Thursday, March 20, 2008

Cameron Mark, aka. Kamokuron Shinkai

From Alan Siegrist:

From the caption, this tattoo (Feb. 20, 2008 in BMEink) with the characters 火目論真開 was evidently supposed to represent the name Cameron Mark, but I think it falls a bit short of the mark, so to speak.

Now, there might be “cute” ways to represent English names in Japanese using kanji instead of the traditional katakana. For example, Cameron in katakana is カメロン [kameron] but this might be a bit boring so some people might write 亀論 (which is similarly pronounced kameron) for a play on words meaning “Turtle Theory.” If you like turtles, why not?

But in our example火目論真開, using the characters 火目 for [kame] is really “forced” because this is a strange combination of different types of readings of characters. The 火目論bit could be something of a lame joke meaning “Tuesday-Thursday Theory” (火曜日 is Tuesday and 木曜日 is Thursday) but then it must be read Kamokuron not Kameron and is no longer a play on words.

And to top it off, 真開 cannot be pronounced anything close to “Mark.” The character is definitely wrong. 真開 could conceivably be read マカイ [makai] but not マーク [ma-ku] which is the Japanese equivalent of the name “Mark.” In fact, 真開 is a rare Japanese surname read しんかい [Shinkai].

So the guy has managed to name himself Kamokuron Shinkai.


  1. My god, that is an ugly place to put a tattoo. I am a bit befuddled by this fashion statement of overlong basketball shorts with huge shoes and tattoo down the leg. Ugh.

    Why would someone tattoo his name on his leg, in any language? Does he think he'll forget it?

  2. One readings of 開 is 開く(あく)or 'aku' so that it could acually be read as maaku, the reading he has intended. But its a stretch and feels very unnatural.

  3. Anonymous wrote:

    One reading of is 開く(あく)or 'aku' so that it could acually be read as maaku, the reading he has intended.

    Oh, my! Yes, I would have never thought of that!

    But if he truly wanted it to read まあく [maaku], he would have needed to write it like 真開く with the katakana く.

    How about 真悪 instead, for a "true evil" vibe?


  4. I dunno, it's sometimes acceptable to have okurigana (kana used for verb/adjective inflections) "implied" in the readings of ateji (kanji used just for meaning or just for pronunciation).

    Still, these are very lame kanji to choose as ateji, as nobody would ever read them the right way and 火目論 are not good kanji for a name. All in all, this tattoo SCREAMS "beginning student of Japanese who got a little overenthusiastic about his studies".

    I'd also like to echo the second part of warrior two's comment. :P

  5. I'm not sure about this one, to be honest.

    The thing with Japanese names is they don't have to make sense at all. There are established conventions (like the しんかい surname you mentioned) but parents are remarkably creative - Wikipedia mentions rumours of children named 地球 (read アース) and 天使 (read エンジェル).

    I quite enjoy playing around with kanji to make silly fake names - a notable one I've come up with is 火虎蛙弗負, which is quite literally "Adolf Hitler".

    The complaint about mixing readings is pretty hollow since many existing Japanese names mix different types of reading.

    As for claiming you need the く okurigana to read 真開 as マーク, I suggest you read up on the exploits of 糸色望, whose name most definitely does not need a む. :) ...nobody is going to get that one, I bet.

  6. In Japanese Cameron is actually written as キャメロン, not カメロン, so the guy has started off on the wrong foot (so to speak).

    thomas winwood:
    Yeah, there are stupid parents who saddle their kids with horrible names, but how is that relevant here?
    Fact is you'd be hard-pressed to find any Japanese who can read your nonsensical 火虎蛙弗負, and your example of Nozomu Itoshiki only applies to single-character names. In this case, 開 would be read as the more common Hiraku, not Aku, anyway.
    My suggestion?