Sunday, November 9, 2008

"Spiritual Strength"

HS reader Anna sent this photo to our attention:

Its owner, LuvBug, said she got this exact tattoo along with two other friends and it meant "emotional and spiritual strength. "

Besides the obvious botchery of two characters, the phrase is not 100% grammatically correct.

In my opinion, the proper version should be or . However, Alan is much lenient & thinks is good enough.


  1. I would probably translate Spiritual Strength to 精神力量.

  2. I don't know if I am exactly being "lenient."

    I think this is one of those differences between Japanese and Chinese.

    力量 in Japanese does not generally mean "strength" but rather it means "ability" or "talent" when referring to a person.

    So 精神的力量 would be "odd" and probably not found in Japanese.

    In Japanese, 力 [ちから chikara] is the simplest way to say "strength" or "power" in various compounds.

    精神的力 is not too bad as a translation of "spiritual strength," but it might suggest the "new agey" sort of concept of "mental power" or "mental powers" like telekinesis or bending spoons, which was not meant by spiritual strength.

    Another, probably better way to say "spiritual strength" in Japanese is 精神的な強さ [seishin teki na tsuyosa].