All custom calligraphy items are made-to-order in our little Beijing artwork-mounting workshop.

Not what you want?

Try searching again using:
1. Other similar-meaning words.
2. Fewer words or just one word.

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

Quick links to words on this page...

  1. Idea / Concept
  2. Wu Wei / Without Action
  3. Purity of Mind
  4. Kensho Jyobutsu - Enlightenment - Path to Buddha
  5. Heaven / Sky
  6. Fate / Opportunity / Chance
  7. Mixed Martial Arts
  8. Truth Flashed Through The Mind
  9. Kai Zen / Kaizen
10. Re-Birth / Renaissance
11. Live Laugh Love
12. Live For The Day
13. Four Noble Truths: Desire and Attachment
14. Inner Light / Intelligence
15. Purity
16. Free Will
17. Eternal Energy / Eternal Matter
18. Karma
19. Life Energy / Spiritual Energy
20. Feng Shui
21. Beer
22. Karma
23. Kensho - Initial Enlightenment
24. 6. Right Effort / Right Endeavor / Perfect Effort
25. Five Ancestors Fist
26. Sticky Hands / Chi Sau
27. Dignity / Honor / Sanctity / Integrity
28. Five Elements
29. Mercy / Compassion / Love
30. Tathata / Ultimate Nature of All Things
31. 4. Right Action / Perfect Conduct
32. Mutual Welfare and Benefit
33. Appreciation of Truth by Meditation
34. The Mysterious Bond Between People
35. Kansei Engineering...
36. Not Only Can Water Float A Boat, It Can Sink It Also
37. Unselfish: Perfectly Impartial
38. Crisis equals Danger plus Opportunity?
39. Guanxi
40. Purified Spirit / Enlightened Attitude
41. Reality and Illusion

Idea / Concept

China lǐ niàn
Japan ri nen
Idea / Concept Wall Scroll

理念 / 理唸 means idea, notion, concept, principle, theory, philosophy*, or doctrine in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

This word is OK for a wall scroll, although it's more commonly used as an oral/informal word in Asia.

* 理念 / 理唸 is not the title for philosophy but rather is about having a certain philosophy or approach to something.

Wu Wei / Without Action

Daoist / Taoist Tenet
China wú wéi
Japan mui
Wu Wei / Without Action Wall Scroll

Wu Wei is a Daoist (Taoist) tenet, that speaks to the idea of letting nature take its course.

Some will say it's about knowing when to take action and when not to. In reality, it's more about not going against the flow. What is going to happen is controlled by the Dao (Tao), for which one who follows the Dao will not resist or struggle against.

There is a lot more to this concept but chances are, if you are looking for this entry, you already know the expanded concept.

Warning: Outside of Daoist context, this means idleness or inactivity (especially in Japanese where very few know this as a Daoist concept).

Purity of Mind

China xīn chéng jìng
Japan shin chou jou
Purity of Mind Wall Scroll

心澄淨 is the Buddhist concept of the pure and calm mind. It is believed that once you achieve a meditative state of pure focused thought, the mind becomes clear and calm. Although, others will say this means that achieving a calm mind will allow you to reach pure thought.

From Sanskrit, this is known as citta-prasāda. The concept of citta-prasāda is sometimes defined as, "clear heart-mind," or "the single and definitive aspiration."

Kensho Jyobutsu - Enlightenment - Path to Buddha

Japan ken shou jyo butsu
Kensho Jyobutsu - Enlightenment - Path to Buddha Wall Scroll

見性成佛 is a complex concept in Japanese Buddhism. 見性成佛 is the initial enlightenment that leads to self-awareness, becoming Buddha, and the path to enter Nirvana.

See Also:  Buddhism | Enlightenment | Initial Enlightenment

Heaven / Sky

China tiān
Japan ten
Heaven / Sky Wall Scroll

This character means "heaven" or "sky" in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

The context determines if you are talking about heaven or the sky above (often they are the same concept).

When combined with other characters, words like "today" and "tomorrow" are created. While sometimes the character for "sun" is used to mean "day," often "sky" represents "day" in Asian languages.
Example: 今天 (this sky) = "today," 明天 (next sky) = "tomorrow" in modern Chinese and Japanese.

In Chinese culture, regardless of which religion, it's almost always assumed that God (and any other deities) live up above in the sky. The concept of God living in the sky is likely the reason heaven is associated with this character.
The equation goes something like this: God's domain is the sky, thus, the sky is heaven.

Note: As a single character, this is a little ambiguous, so you might want to choose our Kingdom of Heaven selection instead.

See Also:  Heaven | God | Today | Sun

Fate / Opportunity / Chance

Buddhist idea of Fate
China yīn yuán
Japan in nen
Fate / Opportunity / Chance Wall Scroll

因緣 is the Buddhist concept of a chance meeting or an opportunity that presents itself by fate.

Sometimes this is used to describe a cosmic chain of events or cause and effect.

It also is used to describe predestined relationships between people - and sometimes married couples (although if you want one about marriage, try this: Fate / Destiny of Lovers.

This word can also be translated as origin, karma, destiny, affinity, connection, and relation. This all depends on context - seen alone on a wall scroll, this will be read with a "fate / chance" meaning by a Chinese person, or a Korean person who can read Hanja.

The more complex definition of this word would be, "Direct causes and indirect conditions, which underlie the actions of all things."

This concept is known as nidana in the original Sanskrit. Also sometimes presented as hetupratyaya (or "hetu and prataya") which I believe is Pali.

Note: Japanese will tend to use this version of the second Kanji: 縁
If you order this from the Japanese master calligrapher, expect that you'll get this version. However, this word often carries a negative connotation in Japanese (bad things happen), as it is used that way in a certain Japanese idiom. Therefore, this may not be the best choice if Japanese is your target language.

See Also:  Buddhism | Opportunity

Mixed Martial Arts

Japan sougoukakutougi
Mixed Martial Arts Wall Scroll

総合格闘技 is a Japanese title for mixed martial arts or MMA.

Note: Some will use other titles for this rather new word or evolving concept. This seems to be the most common right now in the Japanese language.

Truth Flashed Through The Mind

China cān wù
Truth Flashed Through The Mind Wall Scroll

參悟 is a Chan / Zen Buddhism concept that means "to understand (mystery) from meditation," or "to see truth flash through the mind."

參悟 is a pretty deep idea, therefore, your own study and contemplation may be required before you can fully appreciate it.

Kai Zen / Kaizen

China gǎi shàn
Japan kai zen
Kai Zen / Kaizen Wall Scroll

改善 means betterment, improvement, to make better, or to improve - specifically incremental and continuous improvement.

This word became very important in post-war Japan when Edwards Deming came to Japan to teach concepts of incremental and continuous improvement (for which the big 3 auto-makers did not want to hear about at the time - even kicking Deming out of their offices). The Japanese workforce absorbed this concept at a time with their culture was in flux and primed for change.

This kaizen term is closely associated with the western title "Total Quality Management." Perhaps dear to my heart since I spent years studying this at university before I moved to China where TQM did not seem to exist. Slowly, this concept has entered China as well (I've actually given lectures on the subject in Beijing).

If you are trying to improve processes at your business or need to remind yourself of your continuous TQM goals, this would be a great wall scroll to hang behind your desk, or in your workplace.

See Also:  Kansei

Re-Birth / Renaissance

China chóng shēng
Re-Birth / Renaissance Wall Scroll

重生 is the Chinese word for rebirth. This can be used literally or metaphorically. As a metaphor, you could use this to say something like "We are watching the rebirth of New Orleans after the disaster of Katrina."

重生 is sometimes translated as "renaissance."

Note: 重生 is not the Buddhist concept of reincarnation or re-birth.

See Also:  Reincarnation

Live Laugh Love

Japan ai to warai no seikatsu
Live Laugh Love Wall Scroll

Because a word list of "Live Laugh Love" is not natural in Japanese, this takes the concept and incorporates it into a proper phrase.

This can be translated as, "A life of love and laughter" or "Live life with love and laughter."

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

Live For The Day

China huó zài jīn tiān
Live For The Day Wall Scroll

活在今天 is not really an eastern concept, so it does not translate into a phrase that seems natural on a wall scroll. However, if this is your philosophy, the characters shown here do capture your idea of living for today or living in the moment. These characters literally say "Live in today" and they are grammatically correct in Chinese.

Note: This kind of makes sense in Korean Hanja but the grammar is Chinese, so it's not that natural in Korean.

Four Noble Truths: Desire and Attachment

China jí dì
Japan jittai
Four Noble Truths: Desire and Attachment Wall Scroll

At the core of suffering is often the concept of desire or attachment. This can be carnal desire, monetary desire, or the attachment you have to something that you are unwilling to part with (such as a fancy car). 集諦 is a simplification of the second noble truth which is really and exploration into the root causes of suffering - it's deeper than I can go in a few sentences.

This term is exclusively used by devout Buddhists. It is not a common term, and is remains an unknown concept to most Chinese, Japanese and Korean people.

See Also:  Buddhism | Enlightenment

Inner Light / Intelligence

China xīn dēng
Japan shin tou
Inner Light / Intelligence Wall Scroll

心燈 is the Buddhist concept of "The Lamp of the Mind" or "Inner Light."

It's kind of the Buddhist way to express intelligence.

Directly translated, this means, "heart light" or "heart lamp."
Note: In ancient China, the ideas of heart and mind are interchangeable.


Clean and Pure
China jìng
Japan jou
Purity Wall Scroll

淨 is the most simple way to express purity or cleanliness in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja. As a single character, the concept is broad: This can be a verb (the act of cleaning, purifying, or to cleanse) but it can also be the state of being clean, pure, and chaste. In some context, it can be a place to clean (like a bathing room for the soul in a Buddhist context). In Japanese, this can be a female given name "Jou" or "jō" (the Japanese equivalent of the English girl's name "Chastity").

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

Eternal Energy / Eternal Matter

China bù lái bù qù
Japan furai fuko
Eternal Energy /  Eternal Matter Wall Scroll

不來不去 is a Buddhist term, originally anāgamana-nirgama from Sanskrit.

This implies that things are neither coming into nor going out of existence.

This can also mean, "all things are eternal," or others will call this the Buddhist concept of the eternal conservation of energy.

This theory predates Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton.

Note: 不來不去 is not a well-known word for both Buddhists and non-Buddhists, so not all will recognize it.

Karma (of your past lives)

China sù yè
Japan shukugou
Karma (of your past lives) Wall Scroll

宿業 is the Buddhist concept of Past Karma. To put it simply, it's the sum of all the good and bad from all previous lives (and perhaps earlier in your current life). This term is not commonly used outside of the Buddhist faith (you'll have a tough time finding a non-Buddhist Asian person that knows this word).

Other ways to translate this: "The karma of previous existence," "The karma remaining from prior existences," or simply "Former karma."

See Also:  Buddhism

Life Energy / Spiritual Energy

Chi Energy: Essence of Life / Energy Flow
Japan ki
Life Energy / Spiritual Energy Wall Scroll

This energy flow is a fundamental concept of traditional Asian culture.

This character is romanized as "Qi" or "Chi" in Chinese, "Gi" in Korean, and "Ki" in Japanese.
Chi is believed to be part of everything that exists, as in “life force” or “spiritual energy”. It is most often translated as “energy flow,” or literally as “air” or “breath”. Some people will simply translate this as “spirit” but you have to take into consideration the kind of spirit we're talking about. I think this is weighted more toward energy than spirit.

米The character itself is a representation of steam (or breath) rising from rice. To clarify, the character for rice is shown to the right.

Steam was apparently seen as visual evidence of the release of "life energy" when this concept was first developed. The Qi / Chi / Ki character is still used in compound words to mean steam or vapor.

氣氣The etymology of this character is a bit complicated. It's suggested that the first form of this character from bronze script (about 2500 years ago) looked like one the symbols shown to the right.

氣However, it was easy to confuse this with the character for the number three. So the rice radical was added by 221 B.C. (the exact time of this change is debated). This first version with the rice radical is shown to the right.

The idea of Qi / Chi / Ki is really a philosophical concept. It's often used to refer to the “flow” of metaphysical energy that sustains living beings. Yet there is much debate that has continued for thousands of years as to whether Qi / Chi / Ki is pure energy, or consists partially, or fully of matter.

You can also see the character for Qi / Chi / Ki in common compound words such as Tai Chi / Tai Qi, Aikido, Reiki and Qi Gong / Chi Kung.

In the modern Japanese Kanji, the rice radical has been changed into two strokes that form an X.

気The original and traditional Chinese form is still understood in Japanese but we can also offer that modern Kanji form in our custom calligraphy. If you want this Japanese Kanji, please click on the character to the right, instead of the “Select and Customize” button above.

More language notes: This is pronounced like “chee” in Mandarin Chinese, and like “key” in Japanese.
This is also the same way to write this in Korean Hanja where it is Romanized as “gi” and pronounced like “gee” but with a real G-sound, not a J-sound.
Though Vietnamese no longer use Chinese characters in their daily language, this character is still widely known in Vietnam.

See Also:  Energy | Life Force | Vitality | Life | Birth | Soul

Feng Shui

China fēng shuǐ
Japan fuu sui
Feng Shui Wall Scroll

風水 is the famous technique and approach to arranging your home externally around natural features, and internally to create balance and peace.

These two characters literally mean "wind water." Obviously, the title is far more simple than the concept behind this subject.

It may enlighten you slightly to know that the character for "wind" can also mean "style," "custom" or "manner" in some context. This may apply somewhat to this title.

In a very technical sense, this title is translated as "Chinese geomancy."


China pí jiǔ
Beer Wall Scroll

啤酒 means beer in Chinese.

This can refer to virtually any fermented grain-based alcoholic beverage that has bubbles. So this includes all kinds of ales and lagers.

In China, the grains used for beer sometimes include rice. But even in Chinese beer, the concept is the same - beer must be made with hops and yeast.

Beer was the third word I learned in Chinese, and I've toured 3 different breweries in China, Tsing Tao, Lao Shan, and Yanjing. I've done my research on this calligraphy entry!


Single character for Buddhist Karma
Japan gou
Karma Wall Scroll

業 is the simplest way to express the idea of Karma. 業 is the Buddhist concept of actions committed in a former life affecting the present and future.

Out of the context of Buddhism, this Karma character means one's profession in life, trade, occupation, business, study, or career.

The Karma definition applies to both Chinese and Japanese for this character. This also works as Korean Hanja as Karma; although the meaning can vary depending on context (my Korean dictionary gives the definition of profession/occupation).

See Also:  Buddhism

Kensho - Initial Enlightenment

China jiàn xìng
Japan ken shou
Kensho - Initial Enlightenment Wall Scroll

Generally the same meaning as Satori but referring to the initial state or initial experience of enlightenment. 見性 is a Zen Buddhist term that is not widely known outside of the religion. Used more in Japan than China.

This term is exclusively used by devout Buddhists. It is not a common term, and is remains an unknown concept to most Japanese and Chinese people. Some Japanese people will dispute whether this title is valid in the Japanese language. Only order this if you are sure this title is right for you.

See Also:  Buddhism | Enlightenment

6. Right Effort / Right Endeavor / Perfect Effort

Samyag Vyayama / Samma Vayama
China zhèng jīng jìn
Japan sei shou jin
6. Right Effort / Right Endeavor / Perfect Effort Wall Scroll

正精進 is one of the Noble Eightfold Paths of Buddhism. Right Effort, along with Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration constitute the path to Concentration or Perfect Thought.

Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake in each moment, the effort to overcome laziness and defilement, the effort to make each activity of our day meditation. This concept is about pursuing wholesome things that promote good karma.

Another definition: Cultivation of what is karmically wholesome and avoidance of what is karmically unwholesome.

This term is exclusively used by devout Buddhists. It is not a common term, and is remains an unknown concept to most Japanese and Chinese people.

See Also:  Buddhism | Enlightenment

Five Ancestors Fist

China wǔ zǔ quán
Five Ancestors Fist Wall Scroll

五祖拳 is a martial arts concept (some would say "school") known as Five Ancestors' Fist.

The first character means five.
The second means ancestor, forefather, or grandparents.
The third means fist.

The ancestors referred to by this title and whose attributes contribute to this style are as follows:
1. Grace of the White Crane.
2. Agility of the Monkey.
3. Precision and skill of Emperor Taizu (great mythical ancestor).
4. Power of Luohan (Buddhist arhat).
5. Breath of Damo (founder of Buddhism, or the first Buddha).

Sticky Hands / Chi Sau

China chī shǒu
Sticky Hands / Chi Sau Wall Scroll

The first character means "wood glue" or can be understood as "sticky" or "sticking."
The second character means "hand" (or "hands").

This term can be romanized as "Chi Sau," "Chi Sao," or from Mandarin, "Chi Shou."

黐手 is a concept that comes from the Wing Chun (AKA: Ving Tsun, Wing Tsun, or Yong Chun) style of martial arts. If you are looking for this term, chances are, you already know the meaning within the context of Wing Chun.

Dignity / Honor / Sanctity / Integrity

China zūn yán
Japan son gen
Dignity / Honor / Sanctity / Integrity Wall Scroll

This form of honor is showing great respect for yourself, other people, and the rules you live by.

When you are honorable, you keep your word. You do the right thing regardless of what others are doing.

尊嚴 is the kind of personal honor or dignity that is of great value. If you lose this, you have lost yourself and perhaps the reputation of your family as well.

While this is not directly the same thing as "face" or "saving face" in Asian culture, it is associated with the same concept in China.

厳In Japan, they currently use a more simplified second character for this word. The ancient Japanese form is the same as China but after WWII some Kanji were changed. If you want the modern Japanese version, just click on the Kanji image shown to the right, instead of the button above.

Five Elements

China wǔ xíng
Japan gogyou
Five Elements Wall Scroll

五行 is the title of the five elements which are: wood, fire, water, earth, and metal.

The first character means "5" and the second character is simply "elements."

According to ancient Chinese science, all matter in the world is made up of these elements. One idea presented with the five elements is that when energy is added, matter is believed to expand. When energy is removed, matter contracts. Oddly, this concept is not far from Einstein's theories, and modern science. Just a few thousand years before Einstein.

More info: Wikipedia - Five Elements (Wu Xing).

See Also:  Wood | Fire | Water | Earth | Metal | Five Elements

Mercy / Compassion / Love

Japan ji
Mercy / Compassion / Love Wall Scroll

慈 is the simplest way to express the idea of compassion. It can also mean love for your fellow humans, humanity, or living creatures. Sometimes this is extended to mean charity.

This term is often used with Buddhist or Christian context. The concept was also spoken of by Laozi (Lao Tzu) in the Dao De Jing (Tao Te Ching).

慈 is considered the direct translation of the Sanskrit word मैत्री (maitrī) Pali word मेत्ता (mettā). In this context, it means benevolence, loving-kindness, and good will.

This Chinese character is understood in Japanese but is usually used in compound words (not seen alone). Also used in old Korean Hanja, so it's very universal.

See Also:  Mercy | Benevolence | Forgiveness | Kindness

Tathata / Ultimate Nature of All Things

China zhēn rú
Japan shinnyo
Tathata / Ultimate Nature of All Things Wall Scroll

This comes from the Sanskrit and Pali word often romanized as "tathata" or "tathatā." Originally written, "तथता."

It's a Buddhist term that is often translated as "thusness" or "suchness" but this does not explain it.
A better explanation may be, "the ultimate nature of all things." However, this gives it too strong of a feeling. This concept is sometimes described as being in awe of the simple nature of something - like a blade of grass blowing in the wind, or ripples on water. It is what it is supposed to be, these things are following their nature. Amazing in their mundane simplicity.

Every sect of Buddhism will have a slightly different flavor, or explanation, so don't get fixated on one definition.

Notes: Sometimes Buddhists use the word dharmatā, a synonym to tathatā.

In Japan, this can also be the female given name Mayuki, or the surname Majo.

4. Right Action / Perfect Conduct

Samyak Karmanta / Samma Kammanta
China zhèng yè
Japan sei gyou
4. Right Action / Perfect Conduct Wall Scroll

正業 is one of the Noble Eightfold Paths of Buddhism. Right Action, along with Right Speech and Right Living constitute the path to Virtue.

The five precepts of Right Action are:
1. To refrain from destroying living beings (no murder, or any form of taking a life).
2. To refrain from stealing.
3. To refrain from sexual misconduct (adultery, rape, etc.).
4. To refrain from false speech (lying or trickery).
5. To refrain from intoxicants which lead to heedlessness (no drugs or alcohol).

This concept can be summarized as, "Avoidance of actions that conflict with moral discipline."

Note: In Japanese, when read by a non-Buddhist, this will mean "the right job/vocation."

This term is exclusively used by devout Buddhists. It is not a common term, and is remains an unknown concept to most Japanese and Chinese people.

See Also:  Buddhism | Enlightenment

Mutual Welfare and Benefit

Japan ji ta kyou ei
Mutual Welfare and Benefit Wall Scroll

自他共榮 can be translated a few different ways. Here are some possibilities:
Benefit mutually and prosper together.
Mutual welfare and benefit.
A learning concept of mutual benefit and welfare (that applies to all fields of society).
Mutual prosperity.

The first two characters are easy to explain. They are "self" and "others." Together, these two characters create a word which means "mutual" (literally "me and them").

The third character can have different meanings depending on context. Here, it means "in common" or "to share."

The fourth character suggests the idea of "prosperity," "flourishing" or becoming "glorious."

It should be noted that these Kanji are used almost exclusively in the context of Judo martial arts. 自他共榮 is not a common or recognized Japanese proverb outside of Judo.

In modern Japanese Kanji, the last character looks like 栄 instead of 榮. If you want this slightly-simplified version, please let us know when you place your order.

Appreciation of Truth by Meditation

China xīn yìn
Japan shin nin
Appreciation of Truth by Meditation Wall Scroll

心印 is a Buddhist concept that simply stated is "appreciation of truth by meditation."

It's a deep subject, but my understanding is that you can find truth through meditation, and once you've found the truth, you can learn to appreciate it more through further meditation. This title is not commonly used outside of the Buddhist community (your Asian friends may or may not understand it). The literal translation would be something like "the mind seal," I've seen this term translated this way from Japanese Buddhist poetry. But apparently, the seal that is stamped deep in your mind is the truth. You just have to meditate to find it.

Soothill defines it this way: Mental impression, intuitive certainty; the mind is the Buddha-mind in all, which can seal or assure the truth; the term indicates the intuitive method of the Chan (Zen) school, which was independent of the spoken or written word.

Reference: Soothill-Hodous Dictionary of Chinese Buddhism

See Also:  Zen

The Mysterious Bond Between People

The invisible force that brings people together forever
China yuán
Japan en
The Mysterious Bond Between People Wall Scroll

緣 / 縁 is a complicated single character. It can mean a lot of different things depending on how you read it.

In Japanese, it can mean fate; destiny; a mysterious force that binds two people together; a relationship between two people; bond; link; connection; family ties; affinity; opportunity; chance (to meet someone and start a relationship). It can also mean "someone to rely on," relative, reminder, memento, or the female given name, Yori.

It's basically the same in Chinese, where it's defined as cause, reason, karma, fate, or predestined affinity.

In Buddhist context, it's Pratyaya. 緣 / 縁 is the concept of indirect conditions, as opposed to direct causes. It's when something happens (meeting someone) by circumstance, or a contributing environment. Instead of a direct cause or act, it is a conditioning cause without direct input or action by the involved people.

Occasionally, this character is used in a facetious way to say hem, seam, or edge of clothing. In this case, it's the seam that brings or holds the clothing together.

縁Note: Japanese will tend to use the variant of this Kanji shown to the right. If you want this version (and are ordering this from the Japanese master calligrapher), click on the Kanji at the right instead of the button above.

Kansei Engineering
Sense Engineering

China gǎn xìng gōng xué
Japan kansei kougaku
Kansei Engineering / Sense Engineering Wall Scroll

In short, kansei engineering involves collecting data on human experiences with a product, and then designing or engineering improvements based on those experiences or "senses." Some may define this as "engineering around the human experience."

There is a lot more to know about kansei but if you are looking for this word, you probably already know the big picture.

Note: This term is very new in China, and only used by businesses, factories, and engineers that are implementing TQM principles. While the characters have the same base meaning in both languages, this is really a Japanese title that is flowing back into the Chinese language (in history, most things flowed from China to Japan). To a Chinese person that is not familiar with this concept, they may interpret this as "sense vocational studies," which doesn't make much sense. You may have to explain the intended meaning to some Chinese viewers. But that can make it a great conversation piece.

感性工學 is also a newer term in Korean, and is only used in certain parts of industry, with the definition of "Sensory Engineering." Not yet in widespread use in Korea.

See Also:  Kaizen

Not Only Can Water Float A Boat, It Can Sink It Also

China shuǐ néng zài zhōu yì néng fù zhōu
Not Only Can Water Float A Boat, It Can Sink It Also Wall Scroll

Many things have opposite properties. The water you drink can also drown you. Pork may nourish you and keep you alive but under-cook it and it could kill you. Potassium nitrate is often used as a fertilizer to grow the food that sustains us but it's also been used as an explosive to topple buildings and destroy us.

This concept is easily associated with "yin yang" where an element has two opposite properties that are as different as night and day.

This proverb's meaning can be summed up this way: "Anything that can lead you to success may also contain great risks."

This phrase is known in literary circles by Korean people (scholars or literature). It is therefore also a valid proverb in Korean Hanja, though most Koreans would not be able to make sense of it.

Please note that there is an unwritten rule when the same character appears twice in the same phrase, the calligrapher will alter the appearance so that no two characters are exactly alike in the same piece. This calligraphy has two repeating characters that will be written differently than they appear here.

Unselfish: Perfectly Impartial

China dà gōng wú sī
Unselfish: Perfectly Impartial Wall Scroll

This Chinese proverb comes from an old story from some time before 476 BC. About a man named Qi Huangyang, who was commissioned by the king to select the best person for a certain job in the Imperial Court.

Qi Huangyang selected his enemy for the job. The king was very confused by the selection but Qi Huangyang explained that he was asked to find the best person for the job, not necessarily someone that he personally liked or had a friendship with.

Later, Confucius commented on how unselfish and impartial Qi Huangyang was by saying "Da Gong Wu Si" which if you look it up in a Chinese dictionary, is generally translated as "Unselfish" or "Just and Fair."

If you translate each character, you'd have something like,

"Big/Deep Justice Without Self."

Direct translations like this leave out a lot of what the Chinese characters really say. Use your imagination, and suddenly you realize that "without self" means "without thinking about yourself in the decision" - together, these two words mean "unselfish." The first two characters serve to really drive the point home that we are talking about a concept that is similar to "blind justice."

One of my Chinese-English dictionaries translates this simply as "just and fair." So that is the short and simple version.

Note: This can be pronounced in Korean but it's not a commonly used term.

See Also:  Selflessness | Work Unselfishly for the Common Good | Altruism

Crisis equals Danger plus Opportunity?

China wēi jī
Japan kiki
Crisis equals Danger plus Opportunity? Wall Scroll

Separately, the first character here does mean "danger" or "to endanger" and the second character can mean "opportunity."

However, I want to debunk a myth that was propagated by some westerners who did not have a clear understanding of Asian languages...

While often, Chinese/Japanese/Korean compound words (words of two or more characters) are the sum of their parts, this is not always the case. The compound is often understood with a completely different meaning than the two characters individually.

Many have said that the Chinese/Japanese/Korean word for Crisis is made up of the characters for "danger" and "opportunity." 危機 is true when phrased this way.
However, it's not absolutely correct to say that "danger + opportunity = crisis" in Asian cultures.

English example:
If I tell you that...
Bovine creature + Guy behind the plate in baseball = Locomotive protection would think I was mad. But consider that "cow + catcher = cowcatcher," which is the device that used to be found on steam engines to protect them if they hit an animal on the tracks. When we hear the word "cowcatcher" we don't separate the words into their individual meanings (necessarily).
The same is true with the word for crisis in Chinese/Japanese/Korean. While you can separate the characters, few Asian people would automatically do so in their minds.

The final answer:
It is a half-truth to say, "danger plus opportunity equals crisis" in Chinese/Japanese/Korean. Use this statement and concept with caution.

Also, the second character can mean "secret" or "machine" depending on context so I guess you have to say "a dangerous machine = crisis" or "danger + a secret = crisis." Both of these are only slightly more ridiculous than the first premise.

PS: 危機 is probably not a great word for a scroll, unless you have a special use for it.


The Chinese Concept of Relationship and Exchange of Favors
China guān xì
Japan kankei
Guanxi Wall Scroll

The dictionary definition is:
relations / relationship / to concern / to affect / to have to do with / connection.

But there's more to it...

In China, your relationship that you have with certain people can open doors for you. Having guanxi with someone also means they would never defraud you but instead are honor-bound to treat you fairly (of course, this goes both ways). Sometimes it is suggested that guanxi is the exchange of favors. I would say this is more having a relationship that allows you to ask for, and expect favors without shame.

There is no concept in western culture that exactly matches guanxi but perhaps having a social or professional network is similar.

Note that there are some variations common within Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and Korean Hanja for this word...

関Japanese tend to use a Chinese alternate form as shown to the right for
the first character.

關There's also another alternate form of that first character (currently used as the official Simplified form in mainland China) which looks like the character shown to the right. It's basically the central radical of the alternate version shown above but without the "door radical" around it. In more free-flowing calligraphy styles, this version would be the likely choice for a calligrapher.

係In Modern Japanese, they use the character shown to the right.
They also tend to use this same form in Korean Hanja (I've only checked this word in my Korean dictionary but it has not been confirmed by a translator's review).

系If that was not confusing enough, there is another alternate form of that second character. See right.

An Asian calligrapher of any nationality may use any of these forms at their discretion. However, They would tend to stick to the most common form used in their respective languages.

If you have any preference on any of these issues, please give us a special note with your order, and we'll make sure it's done the way you want.

Purified Spirit / Enlightened Attitude

A Japanese martial arts title/concept
China xǐ xīn
Japan sen shin
Purified Spirit / Enlightened Attitude Wall Scroll

The first Kanji alone means to wash, to bathe, primness, cleanse or purify.

The second Kanji means heart, mind, soul, or essence.

Together, these two Kanji create a word that is defined as "purified spirit" or "enlightened attitude" within the context of Japanese martial arts.

洗心 is one of the five spirits of the warrior (budo), and is often used as a Japanese martial arts tenet. Under that context it's often defined this way: A spirit that protects and harmonizes the universe. Senshin is a spirit of compassion that embraces and serves all humanity and whose function is to reconcile discord in the world. It holds all life to be sacred. It is the Buddha mind.

This title will only be familiar to Japanese who practice certain martial arts. Others may not recognize this word at all.

This word does not show up as a word in too many Chinese dictionaries but it can be read and has the same meaning in Chinese.

先心 There is an issue with the first character. The original, and probably most correct version is shown above. However, many dojo documents and other sources have used a more simple first character. Arguments ensue about which version is correct. If you want to be correct in the Japanese language, use the "Select and Customize" button above. If you want to match the Kanji used by your dojo, click the Kanji shown to the right. There is a slightly different meaning with this first character which means before, ahead, previous, future, precedence.

Reality and Illusion

Buddhism Concept
China zhēn wàng
Reality and Illusion Wall Scroll

真妄 is a specifically Buddhist term that means, "reality and illusion." Out of Buddhist context, it might be read as, "The real and the absurd."

Separately, the first character means real, true, and genuine, and the second character means absurd, fantastic, or related to fantasy.

Buy some related in-stock artwork?

Compare: $200.00

Your Price: $79.88

Compare: $200.00

Your Price: $79.88

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

Title CharactersRomaji(Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
理念 / 理唸
ri nen / rinenlǐ niàn / li3 nian4 / li nian / linian li nien / linien
Wu Wei
Without Action
muiwú wéi / wu2 wei2 / wu wei / wuwei
Purity of Mind 心澄淨shin chou jou
shin cho jo
xīn chéng jìng
xin1 cheng2 jing4
xin cheng jing
hsin ch`eng ching
hsin cheng ching
Kensho Jyobutsu - Enlightenment - Path to Buddha 見性成佛
ken shou jyo butsu
ken sho jyo butsu
tentiān / tian1 / tian t`ien / tien
因缘 / 因縁
in nen / innenyīn yuán / yin1 yuan2 / yin yuan / yinyuan yin yüan / yinyüan
Mixed Martial Arts 総合格闘技sougoukakutougi
Truth Flashed Through The Mind 參悟
cān wù / can1 wu4 / can wu / canwu ts`an wu / tsanwu / tsan wu
Kai Zen
改善kai zen / kaizengǎi shàn / gai3 shan4 / gai shan / gaishan kai shan / kaishan
重生chóng shēng
chong2 sheng1
chong sheng
ch`ung sheng
chung sheng
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...

4 Noble Truths
Compassionate Heart
Heart and Soul
Ki Aikido
Martial Arts
Mind Body Spirit
Mind Like Water
No Worries
Peaceful Warrior
Right Decision
Spirit of Taekwondo
Tao Te Ching

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 Concept Kanji, Concept Characters, Concept in Mandarin Chinese, Concept Characters, Concept in Chinese Writing, Concept in Japanese Writing, Concept in Asian Writing, Concept Ideograms, Chinese Concept symbols, Concept Hieroglyphics, Concept Glyphs, Concept in Chinese Letters, Concept Hanzi, Concept in Japanese Kanji, Concept Pictograms, Concept in the Chinese Written-Language, or Concept in the Japanese Written-Language.