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Quick links to words on this page...
| 1. Nothingness / Empty / Void
2. Kempo Karate / Law of the Fist Empty Hand
5. Nothing / Nothingness
6. True Emptiness Yields Transcendent Existence
7. Law of the Fist Karate / Kempo Karate
8. Humble / Modest
9. Sky / Ether / Void / Emptiness / Unreality
10. Jujitsu / Jujutsu
|11. Old Karate / Tang Hand Way / Tang Soo Do|
14. Shotokan Karate-Do
15. Drink Up! / Cheers!
16. Isshin Ryu Karate Do
17. Five Elements
18. Humble / Modesty / Humility
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
The first two characters mean "fist law" which is Romanized from Japanese as "Kenpo" or "Kempo".
The last two are a secondary way to express "karate".
The more common way to express "karate" is literally "empty hand" (meaning "without weapons in your hand"). This version would be translated literally as "Tang hand" (as in the Tang Dynasty) or "China hand" (sometimes "Tang" means "China" in Japanese). Even though the character for "Tang" is used instead of "empty", it's still pronounced "kara-te" in Japanese.
This is not commonly used in China - so please consider it to be a Japanese-only title.
Many Japanese people will say the last two Kanji are the old and antiquated way to say Karate. This fact does not stop this title from existing, as these four characters are often seen in Kenpo / Kempo Dojos around the western world.
In Chinese and Korean, the first character means "modest". The second means "empty". Together these characters reinforce the ideas of modesty and being empty of ego.
This can also be translated as humbleness or humility.
In Japan, they tend to use a slightly-simplified version of the second Kanji for this word. It also happens to be an alternate/simplified version used in China too. If you want to order the modern Japanese/simplified version, just click in the Kanji image shown to the right, instead of the button above.
See Also... Moderation
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.
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.
This is the alternate title for Karate-do. This title uses a character which represents the Tang Dynasty of China. Thus, this is often translated as the "Tang Hand Way" or incorrectly, "Tang Fist Way". I have also seen some call it "China Hand Way".
There is not a lot of information on this title, but some believe that a simplified form of Kung Fu that started in China, and ended up very popular in Japan used this title initially. It was later changed in Japan to a different Karate title which means "Empty Hand" (as in, without weapons).
In Korean, this title represents a certain style of martial arts. From Korean, this is often romanized as "Tang Soo Do", "Tangsudo", "Dang Su Do", or "Dangsudo". The last two romanizations on that list are the official Korean government romanization, though martial arts schools tend to use other non-standard versions.
This is "nothingness" in Buddhist context.
The first character means empty, but can also mean air or sky (air and sky have no form).
The second character means have not, no, none, not or to lack.
Together these characters reinforce each other into a word that means "absolute nothingness".
I know this is a term used in Buddhism, but I have not yet figured out the context in which it is used. I suppose it can be the fact that Buddhists believe that the world in a non-real illusion, or perhaps it's about visualizing yourself as "nothing" and therefore leaving behind your desire and worldliness.
Buddhist concepts and titles often have this element of ambiguity or rather "mystery". Therefore, such ideas can have different meanings to different people, and that's okay. If you don't get it right in this lifetime, as there will be plenty more lifetimes to master it (whatever "it" is, and if "it" really exists at all).
Soothill defines this as "Unreality, or immateriality, of things, which is defined as nothing existing of independent or self-contained nature".
This is one of the most widespread types of martial arts in the world as well as being an Olympic sport. Taekwondo was born in Korea with influences of Chinese and Japanese styles, combined with traditional Korean combat skills. Some will define it as the "Korean art of empty-handed self-defense".
In the simplest translation, the first character means "kick", the second character can mean either "fist" or "punching" the third means "way" or "method". Altogether, you could say this is "Kick Punch Method". When heard or read in various Asian languages, all will automatically think of this famous Korean martial art. It is written the same in Japanese Kanji, Chinese, and Korean Hanja characters - so the appearance of the characters are rather universal. However, you should note that there is another way to write this in modern Korean Hangul characters which looks like the image to the right.
We suggest the original Korean Hanja (Chinese characters) for a wall scroll, but if you really need the Hangul version, you must use master calligrapher Xing An-Ping: Order Taekwondo in Korean Hangul
Note: Taekwondo is sometimes Romanized as Tae-Kwondo, Tae Kwon Do, Taekwon-do, Taegwondo, Tae Gweon Do, Tai Kwon Do, Taikwondo, Taekwando, Tae Kwan Do and in Chinese Taiquandao, Tai Quan Dao, Taichuando, or Tai Chuan Tao.
These Japanese Kanji make up the title for Shotokan Karate.
This should be considered a Japanese-only title. It does make sense and is pronounceable in Chinese and Korean, but only as a title for a building (perhaps a martial arts hall) surrounded by pine trees - followed by the characters for "The empty hand method" (kong shou dao / Karate-do). Also, the first two characters were simplified in both Japanese and Chinese. The third character was simplified in Chinese, but not Japanese.
Upon request, we can offer the fully traditional Chinese version, but be sure you know what you are asking for.
Note: This would be understood in Chinese and Korean Hanja by a person from those cultures who is familiar with martial arts and various schools of Japanese karate.
This is the common way to say "cheers" or give a toast in Chinese, Japanese and old Korean (written the same in all three languages, though pronounced differently). This is an appropriate wall scroll for a bar, pub, or other drinking area.
The first character literally means "dry" or "parched".
The second character means "cup" or "glass".
Together the meaning is to drink up (empty your glass).
This is the full title for Isshin-Ryu Karate-Do. The literal meaning is "one heart method empty hand way". There are also other ways you can translate this, but if you are looking for this title, you already know that.
This would make a great wall scroll for your dojo or private studio, if you study this form of Japanese (technically from Okinawa) Karate.
Because this is a specifically-Japanese title, we strongely recommend that you select our Japanese Master Calligrapher to create this artwork for you.
This is the specifically-Japanese version of the five elements. This is a little different than the ancient or original Chinese version.
The elements are written in this order:
1. Earth / Terra / Ground
4. Wind / Air
5. Sky / Emptiness / Void / Ether
Note: This set of Kanji can also be romanized as "ji sui ka fuu kuu", "jisuikafuukuu", or "jisuikafuku".
These can also be written in the order 地火風水空 (chi ka sui fuu kuu). Let me know when you place your order if you want the Kanji to be in this character order.
In Japanese, first Kanji means "self-effacing", "humble oneself", "condescend", "be modest". The second means "void" or "emptiness".
This is the most common way to say humble or modest in Japanese without a derogatory meaning (some other words suggest weakness, but this version holds a better humble meaning).
See Also... Moderation
The scroll that I am holding in this picture is a "medium size"
4-character wall scroll.
As you can see, it is a great size to hang on your wall.
(We also offer custom wall scrolls in larger sizes)
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.
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.
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...
A Life of Serenity|
A New Life
A Vast Sky Full of Stars
|Broken Mirror Rejoined|
God is Always With You
|God is Love|
Grace from Heaven
I Need You
Live for Today
Love With All My Heart
Love You Forever
One True Love
Pursuit of Happiness
Spirit of the Tiger
|Trust No Man|
Wisdom from Hard Knocks
Year of the Dragon
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!!!
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
|Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Nothingness / Empty / Void||虚空|
|Kempo Karate / Law of the Fist Empty Hand||空手拳法|
|kara te ken pou|
kara te ken po
|kōng shǒu quán fǎ|
kong shou quan fa
k`ung shou ch`üan fa
|kong1 shou3 quan2 fa3|
kung shou chüan fa
|kara te dou|
kara te do
|kōng shǒu dào|
kong shou dao
k`ung shou tao
|kong1 shou3 dao4|
kung shou tao
|Nothing / Nothingness||无 |
|True Emptiness Yields Transcendent Existence||眞空妙有|
|shin kuu myou u|
shin ku myo u
|zhēn kōng miào yǒu|
zhen kong miao you
chen k`ung miao yu
|zhen1 kong1 miao4 you3|
chen kung miao yu
|Law of the Fist Karate / Kempo Karate||拳法唐手|
|ken pou kara te|
ken po kara te
|quán fǎ táng shǒu|
quan fa tang shou
ch`üan fa t`ang shou
|quan2 fa3 tang2 shou3|
chüan fa tang shou
|Humble / Modest||谦虚|
|Sky / Ether / Void / Emptiness / Unreality||空|
|kuu / kara / sora / ron|
ku / kara / sora / ron
|Jujitsu / Jujutsu||柔术|
|Old Karate / Tang Hand Way / Tang Soo Do||唐手道|
|kara te do|
|táng shǒu dào|
tang shou dao
t`ang shou tao
|tang2 shou3 dao4|
tang shou tao
|te kon do|
|tái quán dào|
tai quan dao
t`ai ch`üan tao
|tai2 quan2 dao4|
tai chüan tao
|shou tou kan kara te dou|
sho to kan kara te do
|sōng tāo guǎn kōng shǒu dào|
song tao guan kong shou dao
sung t`ao kuan k`ung shou tao
|song1 tao1 guan3 kong1 shou3 dao4|
sung tao kuan kung shou tao
|Drink Up! / Cheers!||乾杯|
|Isshin Ryu Karate Do||一心流空手道|
|i sshin ryuu kara te dou|
i shin ryu kara te do
|Five Elements (Japanese)||地水火风空|
|chi sui ka fuu kuu|
chi sui ka fu ku
|Humble / Modesty / Humility (Japanese)||謙虚|
If you have not set up your computer to display Chinese, the characters in this table probably look like empty boxes or random text garbage.
This is why I spent hundreds of hours making images so that you could view the characters in the "empty" listings above.
If you want your Windows computer to be able to display Chinese characters you can either head to your Regional and Language options in your Win XP control panel, select the [Languages] tab and click on [Install files for East Asian Languages]. This task will ask for your Win XP CD to complete in most cases. If you don't have your Windows XP CD, or are running Windows 98, you can also download/run the simplified Chinese font package installer from Microsoft which works independently with Win 98, ME, 2000, and XP. It's a 2.5MB download, so if you are on dial up, start the download and go make a sandwich.
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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