View Full Version : translation

31st May 2002, 20:38
Greetings, this is my first post here, after lurking for some time. I have a question - a Japanese calligrapher translated my last name (Hunter) as "Kariudo". Is this a literal translation?

David Hunter

2nd June 2002, 15:17
Hi David.
Sorry bout the time taken to answer ya here...
Yes. 'Hunter' is 'Karyudo' or 'Kariudo' in Japanese although it is unusual for a westerners name to be translated as a descriptive (Using Kanji) rather than Katakana script.
It uses the Kanji for 'Shu' or 'Ka'(ri) 'Hunting' or 'hunt' and also 'Jin'/'Nin' (or 'Hito') meaning 'man, person' to form the compound Hunter...Although your first name would most often be written in the cursive script and it may be easier to write your whole name in Katakana instead...You choice I suppose.

3rd June 2002, 15:20
Thank you for the explanation. I had a piece of artwork made that combined "Karyudo" and translations of my daughters' and wife's names. It's very beautiful and elegant calligraphy, in script style. I was curious about the translation of "Hunter", I'm considering having it as a tattoo.

Michael Bland
13th June 2002, 04:12
Before you permanently tattoo your body with a Kanji character,
be advised that as fifthchamber pointed out, it is very abnormal to use the meaning of your last name to create the characters for your name in Japanese or Chinese.

In Japanese, most foreigners use katakana for their names, although many do create a kanji name, as well.

Like in China, the Kanji (or hanzi) are chosen first for their similarity in SOUND to the original surname, and then picked for the best meaning within the possible combinations.

For example, I know someone with the last name "Hanson", who chose:

Han: A samurai holding
Son: from "sonkei" = respect

He used those kanji for his "inkan" stamp.

The best name I saw was my friend Tim, who lived and studied karate in Okinawa for many years, used the Okinawan pronunciation "ti" to create a karate-like name for his katakana pronunication "Ti-mu"

Ti (Te) = Hand
? Mu (Bu) = Martial

Anyway... just some thoughts before you tattoo yourself!
Further, I would recommend if you do get a tattoo of a Chinese/Japanese character, that it is done by someone who is a native speaker/writer of that language. Nothing looks worse than seeing people with sloppily made, often WRONG, kanji tattoos. *chuckle*


Don Cunningham
13th June 2002, 12:35
I would suggest you have a few native Japanese look at the options as well. Some literal terms have some really outrageous slang meanings.

I tried to use literal kanji since my name, Cunningham, means "rabbit" and "home" in Gaelic, the language of my Scottish ancestors. However, it just didn't seem right and looked ridiculous to most of my Japanese colleagues. I had to keep explaining it. I finally decided on using four kanji in combination, Ka-fire, Ni-patience, Ga-self awareness, and Mu-nothingness. I found most Japanese immediately recognized this as my name. I eventually registered it as my official hanko or name stamp.

13th June 2002, 15:11
Thanks to everyone for their input. The calligrapher has a web site, www.takase.com If you go to the name translation section of her site, and click "H", you'll see a sample of artwork for the name "Hunter". This is pretty much what I've had done. Anybody that speaks the language, and has any comments on this design, I would welcome the feedback.

24th June 2002, 22:44
how would a Japanese-speaker translate this?


Don Cunningham
25th June 2002, 19:47
I think it would be kind of ironic if you lived in Japan and used that name since most people live in "rabbit-hutches" over here.

That may have been why they thought my "name" seemed ridiculous. I eventually used four kanji which sort of sound like my last name, Ka (fire), Nin (patience), Ga (self or awareness of self), and Mu (nothingness). At least I didn't have to keep explaining my "name" to my Japanese colleagues. And it all fits nicely on a hanko.

Ginzu Girl
26th June 2002, 23:18
Hi Dave,
I've been hoping that someone with a much stronger command of the language would chime in, but here's my $0.02 anyway. Am I the only one who thinks this calligraphy looks um, . . .er. . .very feminine?

The lines seem a little too pretty for such a rugged (and masculine) name--especially if you're considering something as personal as a tattoo. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that feminine is bad or that this isn't good technique. It's just that from an aesthetic viewpoint, these brush strokes don't seem to match the spirit of the kanji.

I guess the English equivalent would be a tattoo that looks like this:
:kiss: ~hunter~ :kiss:

versus this:
:mst: **HUNTER** :mst:

Like I said, being a non-native judge of these things, I'm a faulty resource at best. But since "a tatto is forever" and visual impressions are so darned important in Japanese communications. . .I figure it would be better for me to chime in and be wrong than stay silent and be right.

To give you a better example of what I'm trying to say, I've attached an example of writing style that I think matches meaning. These three samples are all attributed to the same painter, the Buddhist monk Hakuin. The two on the left are names of a couple of warrior-level manifestations of Buddha. The one on the right explains the art of zazen meditation. I think you'll see what I mean about the spirit of the brush strokes.

Anyway, good luck!
(Anita Earthen Hut)

28th June 2002, 14:41
Hey Anita:

Thanks for your concern over my masculine image ;)

I had the calligrapher make the tattoo design more compact vertically, with heavier brush strokes, so it looks a little more, um, aggressive than the example above, but at the same time it still has the gracefulness that I liked.

Ginzu Girl
28th June 2002, 15:39
I'm glad you took my post so well. However, I am expecting to get flamed here pretty soon for being anti-feminist. Put in a good word for me when that happens, will you?

Ja, yokatta desu ne?

28th June 2002, 21:59
Anita, don't worry, I got yer back. :nin: