Gambling Disturb Terrible

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A friend of Anne Henochowicz spotted this T-shirt in an Akihabara, Tokyo shop:

The writing on the T-shirt says:

Hei ヘイ!("Hey!")

Shinzō シンゾー!!("Shinzoo" — Japan's prime minister's first name)

Oretachi dake de umaku yarou ze 俺たちだけでうまくやろうぜ!!("Let's handle the business by ourselves" — it's difficult for me to put this sentence into good English; it basically connotes something like "Let's not worry about other people and handle the business by ourselves")

Toranfu –> Toranpu 賭乱怖 ("Trump" — no, this is not the way Japanese transcribe "Trump"; it's always in katakana, namely "Toranpu トランプ").

They've simply used kanji to write the sounds of Trump's name so as to impart meaning to each syllable, the key to which is glossed on the sheet at the bottom of the T-shirt.

[Thanks to Nathan Hopson]


  1. Tim Taylor said,

    February 18, 2017 @ 10:47 am

    Actually, トランプ means 'playing cards' or 'card game' in Japanese, which is why Trump is holding those cards. 賭 to means 'gamble', 乱 ran means 'disorderly, chaotic, undisciplined', and 怖 bu or pu means 'fearful' or 'frightful' or 'terrifying'. So the meaning is Trump = card game = 'gambling chaotic frightening'.

    Trump's challenge to Abe to play a hand with him is thus an invitation to disaster.

    The second sign points out the explosive popularity of the T-shirt among foreigners.

  2. Jim Breen said,

    February 18, 2017 @ 3:25 pm

    Love it! A great choice of kanji. I hope they are still on sale when I visit Japan in April.

  3. Guy said,

    February 18, 2017 @ 5:15 pm

    @Tim Taylor

    How would someone distinguish, in Japanese, between "playing card" and "trump card" when playing a game like Bridge? Is there a disambiguation technique, an entirely different word, or would they rely entirely on context? Since トランプ means "playing card" in Japanese, I assume that at least historically it must have been that games that have trump cards were among the most prominent card games in Japan.

  4. Noel Hunt said,

    February 18, 2017 @ 6:27 pm

    'trump card' = 切り札, きりふだ, kirifuda. This word is also used figuratively in Japanese.

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