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Empty in Chinese / Japanese...

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  1. Nothingness / Empty / Void
  2. Kempo Karate / Law of the Fist Empty Hand
  3. Karate-Do
  4. White
  5. Nothing / Nothingness
  6. True Emptiness Yields Transcendent Existence
  7. Sky / Ether / Void / Emptiness / Unreality

Nothingness / Empty / Void

China xū kōng
Japan kokuu
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Nothingness / Empty / Void

This means empty space, empty sky, or void.

In Buddist context, it can mean "emptiness of the material world". This can also be used as an adjective to modify other words with a meaning of unreal or insubstantial.

Kempo Karate / Law of the Fist Empty Hand

China kōng shǒu quán fǎ
Japan kara te ken pou
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Kempo Karate / Law of the Fist Empty Hand

The first two characters mean "karate" - technically they express "empty hand".

The last two express "fist law" which is Romanized from Japanese as "Kenpo" or "Kempo".

That "empty hand" translation can be understood better when you grasp the idea that karate is a martial art without weapons (other than the weapons organic to your body, such as your foot, hand, fist, etc). When you practice karate, you do so with empty hands (no weapons).

Note: There is also an antiquated way to write karate. It has the same pronunciation but a different first character which means "Tang" as in the Tang Dynasty. Some dojos use that form - let us know if you need that alternate form, and we'll add it for you.


China kōng shǒu dào
Japan kara te dou
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Credit is given that karate started in China, but migrated and became refined, and vastly popular in Japan. The literal meaning of these characters is "empty hand method" or "empty hand way". Karate is a martial art that uses no blades of weapons other than the "natural weapons" that God gave to humans (fists and feet). The last character somehow became optional, but the meaning of that character is "method" or "the way" as in Taoism / Daoism.


China bái
Japan shiro
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A lot of people search our website for "white". I am not sure the purpose, unless your family name is white.

This is the universal character for white in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

In certain context, outside of the white definition, it can mean snowy, empty, blank, bright, clear, plain, pure, innocence or gratuitous. In Korean, this can be a family name romanized as Paek or Baeg.

Nothing / Nothingness

Japan mu
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Nothing / Nothingness

This is the simple way to express "nothing". However, this single character leaves a bit of mystery as to what you might really mean if you hang it as a wall scroll. I'm not saying that's a bad thing; as you can decide what it means to you, and you won't be wrong if you stay within the general context.

More info: This character is usually used as a suffix or prefix for Chinese and Japanese words (also old Korean). It can be compared to "un-" or "-less" in English. It can also mean "not to have", no, none, not, "to lack", or nothingness.

True Emptiness Yields Transcendent Existence

Buddhist Term
China zhēn kōng miào yǒu
Japan shin kuu myou u
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True Emptiness Yields Transcendent Existence

According to Soothill this is:
The true void is the mysteriously existing; truly void, or immaterial, yet transcendentally existing.

This is the state of being absolutely nonexistent after removing all errant worldly influences. This is achieved when all forms of existence is seen for their real nature.

This is a complex Buddhist concept. Feel free to add to the conversation about this concept here: Asian Forum: Shinku Myou

Sky / Ether / Void / Emptiness / Unreality

(Used in Japanese version of five elements)
China kōng
Japan kuu / kara / sora / ron
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Sky / Ether / Void / Emptiness / Unreality

This single character means empty, void, hollow, vacant, vacuum, blank, nonexistent, vacuity, voidness, emptiness, non-existence, immateriality, unreality, the false or illusory nature of all existence, being unreal.

In Buddhist context, this relates to the doctrine that all phenomena and the ego have no reality, but are composed of a certain number of skandhas or elements, which disintegrate. The void, the sky, space. The universal, the absolute, complete abstraction without relativity. The doctrine further explains that all things are compounds, or unstable organisms, possessing no self-essence, i.e. are dependent, or caused, come into existence only to perish. The underlying reality, the principle of eternal relativity, or non-infinity, i.e. śūnya, permeates all phenomena making possible their evolution.

From Sanskrit and/or Pali, this is the translation to Chinese and Japanese of the title śūnya or śūnyatā.

In Japanese, when pronounced as "ron" (sounds like "roan") this can be a given name. It should be noted that this Kanji has about 5 different possible pronunciations in Japanese: kuu, kara, sora, ron, and uro. This is also an element in the Japanese version of the five elements.

Check dictionary for empty

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 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.

If your search is not successful, just post your request on our forum, and we'll be happy to do research or translation for any reasonable request.

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

Brother Love
Drunken Monkey Kung Fu
Family First
Five Elements
From Failure
God Child
Goju Ryu Karate Do
Grace from Heaven
I Love You
I Miss You
I Need You
Indomitable Spirit
Ki Aikido
Life is Beautiful
Love Faith Strength
Love You More
Martial Arts
Monkey Stealing Peaches
Mono No Aware
Never Give Up
Spirit of Taekwondo
Strength and Honor
Strength and Love
Tang Soo Do in Korean
Trust in God
Warrior Monk
Wing Chun
World Peace

With so many searches, we had to upgrade to our own Linux server.
Of course, only one in 500 searches results in a purchase - Hey buy a wall scroll!!!

See: Our list of specifically Japanese Kanji Calligraphy Wall Scrolls. And, check out Our list of specifically old Korean Hanja Calligraphy Wall Scrolls.

The following table is only helpful for those studying Chinese (or Japanese), and perhaps helps search engines to find this page when someone enters Romanized Chinese or Japanese

Title CharactersRomaji(Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Nothingness / Empty / Void 虛空
kokuu / kokuxū kōng / xu1 kong1 / xu kong / xukong hsü k`ung / hsükung / hsü kung
Kempo Karate / Law of the Fist Empty Hand 空手拳法kara te ken pou
kara te ken po
kōng shǒu quán fǎ
kong1 shou3 quan2 fa3
kong shou quan fa
k`ung shou ch`üan fa
kung shou chüan fa
Karate-Do 空手道kara te dou
kara te do
kōng shǒu dào
kong1 shou3 dao4
kong shou dao
k`ung shou tao
kung shou tao
White shirobái / bai2 / bai pai
Nothing / Nothingness
muwú / wu2 / wu
True Emptiness Yields Transcendent Existence 眞空妙有shin kuu myou u
shin ku myo u
zhēn kōng miào yǒu
zhen1 kong1 miao4 you3
zhen kong miao you
chen k`ung miao yu
chen kung miao yu
Sky / Ether / Void / Emptiness / Unreality kuu / kara / sora / ron
ku / kara / sora / ron
kōng / kong1 / kong k`ung / kung

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.

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

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