We’re used to the Japanese habit of decorating t-shirts and the like with meaningless combinations of words of English. The purpose is evidently not so much to convey any overt slogan or message as rather to give a general impression of being fashionable, modern, international and in tune with the globalized times.
Now we may be seeing the same thing in reverse, and I keep noticing it on the streets in London. A British clothing company, Superdry, has devised a logo that contains what appears to be Japanese text above the company name. There are four kanji (Chinese characters) followed by four parenthesized hiragana (Japanese syllabic symbols). The hiragana read shinasai.
You see this logo in a prominent place on the clothes and accessories sold by this company.
Is it real Japanese, or is it fake?
I asked Masaki Taniguchi.
He tells me that 極度 kyokudo ˈkjokudo means ‘extremely’ and 乾燥 kansō ˈkansoː ‘dry’, so the kanji are meaningful and say the same as the English name. (He thinks, though, that 超 chō tɕoː would be a better translation for ‘super’ than 極度.)
But the hiragana bit, しなさい ɕinasai, seems pointless, because it is no more than the imperative ‘do!’.