Friday, November 28, 2008

"celebrate the knowledge of a dangerous, crazy father"

Reader Kat has emailed me yesterday this photo of her husband's back:


He got it done four years ago and the characters should be Knowledge, Loyalty, Courage, Warrior, & Father.

Since Alan just got back from Japan, I forwarded this to him. Here is what Alan concludes:

Besides the terrible calligraphy, the character is missing a dot at the upper right-hand corner. Also, the stroke at the bottom center of 寿 is supposed to be a separate dot rather than the incorrect connected stroke pointing down and to the right that we see.

Anyway, the characters mean roughly as follows:
knowledge, consciousness
寿 congratulations, celebration, long life, sushi
danger, dangerous
crazy, insane, mad

Is this supposed to mean "celebrate the knowledge of a dangerous, crazy father" or something?

I don't get the whole picture but it doesn't sound very complementary to the "father." The characters do not seem to mean anything like they think they do.


  1. oh dear oh dear oh dear. why do people do this?

  2. And my husband said the translation is better than he expected. Also, we are not sure if he likes sushi more than being congratulatory. Celebrating the knowledge of a dangerous crazy father is better than a dog walker with a limp hitchhiking on the freeway. HAHAHA

  3. Man, so many of these... even if they're correct, they are just uuuuuuuuuuugly. Like its totally in the handwriting of a person who doesn't understand the strokes and balance of the characters...

  4. Well, different people have different hand writings of Chinese/Japanese calligraphy just like English. Some people have beautiful English hand writings, and some don't.

    The writing here looks like a 3 year old kid trying to learn how to write Chinese ...... not pretty ......

  5. I'm not too sure about the 寿. You can't assimilate it with Sushi, as Sushi is supposed to be an ateji, which means this character was used because it fit the pronounciation.
    It does mean longevity, or congratulation (寿 kotobuki) but it doesn't mean Sushi by itself (寿司).
    Great article btw.