Tuesday, May 29, 2007

hack0si's Tattoo

An anonymous tip has led me to hack0si's tattoo in www.rankmytattoos.com.

Photo has been removed on behalf of owner's request, original is located here:

Under tattoo design details, it says:
100% freehand work done by Adam Lunt of Eugene Oregon. About 3 hours, one smoke break, and a few days of the lovely stinging sensation that reminds me my newest piece of art is healing. I would like the Kanji rated, and how the color contrasts the black, since my skin is pale and a perfect palette. PEACE
However, one commenter named "Bob" has summed up the whole thing in the following:
Well... This is supposed to read , "zen'aku," or "good and evil." There are mistakes in the way both of them are written, but the big problem with this tattoo is that the first character is upside-down. Sorry. And there's really no way to fix that. And the sadder thing is, you probably can't even sue. A skilled artist might be able to do a cover up....


  1. Oh man...this just makes me want to cry.
    It's so BIG and so effin' unfixable.
    I went to the original site and saw that the first few comments were really positive too. Imagine how many other people might have gone out and gotten that.

    At least it doesn't say anything offensive, though I doubt that's much comfort to the owner.

  2. In Japanese, 善悪 【ぜんあく】 is written similar to the Chinese, but the 悪 is only missing the third stroke at the bottom. That's easy enough to fix. But the 善, there's not much to be done about that.

  3. However, the person who originally posted the photo in rankmytattoos.com clearly stated:

    "hack0si's Chinese Symbol Tattoo Kanji: Good and Evil"

    Therefore, the characters should be read from the Chinese perspective.

    If these suckers would be smart enough to recognize the differences, we would not be discussing this here, are we?

  4. @Jaclyn said...

    ...is only missing the third stroke at the bottom.

    Actually, I think it's there... You can JUST make out the upper left of the tick as the leg bends around the corner.

  5. The quality of it, as a kanji tattoo, isn't that good either, it's rather ugly. So not only is one character inverted, but it's not even that nice to look at, if aesthetics could possibly redeem a mistake like that.

    The flowers are lovely though.

  6. Maybe they wanted one character upside down to show the two concepts in opposition? ... Kind of grasping at straws, but that's the best I can come up with.

  7. An anonymous poster said:
    "However, the person who originally posted the photo in rankmytattoos.com clearly stated:

    "hack0si's Chinese Symbol Tattoo Kanji: Good and Evil"

    Therefore, the characters should be read from the Chinese perspective."

    Well, I know a lot of Japanese who translate "kanji" as "Chinese character." And, "kanji" is the Japanese term for hanzi, so I would assume that these were meant to be read from the Japanese perspective.

    Not that it matters, as either way it's an ugly tattoo. What's with the red outlines on each "stroke" anyway?

  8. *cracking up*

    "...my skin is pale and a perfect palette"...?!


    My god! Looks to me as if that guy's skin is more a ruddy shade of red than a whiter shade of pale!

    And the tattoo. Ugh. No doubt about it, it's ugly, all right.

  9. I guess the flowers are melting on the bottom to represent "evil"?

  10. Awwww.... removed from rate-my-tat.

  11. The photo has been archived in www.archive.org:


  12. I know this comment is coming in rather late, but I should note something (from a cultural perspective):

    Before I began to study Chinese, I worked for a company whose IT specialist was from Guangdong (China). In his office one day, I asked about the Chinese New Year/guo nian calligraphy "diamonds" he'd put up in his office.

    He not only told me about them, the different characters on them etc. but also that they were *upside down* - apparently it is commonly done for this kind of decoration. Characters with "auspicious meanings" are sometimes rendered upside down because of an old superstition that rendering them right-side-up (that is, correctly) meant their blessings of luck, money etc. would go up - literally float away - rather than be sent "down", or grounded in the home (or IT office, as it were).

    Later on when I actually learned those characters and spent some time in China and Taiwan, I noticed the same practice of hanging these decorations upside down.

    It's not always done, but it's done enough to be notable.

    I am sure this guy and his tattoo artist didn't intend to have the good character be upside down, but since it is and it can't be fixed, this is one 'patch on' way to explain away the mistake.