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Your Chinese / Japanese Calligraphy Search for "Ability"...

Quick links to words on this page...

  1. Ability to Adapt
  2. Leadership / Ability to Lead
  3. Strength / Ability
  4. Supernatural Energy
  5. Wisdom / Brilliance
  6. Hidden Dragon Crouching Tiger
  7. Longevity / Long Life
  8. Perception of Knowledge
  9. Power of Oneself / Self-Sufficient
10. Resilient in the Face of Adversity
11. Power / Strength
12. Water Dragon / Rain Dragon
13. Free Will
14. Imagination
15. Immortal
16. Spiritual Strength / Strength of Spirit
17. Even a fool may sometimes come up with a good idea
18. Intelligence / Intellect
19. Perseverance is the Key
20. Rooster / Chicken
21. Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight
22. Strong / Powerful / Force
23. Art of War: 5 Points of Analysis
24. Inner Beauty / Inner Wisdom
25. Psychic
26. Black or white cat matters not as long as it can catch mice

Ability to Adapt

Japan ouhen nouryoku
Ability to Adapt Wall Scroll

応変能力 is, "the ability to take proper steps to meet the situation," "the ability to adapt oneself to the requirement of the moment," "the ability to adapt to circumstances," or "adapt and overcome," in Japanese Kanji.

Leadership / Ability to Lead

Japan shidouryoku
Leadership / Ability to Lead Wall Scroll

指導力 is the Japanese word for "Leadership." This refers to the ability to lead (or with certain adjectives added, the lack of ability to lead).

Strength / Ability

China lì liàng
Japan riki ryou
Strength / Ability Wall Scroll

力量 is a general strength term. It can refer to mental or physical strength (depending on context). This word can also be used to describe strength in terms of capability, capacity, ability and even tact. Some may translate this as power or force.

Supernatural Energy

China chāo néng lì
Japan chounouryoku
Supernatural Energy Wall Scroll

This word is used in both Japanese and Chinese to refer to the ability to comprehend supernatural power. Some may translate this as psychic ability, psychic power, ESP, or PSI.

Wisdom / Brilliance

China cái zhì
Japan sai chi
Wisdom / Brilliance Wall Scroll

In Chinese, this means "ability and wisdom" or "ability and intelligence."
It can also be defined as brilliance, or genius.

In Japanese, it takes on a meaning more of "wit and intelligence."

才智Note that the ancient/traditional form is shown above. After WWII, in both Japan and China, the first character was simplified. If you want this reformed/simplified version, just click on the characters to the right, instead of the button above. This is a good choice if your audience is Japanese.

Hidden Dragon Crouching Tiger

Undiscovered persons of exceptional ability
China cáng lóng wò hǔ
Hidden Dragon Crouching Tiger Wall Scroll

The meaning of 藏龍臥虎 is that both the tiger and dragon have amazing talents, but if they are out of view, you may not have discovered them.

This old Chinese idiom/proverb is appropriate for someone with amazing ability that keeps that ability hidden.

You might think this title is in reverse, but actually, this is the original Chinese proverb.
The movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon popularized this alternate version.

Longevity / Long Life

China cháng shòu
Japan chouju
Longevity / Long Life Wall Scroll

Used as a noun, this word means "longevity" or "the ability to live long." It can also be an adjective meaning "long lived."

Japanese LongevityPlease note that Japanese use a simplified version of the second character of longevity - it also happens to be the same simplification used in mainland China. Click on the character to the right if you want the Japanese/Simplified version of this two-character longevity calligraphy.

Perception of Knowledge

China zhī shi
Japan chishiki
Perception of Knowledge Wall Scroll

The first character represents "to know" or "to realize." The second character alone refers to the ability to "recognize," or "realize" and can also be used to mean "knowing." Combined, these two characters have the very strong meaning of "knowledge" and in some context, "learning."

See Also:  Wisdom | Learn From Wisdom

Power of Oneself / Self-Sufficient

China zì lì
Japan jiriki
Power of Oneself / Self-Sufficient Wall Scroll

自力 is a word in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, old Korean, and Buddhist term meaning: power within oneself; self-sufficient; by oneself; self-made; self-power; inner ability.

Resilient in the Face of Adversity

Japan u ta re tsuyo i
Resilient in the Face of Adversity Wall Scroll

打たれ強い is often used as a martial arts term. It means being able to take a lot of punishment, or able to take a hit. In the context of Japanese baseball, it can also refer to the pitcher's ability to keep his cool when the batter gets a hit. In general, this is about being resilient and strong in the face of criticism or adversity.

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

Power / Strength

Japan chikara / ryoku
Power / Strength Wall Scroll

The simplest form of "power" or "strength."

In Japanese it is pronounced "chikara" when used alone, and "ryoku" when used in a sentence (there are also a few other possible pronunciations of this Kanji in Japanese).

In some context, this can mean ability, force, physical strength, capability, and influence.

See Also:  Strength | Vitality | Health

Water Dragon / Rain Dragon

China jiāo
Japan kou ryuu
Water Dragon / Rain Dragon Wall Scroll

This title for water dragon is the hornless or scaled dragon. 蛟龍 is the king of all aquatic animals with the ability to control rain and floods.

In Japanese, the rain dragon can represent hidden genius. This dragon's domain is the deep murky water, thus with hidden potential. This can also be the Japanese given name Kouryuu.

Free Will

China zì yóu yì zhì
Japan jiyuu ishi
Free Will Wall Scroll

This concept has existed for thousands of years that humans have the ability to understand right and wrong, then make a decision one way or the other (thus affecting their own fate).

Sources such as Confucius, Buddhist scriptures, the Qur'an and the Bible all address this idea.

As for the characters shown here, the first two mean free, freedom, or liberty. The last two simply mean "will."

See Also:  Freedom | Strong Willed | Fate


China xiǎng xiàng lì
Japan souzouryoku
Imagination Wall Scroll

想像力 is probably the best way to express "imagination" in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja. It literally means "your strength to imagine." As the last character means strength or ability, while the first two mean imagine or conceptualize. My Japanese dictionary defines this as, "The power of imagination." While my Korean dictionary says, "imaginative power."


China xiān
Japan sento / sen
Immortal Wall Scroll

This character means immortal (as in a being or person).

In some context, it can mean hermit, ascetic, man of the hills, or wizard. The Buddha is often put in this category.

In Chinese mythology and folklore, there is a famous group of eight immortals (八仙).

The 楞嚴經 (Śūraṅgama Sūtra) speaks of many kinds of immortals including walkers on the earth, fliers, wanderers at will (into space or into the deva heavens), beings with the ability to transform themselves into any form, etc.

Spiritual Strength / Strength of Spirit

China jīng shén lì liàng
Japan seishin rikiryou
Spiritual Strength / Strength of Spirit Wall Scroll

This title speaks of one's soul or spirit, and the capacity or strength that soul possesses.

The first two characters mean mind, heart, spirit, and/or soul.

The last two characters mean strength, capacity, or ability.

Note: Separately, these are two words in Japanese, and can be pronounced but this does not make a natural title in Japanese (best if your audience is Chinese).

Even a fool may sometimes come up with a good idea

China qiān lǜ yī dé
Japan senryonoittoku
Even a fool may sometimes come up with a good idea Wall Scroll

千慮一得 means, "1000 tries, one success," or "[a] thousand tries [leads to] one success."

This proverb is a humble way to speak of your success, ideas, or accomplishments. As if you are a fool who just got lucky in inventing or creating something.

Translations for this proverb include:
Even without any notable ability on my part, I may still get it right sometimes by good luck.
Even a fool may sometimes come up with a good idea.

Intelligence / Intellect

China zhì néng
Japan chinou
Intelligence / Intellect Wall Scroll

These two characters mean intelligence or intelligent.

The first character means wisdom, intellect or knowledge.

The second means ability, talent, skill, capacity, capable, able, and can even mean competent.

Together, the compound word can mean "capacity for wisdom," "useful knowledge," or even "mental power." Obviously this translates more clearly into English as "intelligence."

Note: 智能 / 知能 is not the same word used to mean "military intelligence." See our other entry for that.

知In modern Japan, they tend to use a version of the first character without the bottom radical. If your audience for this artwork is Japanese, please click on the Kanji to the right instead of the button above.

Perseverance is the Key

Skills cannot be perfected without perseverance in practice
China bú pà liàn bù chéng jiù pà xīn bù héng
Perseverance is the Key Wall Scroll

This literally translates as: Do not worry about not being able to master [a skill]; What [one should] be concerned about is lack of perseverance.

Figuratively, this means: One's skills cannot be perfected without perseverance in practice.

For me, I've learned that you can only get so much from school or studying. You've really got to do "on-the-job training" to perfect your ability and skill.

For martial arts students: You can read about a kick in a book, or someone can tell you about a certain kick but until you practice the kick, there's no way you'll master it.

Rooster / Chicken

Year of the Rooster / Zodiac Sign
Japan niwatori
Rooster / Chicken Wall Scroll

鷄 or 雞 is the character for rooster or chicken in Chinese, old Korean, and Japanese.

If you were born in the year of the rooster (chicken), you . . .

Have a unique sense of color.
Are high principled and responsible.
Have persuasive power.
Are honest.
Have a great ability to communicate.

Common Chinese chicken Alternate Chinese chicken #1 Alternate Chinese chicken #2

Please note: There are a few different ways to write rooster / chicken as shown to the right. If you are particular about the form, please let us know when you place your order.

See also our Chinese Zodiac page.

Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight

Always rising after a fall or repeated failures
Japan shichi ten hakki / nana korobi ya oki
Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight Wall Scroll

This Japanese proverb relays the vicissitudes of life, with the meaning "seven times down eight times up."

Some would more naturally translate it into English as "Always rising after a fall or repeated failures" or compare it to the English, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."

The first Kanji is literally "7." The second means "fall down" (sometimes this Kanji means "turn around," "revolve" or "turn over" but in this case, it holds the meaning of "fall"). The third is "8." And the last is "get up," "rouse," or "rise."

Basically, if you fail 7 times, you should recover from those events and be prepared to rise an 8th time. This also applies if it is the world or circumstances that knock you down seven times...
...just remember that you have the ability to bounce back from any kind of adversity.

Note: This can be pronounced two ways. One is "shichi ten hakki" or "shichitenhakki." The other is "nana korobi ya oki" also written, "nanakorobi-yaoki."

Special Note: The second character is a Kanji that is not used in China. Therefore, please only select our Japanese master calligrapher for this selection.

Strong / Powerful / Force

China qiáng
Japan kyou
Strong / Powerful / Force Wall Scroll

This "strong" character means strength, force, powerful, better, stubborn, and stiff (yes, all of this in one character). This "strong" has less to do with physical strength and more to do with having a winning attitude, or just having the ability to win at something.

Note that most of the time, this character is pronounced "qiang" but when used with the meaning of stubborn, unyielding, or stiff, it is pronounced "jiang" in Chinese.

Also, sometimes "qiang" is used in modern Chinese to describe people that do crazy things (Example: Bicycling from Beijing to Tibet alone). I sometimes can be found outside my Beijing apartment wearing nothing but shorts and a tee-shirt while eating an ice cream during a snow storm, just to hear my neighbors call me "qiang." Maybe they mean "strong" but perhaps they are using the new meaning of "crazy strong."

Also a Korean Hanja with same meaning but mostly used in compound words.

強 is used in Japanese (though normally in compound words). In Japanese, it has the same meaning but in some context can mean "a little more than..." or "a little over [some amount]." Most Japanese would read this as tough, strength, stiff, hard, inflexible, obstinate, or stubborn.

Art of War: 5 Points of Analysis

China dào tiān dì jiàng fǎ
Japan dou ten chi shou hou
Art of War: 5 Points of Analysis Wall Scroll

The first chapter of Sun Tzu's Art of War lists five key points to analyzing your situation.

It reads like a 5-part military proverb. Sun Tzu says that to sharpen your skills, you must plan. To plan well, you must know your situation. Therefore, you must consider and discuss the following:

1. Philosophy and Politics: Make sure your way or your policy is agreeable among all of your troops (and the citizens of your kingdom as well). For when your soldiers believe in you and your way, they will follow you to their deaths without hesitation, and will not question your orders.

2. Heaven/Sky: Consider climate / weather. This can also mean to consider whether God is smiling on you. In the modern military, this could be waiting for clear skies so that you can have air support for an amphibious landing.

3. Ground/Earth: Consider the terrain in which the battle will take place. This includes analyzing defensible positions, exit routes, and using varying elevation to your advantage. When you plan an ambush, you must know your terrain, and the best location from which to stage that ambush. This knowledge will also help you avoid being ambushed, as you will know where the likely places in which to expect an ambush from your enemy.

4. Leadership: This applies to you as the general, and also to your lieutenants. A leader should be smart and be able to develop good strategies. Leaders should keep their word, and if they break a promise, they should punish themselves as harshly as they would punish subordinates. Leaders should be benevolent to their troops, with almost a fatherly love for them. Leaders must have the ability to make brave and fast decisions. Leaders must have steadfast principles.

5. [Military] Methods: This can also mean laws, rules, principles, model, or system. You must have an efficient organization in place to manage both your troops and supplies. In the modern military, this would be a combination of how your unit is organized, and your SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).

Notes: This is a simplistic translation and explanation. Much more is suggested in the actual text of the Art of War (Bing Fa). It would take a lot of study to master all of these aspects. In fact, these five characters can be compared to the modern military acronyms such as BAMCIS or SMEAC.

CJK notes: I have included the Japanese and Korean pronunciations but in Chinese, Korean and Japanese, this does not make a typical phrase (with subject, verb, and object) it is a list that only someone familiar with Sun Tzu's writings would understand.

Inner Beauty / Inner Wisdom

China nèi xiù
Inner Beauty / Inner Wisdom Wall Scroll

內秀 is an interesting word in Chinese that simultaneously means inner beauty and inner wisdom.

Some will translate it as "intelligent, but unassuming."
It's about having amazing abilities or traits on the inside which are not immediately obvious on the outside.


China tōng líng rén
Psychic Wall Scroll

This Chinese title refers to a person with psychic abilities, psychic powers, or ESP.

Black or white cat matters not as long as it can catch mice

Ability is more important than looks
China bù guǎn hēi māo bái māo néng zhuō zhe lǎo shǔ de jiù shì hǎo mǎo
Black or white cat matters not as long as it can catch mice Wall Scroll

This literally translates as: It doesn't matter [if a] cat [is] black [or] white, [as long as it] can catch mice, it's a good cat.

This proverb was either composed or made famous by Deng XiaoPing in 1961 when he exclaimed, "I don't care if it's a white cat or a black cat. It's a good cat so long as it catches mice" when his critics pointed out that his ideas were Capitalistic (free market). The response was meant to say, "It does not matter if it's Communist or Capitalist, as long as it works."

This Chinese proverb can be used to suggest one should disregard looks or a person's race, as long as they can do the job. It can also be used as a metaphor for many other situations.

Deng XiaoPing probably saved China from collapse (as the Soviet Union experienced). He changed China's economy from pure Communism to a hybrid where the free market (Capitalism) is encouraged. More about Deng XiaoPing

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

Title CharactersRomaji(Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Ability to Adapt 応変能力ouhen nouryoku
ohen noryoku
Ability to Lead
力量riki ryou / rikiryou / riki ryo / rikiryolì liàng / li4 liang4 / li liang / liliang
Supernatural Energy 超能力chounouryoku
chāo néng lì
chao1 neng2 li4
chao neng li
ch`ao neng li
chao neng li
sai chi / saichicái zhì / cai2 zhi4 / cai zhi / caizhi ts`ai chih / tsaichih / tsai chih
Hidden Dragon Crouching Tiger 藏龍臥虎
cáng lóng wò hǔ
cang2 long2 wo4 hu3
cang long wo hu
ts`ang lung wo hu
tsang lung wo hu
Long Life
chouju / chojucháng shòu
chang2 shou4
chang shou
ch`ang shou
chang shou
Perception of Knowledge 知識
chishikizhī shi / zhi1 shi / zhi shi / zhishi chih shih / chihshih
Power of Oneself
自力jirikizì lì / zi4 li4 / zi li / zili tzu li / tzuli
Resilient in the Face of Adversity 打たれ強いu ta re tsuyo i
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.

Successful Chinese Character and Japanese Kanji calligraphy searches within the last few hours...

Art of War
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Double Happiness
Inner Power
Inner Strength
Love and Honor
Mind Body Spirit
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Serenity Prayer
Spirit of Taekwondo

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.

Check out my lists of Japanese Kanji Calligraphy Wall Scrolls and Old Korean Hanja Calligraphy Wall Scrolls.

Some people may refer to this entry as Ability Kanji, Ability Characters, Ability in Mandarin Chinese, Ability Characters, Ability in Chinese Writing, Ability in Japanese Writing, Ability in Asian Writing, Ability Ideograms, Chinese Ability symbols, Ability Hieroglyphics, Ability Glyphs, Ability in Chinese Letters, Ability Hanzi, Ability in Japanese Kanji, Ability Pictograms, Ability in the Chinese Written-Language, or Ability in the Japanese Written-Language.