Hemorrhoids – 痔

A co-worker sent me this picture, she was laughing her ass off. At first glance, it seems like a kid with a supercool sweater with a Japanese character. The problem is that the character 痔 means “hemorrhoid” in Japanese. Probably the designer confused the character 侍, which means “samurai” and is pronounced “ji”, with the character 痔 that means “hemorrhoid” and is also pronounced “ji”… Both characters are graphically very similar but the meaning is totally different!! Poor kid… although probably he is very happy without knowing what the character means 😉

Hemorrhoids sweater

The same thing is even worse when people decide to have tattoos of Chinese or Japanese characters; my advice is: Don’t do it… unless you know a native! For example, a soldier in the last cover of TIME magazine has a tattoo written in Japanese in his right shoulder. Most likely he wanted to tattoo himself something like “I am a crazy boy!” but when translating, the tattoo artist wrote “気違い” which in Japanese has a VERY pejorative meaning. It could be translated as “I am a lunatic”. The poor guy is being object of many jokes in many online forums in Japan.

Japanese tattoo

Be careful when you buy a t-shirt with things that are not written in your language, and be even more careful with tattoos!

  • We Fly Spitfires

    October 15, 2009 at 1:40 am

    I have the Kanji for “wisdom” tatooed onto my arm and was very fortunate that it’s actually accurate (as my now Japanese wife can testify too). Of course I got it many years ago when I was 19 and took a big risk…

  • nihonjon

    October 15, 2009 at 7:27 am

    While tattoos are quite a bit more rare here in Japan, it’s funny when you bad English tattoos…

  • Akky

    October 15, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Hilarious “Ji”!

  • CS

    October 15, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    Hmm.. I’m a lunatic.. isn’t so bad… englsh wise it’s swappable with crazy.

  • Calvin Chou

    October 16, 2009 at 9:11 am

    When I was younger I was asked what an asian character on a running shoe meant, I guess being chinese I would know. I replied “It says you are stupid for buying these shoes” They said Really? People are so gullible.

  • Lex Van

    November 13, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    I once saw a tattoo pattern book with Japanese sentences and discovered things like “Irashaimase” (do you want that on your butt ???) or something which meant “I’m sorry, but this hotel is full” :)

  • elfboi

    September 12, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    I’m thinking about running some naughty sentences through Google Translate and have the result printed on a T-Shirt… I’m hoping to create some kind of reverse Engrish effect…

  • Chamade

    August 20, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    The Japanese have been redeploying our language for visual effect on their clothes and accessories for decades. It’s payback time! Only someone who reads Japanese would be amused or offended by this delightful hemorrhoid t-shirt!

    I recently had a t-shirt festooned by shopkeepers along Kokusai Doori in Naha, Okinawa – on the front mine reads (in Japanese): Don’t stare, and don’t copy me. On the back it reads: Don’t talk to me.

    It doesn’t work – total strangers comment every time I wear it. I feign ignorance and chat up the cute ones.

  • Mike

    August 28, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Haha, once in Wales they had a sign that said “Industrial Estate” in English and then a long Welsh sentence underneath. The sentence actually said “I’ll send you a translation tomorrow”, but had found its way onto the sign!

  • tcc

    August 22, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    The writer of the article states this is a Japanese Character, when the character is in fact Chinese.

  • LMizu

    September 5, 2012 at 6:29 am

    Um…no. Technically the T-shirt character could be Japanese or Chinese, but the Times guy has a hiragana on the end, so it’s not Chinese. English and Italian use the same characters, but are completely different languages. Same thing.