Originally Posted by ClinicalABA
In my experience, very few people will have a problem with your tat (or even notice in any significant way). However, I recommend checking out the following site before you get any oriental themed ink: http://hanzismatter.blogspot.com/
There are a lot of very permanent mistakes out there- including people who think they have tattoos of ancient Chinese or Japanese sayings, but at best have gibberish, maybe have names of dishes from Chinese or Sushi restaurants, and at worst have insults (e.g. character for "ho", instead of "tree"). Be sure of your text and of the honesty and competency of your tattoo artist. This can be particularly true if you're using ancient or traditional characters. As a Japanese major, you might be aware that caligraphers/artists study for years to get proficient with these characters, and a stray line or part of a symbol can really mess things up (the character for "samurai" is very close to the character for "hemorrhoid" http://www.kirainet.com/english/hemorrhoids-%E7%97%94/
). Expecting a tattoo artist- even a good one- to accurately copy traditional characters may be a mistake.
I've seen that site before. It's unfortunate, since most of the pictures on there to be translated are already permanent tattoos. Of course, another barrier to my tattoo dream is the fact that I want to find an experienced irezumi artist, preferably a native-speaking Japanese person. Like most people who take tattoos seriously, I would be spending a lot of time meeting and greeting to find the right artist for me, spending a lot of money for quality and artist experience, working with the artist over the course of several consultation sessions (previewing the art), then proofreading the final stencil on my body. Since I can read the classical phrase myself, I hope I am the one who doesn't make a mistake!
Another thing to note about classical kana... It doesn't look at all like modern kana or traditional/simplified Chinese characters. It's in a different language than modern Japanese, and the characters themselves are different. There are many versions of the oldest written Hojoki manuscripts (the original has not survived), and I want to have the mixed hybrid version.
(First sentence, blurry photo, but you'd get the idea if you read Chinese/Japanese):