We’ve all lived in Japan for a while, but weird things written on T-shirts still make us do a double-take.
And it’s not always badly translated English. Sometimes the Japanese is stupid enough by itself. If you can understand it… To show you what we mean, here are a bunch of funny T-shirts from Japan you can really own.
Special mention: the Dragon Quest “What’s gonna come out?” tee
The writing on this top’s mysterious. It should’ve been ‘appear’, like ‘a wild monster appears!’ in the game. But that wouldn’t have fit on the front, too many Japanese characters to squeeze in. Making it look like pixell-y in-game text is a cool touch, though.
The real secret to this T-shirt is underneath. You can kinda see the shadow of something over the stomach in that first pic. Look what happens when you lift the shirt over your head…
You turn into a Dragon Quest slime! Ohhh, now that’s kinda cool. And silly. You can’t stay that way all day.
“I don’t get it.”
This happy cat is either oblivious or hiding something. The smile’s either dumb or suspicious. And the lack of kanji, and proper formal Japanese (as in 分かりません), is either childish innocence or a deliberate insult. You decide.
This t-shirt’s on sale in a wider range of colours than the others we’re featuring. As well as the standard black and white, you can get the colours above, green, and blue. Check the link to see what’s in stock.
“I’m an old guy who was born in the Showa Era.”
The Showa Era was December 25th, 1926, to January 7th, 1989. (We’ve been in the Heisei Era since then, btw.)
It was a long reign, longer than any other emperor of Japan managed. And a lot of people were born in that time. Going by those dates, most of us in the office are old Showa dudes. It’s likely that you, dear sweet reader, you too qualify to wear this tee.
Maybe you don’t, and if so we hope they make a Heisei version for you soon.
“Everything except dying’s a scratch.”
Be brave, stick a plaster on that boo boo, and walk it off. Channel your inner Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
“‘Tis but a scratch.”
“A scratch? Your arm’s off!”
“No it isn’t.”
As the old saying goes, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Is that the idea? If that’s the idea, we think there should at least be some chest bulletproofing sewn in.
“I want to go home.”
Rock up to a party in Japan wearing this T-shirt, we dare you.
In most social situations, we’re trained to hide our boredom. Cover up that yawn, and act like you weren’t daydreaming. This tee signals your lack of interest loud and clear.
Perfect for the office, birthday parties, weddings, graduation, and picking someone up from the airport.
“Yeah, that’s impossible.”
Get it out there before anyone asks. As you maybe did or maybe didn’t realise yet, like some other designs this T-shirt is read from right to left. Luckily, it does sorta work the other way. “Thassimpossible, yeah mate?”
The tone’s not exactly like giving up, more… acceptance. And it’s the only example in this post that ends with a full stop.
“Is your head a Happy Meal?”
Alright, we made a creative translation for this one. This tee calls it a ‘Happy Set’, the name for Happy Meals in Japan.
As anyone who’s seen the subbed version of Kimi no Na Wa will understand, the ‘you’ used on this shirt has added meaning. ‘Teme’ is like… how do we put this? ‘You mofo’. ‘You‘. It’s not in the good way.
Well, maybe the truth of that depends on how long your arms are.
And to be fair, this shirt is also made in a couple of long-sleeve versions with the same design.