Sunday, June 3, 2012

from: Sarah
date: Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 8:02 PM
subject: My tattoo

I found your blog randomly, looking for someone to help me figure out
what my tattoo says.
I've had it for about 11 years.
I was young and stupid. I plan on covering it soon, but I would really
like to get your opinion,

I was told it meant "strength"...but then someone else told me it says
"Small animal" or "Little tornado".

Thank you so much! I appreciate it!


Due to tattoo's poor calligraphy, it is difficult to determine if it is intended to be a single character, (to foster) or double character phase, (small animal).  

Either case, it is definitely not "strength".


  1. Foreigners will try to tattoo themselves absurdly in languages they don't even know or speak: 小畜, literally means "small domesticated animals" in Modern Chinese but the definition of "Small Restaint" or "The Taming Power of the Small" is what the Yijing or Book of Changes says. For more check here:

    1. From, it says, 小畜 represents "strength". 小畜 does not mean "strength" at all. Representation and definition are two very different things.

  2. My first thought on seeing this was 畜生 which is a common obscenity in Japanese (生 being pronounced identically to 小). The above Yijing explanation sounds more plausible though.

    Just don't ask a Japanese person to read it right to left :)