Fluent Chinese And Japanese Speakers Share The Dumbest Things They’ve Seen Tattooed On Clueless Adults

Tattoos have long been a means of self-expression and personal statements, carrying deep significance for those who choose to ink their bodies permanently. However, the allure of exotic languages often leads individuals down a path of unintended embarrassment and regret. In the world of tattoos, one language’s beauty can quickly become another’s unfortunate blunder.

In a recent reddit post fluent Chinese and Japanese speakers are sharing times they encountered very stupid tattoos on people who had no idea what they really meant. Here are 28 of the best we found.


“My buddy has ‘illiterate foreigner’ in traditional Chinese characters. It’s dope.” — u/paostmo


“I can read Chinese, and I met a guy who wanted to get a tattoo that said, ‘Hope.’ I guess they looked it up in the dictionary and tattooed the first two characters after ‘hope,’ which were ‘名子’ — which says, ‘noun.'” u/myfinanceaccount1


“‘Tiny chicken.’ My friend got that thinking it said his name.” u/[deleted]


“I have my Chinese zodiac in Chinese letters on my arm. I worked with a guy who was from China and spoke almost no English. When he saw it, his eyes lit up. He then pointed at my arm and said, ‘Ha, ha, ha! Cock!’ “…I’m the year of the rooster.” — u/mattyypat


“He thought it said, ‘Love my grandson.’ It actually translated to something like, ‘I love fat boys.'”

“I think it was a Google Translate failure of epic proportions.” — u/MisterComrade


“I saw a girl with ‘魚’ tattooed on her shoulder. She swore up and down it means ‘poison.’ It means fish.” u/[deleted]


“Chinese speaker here. In high school, I worked at a CVS. One day, a white woman showed up at the register with a very poorly drawn ‘力’ tattoo. I said to her, ‘Cool tattoo, means power.’ She scoffed and replied to me like I was Satan himself, ‘You obviously don’t understand Chinese letters. The tattoo artist told me it means the strength to overcome anything, even breast cancer.’ She then rolled her eyes at me and walked away.” — u/cmilkrun


“Please don’t use Google Translate to translate tattoos. I once saw, ‘I once am a katana.'”u/[deleted]


“I once saw a bald white guy who was 40-plus years old with Chinese characters that translated to, ‘I’m a cute little princess,’ on the length of his forearm. I had a good laugh the rest of that day.” u/Lmaooozedong


“My friend got a tattoo that says, ‘Veni, vidi, vici,’ in Chinese — or so he thought. The tattoo actually says, ‘Three small dishes.'” – u/xopokxo


“I saw somebody who probably doesn’t understand Japanese flexing with his Japanese tattoo. In English, it translates to — surprise, surprise — a giant failure.” u/GMBoxer


“In college, my friend had a classmate with a kanji tattoo. Confused, my friend asked her what it meant. ‘High princess.’ Turns out, it actually says, ‘Pig princess.'” u/whereegosdare84


“I was on the subway in New York City, and there was a guy who clearly lifted a lot. He was wearing a sleeveless shirt and on his jacked arms, in Chinese, were the words, ‘牛肉麵’ — ‘beef noodle soup’ in English — for everyone to see.” – u/nyaaaarp


“One time, I was scrolling through some tattoos on the web for fun. One person said they’d gotten a tattoo that says, ‘Strength and courage,’ in Japanese. It actually says, ‘Little animal, big mistake.'”

“Great quote, imo, but I don’t think they thought so after they got it permanently marked on their skin.” — u/GoSuckAJellyfish


“I once saw this middle-aged dude wearing ‘金魚佬’ on his shoulder. The rough translation is ‘Goldfish Man,’ which, in Cantonese, means a sleazy older man who creeps on younger girls/children — basically a pedo.”

“I wonder under what circumstances he got that inked.” — u/Olokojamkong


“When I went with a friend to get a piercing, I heard a guy say, ‘I don’t like the way that looks. Can you change this line and make the ends do this?’ The tattoo artist replied, ‘Yeah, but that changes the word. You might be going from ‘brave’ to ‘gay woman’ for all I know. You can’t change kanji symbols and expect it to mean the same thing.'” – u/Bangbangsmashsmash


“‘机’ on his fist. I haven’t taken Chinese, but in Japanese, it means ‘desk.'” u/feverishdodo


“I saw this guy with Japanese characters that translated to, ‘Beep beep lettuce.'” u/noobcabinet1


“A friend of mine had a tattoo shop. He put up a flash page with kanji for stuff like ‘asshole,’ ‘bastard,’ etc. If anyone asked the meaning, he would honestly tell them. However, he would regularly get people who’d come in, see the character, think it ‘looked cool,’ and then get it inked on without ever bothering to ask.” – u/Nymaz


“I met a girl who showed me her tattoo saying it said, ‘Love.’ Sadly, it said, ‘Weird.’ Similar Kanji, so well…”

“Love: 愛 or 恋; Weird: 変.” — u/TimandJoshBricks


“This guy came up to me and my mom and asked what character he had tattooed on his ankle. It was the word for ‘fire’ in Chinese but with an extra mark. When we told him there was a typo in the character, he said he knew it was fire and added the extra line to make it look cooler.” u/foxnfawn


“When I was coming back from Tokyo after two years, I met a guy in the airport who had just visited Japan. He had two symbols on his shoulder that I noticed were off. I stopped him and asked what his tattoo said. He said, ‘It means strong will, bro.’ I didn’t have the heart to tell him the two symbols he picked, in order, were ‘dog poop.'” – u/[deleted]


“The common word for ‘and’ is often mistaken for ‘peace,’ which is two words — ‘and’ being the first of them (‘wo’ vs. ‘wo ping’ in Cantonese). So there are a lot of people who just have the word ‘and’ tattooed on them, and I think that’s hilarious.” u/Doidlewok


“‘Fat man.’ Apparently, he wanted ‘big guy’ (tough guy?).”

“Another time, I saw ‘kitchen.’ What he wanted, I have no idea.” — u/oikorapunk


“I wanted a tattoo in Chinese that says, ‘I am a vegetarian.’ Instead, I got a tattoo that says, ‘I am made of vegetables.'” u/middleagethreat


“My best friend — who we’ll call Sarah — got a tattoo when she was 16. Where I live, you’re supposed to be 18. Her dad passed away three years ago, and she wanted to get a tattoo on her wrist to remember him. Instead of getting his name (which would’ve been easier), she decided she wanted to get ‘dad’ in Japanese. It’s been two years since then, and I still haven’t told her that it says, ‘Turtle.'” – u/Lil-Dick-Energy


“I was on a temporary duty travel in Japan for 90 days, and I didn’t know very much Japanese at all. However, the wife of a guy I worked with was fluent. At a small command function, she pointed out this complete asshat of a guy whose back tatt read, ‘Child changing station.’ He told everyone it was something like, ‘strength, loyalty, determination.'” u/gamrgrl


“I was once having sex with a guy, about to go down on him, when I noticed he had a Chinese tattoo on his inner hip: 凉. I stopped mid-sex and asked, ‘What do you think your tattoo says?’ He said, ‘Oh, it’s supposed to mean, ‘cool.’ I know it isn’t right, though.’ It actually meant ‘cold to the touch,’ or ‘disappointing.'”

“Fittingly, the sex was quite disappointing.” — u/Doobledorf