Monday, May 31, 2010

from: Jenn
to: ""
date: Sun, May 30, 2010 at 10:50 PM
subject: Misrepresented chinese tattoo

Hi my name is jenn I got this. Tattoo seven years ago it was supposed to say destiny in Chinese, however I've been searching online for this symbol but can't seem to find it, the destiny symbol does come close to what this looks like! In desperate need of translation help. thanx


The common phrase for "destiny" in Chinese would be 命運. Character shown here is Japanese variant of , which could be interpret as "fate". If not read carefully, Chinese readers would think it is , which means "green".


  1. I think that this is supposed to be 縁, not 緑. 縁 has various meanings, such as, among others, the force that binds two people together. Depending on the context, this sense could be described as "destiny".

  2. Ahahaa. So NOW she's in desperate need of translation help. Not BEFORE getting the damn tattoo. People are funny.

  3. Yeah I definitely mis-read that as green.

  4. 縁 is perfectly fine. It's a very Sinitic expression (& a beautiful one to boot) with no direct Western equivalent.

  5. Jenn you are one of the few lucky ones. The character is decently formed and the meaning is "connection (between people)" which is very nice. A native Japanese (and probably Chinese) will not accidentally read this as "green" so don't worry. The Japanese pronunciation is "en", by the way.

  6. This is a typical example of charactar which have different shapes in Traditional Chinese and Japanese. It is shaped as "緣" in traditional Chinese and "縁" in Japanese. Also, the character which means “green” can be shaped as "綠" or "緑". You can find the only different of each pair is in the upper-right corner. BTW, I think you've got a really good one, that is a meaningful word in Chinese/Japanese.