "recuriter" and not someone at an induction center or boot camp, I am thinking he would have no reason to have seen that part of the recruits body, and hence may have pointedly asked the recruit if he has any tatoos.

    Some countries, even somethat have military conscription, have limits or prohibitions on tatoos.

    If an American soldier with a tatoo in Arabic came to me claiming it said "Freedom Fighter," I as a recruiter would want to make sure it didn't say "F'king Arabs."

  9. the first kanji means "other",

    the second one means "this" but can also mean "to cut off, to break off by cutting"

    but well, the last one means little but "brother's wife".

    the tattoo artist might have been thinking something like "saving others (by cutting?) brothers wives"=freedom fighter.

    or maybe he was just fucknig around.