TATTOOS in JAPANESE

Basic 3 : Katakana

"Architectural, cold, mysterious, inorganic, and sometimes freakish"

[ Outline ]

Almost
everything about Katakana is the same as Hiragana. There is the same number of symbols and each have the same pronunciation. However, the one difference between the two is the actual shape of each figure. In contrast to Hiragana, Katakana is used as a kind of spice. Here are common cases.
Unlike Hiragana, Katakana consists of straight lines and sharp angles. In this way, Katakana characters are constructed in a more similar way that alphabet letters are constructed. That's why, words of foreign origin are written in Katakana.
Neurot Recordings = ニューロット レコーディングス
How should I do = ハウ シュッド アイ ドゥ
Ron Sexsmith = ロン セクスミス
Dana Scully = ダナ スカリー
Dark Souls = ダーク ソウル
A Chocolat Cake = ショコラ ケーキ
(Japanese often ignores articles like " a, an, some, any, and so on." We also don't use anything like adding "s" to show something is plural. Instead, we have different ways to show these things.)
Now of course, you can use Hiragana for foreign words and we can understand but it will still be a little weird. So when you want to write such words on your body, Katakana is definitely the more proper way to do it than using Hiragana.
While
Hiragana consists of curves and has a heartfelt, warm, and simple atmosphere when used, Katakana has an atmosphere that is more architectural,cold, mysterious, and inorganic. For this reason, Katakana characters are often used as sound effects, like the sounds a machine makes, or when a person is possessed by an evil spirit in a manga or novel. If you read " JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE " when you go to a bookstore, you would be able to catch this unique atmosphere created by the use of Katakana.
Katakana can also be exotic or eccentric. In the case of some insane murder,a criminal may write a criminal statement in Katakana to better express his eccentric thoughts. If you have a tattoo written in long sentences of only Katakana, you can create a kind of strange, mad, and even freakish effect. (For foreign people however, Hiragana and Katakana will simply create the same impression since they are not familiar with the language.)
Katakana : キョウハユウジンノアーティストニタトゥヲホッテモラッタ。カレトハコウコウセイカラノツキアイデキゴコロガシレテイル。ドンナズアンガイイカソウダンシテミタトコロ、ムシヲタクサンカイテミルノハドウカトススメテキタ。サスガイイアイデアヲダシテクル。
Hiragana : きょうはゆうじんのあーてぃすとにたとぅをほってもらった。かれとはこうこうせいからのつきあいできごころがしれている。どんなずあんがいいかそうだんしてみたところ、むしをたくさんかいてみるのはどうかとすすめてきた。さすがいいあいであをだしてくる。
English : My friend who is an artist gave me a tattoo today. We have been friends since we were high school students, so we are quite familiar with each other. I asked his advice about what kind of a design would be nice and he recommended a whole branch of bugs. It was a great idea as I had expected.
As you can see, Katakana has a unique atmosphere, but if you use it meaninglessly, it merely acts as displaying your eccentricity.
Additionally, words of foreign origin are generally written in Katakana,and an abbreviation is simply written using the letters of the alphabet. (If you don't do this, it is NOT entirely incorrect as we can still read it, but it is still a little weird to see.)
An example : " Metal Gear Solid ", for short, " MGS "
Fluent : " メタル ギア ソリッド " 略して " MGS "
Weird : " めたる ぎあ そりっど " 略して " エム ジー エス "

[ The Modern Katakana ]

Just like Hiragana, the modern Katakana, which was officially anounced and enacted by the Japanese government in 1946, has 46 characters. It is further organized into sections of voiced consonants and contracted sounds. Every character has the same pronunciation as its respective Hiragana character. Only the figures look different between the two.
The Purple in this Katakana list is not official writing. However, when we want to describe an English name more precisely in respect to the culture, we have to make a special orthography because we don't have a pronunciation system for the English alphabet. This is also the case when we have to pronounce a name or word that someone created their own pronunciation for.
46 characters
A Vowel

a

i

u

e

o
k
ka

ki

ku

ke

ko
s
sa

si(shi)

su

se

so
t
ta

ti(chi)

tu(tsu)

te

to
n
na

ni

nu

ne

no
h
ha

hi

hu(fu)

he

ho
m
ma

mi

mu

me

mo
y
ya

yu

yo
r
ra

ri

ru

re

ro
w
wa
---
wo(o)
-
n
A Voiced Consonant
g
ga

gi

gu

ge

go
z
za

zi

zu

ze

zo
d
da

di

du

de

do
b
ba

bi

bu

be

bo
p
pa

pi

pu

pe

po
fファ
fa
フィ
fi
-フェ
fe
フォ
fo
 
A Contracted Sound

a

i

u

e

o
キャ
kya
キィ
kii
キュ
kyu
キェ
kie
キョ
kyo
シャ
sya(sha)
シィ
shii
シュ
syu(shu)
シェ
shie
ショ
syo(shu)
チャ
tya(cha)
チィ
chii
チュ
tyu(chu)
チェ
chie
チョ
tyo(cho)
ニャ
nya
ニィ
nii
ニュ
nyu
ニェ
nie
ニョ
nyo
ヒャ
hya
ヒィ
hii
ヒュ
hyu
ヒェ
hie
ヒョ
hyo
ミャ
mya
ミィ
mii
ミュ
myu
ミェ
mie
ミョ
myo
---
 
--
リャ
rya
リィ
rii
リュ
ryu
リェ
rie
リョ
ryo
---
 
--
---
 
--
A Contracted Sound
ギャ
gya
ギィ
Gii
ギュ
gyu
ギェ
gie
ギョ
gyo
ジャ
zya(ja)
ジィ
zii
ジュ
zyu(ju)
ジェ
zie
ジョ
zyo(jo)
ヂェ
dya
ヂィ
dii
ヂェ
dyu
ヂェ
die
ヂョ
dyo
ビャ
bya
ビィ
bii
ビュ
byu
ビェ
bie
ビョ
byo
ピャ
pya
ピィ
pii
ピュ
pyu
ピェ
pie
ピョ
pyo
ヒャ
fya
ヒィ
hii
ヒュ
fyu
ヒェ
hie
ヒョ
fyo

[ Notes ]

- A long vowel in words of FOREIGN origin is used " ー ".
FuSoYa = フースーヤ
Go-Kart = ゴーカート
Oatmeal = オートミール
Chokehold = チョークホールド
- A double consonant is used ッ(little ツ)".
Good Luck = guddo rakku = グッドラック
- Only a contracted sound is NOT used in a word and a sentence.
An example : a house
Correct : イエ (家)
Incorrect : ィェ
- Person's name is written in the pronunciation directly.
Dr.HOUSE ( = Ha u su = ハウス)
Correct : ドクターハウス
Incorrect : ドクターイエ
- Japanese recognize R and L as the same pronunciation. ( Our tongue isn't used to it as a linguistics, and even we don't have a way to describe the differences precisely.) B and V, Z and TH, S and TH, E and YE are the same.
Rice = ライス = Lice
Bat = バット = Vat
Zone ゾーン Though ゾウ
Sick = シック = Thick
Ear = イヤー = Year
- For some reason, in this generation, in the case of writing " V ", we customarily use " ヴ " instead of " ビ " This is an unofficial use, but it is quite common today.
Albert Schweitzer : アルベルト シュバイツァー = アルベルト シュヴァイツァー
Viviene Westwood : ビビアン ウエストウッド = ヴィヴィアン ウエストウッド
The Verve : ザ バーブ = ザ ヴァーヴ
Victorville : ビクタービル = ヴィクターヴィル
Anubis : アヌビス ≠ アヌヴィス
- When you express it in Japanese, even if you clearly describe the difference in pronunciation, most Japanese will not be able to understand it well.
Shit down please = シット ダウン プリーズ = Sit down please
- Because of this reason, it is very hard to describe the Alphabet in Japanese fluently, and often some tragedies can happen when you try to translate things by yourself.
Jeffly
Correct : ジェフリー , ジェフリィ
Incorrect : ジエフリー , ジエフリィ , ヂェフリー , ヂェフリィ , ヂエフリー , ヂエフリィ
- Here are examples.
Demon's Souls
= de mo n zu so u ru = デモンズ ソウル
Maynard James Keenan
= me i na - do Je i mu su ki - na n = メイナード ジェームス キーナン
Fedor Vladimirovich Emelianenko
= hyo - do ru u ra ji - mi ro vi chi e me ri ya - nye n ko = ヒョードル ウラジーミロヴィチ エメリヤーニェンコ
Rage against the Machine
= re i ji a ge i n su to za ma shi - n = レイジ アゲインスト ザ マシーン
Internazionale Milano
= i n te ru na tsu i (littele-i) o na - re mi ra no = インテルナツィオナーレ ミラノ
Martin Luther King, Jr.
= ma - thi n ru - sa - ki n gu ju ni a = マーティン ルーサー キング ジュニア
Necroticism - Descanting the Insalubrious
= ne ku ro thi si zu mu de su ka n thi n gu ji i n sa ru - bu ri a su = ネクロティシズム - デスカンティング ジ インサループリアス
- Japanese use " 「」 " as quotation marks.However, I don’t think it is common to use in tattoos.
「非常にいかがわしい話ですね」と彼は言った。「この数ヶ月でいろんな噂がたちました。これまで仕様に関して一度も公表したことがないのに、その開発者にいたっては、RAMが半分になったぞ!などと言及していましたね。もちろん変更した事実はありません。」
"It has been very funy," he said. "There were some rumours for the last few months. Some developer mentioned the RAM was halved. We never anounced the amount of RAM, and we never changed it."

[ The Origin of Katakana ]

Even though there are many Japanese who don't even know this, every katakana was actually transformed from Kanji. It wasn't until 1400 years ago that our ancestors invented and began using katakana. Before that time, they could only express our native grammar and speech by borrowing the sounds of Kanji (while ignoring each individual meaning). We call it "万葉仮名 (Ma n yo u gana)". At that time, people used several Kanji for one pronunciation. ( 安 , 阿 , 愛 , 亞 , 惡 , everyone is " a ") . After that, people continued to make more and more progress with writing Japanese and after a long time, the basis of katakana was finally born.

There might be no significant reason for having this knowledge about the language, but you never know, it could somehow affect the design for a tattoo that you may want. It looks very different from today's standards, but this style just might be more appealing to some people.




a



i



u



e



o
k


ka



ki



ku



ke



ko
s


sa



si(shi)



su



se



so
t


ta



ti(chi)



tu(tsu)



te



to
n


na



ni



nu



ne



no
h


ha



hi



hu(fu)



he



ho
m


ma



mi



mu



me



mo
y


ya



yu



yo
r


ra



ri



ru



re



ro
w


wa



wi(i)
-


we(e)



wo(o)
-


n

If you came to Japan 1400 years ago, the Japanese at that time would write names like this.
Jeff Buckley = ji e hu bakku (ba little-tsu ku) ri i
= 之江不 八川久利伊
Steve Vai = su ti i bu ba i
= 須天伊不 八伊

I am also
Orii Souan, a Japanese Painter. You can see samples of Japanese calligraphy on my paintings at my another site www.oriisouan.com . I hope you can get some good idea for your tattoo.