Duty Honor Courage

Original Posting: July 31, 2006

This is a freshly done arm band tattoo shown in BMEzine’s gallery (July 31, 2006) by James “Devilboy” Robinson of F.I.S.T. Ink in North Carolina (not the James Robinson of Nine in Brighton, UK). The six-character set supposedly to be “Duty Honor Courage”.


The first two characters are not even close to “duty”, unless the client is a dedicated gardener.

means “enlighten, advance; progress” and is “peduncle or stem of plants”.

Perhaps, they were some kind of “wicked” phonetic translation from English to Chinese or Japanese? But, why?


do mean “honor”, except is missing a stroke.


The last two are “courage” or “bravery” and they are correct.

A quick browse of James “Devilboy” Robinson’s MySpace page (not the James Robinson of Nine in Brighton, UK), from metal fabrication to graphix (his spelling) design, it seems he is a very talented person. Although, no where it was mentioned on his page if he has ever studied Chinese or Japanese.

Oh right, tattooists are “artists”, and they are not linguists.

Update: August 1, 2006 - James Robinson (not the James Robinson of Nine in Brighton, UK) has sent me the following angry comment and instant messages:

(larger view)

(larger view)

Update: Aug. 2, 2006 – I have forwarded my experience with James Robinson (not the James Robinson of Nine in Brighton, UK) to my good friends Shannon Larratt and Marisa DiMattia, hoping not all tattooists are like him and it was an isolated incident.

Shannon Larratt is the man behind the largest body modification website in the world called Body Modification Ezine (www.bmezine.com), where some of James Robinson’s (not the James Robinson of Nine in Brighton, UK) pieces were originally posted.

Shannon, Marisa, and I regularly exchange tips and emails regarding the tattoo trend. Some of our postings have cross-linked in each other’s websites.

Shannon says:
“That email is hilarious. But it's a pretty typical response. Tattoo artists can be a little like Klingons. :) PS. Marisa will love that you forwarded this to her too -- I was just about to when I saw you had included her. She just had a very similar run-in...”
Marisa replied to me with:
“It's true that tattoo artists should not be responsible for characters that are not native to them. That said, if he really cared about reputation, he would not have Chinese flash representing his work. I don't want to see what the rest of his portfolio looks like.”
Marisa DiMattia is a New York attorney by occupation. In her spare time, she manages Needled.com and writes a legal column for BMEzine.com. Recently, Marisa had a run-in with Joseph Smith of Big Brains Productions in Omaha, Nebraska, after she confronted him about theft of work done by someone else.

Referring to James Robinson (not the James Robinson of Nine in Brighton, UK) as a “tattoo artist” is giving a bad name to all other respectable tattooists in the profession. In my opinion (after his email and instant messages), he is nothing but a man who can hold up a mechanical needle, dipping in ink, and trace color lines on gullible clients’ skin. That is no different from developmentally challenged students to trace color lines in special education classes.

And I am sure those students would have more humanity in them than James Robinson (not the James Robinson of Nine in Brighton, UK) ever would.

Update: Oct. 21, 2009

from: Nine
to: tiangotlost@gmail.com
date: Wed, Oct 21, 2009 at 5:35 AM
subject: Duty Honour Courage - Hanzi Smatter


I'm writing to you in good faith in reference to:


One of my tattooist colleagues is also called James Robinson and we are concerned that the general public may link the individual to whom you are referring, to James Robinson of Nine, Brighton, UK. I myself did a google search and fell upon this page and was quite taken aback as what you were describing fitted in no way with the James Robinson I know and work with. It was only upon reading right down the page that I found the information to which James Robinson you were referring to.

If anyone does a Google search on his name, the following is on the first page of the search:

Hanzi Smatter 一知半解: Duty Honor Courage
Referring to James Robinson as a “tattoo artist” is giving a bad name to all other respectable tattooists in the profession. In my opinion (after his email ...

I am sure you can agree that this is defamatory to James Robinson of Nine and request you specify which James Robinson you are referring to to make it clear.

I trust you can update your page changing all the James Robinson's you list as James "Devilboy' Robinson of F.I.S.T. Ink in North Carolina to make it clear to anyone perusing your page that this James Robinson has nothing whatsoever to do with James Robinson of Nine, Brighton, UK.

I run an incredibly well respected and tight ship here and do not wish any damage upon the reputation of my studio or any of the tattooists working within it.

I look forward to hearing from you about this matter.

Kind Regards,

9 Boyces Street
+44(0)1273 208844


Scientology Success: Kelly Preston

I've had the pleasure of meeting Kelly Preston and I have to say she is one of the nicest (as well as prettiest) people I've ever met. She has written about the success in life she has had from using Scientology and you can read it here: Scientology Success: Kelly Preston.

Fearless Gibberish

My friend Mark Swofford has informed me about a new movie called Fearless starring Jet Li, which is loosely based on the life of Huo Yuanjia.

The movie is written and directed by a Chinese person, dialogue is in Mandarin Chinese, and the storyline is about a Chinese person, yet ironcally the characters in the movie's trailer are gibberish.

These are two screen shots Mark has captured from the movie's trailer to show just how ridiculous they are:

Just below COMING SOON is a giant ㄍ. Along the right side of the screen is the following, in zhuyin fuhao: ㄇㄞㄒㄖㄘ. This, in Hanyu Pinyin, would be “maixrici,” which is complete gibberish. The other vertical lines of text are also nonsense in zhuyin fuhao. Again, there’s nothing wrong with how these are written. It’s just that they’re no more meaningful than a random string of letters. (more)

The zhuyin fuhao on the left read, from top to bottom, ㄔㄐㄎㄊㄆ, which would be “chjktp” in Hanyu Pinyin. As I think should be obvious even to those who don’t know Mandarin or any other Sinitic language, this is simply nonsense. (more)

Hopefully the actual movie would be better than the trailer, unlike the last movie I saw Lady in the Water by M. Night Shyamalan which really sucked scrunt's balls.

Asian Font Gibberish 3

From Shannon Larratt's BMEzine.com gallery, here is a July 27th posting from Bulgaria:


Two of my earlier postings (one & two) have already talked about some people would download this so called "Asian Font" from the internet and tattoo themselves with gibberish.

If you have not seen Clerks II, Shannon Larratt had a brief role in the movie. He was the "Ear Guy" in Mooby's.

Scientology Success: John Travolta

John Travolta said about Scientology:
I would say that Scientology put me into the big time.

That may sound strange to you if you think of a religion as a method of worship rather than as a body of spiritual knowledge. Scientology is a body of spiritual knowledge and includes many methods of using that knowledge in everyday life. These methods of application of knowledge are called "technology". Here is the full text of what John had to say: Scientology Success: John Travolta

Scientologist Steve Carlson

Steve Carlson isn't what you normally think of as a "celebrity", he is a business man, an entrepreneur, not someone involved in arts or entertainment. But because of his great work helping victims of the Asian Tsunami I think he deserves a mention here.

Steve's organizational abilities helped save thousands of lives and his story is told in the latest edition of Freedom magazine: Scientologist Steve Carlson

Wise Words Very Beginning

Helen of eLearners.com sent in this photo from Zao Tattoo in Macomb, IL.


means "wise words" or "famous saying" and is "beginning" or "initial".

Obviously this person has never heard of the wise words from Dr. Gregory House, Seth MacFarlane, Red vs. Blue, Fox News (it is a bit strange to see "Fox News" associated with "wise words"), and Bill Maher.


Aiko Valentine sent this photo to me a few days ago. Her sister has purchased this parasol from a store called Earthbound Trading Company.

(larger view)

Despite the incorrectly written characters, 伊勢 or 伊勢囯 is a province in Japan. or 時代 is referring to Japan’s Warring State Period which is roughly from mid 15th to early 17th century. 国村 could either be a village or a compound from the Warring State Period.

For those who are not familiar with Japanese history or read the five characters on the parasol as Chinese, might mean something like “Iraqi/Iranian warring/conflicting village”.

The reason why it might mean either “Iraqi” or “Iranian” is because both terms were phonetically translated into Chinese and often abbreviated using just the first character. 伊拉克 is “Iraq” and 伊朗 for “Iran”.

Artists For Human Rights - Artists taking a stand for Human Rights

The human rights organization called Artists For Human Rights, founded by Actress Anne Archer, was mentioned by Jenny a couple days ago, but I just found out that a good friend of mine, Michael Duff, was the designer and builder of the site. The new website is great. I especially recommend the Featured Artists page.

Stacy Francis

Stacy Francis is one incredible performer. Here's a posting about her at the Freewinds Jazz Festival

I have seen her perform at several Scientology events.

A few weeks ago she performed at the Maiden Voyage Event on L. Ron Hubbard Way (she performed before the video briefing by David Miscavige). She did about five numbers. There were about 5,000 people there and she had us all on our feet, screaming our heads off in a standing ovation.

I also saw her at the Citizens Commission on Human Rights annual fundraising dinner this past February and at the Celebrity Centre Gala last August.

And it's always an amazing experience to hear her perform.


Hanzi Smatter was mentioned in the latest episode of HanselMinutes with Scott Hanselman and Carl Franklin. For those who do not have the patience to sit through over twenty minutes of geek talk, the clip starts at time mark 26:30.

audio: clip 517 KB mp3 or entire show22.5 MB mp3

I use Macromedia Fireworks (now Adobe Fireworks) for most of the graphics work, and Sony Vegas 6.0 for audio and video editing work.

The character in Computer Zen's logo is , typically "zen" is referring to .

Artists for Human Rights

I just found a web site called Artists for Human Rights, created by Anne Archer with the purpose of bringing artists together with the common cause of raising awareness of human rights around the world while providing a voice to those artists who have been suppressed due to governmental, religious or cultural oppression.

Here's what she says about the history of the web site:
Founded by the celebrated Academy Award nominated film actress and human rights advocate, Anne Archer, Artists for Human Rights invites artists from all disciplines to contribute. Participation is broad-based, embracive of all races, creeds and nationalities with its only prerequisite - support and affirmation of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. Working Board members are exactly that - working board members. Not in name only, Working Board members attend meetings, take on projects, bring their own creative genius to the cause for human rights.

Maintaining its goals and mission statement, Artists for Human Rights works inclusively with allied organizations to bring the full force of artistic expression to bear in the human rights arena. What many do not know about AFHR Founder Anne Archer is that she has tirelessly and unceremoniously fought for human rights across the globe for nearly two decades. She has led religious tolerance movements in Germany, France, the United States, Spain and Africa. She has, with other artists, led protest marches in uneven streets, testified to Congress, met quietly and openly with State Department officials around the world - always bringing her creativity and passion to the fight.

More recently, Anne has been an instrumental force for Youth for Human Rights International which has over 25 chapters around the world promoting human rights in schools, orphanages, colleges - all on numerous continents - as well as Youth Summits and film festivals in concert with UNICEF and the United Nations.

"Where after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works…unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world."

Eleanor Roosevelt
Chairman of the United Nations
Human Rights Commission 1948

As a fellow Scientologist I am very proud of the work Anne has done for many years to forward human rights and religious freedom. There is a great deal more information on the human rights activities of Scientology churches at the Scientology Effective Solutions web site.

House M.D. - Nonconformity

Andy from Texas Tech sent in this screen capture from episode 19 of Fox’s drama series, House (or is it “House M.D.”?).

video: windows media 3.95 MB or mirror

Dr. Roger Spain (First Applicant): Wow, I thought you'd be the last person to have a problem with nonconformity.

Dr. Gregory House: Nonconformity; right... I can't remember the last time saw a twenty something kid with a tattoo of an Asian letter on his wrist. You are one wicked free thinker! You want to be a rebel; stop being cool. Wear a pocket protector like he does, and get a hair cut. Like the Asian kids that don't leave the library for a twenty hours stretch. They're the ones that don't care what you think.

Dr. Gregory House: Sayonara

Many places including tattoo shops advertise as "harmony, peace; peaceful, calm". In modern day Chinese, it only means is frequently used to represent "with" or "and".

Great Reviews for Juliette Lewis

With reviews like "plays the part to perfection" Juliette Lewis makes her London stage debut in the Apollo Theatre production of Fool For Love opposite Kiwi Martin Henderson

Love Loyalty Truth

From June 29th's postings in BMEzine's gallery, this young man from Lithuania got what supposed to say "Love Loyalty Truth" tattooed on him by a tattooist known as "Blackwo".


The middle character looked like a botched or , which is nowhere near "loyalty".

This young man should have read the March of 2005 issue of FHM Lithuania edition.

Tom Cruise is proven right - by Psychiatrists

Last year on this very blog I told you what Tom Cruise had to say about psychiatry. At the time Tom got a lot of support for his views but some uninformed people (such as psychiatrists) didn't think he should exercise his right to freedom of speech if that right included attacking their main source of income: the drug companies and their destructive drugs. However a year later psychiatrists themselves quite openly admit that psychiatry has not tests for the diseases and syndromes and disorders they list in their precious Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Here is the video: Psychiatry, No Science and No Cures.

Kim Maher's Tattoo

Yusuki Toyoda and I are both scratching our heads about the meaning of Kim Maher's tattoo posted in Sports Illustrated's website.

original photo

As far as I know Kim Maher is not in any way related to Bill Maher, who has commented about the trend of Chinese character tattoos. Her tattoo of is loosely translated as "healthy woman stops achievement flow".

Tattoo Spotted in Russian Night Club

Magazeta in Livejournal.com is a community site about China and Chinese culture written in Russian. Its owner named Ma Yuxi emailed me this photo today:


I have no idea what the second character is supposed to be.

New Juliette and the Licks single

Juliette Lewis and her band Juliette and the Licks have a new single out: Got Love To Kill

Scientologist Persia White

Persia White is one of the stars of the hit UPN series Girlfriends. vocalist of the band XEO3 and an activist for both the environment and animal rights. She is so dedicated to these causes that she received a 2005 Humanitarian Award from PETA for her animal rights work.

She has two websites, one promoting her artistic endeavors: Persia White - actress, activist, and vocalist for XEO3 Music and one for her environmental activity: Persia White - eARTh, Joining the Environment and Humanity Through Art.

The Jive Aces

You may not of heard of these boys, they are from England and hang out in Europe a lot, the Jive Aces.

They have toured with the "What is Scientology" Exhibition and have also been throughout Europe as part of on an anti-drug campaign sponsored by the Church of Scientology International.

This is good old rock and roll, jitter bug style. The Jives are all Scientologists and they really swing!

The Five-Dollar Fools

While I was walking through Seaport Village in San Diego last weekend, I saw many places that were advertising these "henna tattoo" or "henna painting" along the beach.

Gibberish Henna Template

I laughed at their Chinese characters sections because most of them is either incorrectly written or the translations are way off.

I was tempted to inform one of the shop owners about the mistakes, but I was amazed by the gibberish character henna’s popularity, she was too busy to satisfy customers' $5-per-piece consuming needs.

henna gibberish 1

henna gibberish 2

henna gibberish 3

None the less, there were many young ladies with gibberish painted on their bodies.

The good news is that they will look like fools for only a week or so, and then the henna paint would wash off.