Monday, February 14, 2011

from: Nick
date: Mon, Feb 14, 2011 at 10:56 AM
subject: unknown calf

Hi there,

My brother got this tattoo on his calf many years ago, has no idea what it means.

Can you help????

Thanks, Love the blog.


First of all, the character is not correct. It is either missing a stroke in the left radical or having one extra. The intended character could be:

means "frame; spindle, spool, reel".


means "pure".


  1. I think there is not a necessary dot in left radical.
    "粋" means stylishness or something.

  2. Actually the intention might have been 粋 iki, which in Japanese is a slightly old-fashioned word for "cool" in the current English slang sense.

  3. More than likely, the intended character is 粋. At least in Japanese, it means chic, stylish, refined etc.

  4. With the way the crosses looked, I thought it meant 殺, to kill, made to look like 粋, the Japanese written variant of 粹 in Chinese, here, written incorrectly as 枠.

  5. I say he gets points for a fairly artistic rendition, though. I wouldn't be ashamed of this tattoo if it were corrected to add the extra dot to the rice-hen.