One in Ten Thousand

Both Alan and I have spotted this tattoo submitted in BMEzine's gallery on July 23 by "CW351".

Its caption read:

Rest In Peace Bro!
Kanji reads "One In A Million", I hope.
(by Brooke, Eye Of The Beholder, Vernon, BC)

Alan writes:

Unfortunately, 万が in Japanese does not mean “One In A Million.” It really means “in the worst case” or “in case of emergency.” The saying is used in the sense of out of 10,000 () times something might happen, a really bad thing will happen in only one () instance. Chinese dictionaries suggest that 万一 (or 萬一) in Chinese means roughly the same as 万が一 or 万一 in Japanese.

It does not have any positive connotations at all. This is hardly the sort of sentiment that someone would want to express to remember a dear friend after their passing, but the poor schmuck has gotten this tattooed on his shoulder.

Anyhow, I still think it is very much a mistranslation and nothing even close to the intended meaning of "one in a million." And it is pretty sad that this is how the guy is trying to honor the memory of his friend.

Perhaps he has “push the emergency stop button” tattooed on the other shoulder.


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