The Japanese love affair with English (if indeed there is such a thing) has resulted in a rapid and careless adoption of several of its words and phrases. Why, after all, said words find their way into all kinds of things: signs, restaurant menus, t-shirts, etc. It’s too bad that (almost) always, the English used is hilariously incorrect. This phenomenon, the use of misspelled or inaccurate English words, is known as ‘Engrish.’
Engrish is not solely a Japanese phenomenon though. Other East Asian countries are guilty of it as well; see Kim Jong-il’s solo in the movie Team America World Police:
In the video we see Mr. Kim continually make the same mistake: mispronouncing the L sound in the word ‘lonely’ (“I’m so ronery”). But it is Japanese who are most often associated with these kinds of mistakes. See the following examples:
明るい町作りの会 actually translates into something like ‘Sunny Town Party,’ or ‘Sunny Town Board’. ‘Sunny Town Election Party’ also makes sense; unfortunately whoever wrote this misspelled election (選挙), and instead wrote ‘erection’ (もっこり or ぼっき). So now this political party actually looks perverted (へんたい ) like it wants to create a sunny town through the power of their erections. Could it be that Japan’s international reputation as a perverted country (スケベな国) is because of a simple spelling mistake?
Do not feel too bad if you too fail to notice these mistakes however. Engrish is often seen as humorous after all:
Perhaps one of the most famous use of Engrish is the following internet meme—the opening for the Genesis cult classic Zero Wing:
The game’s writers probably never expected their faulty translations to become news worthy:
But then again, using Engrish is not that bad. Let’s not forget that foreigners also use bastardized Japanese, even tattooing it. Both are, essentially, the same thing:
Note: For the curious, Wikipedia has a more accurate translation of All Your Base are Belong to Us @ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_your_base_are_belong_to_us.