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Yes, many Japanese wonder why, too. The truth is that it's an obsolete usage of 天地 (except in this idiom!). 日本国語大辞典 (kind of the OED of Japanese) apparently has a definition: てん‐ち 【天地】 (...) (6)(─する)上下をひっくりかえすこと。 *滑稽本・早変胸機関〔1810〕「裾廻しは天地(テンチ)するだよ」 that is, 天地 once meant for "to turn upside down", at least attested on 1810 in Edo ...


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This refers to the phenomenon of "Girl Power." Suggested search phrase: "girl power spice girls tattoo." One of the Spice Girls had a tattoo that was constructed of the kanji you describe. It is not a Japanese word, but an attempt to use kanji to write the English phrase "Girl Power." No difference in meaning whether written horizontally or vertically.



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