Tuesday, September 03, 2002
Disgruntled Asian Tattoo Artist Inks His Revenge
Pitt junior Brandon Smith wanted a tattoo that proclaimed his manliness, so he decided to get the Chinese characters for "strength" and "honor" on his chest. After 20 minutes under the needle of local tattoo artist Andy Sakai, he emerged with the symbol for "small penis" embedded in his flesh.
"I had it for months before I knew what it really meant," Smith said.
"Then I went jogging through the Carnegie Mellon campus and a group of Asian kids started laughing and calling me 'Shorty.' That's when I knew something was up."
Sakai, an award-winning tattoo artist, was tired of seeing sacred Japanese words, symbols of his heritage, inked on random white people. So he used their blissful ignorance to make an everlasting statement. Any time a customer came to Sakai's home studio wanting Japanese tattooed on them, he modified it into a profane word or phrase.
"All these preppy sorority girls and suburban rich boys think they're so cool 'cause they have a tattoo with Japanese characters. But it doesn't mean shit to them!" Sakai said. "The dumbasses don't even realize that I've written 'slut' or 'pervert' on their skin!"
In the last month, seven people unknowingly received explicit tattoos from the disgruntled artist. Kerri Baker, a Carlow College freshman, paid $50 to have the symbols for "beautiful goddess" etched above her belly button, but when she went into Szechuan Express Asian Noodle Shop sporting a bare midriff, the giggling employees explained to her that the tattoo really said, "Insert General Tso's Chicken Here!"
"I don't even like General Tso's!" Baker sobbed. "I'm a vegetarian!"
Sakai doesn't feel guilty about using hapless college students as canvases for his graffiti.
"I think I'm helping my fellow man by labeling all the stupid people in the world," he explained. "It's not a crime, it's a public service."