Custom Samurai Japanese Calligraphy Wall Scroll

We have many options to create artwork with Samurai Japanese Kanji on a wall scroll or portrait.


Quick links to words on this page...

  1. Samurai
  2. Bushido / The Way of the Samurai
  3. In Flowers the Cherry Blossom,...
  4. Ronin / Masterless Samurai
  5. Heart of a Warrior / Samurai Heart
  6. Benevolence
  7. Bravery / Courage
  8. Enlightened Warrior
  9. Honesty
10. Honor
11. Jujitsu / Jujutsu
12. Justice / Rectitude / Right Decision
13. Katana
14. Kenjutsu / Kenjitsu
15. Loyalty / Faithful / Devoted
16. Musashi
17. Ninja
18. Peaceful Warrior
19. Respect
20. Shogun / Japanese General
21. Warrior
22. Warrior / Musha
23. Warrior / Fighter
24. Naginata / Halberd


Samurai

China shì
Japan samurai
Samurai Wall Scroll

In Japanese, this character represents the warriors that attempted to hold peace when there was no Emperor in Japan. Be cautious though, as it is an old way to express "servant" or "waiter" in Chinese and Korean. Of course, if you are a samurai, you are a servant to your Shogun-ate, Lord, or the people (which is the root meaning).


See Also:  Warrior

Bushido / The Way of the Samurai

China wǔ shì dào
Japan bu shi do
Bushido / The Way of the Samurai Wall Scroll

武士道 is the title for, "The Code of the Samurai."

Sometimes called "The Seven Virtues of the Samurai," "The Bushido Code," or "The Samurai Code of Chivalry."

This would be read in Chinese characters, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja as "The Way of the Warrior," "The Warrior's Way," or "The Warrior's Code."

It's a set of virtues that the Samurai of Japan and ancient warriors of China and Korea had to live and die by. However, while known throughout Asia, this title is mostly used in Japan, and thought of as being of Japanese origin.

The seven commonly-accepted tenets or virtues of Bushido are: Benevolence 仁, Courage 勇, Honesty 誠, Honour 名誉, Loyalty 忠実, Respect 礼(禮), and Rectitude 義. These tenets were part of an oral history for generations, thus, you will see variations in the list Bushido tenets depending on who you talk to.


See our page with just Code of the Samurai / Bushido here


See Also:  Warrior

In Flowers the Cherry Blossom,
In Men the Samurai

Japan hana wa sakuragi hito wa bushi
In Flowers the Cherry Blossom, / In Men the Samurai Wall Scroll

This Japanese proverb simply reads, "[In] Flowers it's Cherry Blossoms, [In] Men it's Warriors."

花は櫻木人は武士 is meant to say that of all the flowers in the world, the cherry blossom is the best. And of all men in the world, the Samurai or Warrior is the best

This proverb has been around for a long time. It's believed to have been composed sometime before the Edo Period in Japan (which started in 1603).

Some will drop one syllable and pronounce this, "hana wa sakura hito wa bushi." That's "sakura" instead of "sakuragi," which is like saying "cherry blossom" instead of "cherry tree."


The third character was traditionally written as 櫻. But in modern Japan, that became 桜. You may still see 櫻 used from time to time on older pieces of calligraphy. We can do either one, so just make a special request if you want 櫻.


Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.

Ronin / Masterless Samurai

China làng rén
Japan rou nin
Ronin / Masterless Samurai Wall Scroll

The Ronin have no master - The most famous are the 47 ronin created after their Lord committed suicide. This term was not exactly a positive title for the Samurai of ancient Japan. However, in recent years, movies and video games have glorified the term Ronin.

In Chinese, this term has the original meaning of a hobo, vagabond or ruffian.
In Korean Hanja, these characters would be read as adventurer, wanderer, someone without a steady job, or someone who is wasting away time.

In modern Japan, this term is used as a nickname for a high school student who has failed a college entry exam (and is trying again).

In Chinese and Korean, the Japanese definition of "Masterless Samurai" is known because of the historical context, even in Japanese, the literal translation is closer to the Chinese and Korean definitions shown above.

This will make a fine wall scroll if you are a fan of the Ronin, or see yourself as a Ronin of sorts. However, please think twice before getting a Ronin tattoo!

Heart of a Warrior / Samurai Heart

China wǔ shì xīn
Japan bu shi kokoro
Heart of a Warrior / Samurai Heart Wall Scroll

This reads, "Warrior Heart." 武士心 is more a Japanese title than Chinese but it is understood in both languages.

Benevolence

China rén
Japan jin
Benevolence Wall Scroll

Beyond "benevolence" this character can be also be defined as "charity" or "mercy" depending on context.

The deeper meaning suggests that one should pay alms to the poor, care for those in trouble, and take care of his fellow man (or woman).

仁 is one of the five tenets of Confucius. In fact, it is a subject in which Confucius spent a great deal of time explaining to his disciples.

I have also seen this benevolent-related word translated as perfect virtue, selflessness, love for humanity, humaneness, goodness, good will, or simply "love" in the non-romantic form.

This word is so important to me that I named my second daughter with this character. Her name is "Renni" which means "Benevolent Girl."
-Gary.


This is also a virtue of the Samurai Warrior
See our page with just Code of the Samurai / Bushido here


See Also:  Love | Altruism | Kindness | Charity | Confucius

Bravery / Courage

Single Character for Courage
China yǒng
Japan isamu / yu-
Bravery / Courage Wall Scroll

This character can be translated as bravery, courage, valor, or fearless in Chinese, Japanese and Korean. 勇 is the simplest form to express courage or bravery, as there is also a two character form which starts with this same character.

This character can also be translated as brave, daring, fearless, plucky or heroic.


This is also a virtue of the Samurai Warrior
See our page with just Code of the Samurai / Bushido here


See Also:  Bravery | Courage

Enlightened Warrior

China jué xǐng wǔ shì
Enlightened Warrior Wall Scroll

覺醒武士 is not a commonly used title in Chinese but sometimes used in Martial arts and military context to refer to a warrior who seems to always be fully aware, enlightened, knowledgeable, noble, and just.

The first two characters are a word that means: to awaken; to come to realize; awakened to the truth; the truth dawns upon one; scales fall from the eyes; to become aware.

The last two characters mean warrior but can also refer to a samurai, soldier, or fighter.

Honesty

China chéng
Japan makoto
Honesty Wall Scroll

This character means truth, faith, fidelity, sincerity, trust and/or confidence.

As a single-character wall scroll, this suggests that you believe "honesty is the best policy," as your personal philosophy.


This is also a virtue of the Samurai Warrior
See our page with just Code of the Samurai / Bushido here


See Also:  Sincerity | Sincere

Honor (Japanese / Simplified version)

China míng yù
Japan meiyo
Honor (Japanese / Simplified version) Wall Scroll

This version of honor is about having or earning the respect of others and about your reputation.

It is the status of being worthy of honor (not to be confused with doing honorable things or specific actions - see our other "honor" listing for that).

譽 Both modern Japanese and modern mainland Chinese use the same simplified version of the second character of honor. You can make a special request for the traditional second character as shown to the right (just click on that character to the right of you want to order that version). Before WWII, both Japan and China used the traditional form but modern Japanese and Chinese use this simplified form. Koreans still use the traditional form when they are not writing in their modern Hangul glyphs.


This is also a virtue of the Samurai Warrior
See our page with just Code of the Samurai / Bushido here

Jujitsu / Jujutsu

China róu shù
Japan juu jutsu
Jujitsu / Jujutsu Wall Scroll

This word has been somewhat incorrectly spelled and pronounced "Jujitsu" for some time in the English-speaking world. The correct Japanese Romaji is Jujutsu or Juujutsu.

A little background on the word: By combining the Kanji pronounced "Ju" (which means flexible, pliable, gentle, yielding) with the Kanji pronounced "Jutsu" (which means art, or technique), we get a meaning that can be translated as "flexible technique," "gentle art" or "yielding technique."
This word does make sense in Chinese as well, although pronounced, "rou shu" in China.

The Jujutsu system has a history in Japan that started well-before the 1600's. Some see this style as a variation of the "Empty Hand Method" (Karate-do). Even the samurai of old used some Jujutsu methods in defending themselves with their unarmed hands against weapons that could pierce their heavy armor.

There are convoluted relationships between various schools and systems of martial arts but it's generally accepted that Jujutsu led to the development of Judo and a few other variations.

Justice / Rectitude / Right Decision

Also means: honor loyalty morality righteousness
China
Japan gi
Justice / Rectitude / Right Decision Wall Scroll

義 is about doing the right thing or making the right decision, not because it's easy but because it's ethically and morally correct.

No matter the outcome or result, one does not lose face if tempering proper justice.

This character can also be defined as righteousness, justice, morality, honor, or "right conduct." In more a more expanded definition, it can mean loyalty to friends, loyalty to the public good, or patriotism. This idea of loyalty and friendship comes from the fact that you will treat those you are loyal to with morality and justice.

義 is also one of the five tenets of Confucius doctrine.

儀 There's also an alternate version of this character sometimes seen in Bushido or Korean Taekwondo tenets. It's just the addition of a radical on the left side of the character. If you want this version, click on the image to the right instead of the button above.


This is also a virtue of the Samurai Warrior
See our page with just Code of the Samurai / Bushido here


See Also:  Judgment | Impartial | Confucius Tenets

Katana

Japanese Samurai Sword
China dāo
Japan katana
Katana Wall Scroll

刀 is the Japanese Kanji for "sword." This refers to the style of sword carried by warriors, samurai, and shogun of ancient Japan.

With the pacification of Japan, such swords are now only used for ceremony and decoration. The true art of sword-smithing is all but lost in Japan with new sword production dedicated to making inexpensive replicas for the tourist and foreign market.

For those of you that want to ask whether I can get you a real antique sword. Let me tell you that most real Asian swords were melted down after WWII in Japan, and during the Great Leap Forward in China. Any remaining swords are family heirlooms that nobody will part with.

Please carefully note that the Japanese kanji character shown above is only for a Japanese audience. In China, this character means "knife." See our other entry for "sword" in Chinese.
Note: This can mean knife, sword, or blade in Korean, depending on context.


See Also:  Sword

Kenjutsu / Kenjitsu

China jiàn shù
Japan kenjutsu
Kenjutsu / Kenjitsu Wall Scroll

In Japanese, the modern definition, using simple terms is "A martial art involving swords" or "The art of the sword." However, in Chinese, this is the word for fencing (as in the Olympic sport).

I will suppose that you want this for the Japanese definition which comes from skills and techniques developed in the 15th century. At that time, Kenjutsu (or swordsmanship) was a strictly military art taught to Samurai and Bushi (soldiers). The fact that swords are rarely used in military battles anymore, and with the pacification of Japan after WWII, Kenjutsu is strictly a ceremonial practice often studied as a form of martial art (more for the discipline aspect rather than practical purpose).

Language note: The Korean definition is close the Japanese version described above. However, it should be noted that this can mean "fencing" depending on context in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.

術Character alternative notes: Japanese tend to write the second Kanji in the form shown to the right. It is a very slight difference, and the two forms were merged under the same computer font code point (thus, you will not see the Japanese version in Kanji images shown during the options selection process). If you choose our Japanese Master Calligrapher, this will be automatically written in the proper Japanese form.
Since there are about 5 common ways to write the sword character, if you are particular about which version you want, please note that in the "special instructions" when you place your order.

Romanization note: This term is often Romanized as Kenjitsu, however, following the rules of Japanese Romaji, it should be Kenjutsu.

Loyalty / Faithful / Devoted

Japan chuujitsu
Loyalty / Faithful / Devoted Wall Scroll

忠實 is a Japanese way to write "Loyalty" - it also contains the ideas of being faithful, devoted, true, and obedient.

The second character is a modified form only used in the Japanese lexicon, however, Chinese speakers can easily guess the meaning.


This is also a virtue of the Samurai Warrior
See our page with just Code of the Samurai / Bushido here

Musashi

The most famous Samurai
Japan mu sashi
Musashi Wall Scroll

武蔵 is the short title for a man long in legend. Miyamoto Musashi is probably the most famous Samurai in all of Japanese history. While coming from a lower class, his new sword and fighting techniques put him on par with the best that feudal Japan had to offer. His long career started with his first duel was at age 13!

He is credited both with using two swords at once, and never losing a single battle in his career. After becoming a Buddhist, and getting older, like many old warriors, he took up a peaceful and solitary life until his death around 1645 A.D.

Note: Technically, Musashi is his given name, and Miyamoto is his surname. However, it's suggested that he assumed both of these names, and also had a few other names at childhood, as well as being given a Buddhist name. It's hard to know what to call him, as with most Kanji, there are multiple pronunciations. The characters for Musashi can also be pronounced "Takezō." But, everyone in modern times seems to know him by the name Musashi.

Ninja

China rěn zhě
Japan ninja
Ninja Wall Scroll

In feudal Japan, ninja or shinobi (literally, "one who is concealed" or "one that endures") were sometimes assassins and agents of espionage. The ninja, like samurai, followed their own special code of conduct.

The role of the ninja has been romanticized in many American movies (and to a lesser extent in Japanese movies). Because the ninja-craze has taken off in the west, Japan has followed the trend and you'll see plenty of ninja-related imagery in Japan.

忍Note that when writing this as Kanji, Japanese will tend to write the first character in the form shown to the right. If you select our Japanese master calligrapher, please expect that form. Our Chinese calligraphers can also write it in the Japanese form but only if you request it (in the special instructions about your order during checkout).


See Also:  Warrior | Ninjitsu

Peaceful Warrior

Japan hei wa no bu shi
Peaceful Warrior Wall Scroll

This can be read as "Peaceful Warrior" or "Warrior for Peace" in Japanese. This sounds like an oxymoron in Japanese, so it's a weird title. Expect Japanese people to be perplexed when they see it.

Character breakdown:
平和 (heiwa) peace; harmony.
の (no) possessive particle.
武士 (bushi) warrior; samurai; soldier.

Respect (Japanese / Simplified version)

Can also be a sign of gratitude
China
Japan rei
Respect (Japanese / Simplified version) Wall Scroll

We show respect by speaking and acting with courtesy. We treat others with dignity and honor the rules of our family, school and nation. Respect yourself, and others will respect you.

禮 is also one of the five tenets of Confucius.

This character can also be translated as propriety, good manners, politeness, rite, worship or an expression of gratitude.

Chinese RespectPlease note that Japanese use a simplified version of the character for respect - it also happens to be the same simplification used in mainland China. Click on the character to the right if you want the Traditional Chinese version.


This is also a virtue of the Samurai Warrior
See our page with just Code of the Samurai / Bushido here


See Also:  Confucius

Shogun / Japanese General

China jiāng jūn
Japan shougun
Shogun / Japanese General Wall Scroll

In the west, when someone mentions "Shogun" we may be filled with thoughts of gallant warriors. Some might even think of the TV mini-series with Richard Chamberlain. Often westerners use the words Samurai and Shogun interchangeably. So I will clear it up really quickly...

Shogun in the simplest definition is a General. You could also use words such as commander, lord, overlord, highest ranking, or commanding officer, since "Shogun" has held some slightly ambiguous meanings at times in Japanese history.

Sometimes a Shogun was a general, other times he was the leader of a military government in Japan.

Variants of the same characters are used in China for the rank and title of a General of the People's Liberation Army (and the same term and characters have been used for the last 2200 years since the Qin Dynasty).

Warrior

China wǔ shì
Japan bu shi
Warrior Wall Scroll

The first character is the spirit or essence of a warrior. The second character means soldier, officer, or official. This character is also used appropriately enough to describe a piece of a chess game. This can also be translated as soldier, cavalier, palace guard, or samurai and sometimes as knight. I've occasionally seen this translated as strong man or tough man (gender not necessarily implied).

By far, this is the most common way to write warrior in Chinese characters, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

Note: In Japanese, this is Bushi, as in Bushido.


See Also:  Knight | Army | Marines

Warrior / Musha

Japan mu sha
Warrior / Musha Wall Scroll

武者 is an alternate title for a warrior or samurai in Japanese. It is often romanized as "Musha."

The literal meaning of these Kanji is "war person," "military person," or "martial person."

Warrior / Fighter

Senshi
Japan sen shi
Warrior / Fighter Wall Scroll

戦士 is an alternate title for warrior, soldier, fighter, warrior, guardian, or combatant in Japanese.

From Japanese, this is often romanized as "Senshi."


See Also:  Knight | Army | Marines

Naginata / Halberd

Japan naginata
Naginata / Halberd Wall Scroll

Samurai with Naginata 薙刀 is the Japanese word naginata.

A naginata is a special kind of halberd or long sword carried by some Samurai and other warriors. It is still used ceremonially in some schools of martial arts.




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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...

Title CharactersRomaji(Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Samurai samuraishì / shi4 / shi shih
Bushido
The Way of the Samurai
武士道bu shi do / bushidowǔ shì dào
wu3 shi4 dao4
wu shi dao
wushidao
wu shih tao
wushihtao
In Flowers the Cherry Blossom, In Men the Samurai 花は櫻木人は武士
花は桜木人は武士
hana wa sakuragi hito wa bushi
Ronin
Masterless Samurai
浪人rou nin / rounin / ro nin / roninlàng rén / lang4 ren2 / lang ren / langren lang jen / langjen
Heart of a Warrior
Samurai Heart
武士心bu shi kokoro
bushikokoro
wǔ shì xīn
wu3 shi4 xin1
wu shi xin
wushixin
wu shih hsin
wushihhsin
Benevolence jinrén / ren2 / ren jen
Bravery
Courage
isamu / yu-yǒng / yong3 / yong yung
Enlightened Warrior 覺醒武士
觉醒武士
jué xǐng wǔ shì
jue2 xing3 wu3 shi4
jue xing wu shi
juexingwushi
chüeh hsing wu shih
chüehhsingwushih
Honesty
makotochéng / cheng2 / cheng ch`eng / cheng
Honor (Japanese
Simplified version)
名譽
名誉
meiyomíng yù / ming2 yu4 / ming yu / mingyu ming yü / mingyü
In some entries above you will see that characters have different versions above and below a line.
In these cases, the characters above the line are Traditional Chinese, while the ones below are Simplified Chinese.

All of our calligraphy wall scrolls are handmade.

When the calligrapher finishes creating your artwork, it is taken to my art mounting workshop in Beijing where a wall scroll is made by hand from a combination of silk, rice paper, and wood.
After we create your wall scroll, it takes at least two weeks for air mail delivery from Beijing to you.

Allow a few weeks for delivery. Rush service speeds it up by a week or two for $10!

When you select your calligraphy, you'll be taken to another page where you can choose various custom options.


A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

The wall scroll that Sandy is holding in this picture is a "large size"
single-character wall scroll.
We also offer custom wall scrolls in small, medium, and an even-larger jumbo size.

A professional Chinese Calligrapher

Professional calligraphers are getting to be hard to find these days.
Instead of drawing characters by hand, the new generation in China merely type roman letters into their computer keyboards and pick the character that they want from a list that pops up.

There is some fear that true Chinese calligraphy may become a lost art in the coming years. Many art institutes in China are now promoting calligraphy programs in hopes of keeping this unique form of art alive.

Trying to learn Chinese calligrapher - a futile effort

Even with the teachings of a top-ranked calligrapher in China, my calligraphy will never be good enough to sell. I will leave that to the experts.

A high-ranked Chinese master calligrapher that I met in Zhongwei

The same calligrapher who gave me those lessons also attracted a crowd of thousands and a TV crew as he created characters over 6-feet high. He happens to be ranked as one of the top 100 calligraphers in all of China. He is also one of very few that would actually attempt such a feat.