Japanese symbol for Love Yourself/Oneself

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Japanese symbol for Love Yourself/Oneself

Post by Customer » Nov 4, 2007 12:01 pm

I'm getting a full sleeve tattoo and I was wondering if you could help me. I want to get those words tattooed down my arm but I'm having a hard time finding the words. If you could help me that would be greatly appreciated.

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Gary
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Post by Gary » Nov 4, 2007 12:17 pm

I will first suppose you don't want a meaning like narcissism, so let's explore "oneself"...

You'll find that most of the entries on this page contain the character for "self". The character has the same meaning in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Hanja:
http://www.orientaloutpost.com/shufa.php?q=self-

It looks like this: Image

Some caution should be taken, as this character alone will leave any native Chinese or Japanese person wondering what you are really trying to say.

Some of the things that may cross their mind may include:
  • Selfish
  • Self-loving
  • Self-important
  • Arrogant
You can think of the word "self" in Chinese and Japanese as being like a suffix that needs the rest of the word to complete it. It is a word alone, but is rarely seen alone.

In fact, think about how English-speakers might think if they saw the word "self" alone on your arm. What would it mean? The reaction might be similar as they wonder if you just love yourself, or mean something different.

You should carefully consider all of this before committing to a tattoo of this character.

A word like "self-esteem" or "self-discipline" might be a better choice.

If you want to have the love aspect incorporated, there is a way to say "self-love" without the narcissism meaning. It's simply:

Image
Image
However, this can still be taken with an arrogant meaning. Kind of like saying that you are part of "the culture of me".

When you are ready, and if you need them, you can order tattoo images here:
http://www.orientaloutpost.com/chinese- ... ervice.php
And you can see samples of our tattoo service here:
http://www.orientaloutpost.com/dragon-tattoo.php

Cheers,
-Gary.

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Post by Customer » Nov 4, 2007 5:05 pm

Thanks so much Gary, but I should of explained it better. My idea is
the concept you need to love yourself first before someone can love you,
if that makes more sense. So self love would probably work unless you
have a better idea for me. Any suggestion would be most helpful.

Sylvia Short

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Gary
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Post by Gary » Nov 4, 2007 5:52 pm

I just realized that I was answering you from a Chinese point of view when I gave you the last idea. Also, I have given the whole issue some more thought and research...

In Japanese culture, the word "love" is almost taboo. It is virtually never spoken. Seriously, in Japan, no man will tell a woman "I love you". Instead, they might say "I like you" which is "Watashi wa anata ga suki desu".

I lived in a Japanese household for 3 years back in the 1990's while studying Japanese in college. This is how I figured out a lot of this (also had a Japanese girlfriend for half that time, but it was never acceptable to tell her I loved her).

Some things to consider:
The title I gave you of "self love" makes sense in Chinese (and probably Korean Hanja as well, but I'd need to check with my Korean translator).

If you go Chinese with a tattoo, it makes it more universal. Basically, one third of the world's population will be able to read it. This includes all of China, Taiwan, Singapore, much of Malaysia, and Hong Kong. Well-educated or those of the older-generation in Korea and Vietnam will be able to read it too (both cultures absorbed Chinese characters as their written language over a thousand years ago, though in the last hundred years, Korea has transitioned to Hangul, and Vietnam has Romanized). In this case, Japanese people would be able to guess the meaning, but since it's not a common Japanese term, they would perceive it to be a Chinese title.

If you choose a specifically Japanese phrase, less than 2% of the world population will be able to read it (Japan having under 2% of the world population). Note that Japan absorbed Chinese characters into their language at a time (during the 5th century) when Japan had no written language. Therefore many characters and words do crossover between the Chinese and Japanese languages and keep the same meaning.

The problem with self-love:
In Buddhism, you are supposed to give up all love for yourself. In fact, you are supposed to humble yourself until you reach a point of "no self". This is contrary to the "self love" idea.

Here the direct text from my Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms:
Self-Love: Cause of all pursuit of seeking, which in turn causes all suffering. All Buddhas put away self-love and all pursuit, or seeking, such elimination begets Nirvana.

The other issue is the fact that the new generation in China (and Japan) are sometimes referred to as the "Culture of Me" or "The Generation of Me". This is not a flattering term.

While this exact term of "self love" is not directly associated with "The Generation of Me", I could see it easily slipping that way in the near future.

Terms change over time. Words like "gay" used to mean "happy". I have seen ads from the 1940's that say "The favorite beer of the gay sailor". Obviously, the meaning of the term has changed from "happy" to "homosexual" in just the last generation.

This Chinese term could change too.

I think in this case, the western idea or philosophy, and the eastern do not match up well. And there is a bit of a risk with how this term will be perceived in the future.

If you proceed, you can go under the pretense that the meaning is special and is of and for you alone (forget about what the rest of the world may think). Many westerners do this with Asian tattoos - sometimes on purpose and sometimes by accident.

I realize that I am talking myself out of a sale, but I'm not in this for the money. I would rather advise you correctly, so that you can make an informed decision, rather than feeling uncomfortable the first time a native Asian sees your tattoo and explains it to you.

-Gary.

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Post by bleikh » Mar 4, 2012 12:31 am

Hi Gary,

I was hoping you could proceed with answering the question.

I am looking for the exact same symbol.

"You need to LOVE YOURSELF, before you can love someone else"

It is in the above context that I am looking for a symbol for "love yourself" or better yet "love oneself"

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!!
=)

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Post by Gary » Mar 4, 2012 11:03 pm

There's really no good answer. It's simply too likely that this will be read as an arrogant or narcissistic statement about yourself. It translates poorly, and thus will be inappropriate for a tattoo.

Try Greek or Latin if you want an ancient language where this concept will sound more appropriate

-Gary.

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Post by bleikh » Mar 4, 2012 11:32 pm

LOL. It's not up to you to decide what is appropriate for a tattoo or not for somebody else.
Regards.

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Post by Gary » Mar 6, 2012 10:37 pm

I only offer this tattoo advice to keep non-Asians from looking like idiots.

For some reason, white people who are ignorant of Asian culture and language think it's OK to get offensive, nonsense, or very awkward tattoos. In fact, they walk into a tattoo parlor where a white tattoo artist who is also ignorant of any Asian language offers to ink them with the often-errant Asian characters on his flashers. Somehow they are surprised when Japanese or Chinese people giggle when glancing at the resulting tattoo.

Later, they post an image of the tattoo here, and find out that what they thought was "Courage" turns out to mean "Terrible Mistake" (this really happened, several times... http://www.orientaloutpost.com/forum/vi ... .php?t=438)

I am trying to make sure you don't end up looking foolish. However, if you are insistent on looking like a fool, I apologize for suggesting that a "Love Myself" tattoo was inappropriate for you.

Here are the least-awkward characters that you want for this tattoo:
自 Self-
愛 Love

-Gary.

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