My logo is a stamp I made in shodo (calligraphy) class when I was in high school in Japan. I found a couple of them recently and started stamping in my sketchbook. At the time I remember thinking this would make a cool logo with no idea where I would use it. Of course I hadn’t happened upon this space yet so I didn’t see at the time what a serendipitous moment that was.
In Japanese my name is RIBI as there is no L sound and the R is actually pronounced somewhere in between R and L. In some ways I am lucky as the BI can be translated as beautiful in some words – nice right?
The RI was more of a challenge and at first I had a character that loosely translated as science, reason or justice. My PE and kendo teacher was also a Japanese master, in that he knew more characters than most, even by Japanese standards. He didn’t really like the meaning of my name and while he was out ordering my kendo uniform he decided to change it! The RI character he chose means plum.
My name then, loosely translates as beautiful plum.
Now back to my stamp (hanko). The whole point of this exercise was to create a stamp of your name in old style Japanese. My classmates and colleagues helped me with the research but the carving in granite is all me.
For the record, I’m not fond of borrowing from cultures when the root meaning is misunderstood. You have probably all seen examples of people who get Chinese or Japanese character tattoos only to discover they don’t at all mean what they thought they did.
This is not one of these cases.