Say that Again? Japan’s Most Contradictory Signs

There’s a great word in Japanese that’s stuck with me ever since I first came across it: mujun. The meaning of the word is simply “contradiction” or “inconsistency”, but it’s the way that it’s written that’s truly magical. Almost as great as the kanji for convex and concave (凸凹), the Japanese word for contradictory is written by putting the kanji character for spear (矛) next to the one for shield (盾). What do you get when you put a spear and a shield together? No, not a well armed Roman, but equal attack and defence- something that, ultimately, goes nowhere. Mujun 矛盾.

It’s not often that the Japanese let logic get the better of them, but as the following gallery of images which is currently doing the rounds on Japanese message boards shows, when they get it wrong Japan really pushes the boat out.

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