Prince Fielder’s Korean Tattoo

June 8th, 2007 · Foreigners · 9 comments

Tattoos are not popular in Korea, partly because they’re associated with gangsters and partly because there just isn’t any cultural history of them. Foreigners who come here with tattoos often say they may draw some odd looks or resort to covering them up somehow. The Chosun Ilbo, however, reports here about one foreigner who shouldn’t have any trouble having his tat accepted.

In America tattoos are popular. Men and women, young and old, people want to write things on their bodies. There are so many kinds of tattoos it boggles the imagination.

A few years ago tattoos in Chinese were in vogue. There were plenty of Americans who got tattoos in Chinese without even knowing their meaning. For example there was even a store employee who had the phrase “hard times” (不景氣) embossed on his arm.

But one Major League athlete is being talked about for having gotten a tattoo on his throat — in Korean.

It’s Milwaukee Brewers star hitter Prince Fielder. Fielder proudly got a tattoo on his neck of the Korean meaning of his name ‘Prince’. When Fielder steps into the batter’s box the word 왕자 is clearly visible on the left side of his neck. Korean fans who watch him on TV wondered about it.

According to Fielder the story of the tattoo is like this.

About 2 or 3 years ago he went into a market in Florida and talked with a Korean working there as a clerk, and learned that his name means 왕자 in Korean. He took a paper with 왕자 written on it and went straight to a tattoo parlor.

Though he doesn’t have any special connection to Korea, Fielder lives with Korean daily and says “I used to know how to pronounce it but now I forgot.”

In the current powerful season of the Milwaukee Brewers Fielder is hitting .277 with 18 home runs and 34 RBI. Fielder is the son of former Detroit Tigers slugger Cecil Fielder.

For the record, 왕자 is pronounced wangja, with two long a’s. For more stories of people who don’t understand their tattoos, head over to Hanzi Smatter.

9 comments

  • […] Yes, the Korean is as bad as the English. I couldn’t say about the Chinese but I don’t have high hopes for it. For another example of hangul abroad see this post about baseball star Prince Fielder’s Korean tattoo. […]

    Hangul Abroad : Korea Beat · December 14th, 2007 at 10:27 AM

  • iam korean an want to get a korean tattoo, if anyone could point me in the right direction or help me out it would be cool e mail,… mightymouse_house@hotmail.com

    James · January 19th, 2008 at 10:00 AM

  • oh my gosh…what a loser…

    Sooyeon · March 1st, 2008 at 12:21 AM

  • I am half korean half american. I live in Kunsan South Korea at the moment and I am wondering if anybody knows any good tattoo parlors in
    korea. If you could hook me up that would be great thanks. Holla at littlejohn.james@gmail.com

    Jimmy · March 21st, 2008 at 2:41 PM

  • […] The Chosun Ilbo put together this collage of images of American celebrities with hangul tattos or clothing, noting that on the internet it is “easy” to find such photos. From right to left in this image are Sarah Stevenson, taekwondo competitor from the UK; Britney Spears; Lindsey Lohan; and Prince Fielder. […]

    Korea Beat › Overseas Stars With Korean Tattoos · August 28th, 2008 at 9:35 AM

  • I’d heard of a story of *I think* it was in Toronto of a guy that had asked for a tattoo in Japanese (again, the details are fuzzy as to the language as well). So dude gets some sort of tatty saying “I’m hot” or some BS, and when a native speaker approached him and asked “Do you know what you tattoo says?”
    “Sure, it says _______.”
    “Um, no, actually, it says ‘I’m an asshole’.”
    Supposedly the guy then sued the artist. Sorry, I ‘d reference it but don’t have the time right now. If I’m wrong, please do correct.

    wevegotseoul · August 28th, 2008 at 6:02 PM

  • Hey! I have my friend over and we are both KOREAN!! 한국사람들이 최고에욤! Go Korea! ROCK THE WORLD!

    G.L · September 15th, 2008 at 3:43 AM

  • yo

    gabe · November 25th, 2008 at 11:49 PM

  • […] The Chosun Ilbo put together this collage of images of American celebrities with hangul tattos or clothing, noting that on the internet it is “easy” to find such photos. From right to left in this image are Sarah Stevenson, taekwondo competitor from the UK; Britney Spears; Lindsey Lohan; and Prince Fielder. […]

    Korea Beat » Blog Archive » Overseas Stars With Korean Tattoos · March 30th, 2013 at 4:00 PM

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