Tattoos featuring Chinese or Japanese characters have been popular long enough in America to become nearly as trite as the tramp stamp. Some recent news articles have been reporting that a similar trend is emerging in China, where English language tattoos are enjoying a new surge in popularity.
While tattoos have been a part of Chinese culture for millennia, tattoo parlors have been mostly taboo under the Communist regime. Nevertheless, tattoo parlors have been popping up in China in recent years, and although their legality may be questionable, they are slowly finding their place in modern China. Even though tattoos still bear the stigma of criminal association, more and more younger people are becoming interested in tattoos because many of their favorite Western sports and celebrity figures are tattooed.
What is most surprising of all is the latest trend that Chinese tattoo artists are reporting. Tattoo parlors are seeing more and more clients seeking tattoos in the English language. Not surprisingly, it is the younger crowd that seeks the English language and Western-influenced tattoos, while older clients prefer to stick to traditional themes like tigers and dragons.
The attraction to English language tattoos is easy to understand. In the Western world, a good Kanji tattoo has an air of the exotic. To the Eastern world, an English language tattoo can present the same mystique.
Below: From McClatchyDC.com: “Ting Ting shows off the tattoo on the back of her cousin, Zhang Hui, who used English lettering to spell out the name of an ex-girlfriend.”