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 "English Word in Chinese Calligraphy"...

Quick links to words on this page...

  1. England
  2. Believer
  3. Strong and Beautiful
  4. Live Laugh Love
  5. Home of the Auspicious Golden Dragon
  6. Initiative / Proactive / Positive
  7. Tactics of War
  8. I Miss You
  9. Gung Ho
10. Dojo / Martial Arts Studio
11. Crystal
12. Any success can not compensate...
13. Discipline
14. Gutsy / Daring / Bold
15. Vampire
16. Religious Devotion / Faith in God / Religious Faith
17. Inspiration
18. Strong Hearted / Strong Willed
19. Let Us Try
20. Unity / United / Solidarity / Cooperation
21. Devotion / Diligence / Vigorous / Energetic
22. Community
23. Greatest Love
24. Optimism / Happy With Your Fate
25. Reality
26. Intelligence / Intellect
27. Pillars of Marriage
28. King
29. Love and Respect
30. Seeker
31. Exercise
32. Sexy
33. Sense of Shame / Sense of Honor...
34. Bonsai / Penzai
35. Devotion / Dedication / Attentive / Focused
36. Sangha
37. Hello / Ni Hao
38. Good Good Study, Day Day Up
39. Christ
40. Bruce Lee
41. Self-Confidence
42. How can you catch tiger cubs...
43. Christianity / Christian
44. Hella
45. Jujitsu / Jujutsu
46. Kung Fu / Gong Fu
47. Fear No Evil
48. Archer
49. Indomitable / Unyielding
50. Asian Pride / Oriental Pride...
51. Everything Happens for a Reason
52. Peace and Love
53. John 3:16
54. Feel at Ease Anywhere / The World is My Home
55. Homosexual Male / Gay Male
56. Thank You / Xie Xie
57. Iron Fist
58. Kung Fu San Soo / San Shou
59. Construction Crane
60. The Saint
61. Wing Chun
62. Mama / Mother / Mommy
63. Crisis equals Danger plus Opportunity?
64. Nguyen / Ruan
65. Filial Piety
66. Northern Praying Mantis
67. Bloodless Victory
68. Geisha
69. Year-In Year-Out Have Abundance
70. Kenpo / Kempo / Quan Fa / Chuan Fa
71. Hapkido
72. Turtle
73. Japanese Snapping Turtle...
74. Undaunted After Repeated Setbacks


England

Can mean: Courage / Bravery
China yīng
Japan ei
England Wall Scroll

In Chinese, Japanese, and old Korean, this can often be confused or read as a short name for England (this character is the first syllable of the word for England, the English language, British Pound, and other titles from the British Isles).

In some context, this can mean "outstanding" or even "flower." But it will most often read as having something to do with the United Kingdom.


This is not the most common way to say courage or bravery but you may see it used sometimes.

I strongly recommend that you choose another form of courage/bravery.

Believer

China xìn tú
Japan shinto
Believer Wall Scroll

信徒 is the Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja word for "believer."

Just as in English, this word can be used for a follower of virtually any religion.

This word can also be translated into English as layman, adherent, follower, laity, disciple, or devotee.

Strong and Beautiful

China jiàn měi
Japan takemi
Strong and Beautiful Wall Scroll

We don't really have a word like this in English but these two characters create a word that means "strong and beautiful." It could also be translated as "healthy and beautiful."

Note: 健美 is a word in Chinese and Korean but it's also the family name Takemi in Japanese. The characters hold the same meaning in Japanese but It's kind of like having the English name Stillwell, when few people would perceive the meanings of still and well.

Live Laugh Love

China xiào ài shēng huó
Live Laugh Love Wall Scroll

In English, the word order shown in the title is the most natural or popular. In Chinese, the natural order is a little different:

The first character means laugh (sometimes means smile).

The second character means love.

The last two characters mean "live" as in "to be alive" or "pursue life."

Please note: 笑愛生活 is not a normal phrase, in that it does not have a subject, verb, and object. It is a word list. Word lists are not common in Asian languages/grammar (at least not as normal as they are in English). We only added this entry because so many people requested it.

We put the characters in the order shown above, as it almost makes a single word with the meaning, "A life of laughter and love." It's a made-up word but it sounds good in Chinese.


We removed the Japanese pronunciation guide from this entry, as the professional Japanese translator deemed it "near nonsense" from a Japanese perspective. Choose this only if your audience is Chinese and you want the fewest-possible characters to express this idea.

In Korean, this would be 소애생활 or "so ae saeng hwar" but I have not confirmed that this makes sense in Korean.

Home of the Auspicious Golden Dragon

China jīn ruì xiáng lóng zhī jiā
Home of the Auspicious Golden Dragon Wall Scroll

This "home golden auspicious dragon" title was added by special request of a customer.

The first character means gold or golden.
The second and third characters hold the meaning of auspiciousness and good luck.
The fourth character is dragon.
The fifth is a possessive modifier (like making "dragon" into "dragon's").
The last character means home (but in some context can mean "family" - however, here it would generally be understood as "home").

Note: The word order is different than the English title, because of grammar differences between English and Chinese. This phrase sounds very natural in Chinese in this character order. If written in the English word order, it would sound very strange and lose its impact in Chinese.


Note: Korean pronunciation is included above, but this has not been reviewed by a Korean translator.

Initiative / Proactive / Positive

China jī jí
Japan sekkyoku
Initiative / Proactive / Positive Wall Scroll

This word closely matches the way initiative is often used in English. This word can also mean active, energetic, vigorous, positive (outlook), or proactive in Chinese.

The meaning also includes positive and progressive in Japanese and Korean.

Tactics of War

China zhàn shù
Japan senjutsu
Tactics of War Wall Scroll

This can mean "tactics of war," "battle tactics" or simply "tactics" (being that warfare is implied in that English word).

This word is written in the ancient and traditional form of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.


戦

In modern Japan, the first character has been simplified or modified. If you want the modern Japanese Kanji version, just click on that character shown to the right.

I Miss You

China wǒ xiǎng nǐ
I Miss You Wall Scroll

我想你 is the Chinese way to say "I miss you." It is said in the same word order in both English and Chinese.

Gung Ho

Working Together
China gōng hé
Japan guai
Gung Ho Wall Scroll

工合 is one of those Asian words that is used more in English than it is in the original Chinese.

Gung Ho was originally used to speak of Carlson's Raiders, a group of "Gung Ho" U.S. Marines who went on an island-hopping campaign of death during WWII.

A movie called Gung Ho came out in the mid-1940s and was later re-released in the 1950s depicting the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, and brought this word to the mainstream.

It is still sometimes used today within the U.S. Marine Corps brotherhood to refer to a unit or group that works well together, or is otherwise efficient and motivated (has good moral).

In 1986, there was a movie called Gung Ho, about a Japanese company taking over an American automotive factory. They completely ignored the fact that this was a Chinese title.

It should be noted that this title actually means a condition, state, manner, or health of something in Japanese.

Language and pronunciation notes:
Like many Asian words absorbed into common use in English, this one is drastically mispronounced. The official Romanization is "gong he" but that doesn't tell you enough. The vowel sound on the first character is like the English word "own," now just add the g-sounds to the beginning and end. The second character is misleading, as you might think it is like the English word "he." In reality, the vowel sound is more like the "u" in "up."

It should also be noted, that the current generation in China no longer uses, or recognizes this as a common word or slogan.


Note: This can be pronounced and is a word in Japanese, though seldom used. Japanese will use a variation of "具合" instead. But still, not common.

Dojo / Martial Arts Studio

China dào cháng
Japan dou jou
Dojo / Martial Arts Studio Wall Scroll

道場 is the Japanese term for a room or hall in which martial arts are taught. This word is often spelled "dojo" which has become a word in the English lexicon. However, the true Romaji is "doujou" or "dōjō."

Please note: The Chinese definition of these characters is quite different. In Chinese, this is a place where Buddhist or Taoist mass is held. It could also be the place where spiritual or psychic events are performed.

Crystal

…or Krystal
China kè lǐ sī tuō
Crystal Wall Scroll

克裡斯托 is a common transliteration to Mandarin Chinese for the names Crystal or Krystal.

Consider also going with the meaning of crystal. The characters shown to the left sound like crystal in Mandarin but do not mean crystal (of course, the word for crystal in Chinese does not sound at all like the English word crystal).

Any success can not compensate
for failure in the home

China suǒ yǒu de chéng gōng dōu
wú fǎ bǔ cháng jiā tíng de shī bài
Any success can not compensate / for failure in the home Wall Scroll

This Chinese proverb could also be translated in English as "No success can compensate for failure in the home."

Also, the word for "home" can be exchanged with "family."

Discipline

China jì lǜ
Discipline Wall Scroll

Discipline: There are a few different ways to define this word in English. This Asian word conveys the idea of extreme self-control and perhaps self-sacrifice, and obedience. This matches what I was taught as the meaning of "discipline" when I was in the Marine Corps. There is also an additional idea of maintaining order or being orderly in your tasks.

This idea would also fit an athlete training for the Olympics who gives up many pleasures to stay focused on their training.


See Also:  Self-Control | Will-Power

Gutsy / Daring / Bold

China pò lì
Japan hakuryoku
Gutsy / Daring / Bold Wall Scroll

This Chinese word is a form of personal strength.

It is a word that describes a person who is willing to take a risk. In English, we might say, "Someone with guts."

An example might be a person that is not rich but invests a lot of money into something (knowing they could double their money, or lose it all). Win or lose, this is a person that knows or pushes their potential.

Tearing this word apart, the first character means "to compel," urgent, urge, force, imminent, or "spur on." The second means power, strong, bear, or exert.

Note: 迫力 is also a word in Japanese Kanji and Korean Hanja but with a meaning more like force, intensity, appeal, strength, impact, force, or simply power.

Vampire

China xī xuě guǐ
Japan kyuu ketsu ki
Vampire Wall Scroll

吸血鬼 is how to say "vampire" in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

Quite literally this means "Suck Blood Ghost" or more naturally in English "Ghost Who Sucks Blood." This title is also used for leeches and blood-sucking vermin.

Just like the word "vampire" in English, this title is used in Asian languages colloquially to refer to "cruel exploiters" and especially in China, it can be used to refer to "capitalists exploiting the workers."

Alone on a wall scroll, this will be understood with just the "vampire" or "bloodsucker" meaning.

Religious Devotion / Faith in God / Religious Faith

China xìn yǎng
Japan shin kou
Religious Devotion / Faith in God / Religious Faith Wall Scroll

信仰 means firm belief, faith, persuasion, conviction, and sometimes religion or creed in Chinese, Japanese Kanji and old Korean Hanja.

This word clearly fits religious connotation of the English word "devotion."

信仰 is often used to refer to a person of faith or a religious person.

This can be directly translated as "firm belief," "creed," "conviction" or simply as "religious" depending on context.

Some will also use this to mean "trust in God" in Japanese (though the term for God is not actually in this title).

It should be noted that this word is a little strange alone on a wall scroll.


While this can be pronounced in Japanese, it's not a great selection for a wall scroll if your audience is Japanese.


See Also:  Faith | Trust | Devotion | Trust | Trust in God

Inspiration

China líng gǎn
Japan reikan
Inspiration Wall Scroll

靈感 is the Chinese word that is the closest to hitting the mark for the English word "inspiration." In a more extended context, I have even seen this translated as "brain wave."

The first character means alert, departed soul, efficacious, quick, effective or intelligence. The second character means to feel, to move, to touch or to affect. The combined meaning of these two characters changes a bit but I think it's nice to know the individual meanings to give you a better understanding of where a word comes from.

You could describe this word as, "the thought that pops into your head just before you patent the greatest widget ever invented, that everyone in the world will want."
…At least, that's the idea.

This term can also mean "intelligent thought" if you were to translate it directly from each of these characters. If you are looking for inspiration or otherwise need to be inspired, this is the word for you.


霊When the first character was absorbed into Japanese from Chinese, an alternate form became the standard in Japan. The Kanji shown to the right is the form currently used in Japan. This is still considered an alternate form in China to this day. It's readable by both Chinese and Japanese people but if your audience is Japanese, I recommend the Kanji shown to the right - just click on that Kanji to order that version.

Strong Hearted / Strong Willed

China yì zhì jiān qiáng
Strong Hearted / Strong Willed Wall Scroll

This phrase can mean either "strong hearted," "strong willed" or "determination."

The first two characters can be translated as "will," "willpower," "determination," "volition," "intention," or "intent." But, it should be noted that this first part possess the element of "heart" in the lower portion of both characters (they also partially carry the meaning "with whole heart").

The last two characters mean "strong" or "staunch."

Chinese word order and grammar is a bit different than English, so in this case, they are in reverse order of English but have the correct meaning in a natural form.


See Also:  Strong Willed | Discipline | Will-Power

Let Us Try

Essayons
China cháng shì
Let Us Try Wall Scroll

嘗試 is a close match for the English phrase, "let us try" or the French word "Essayons" as used by Combat Engineers in the U.S. Army.

Essayons
This word can also be translated as "to try" or "to attempt."

Even if you're not a Combat Engineer, this word should inspire you to attempt to accomplish difficult things. If you don't try, you are certain to fail, if you do try, at least there is a chance of success.

The worst thing is not failure, the worst thing is not trying at all.

Unity / United / Solidarity / Cooperation

Join Forces / Rally Together
China tuán jié
Japan dan ketsu
Unity / United / Solidarity / Cooperation Wall Scroll

團結 / 糰結 means to join forces, unity, united, union, combination, cooperation or solidarity.

Regarding solidarity, this was part of the Chinese title used for the Solidarity Workers Union in Poland. In some circumstances, this can mean "hold a rally."

While there's not a perfect match to the English word "unity" in Chinese, this word is pretty close. It contains the idea of joining forces, and working as one. It could even mean to rally together to achieve a goal, or defeat a common enemy.


団 There are several variations of these characters such as 团结, 団結, 團結, 糰結, etc. Modern Japanese will write it 団結. Just the first Kanji varies. Click on the image of that modern Japanese first Kanji to the right if you want this version instead of the traditional one.

Devotion / Diligence / Vigorous / Energetic

vīrya
China jīng jìn
Japan shoujin
Devotion / Diligence / Vigorous / Energetic Wall Scroll

精進 is a wide-ranging word that is used in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

It can mean devotion, diligence, concentration, aggressive, enterprising, vigorous, energetic, purification, pushing, asceticism, assiduity, or virility. This word is deep, and these two characters can express ideas that take a full English phrase to describe such as, "concentration of mind," "to forge ahead vigorously," or "to dedicate oneself to progress."

Used in the context of Buddhism, it means, "making earnest efforts to cultivate virtue and get rid of evil," or "zeal in one's quest for enlightenment."

Community

China shè qū
Community Wall Scroll

社區 is how to write community in Chinese. This can mean the neighborhood you live in. It can also be used in the same way we use the word community in English.

Examples: African-American community, Christian community, Asian community etc.


If you need a special calligraphy wall scroll to describe your community, just post your request on our Asian calligraphy forum, and we'll translate it and make it for you.

Greatest Love

China zuì wěi dà de ài
Greatest Love Wall Scroll

最偉大的愛 means "the greatest love," in Chinese.

Keeping in mind that Chinese is different than English, the first character is like "-est" or adding "the most" as a modifier to the next word.
The 2nd and 3rd characters are a word meaning great, mighty, and/or large.
The 4th is a possessive article.
The last is the character for love.

When you put it all together, you get a phrase that means, the greatest love, the biggest love, or the mightiest love.

Optimism / Happy With Your Fate

China lè tiān
Japan raku ten
Optimism / Happy With Your Fate Wall Scroll

樂天 is about being optimistic and also making the best of whatever life throws at you.

This word is hard to define. One dictionary defines this as, "acceptance of fate and happy about it." There is one English word equivalent which is sanguinity or sanguinary.

You can also say that this means, "Be happy with whatever Heaven provides," or "Find happiness in whatever fate Heaven bestows upon you." 樂天 suggests being an optimist in life.

Note: 樂天 / 楽天 is sometimes a given name in China.


楽 Please note that Japanese tend to write the first character in a slightly-different form (as seen to the right). Let us know if you have a preference when you place your order.

Reality

China xǐng wù
Reality Wall Scroll

醒悟 / 省悟 is a Chinese word that expresses the idea of reality or coming to understand what is true and real.

The first character means to wake up, awaken, comprehend, introspect, or visit.

The second character means to comprehend or understand (be enlightened).

The meanings of Chinese words are not necessarily the sum of their parts. In this case, at best, you can derive that the characters express "understanding what is real" or "knowing what is real." Any Chinese person will perceive this word in a similar way to how we use "reality" in English.


省Note: The first character can also be written in a different form as shown to the right. Same meaning in Chinese, either way it's written.

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.

Pillars of Marriage

Respect / Loyalty / Honesty
China zūn zhòng zhōng chéng chéng shí
Pillars of Marriage Wall Scroll

These are the pillars of marriage (at least they are for some - if you have a different set of pillars and want them on a wall scroll, just post a custom phrase request on our forum).

尊重忠誠誠實 is actually a "word list," consisting of "Respect/Loyalty/Honesty." Word lists are not as common in Chinese as they are in English but leaving that concern behind, this has a good meaning.

If you want to customize it more, add an inscription with your wedding date or names (just a small extra fee for translation).

Note: Because these are three separate words, the calligrapher may be inclined to leave a small space between each two-character word. Let us know if you have any preference when you place your order.

King

China wáng
HK wong
Japan ou
King Wall Scroll

王 is wang which means king. It is not pronounced the way you think in Chinese. It is more like English-speakers would want to pronounce wong. It has roughly the same vowel sound as tong, song, or long in English.

Note that this means king only, not emperor. An emperor is higher than a king, and theoretically is chosen by God, according to ancient Chinese culture. However, the definition is often blurred at various points in Asian history.

This word can also be defined as ruler, sovereign, monarch or magnate. It is also can refer to a game piece in the chess-like Japanese strategic game of shoji.

Note: This can also be a family name in Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese (in Vietnamese it's Vương).


See Also:  Queen

Love and Respect

Love and respect each other
China xiāng jìng xiāng ài
Love and Respect Wall Scroll

相敬相愛 is an old Chinese proverb that suggests love and respect go together and are to be exchanged between people (especially couples).

The first two characters mean, "exchanging respect" or "mutual respect."

The last two characters create a word that means, "to love each other" or "mutual love."

You'll notice that the first and third characters are the same. So you can read this literally as something like "Exchange respect, exchange love" or "Mutual respect, mutual love." In English, we'd probably just say, "Mutual love and respect." Grammar differs in every language - So while the literal translation might sound a bit awkward in English, this phrase is very natural in Chinese.

Seeker

China zhǎo xún zhě
Seeker Wall Scroll

找尋著 is a way to write "seeker" in Chinese.

The first two characters are a word that means to look for, or to seek. The last character means person, or in this case, it's like the English "-er" that makes "seek" into "seeker."

Exercise

(for body or mind)
China duàn liàn
Exercise Wall Scroll

鍛煉 / 鍛鍊 means exercise in much the same way we use the word exercise in English. This can be exercising your body at the gym, or exercising your mind in studies. Most of the time, this refers to physical exercise.

This can also be translated as to temper, to toughen, to train, to drill, to forge, or simply discipline.

Sexy

sex appeal / eroticism / sexuality
China xing gǎn
Japan seikan
Sexy Wall Scroll

性感 is the closest word in Chinese that matches the way we use "sexy" in English.

In China, this could be used to refer to a hot girl, or a hot car.

In Japanese, this is translated as "sexual feeling."

性感 is not really appropriate for a wall scroll.

Sense of Shame / Sense of Honor
Integrity / Modesty (Korean)

China lián chǐ
Japan ren chi
Sense of Shame / Sense of Honor / Integrity / Modesty (Korean) Wall Scroll

This simultaneously means "sense of honor" and "sense of shame" in Korean.

This term is often used as a tenet of Taekwondo where the English terms "integrity" and/or "modesty" are applied.

廉恥 is also a Chinese word, though it is usually read with the "sense of shame" meaning, and is a poor choice for a wall scroll if your audience is Chinese.

Bonsai / Penzai

Dwarf Tree Culture
China pén zāi
Japan bon sai
Bonsai / Penzai Wall Scroll

盆栽 is the word that refers to the culture, hobby and to the miniature trees themselves that have become popular around the world. Like many things, this art migrated from China to Japan some time ago but we tend to associate it with Japanese culture and even use the Japanese word in English.

Granted, in present day, this hobby seems to be more popular in Japan but still has a great following in China and even a little in Korea as well.

Note: Many people confuse the title of the bonsai tree with "banzai" which is a form of "hooray" in Japanese. I have also seen it misspelled as "bansai." The correct Romanization (Romaji) is "bonsai."

Devotion / Dedication / Attentive / Focused

China zhuān xīn
Japan sen shin
Devotion / Dedication / Attentive / Focused Wall Scroll

The first character means "for a particular person, occasion, or purpose," "focused on one single thing," "concentrated" and sometimes, "special."

The second character means "heart" or "mind" by itself.

Together, these two characters make a word that means, "paying attention with your heart." It's often translated as, "dedication," as in "be absorbed in" or "concentrate one's efforts." It's also used to mean, "with single mind," "whole-heartedly," "paying attention," "undivided attention," "concentration (-ed)," "engrossed," "devotionally (listening/watching)," and/or "attentive."

My favorite translation, which comes from the Oxford Advanced Chinese/English Dictionary is, "wholehearted devotion."

If it seems like the meaning of this word is quite open, you are correct. The context in which the word is used matters a lot. It can mean different things depending on how you use it. This makes it kind of nice as you can decide what this means to you (within some limits). This word is always positive in meaning, so even if a Chinese person reads it differently than you, it will still have a good meaning.


専In Japanese, they tend to use a variation of the second character which has one less stroke. If you want your calligraphy written this Japanese form, please click on the Kanji shown to the right instead of the button above. Note: Japanese and Chinese people will recognize either form.


See Also:  Faith | Devotion

Sangha

China sēng qié
Japan sougya
Sangha Wall Scroll

In Buddhism, this term refers to a community of monks and/or nuns (one of the "Three Jewels"). In general terms, it can simply mean "all followers of the Buddha."

Notes: Though there are not vast numbers of Chinese Hindus, in the Hindu faith, this term means "community together."
The original Sanskrit word is also Romanized as samgha.
The first character means "monk." The second character means Buddha or Shakyamuni.
僧伽 is really a transliteration of the original Sanskrit but it uses two very profound Chinese characters related to Buddhism.

Some may pronounce this as "seng qie" or "seng jia" in Mandarin (two possible pronunciations for second character). Note that "qie" would sound a bit like "chee-ah" using typical English pronunciation. Chinese Romanization is not actually designed to match English sounds.


僧僧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 this special Kanji form. However, it should also be noted that this is not a common term in Japanese (except by certain sects of Buddhism or perhaps devout Buddhists in Japan).

Hello / Ni Hao

China nǐ hǎo
Hello / Ni Hao Wall Scroll

你好 is the day to day way to say hello in Chinese.

The characters literally mean, "You good?" It's sort of the equivalent of "What's up?" in English, where nobody expects an actual answer.

This explanation is here for educational purposes only. 你好 is an oral word which is not appropriate for a scroll (not a bad meaning, just very odd for a wall scroll).

Good Good Study, Day Day Up

China hǎo hǎo xué xí tiān tiān xiàng shàng
Good Good Study, Day Day Up Wall Scroll

好好學習天天向上 is a famous proverb by Chairman Mao Zedong that sounds really strange when directly translated into English. I include it in our database of phrases to illustrate how different the construction and grammar can be between Chinese and English. The direct translation is "Good Good Study, Day Day Up." In Chinese, a repeated character/word can often serve to reinforce the idea (like saying "very" or suggesting "a lot of"). So "good good" really means "a lot of good." While "day day" can be better translated as "day in day out." The idea of "up" has a meaning in China of "rising above" or "improving."

After understanding all of this, we come up with a slightly better translation of "With lot of good study, day in day out, we raise above."

The more natural translation of this proverb would be something like, "study hard, and keep improving."

Christ

China jī dū
Japan kirisuto
Christ Wall Scroll

This how to write "Christ" in Chinese characters, Korean Hanja, and Japanese Kanji. 基督 is the word used in the Chinese Union Bible (the only readily-available translation of the Bible into Chinese that I know of - published about 100 years ago). For Chinese Christians, this is the most common way to refer to Jesus Christ.

基督 is also the way that "Christ" is written in Japanese. But since the Japanese language is very flexible about the sounds that can be assigned to various Kanji, these characters have been assigned a pronunciation that sounds a lot like "Christ" or actually closer to the original "Christos." In Japanese (if you don't know how the Romaji shown above in the gray box works) it sounds like "key ree sue toe" using English words/sounds. Say those four words really fast and you'll get it.
It should be noted that only Japanese Christians will be familiar with this word.

This word is best defined, read and understood with the characters together but if you take this word for Christ apart, the first character means "fundamentals" or "foundation." The second character can mean "leader" or "boss."

Bruce Lee

China lǐ xiǎo lóng
Japan bu ruu su ri
Bruce Lee Wall Scroll

Bruce LeeMany people have no idea that Bruce Lee had a "real" Chinese name. In mainland China and Hong Kong he is known as "Li Xiao-Long." He kept his family name pronunciation (Li = Lee). 李小龍 is a common family name that also means "plum."

His given name "Xiao-Long" literally means "little dragon." 李小龍 is why you often see the character for dragon associated with Bruce Lee on various posters etc.

For a pronunciation lesson, the "X" in Romanized Chinese is pronounced like a "sh" sound but with your tongue at the bottom of your mouth. The vowel sound in "Long" is like the English "oh," not like the "ah" sound in the English word "long."

If you are a big Bruce Lee fan, you should know this information, and you should have this wall scroll hanging in your room or martial arts studio.

Note: Japanese use these same exact Chinese characters / Kanji to write Bruce Lee's real name (with different pronunciation - which is a bit like how the name "Bruce Lee" sounds in English).


See Also:  Kung Fu | Marital Arts

Self-Confidence

China zì xìn
Japan jishin
Self-Confidence Wall Scroll

This word is created by simply putting the character for "faith/believe/confidence" with the character for "oneself" in front of it.

The literal translation holds the same meaning in English, Chinese and Japanese.

It's like a self-affirmation to say, "you can do it."

Some may also use this to mean self-esteem or a sense of self-worth. 自信 is also how to say, "believe in oneself."


See Also:  Confidence

How can you catch tiger cubs
without entering the lair of the tiger?

Nothing ventured, nothing gained
China bú rù hǔ xué yān dé hǔ zǐ
How can you catch tiger cubs / without entering the lair of the tiger? Wall Scroll

While perhaps no longer politically correct, this Chinese proverb is a reminder that you must take risks if you want reward.

不入虎穴焉得虎子 is similar to the English proverb, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained."

The literal word order of the Chinese is, "If (you) don't enter the tiger's lair/cave, how can (you) get/obtain tiger cubs?."

Christianity / Christian

China jī dū jiào
Japan kirisutokyou
Christianity / Christian Wall Scroll

基督教 is the Chinese, Japanese and Korean word for "Christianity." Just as in English, this word is often used to mean "Protestant" but includes Catholics in the true definition.

It is the word used to refer to the whole "Christian religion" or "Christian Faith" and therefore, it can be translated as "Christianity." However, used as an adjective in regards to a person, it would translate as "Christian." But more like saying "His religion is Christianity" rather than a noun form.

If you break it apart, the characters mean Base/Foundation Leading/Supervising Religion/Teaching. It makes more sense in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. The first two characters together are translated as "Christ." So you can also say this means "Christ's Religion" or "Christ's Teachings" when directly translated, or in reverse, "The Religion of Christ" or "The Teaching of Christ."

Notes: The last character has a slight difference in one stroke - however, in calligraphic form, this will not be apparent. This entry can easily be read by any Korean person who knows Hanja characters (Chinese characters used in Korean).


See Also:  Jesus Christ | God of Abraham

Hella

China tài
Japan tai
Hella Wall Scroll

We struggled to find a word that encompasses the English, "hella" with a meaning like, "really," "a lot," "totally," and/or "very."

In Chinese, Japanese, and old Korean, this character is often said as an adjective in front of other words, to make "good" into "too good," or "extremely good."

The meaning of this character from the dictionary is highest, greatest, too (much), very, extremely, fat, grand, magnificent, excellent, or great.

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.

Kung Fu / Gong Fu

China gōng fu
HK gung fu
Japan kan fu / ku fu
Kung Fu / Gong Fu Wall Scroll

One of the most famous types of martial arts in the world - and not just because of Bruce Lee.

Some translate the meaning as "Accomplishment by Great Effort." I think this is partially true but directly translated it literally means "Merit/Achievement/Accomplishment Man." The word "fu" can sometimes mean "husband" or "porter" but in this case, it can only mean "man." However, few in China will think "man" when they hear the word "Gong Fu" spoken.

This term is also used for things other than martial arts. In fact, it's used to refer to a person with excellent skills in crafts that require a great deal of effort such as cooking, tea ceremonies, and calligraphy.

What a lot of people don't know is that the spelling of "Kung Fu" was actually taken from the old Wade Giles form of Romanization. Using this method, the sounds of the English "G" and "K" were both written as "K" and an apostrophe after the "K" told you it was supposed to sound like a "G." Nobody in the west knew this rule, so most people pronounce it with a "K-sound." And so Gong Fu will always be Kung Fu for most westerners.

Also, just to educate you a little more, the "O" in "Gong" has a sound like the English word "oh."

The popular Chinese dish "Kung Pao Chicken" suffers from the same problem. It should actually be "Gong Bao Chicken."

Historical note: Many will claim that Kung Fu was invented by the monks of the Shaolin monastery. This fact is argued in both directions by scholars of Chinese history. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that the Shaolin Monks brought the original fame to Kung Fu many generations ago.


Japanese note: While most Japanese martial artists will recognize these characters, Katakana is more often used to approximate the pronunciation of "Kung Fu" with "カンフー." Some will argue as to whether this should be considered a Japanese word at all.


See Also:  Bruce Lee

Fear No Evil

China bú pà xié è
Fear No Evil Wall Scroll

This literally means, "no fear evil." Chinese grammar and word order is a little different than English. 不怕邪惡 is the best way to write something that means "fear no evil" in Chinese.

The first character means "not," "don't" or "no."
The second means "fear."
The last two mean "evil" but can also be translated as sinister, vicious, wickedness, or just "bad."

Archer

China shè shǒu
Japan i te / sha shu
Archer Wall Scroll

射手 means archer, shooter, or marksman in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

Depending on context, it can also mean "goal getter" in Chinese. This would also be the word for bowman.

This word is kind of modern in Asia, meaning that it's only been in use for a few hundred years. However, the more ancient version of archer is often not even recognized by the current generation of Chinese and Japanese people.

The first character means "shoot" or "fire" (in the context of a gun or bow). It's also a suffix for radioactive things (in the context of chemistry) - radioactive things "fire off" electrons. In Japanese, that first Kanji is a short name and suffix for archery.

The second character means "hand" but hand can also mean a person, in the same way, that "farmhand" is a person in English.

Indomitable / Unyielding

China bù qū bù náo
Japan fukutsu futou
Indomitable / Unyielding Wall Scroll

不屈不撓 means "Indomitable" or "Unyielding."

不屈不撓 is a long word by Chinese standards. At least, it is often translated as a single word into English. It's actually a proverb in Chinese.

If you want to break it down, you can see that the first and third characters are the same. Both meaning "not" (they work as a suffix to make a negative or opposite meaning to whatever character follows).

The second character means "bendable."

The last means "scratched" or "bothered."

So this really means "Won't be bent, can't be bothered." I have also seen it written as "Will not crouch, will not submit." This comes from the fact that the second character can mean, "to crouch" and the last can mean "to submit" (as in "to give in" such as "submitting to the rule of someone else"). This may explain better why these four characters mean "indomitable."

Notes:
Some will translate this as "indomitable spirit"; however, technically, there is no character to suggest the idea of "spirit" in this word.
The first two characters can be a stand-alone word in Chinese.
In Japanese, this is considered to be two words (with very similar meanings).
The same characters are used in Korean, but the 2nd and 4th characters are swapped to create a word pronounced "불요불굴" in Korean.
Just let me know if you want the Korean version, which will also make sense in Japanese, and though not as natural, will also make sense in Chinese as well.


See Also:  Tenacity | Fortitude | Strength | Undaunted

Asian Pride / Oriental Pride
Asian Pryde / AZN Pryde

China dōng fāng zì zūn
HK dung fong chi juen
Japan tou hou zi son
Asian Pride / Oriental Pride / Asian Pryde / AZN Pryde Wall Scroll

東方自尊 is the most universal way to write "Asian Pride."

We worked on this one for a long time. The effort involved both Chinese and Japanese translators and lengthy discussions. If you have been searching for this term, there is a reason that it's hard to find the way to write "Asian Pride" in Chinese and Japanese - it's because of the inherent difficulties in figuring out a universal combination of characters that can be read in all languages that use forms of Chinese characters.

This final solution that you see to the left creates a reasonable title in Chinese, and an exotic (perhaps unusual) title in Japanese (This could be read as "Eastern Self-Respect" in Japanese").
Although not as natural, it does have the same meaning in Korean Hanja and the older-generation of Vietnamese people will be able to read it too.

The first two characters literally mean "Oriental" and the second two mean "pride," "self-esteem," or "self-respect" (we chose the most non-arrogant way to say "pride"). If you have "Asian Pride" (sometimes spelled Asian Pryde) these are the characters for you.

Note: For those of you that wonder, there is nothing technically wrong with the word "Oriental." It is a correct word, and any bad meanings were created by so-called "Asian Americans" and Caucasians in the United States. To say "Asian" would not completely correct to the intended meaning, since that would include people from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, India, and portions of Russia.

For further proof, if you were of East Asian ancestry and born in England, you would be known as a "British Oriental" (The "Oriental stigma" is basically an American creation and, therefore, applies mostly to the American English language - where they get a bit overzealous with political correctness).

Further, since the Chinese and Japanese word for Oriental is not English, it can not be construed having ill-meaning. One trip to China or Japan, and you will find many things titled with these two characters such as malls, buildings, and business names. These places also use "Oriental" as their English title (much as we do, since our Chinese business name starts with these same two characters).

In short, the first two character have the meaning that Americans attach to "Asian" but is more technically correct.

Everything Happens for a Reason

China wàn shì jiē yīn guǒ
Everything Happens for a Reason Wall Scroll

The first two characters mean "all things" or "everything."

The middle character kind of means, "in all cases."

The last two characters create a complex word that can be defined many ways such as, "karma," "cause and effect," "fate," "every cause has its effect, as every effect arises from a cause."

Keep in mind, Chinese grammar is a bit different than English, so trust me that this makes a natural proverb that means, "Everything happens for a reason" in Chinese.

Peace and Love

China hé píng bó ài
Japan wahei hakuai
Peace and Love Wall Scroll

和平博愛 is the Chinese and Japanese way to express "Peace and Love." These are two separate words, so the calligrapher will put a slight space between the first two characters which mean peace, and the last two which represent universal love. This space is not shown on the sample character images for this phrase.

A special note: Word lists may seem okay in English but feel strange in Chinese and Japanese. We don't offer too many of them but this one is often-requested, and feels okay in Chinese and Japanese, though a bit uncommon in Korean.


See Also:  Peace | Love

John 3:16

China shén ài shì rén shèn zhì jiāng tā de dú shēng zǐ cì gè tā mén jiào yí qiè xìn tā de bú zhì miè wáng fǎn dé yǒng shēng
John 3:16 Wall Scroll

神愛世人甚至將他的獨生子賜給他們叫一切信他的不至滅亡反得永生 is the full translation of John 3:16 into Chinese.

神愛世人甚至將他的獨生子賜給他們叫一切信他的不至滅亡反得永生 is from the Chinese Union Bible which comes from a revised version of the King James. This Chinese Bible was originally translated and printed in 1919 (several revisions since then).

Because of the origin being the KJV, I'll say that in English, this would be, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life."

As with any translation, there are interesting cultural and linguistic issues. For instance, the word used for "world" in Chinese can also mean "common people." So you could say that it means "For God so loved the common people..."
This does not take away from the text, as it will be understood with the same meaning and connotation.

There is no direct Greek to Chinese translation in print (that I know of), so this is the best available. Of course, you can ask any Greek person of faith, and they will claim that a bit is lost from the original Greek of the New Testament to any of the English versions of the Bible in print.

Feel at Ease Anywhere / The World is My Home

China sì hǎi wéi jiā
Feel at Ease Anywhere / The World is My Home Wall Scroll

This literally reads, "Four Seas Serve-As [my/one's] Home."

Together, 四海 which literally means "four seas" is understood to mean, "the whole world" or "the seven seas." It's presumed to be an ancient word, from back when only four seas were known - so it equates to the modern English term, "seven seas."

This can be translated or understood a few different ways:
To regard the four corners of the world all as home.
To feel at home anywhere.
To roam about unconstrained.
To consider the entire country, or the world, to be one's own.

Homosexual Male / Gay Male

China nán tóng xìng liàn
Homosexual Male / Gay Male Wall Scroll

You just need the male character in front of the word for homosexual in Chinese to create this word.

It's a much nicer way to say "Gay Male" than English words like Fag, Fairy, Sissy, Puff, Poof, Poofster, Swish or Pansy. Although I suppose it could be used as a substitute for Nancy Boy or Queen (for which last time I checked, my gay friends said were OK in the right context).

For those of you who think China is a restrictive society - there are at least two gay discos in Beijing, the capital of China. It's at least somewhat socially acceptable to be a gay male in China. However, lesbians seem to be shunned a bit.

I think the Chinese government has realized that the 60% male population means not everybody is going to find a wife (every gay male couple that exists means two more women in the population are available for the straight guys), and the fact that it is biologically impossible for men to give birth, may be seen as helping to decrease the over-population in China.

Thank You / Xie Xie

China xiè xie
Japan shie shie
Thank You / Xie Xie Wall Scroll

謝謝 / 謝々 is how to say thank you in Chinese. It is pronounced a bit like "shea shea" as in the English word for shea butter. Except you pronounce the X like "sh" but with your tongue firmly at the bottom of your mouth.

Unless you are putting this wall scroll near the exit of your store or restaurant to thank customers for coming, it is a bit of an odd selection. A gift of thanks to another person should be a more personal selection with more meaning than a simple thank you. Although common to write xie xie inside a card or letter of thanks.


Technically, this can be pronounced in Japanese but in Japan, it's still the Chinese way to say thank you. It's like an English speaker saying "gracias" (Spanish word for thank you).

Iron Fist

Tie Quan / Tieh Chuan
China tiě quán
Japan tekken
Iron Fist Wall Scroll

鐵拳 is a common theme used by various schools of martial arts.

鐵 means "iron" but in some cases, can mean "indisputable."
拳 means fist.

Some schools use the older/Taiwanese way to Romanize the iron fist, so you may have seen it spelled "Tieh Chuan" instead of "Tie Quan." Neither way is technically incorrect.

Note that in Mandarin, the first part of the first character sounds like the English word "tea" blending into a soft "-eh" sound. The second character sounds a lot like "chew on" but as if it is one syllable.


鉄After WWII in Japan, the Kanji for iron was simplified. This new Kanji form is shown to the right. If you want this modern Japanese version, please click on the Kanji to the right, instead of the button above. The characters shown to the left would still be considered the old or ancient Japanese version of this title.

Kung Fu San Soo / San Shou

China gōng fu sǎn shǒu
HK gung fu saan sau
Kung Fu San Soo / San Shou Wall Scroll

功夫散手 is a martial arts title.

Oddly, there are multiple ways two spell/romanize this in English but in Chinese, it's written exactly the same.

Technically, the Mandarin romanizes as "gong fu san shou," for which you'll sometimes see it written "kung fu san shou" (k'ung is an old romanization for a word that sounds like gong with a vowel sound like "oh").

There is another martial arts style that spells this "Kung Fu San Soo." My guess is, this was supposed to approximate Cantonese pronunciation for which the scholarly romanization is generally agreed to be "gung fu saan sau."

Construction Crane

China qǐ zhòng jī
Japan kijuuki
Construction Crane Wall Scroll

A customer requested this specifically after a bit of confusion over the bird by the same name. This refers to the huge machine that lifts materials high into the air as crews construct huge buildings.

In an odd twist, while they don't know this name in English sounds like a bird, the building crane is jokingly called "The real national bird of China" because of the accelerated level of construction in Beijing and elsewhere ever since preparations began for the 2008 Olympics. As of 2014, construction has barely slowed.

If you want the type of construction crane that drives down the road, please note that the word is totally different for that kind of "vehicle crane."

The Saint

China shèng
Japan sei
The Saint Wall Scroll

聖 is the simple, single-character religious form of "saint" in Chinese (also holds same meaning in Japanese and Korean, though rarely used alone like this).

This can also mean: holy, sage, master, or priest.
Note: This character is often used in compound words (words of more than one character) to create further meanings. In compounds, it can mean holy, sacred or divine.

This character is also used as the first word for Spanish and English place names such as "San Diego" and "St. Louis" in Chinese (not Japanese).

In Buddhist context, this can represent ārya or sādhu. And mean a sage; wise and good; upright, or correct in all his character; sacred, holy, or saintly.

Wing Chun

China yǒng chūn
HK wing2 cheun1
Japan ei haru
Wing Chun Wall Scroll

This martial arts technique has an oral history (versus a written one) so very little can be said for sure about its origins.
Wing Chun (or Wing Cheun) is a Chinese martial art that emphasizes short combat strokes.

The characters literally mean "Singing Spring" (as in springtime).

If you are wondering, the spelling and pronunciation of this martial arts style in English comes from the Cantonese pronunciation of these characters. The second character sounds similar in both Mandarin and Cantonese but the first is quite different.

Note: This title can be pronounced in Japanese but only a Japanese practitioner of Wing Chun would recognize or understand this title. It is not considered to be a Japanese word or martial art at all.

Mama / Mother / Mommy

China
Mama / Mother / Mommy Wall Scroll

媽 is the oral way that most Chinese people refer to their mothers. Often, they will put this together twice (two of the same character in a row) to create a word that sounds like "Mama." That's absolutely what little kids call their mothers in China. This Chinese "Mama" is the rough equivalent of "Mommy" in English. Beyond a certain age, Chinese will start to just say "Ma," which is like saying "Mom."

This entry is just here for a language lesson. This would make a strange wall scroll by Chinese standards. In Chinese, there are sometimes oral words that don't seem appropriate when written in calligraphy, and this is one of them. See our entry for "Loving Mother" for a better selection.


See Also:  Loving Mother | Family

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
...you 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.

Nguyen / Ruan

China ruǎn
HK jyun
Japan Min / Gen
Nguyen / Ruan Wall Scroll

阮 / 阮 is the original Chinese character that represented the Vietnamese surname Nguyễn before Vietnam stopped using Chinese characters and romanized their language. It is probably the most common surname in all of Vietnam. While romanized as Nguyen, it sounds more like the English word "Win" or "When." This character can also represent the Nguyen Dynasty in Vietnam which lasted from 1802 to 1945.

阮 / 阮 is also the Chinese surname Ruan, most Chinese with this surname have ancestors from a small state named Ruan during the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC) located in the southeast of modern-day Gansu Province.

In Japanese, this can be the rare surnames pronounced Min, Gen, Ken, Gan, or En.

Besides a surname, this character also represents an ancient musical instrument.

Filial Piety

China xiào
Japan kou
Filial Piety Wall Scroll

This character represents filial piety. Some will define this in more common English as "respect for your parents and ancestors."

孝 is a subject deeply emphasized by the ancient philosophy and teachings of Confucius.

Some have included this in the list for the Bushido, although generally not considered part of the 7 core virtues of the warrior.

Note: This character is not the best of meanings when seen along as a single character. Some will read the single character form to mean "missing my dead ancestors." However, when written at part of Confucian tenets, or in the two-character word that means filial piety, the meaning is better or read differently (context is important for this character).

We suggest one of our other two-character filial piety entries instead of this one.


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


See Also:  Filial Piety | Confucius

Northern Praying Mantis

China táng láng quán
Japan tou rou ken
Northern Praying Mantis Wall Scroll

This can be translated literally as "Praying Mantis Fist."
螳螂拳 is sometimes called Shandong Praying Mantis after its place of origin. It was created by Wang Lang and was named after the praying mantis, an insect, the aggressiveness of which inspired the style.
Shaolin records document that Wang Lang was one of the 18 masters gathered by the Shaolin Abbot Fu Ju, which dates him and Northern Praying Mantis style to the Song Dynasty (960–1279).
The fact that the word "Northern" is used in the English title has more to do with where this style came from (Shandong is in northern China) but "north" is absent from this Chinese title.

Note: 螳螂拳 is also a title in Japanese - however, only a Japanese person who practices or is familiar with "Praying Mantis Fist" style would recognize it.

Bloodless Victory

China bīng bù xuè rèn
Bloodless Victory Wall Scroll

Perhaps a pacifist view or perhaps the best kind of victory; these characters reflect this idea:
The edges of the swords not being stained with blood.

You could also translate it as: Win victory without firing a shot.

The first character means army or force. The second character means without or none. The last two characters mean bloodstained knives. So it represents a returning victorious army without bloodstained knives. 兵不血刃 is the very literal sense of this Chinese proverb. The title definition is more accurate to the way this proverb is understood.

Asking yourself why the direct or literal translation is different?
...Think of compound words in English such as "nevertheless" if we break it apart to "never the less" we will have trouble getting the real definition of "in spite of that." Similar things happen when multiple-characters are used to create a compounded word in Chinese.

Geisha

China yún zhě
Japan geisha
Geisha Wall Scroll

芸者 is the real basis for the way we spell geisha.

However, there are many more ways to refer to a woman that fills the role that westerners think of when they hear the word geisha.

In Japanese, these characters literally mean "artful person." But in English, it might be better translated as "a person (woman) highly trained/accomplished in the arts."

However, my Japanese dictionary says "a singing and dancing girl."

Many will argue as to whether "geisha" = "prostitute" or not. My Japanese friends seem to have the opinion that a geisha is so highly trained in the art playing musical instruments and dancing that the fact she might also be a prostitute is secondary to her performance on stage.

芸者 is a "Japanese only" term, they use a slightly different first character to express "geisha" in Chinese. Since this is a Japanese term, I have not included the Chinese version.

Year-In Year-Out Have Abundance

China nián nián yǒu yú
Year-In Year-Out Have Abundance Wall Scroll

年年有餘 is a common proverb or wish of prosperity you'll hear around the time of Chinese New Years.

Directly translated character by character it means, "Year Year Have Surplus." A more natural English translation including the deeper meaning would be "Every Year may you Have Abundance in your life."

On a side note, this phrase often goes with a gift of something related to fish. 年年有餘 is because the last character "yu" which means surplus or abundance has exactly the same pronunciation in Mandarin as the word for "fish."

年年有餘 is also one of the most common titles for traditional paintings that feature koi fish.

In China, this phrase might make an odd wall scroll - a customer asked especially for this common phrase which is why it appears here. See my other abundance-related words if you want a wall scroll that will seem more comfortable in Chinese culture.

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


See Also:  Prosperity | Good Fortune

Kenpo / Kempo / Quan Fa / Chuan Fa

China quán fǎ
Japan kenpou
Kenpo / Kempo / Quan Fa / Chuan Fa Wall Scroll

This form of martial arts can be translated in several ways. Some will call it "fist principles" or "the way of the fist," or even "law of the fist." The first character literally means fist. The second can mean law, method, way, principle or Buddhist teaching.

Kempo is really a potluck of martial arts. Often a combination of Chinese martial arts such as Shaolin Kung Fu with Japanese martial arts such as Karate, Jujutsu (Jujitsu), Aikido, and others. You may see the term "Kempo Karate" which basically means Karate with other disciplines added. In this way, Kempo becomes an adjective rather than a title or school of martial arts.

These facts will long be argued by various masters and students of Kempo. Even the argument as to whether it should be spelled "kenpo" or "Kempo" ensues at dojos around the world (the correct Romaji should actually be "kenpou" if you precisely follow the rules).

The benefit of Kempo is that the techniques are easier to learn and master compared to pure Kung Fu (wu shu). Students are often taught basic Karate moves, kicks, and punches before augmenting the basic skills with complex Kung Fu techniques. This allows students of Kempo achieve a level where they can defend themselves or fight in a relatively short amount of time (a few years rather than a decade or more).

Because the definition of this word is so fluid, I should make some notes here:

1. Purists in Okinawa will claim that "Okinawa Kenpo" or "Ryukyu Hon Kenpo" is the original and true version of this martial art from the old kingdom. There is actually little or no connection between Okinawa Kenpo and the way the word is used elsewhere.

2. In Chinese, where these characters are pronounced "quan fa" (sometimes Romanized as "chuan fa" because the Chinese-pinyin "q" actually sounds like an English "ch" sound), these characters do not hold the connotation of being a mixed martial art. It is simply defined as "the law of the fist."

3. In my Japanese dictionary, it oddly defines Kenpo as "Chinese art of self-defense." I personally don't feel this is the most common way that people perceive the word but just something you should know.

Hapkido

Korean Martial Art of re-directing force
China hé qì dào
Japan ai ki do
Hapkido Wall Scroll

Hapkido is a mostly-defensive martial art of Korea. It has some connection to Aikido of Japan. In fact, they are written with the same characters in both languages. However, it should be noted that the Korean Hanja characters shown here are the traditional Chinese form - but in modern Japan, the middle character was slightly simplified.
Note: You can consider this to be the older Japanese written form of Aikido. Titles on older books and signs about Aikido use this form.

The connection between Japanese Aikido and Korean Hapkido is a bit muddled in history. 合氣道 is probably due to the relationship between the two countries - especially during WWII when many Koreans became virtual slaves for the Japanese (many Koreans are still bitter about that, so many things were disassociated from having any Japanese origin).

Looking at the characters, the first means "union" or "harmony."
The second character means "universal energy" or "spirit."
The third means "way" or "method."
One way to translate this into English is "Harmonizing Energy Method." This makes since, as Hapkido has more to do with redirecting energy, rather that fighting with strength against strength.

More Hapkido info

More notes:
1. Sometimes Hapkido is Romanized as "hap ki do," "hapki-do" "hab gi do" or "hapgido."

2. Korean Hanja characters are actually Chinese characters that usually hold the same meaning in both languages. There was a time when these characters were the standard and only written form of Korean. The development of modern Korean Hangul characters is a somewhat recent event in the greater scope of history. There was a time when Chinese characters were the written form of many languages in places known in modern times as North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mainland China, and a significant portion of Malaysia. Even today, more people in the world can read Chinese characters than can read English.

3. While these Korean Hanja characters can be pronounced in Chinese, this word is not well-known in China and is not considered part of the Chinese lexicon.

Turtle

...also means tortoise
China guī
Japan kame
Turtle Wall Scroll

龜 is the generic term for turtle in Chinese, and old Korean Hanja. It's like saying "turtle" (or "tortoise") without being specific about species of turtle.

Please note that there are many special characters in Chinese and a few in Japanese that denote specific species of turtle, and do not include this character. We can't possibly cover all of these species but if you want a certain one, such as "loggerhead" or a "leatherback," just post your request for a special Chinese / Japanese Kanji / Korean Hanja calligraphy word and we'll do our best to research your special species.

If you noticed, I said species names that do not include this character. 龜 is because, in much the same way we can do it in English by just saying, "loggerhead," instead of "loggerhead turtle," the same can be done in Chinese and Japanese.

亀This may be hard to believe but the image shown to the right is an alternate version of this character, which is currently used in Japan. This was originally an alternate form in ancient China for turtle - but it's so obscure now, that most Chinese people would just think this is the Japanese version of turtle (I did a lot of research on this). The version shown in the upper left is traditional Chinese (also used in Korea, prior to 100 years ago). It will generally not be recognized by the new generation of Japanese people. If your audience is Japanese, please click on the Kanji image shown to the right to have the calligrapher write that version (instead of clicking the button above).


Note: In Japanese, this Kanji is also a representation of long life. This is related to the fact that a tortoise can live for hundreds of years.

Japanese Snapping Turtle
Chinese Soft Shell Turtle

China biē
Japan suppon
Japanese Snapping Turtle / Chinese Soft Shell Turtle Wall Scroll

This character refers to different turtles in different languages. See individual language notes below:

Japanese: 鼈 means "snapping turtle" or "mud turtle." But rarely used as a single Kanji like this in Japanese.

Sinensis Turtle

This is Trionyx Sinensis.

Chinese: 鼈 means soft-shelled turtle. A specific species, Trionyx Sinensis which is native to Asia.
In China, this species is related to the "wang ba," a soft-shelled turtle sometimes known in English as a banjo turtle (due to it's long neck, and general shape). Unfortunately, there is a word, "wang ba dan" which means the egg of this species of turtle. That term has come to mean "bastard" in Chinese (a turtle hatches from an abandoned egg, and does not know who his mother or father is). This is not a good selection for a wall scroll if your audience is Chinese.

In Korean, this character can be pronounced (though most Koreans would have to look it up in a dictionary). It has not been in common use in Korea for at least a few hundred years.

General notes: You may notice that the bottom half of this character is the same as some other turtle-related titles. That bottom half is actually an ancient character that means "toad." 黽 Though not see in this way today, most turtle-related characters hold the meaning of "a toad with a shell" in their ancient origin. That toad character is rarely used alone anymore but you can see what it looks like in the image to the right.

Undaunted After Repeated Setbacks

Persistence to overcome all challenges
China bǎi zhé bù náo
Japan hyaku setsu su tou
Undaunted After Repeated Setbacks Wall Scroll

This Chinese proverb means "Be undaunted in the face of repeated setbacks." More directly-translated, it reads, "[Overcome] a hundred setbacks, without flinching." 百折不撓 is of Chinese origin but is commonly used in Japanese, and somewhat in Korean (same characters, different pronunciation).

This proverb comes from a long, and occasionally tragic story of a man that lived sometime around 25-220 AD. His name was Qiao Xuan and he never stooped to flattery but remained an upright person at all times. He fought to expose corruption of higher-level government officials at great risk to himself.

Then when he was at a higher level in the Imperial Court, bandits were regularly capturing hostages and demanding ransoms. But when his own son was captured, he was so focused on his duty to the Emperor and common good that he sent a platoon of soldiers to raid the bandits' hideout, and stop them once and for all even at the risk of his own son's life. While all of the bandits were arrested in the raid, they killed Qiao Xuan's son at first sight of the raiding soldiers.

Near the end of his career a new Emperor came to power, and Qiao Xuan reported to him that one of his ministers was bullying the people and extorting money from them. The new Emperor refused to listen to Qiao Xuan and even promoted the corrupt Minister. Qiao Xuan was so disgusted that in protest he resigned his post as minister (something almost never done) and left for his home village.

His tombstone reads "Bai Zhe Bu Nao" which is now a proverb used in Chinese culture to describe a person of strength will who puts up stubborn resistance against great odds.

My Chinese-English dictionary defines these 4 characters as, "keep on fighting in spite of all setbacks," "be undaunted by repeated setbacks" and "be indomitable."

Our translator says it can mean, "never give up" in modern Chinese.

Although the first two characters are translated correctly as "repeated setbacks," the literal meaning is "100 setbacks" or "a rope that breaks 100 times." The last two characters can mean "do not yield" or "do not give up."
Most Chinese, Japanese, and Korean people will not take this absolutely literal meaning but will instead understand it as the title suggests above. If you want a single big word definition, it would be indefatigability, indomitableness, persistence, or unyielding.


See Also:  Tenacity | Fortitude | Strength | Perseverance | Persistence




Buy some related in-stock artwork?

Compare: $65.00

Your Price: $39.88

Compare: $144.00

Your Price: $79.88

Compare: $140.00

Your Price: $72.88

Compare: $65.00

Your Price: $32.88

Compare: $65.00

Your Price: $32.88

Compare: $65.00

Your Price: $32.88

Compare: $144.00

Your Price: $79.88

Compare: $132.00

Your Price: $72.88

Compare: $132.00

Your Price: $72.88

Compare: $72.00

Your Price: $39.88

Compare: $40.00

Your Price: $16.88

Compare: $144.00

Your Price: $79.88

Compare: $200.00

Your Price: $79.88

Compare: $200.00

Your Price: $79.88

Compare: $132.00

Your Price: $72.88


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

Title CharactersRomaji(Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
England eiyīng / ying1 / ying
Believer 信徒shintoxìn tú / xin4 tu2 / xin tu / xintu hsin t`u / hsintu / hsin tu
Strong and Beautiful 健美takemijiàn měi / jian4 mei3 / jian mei / jianmei chien mei / chienmei
Live Laugh Love 笑愛生活
笑爱生活
xiào ài shēng huó
xiao4 ai4 sheng1 huo2
xiao ai sheng huo
xiaoaishenghuo
hsiao ai sheng huo
hsiaoaishenghuo
Home of the Auspicious Golden Dragon 金瑞祥龍之家
金瑞祥龙之家
jīn ruì xiáng lóng zhī jiā
jin1 rui4 xiang2 long2 zhi1 jia1
jin rui xiang long zhi jia
jinruixianglongzhijia
chin jui hsiang lung chih chia
Initiative
Proactive
Positive
積極
积极
sekkyoku / sekyokujī jí / ji1 ji2 / ji ji / jiji chi chi / chichi
Tactics of War 戰術 / 戦術
战术
senjutsuzhàn shù / zhan4 shu4 / zhan shu / zhanshu chan shu / chanshu
I Miss You 我想你wǒ xiǎng nǐ
wo3 xiang3 ni3
wo xiang ni
woxiangni
wo hsiang ni
wohsiangni
Gung Ho 工合guaigōng hé / gong1 he2 / gong he / gonghe kung ho / kungho
Dojo
Martial Arts Studio
道場
道场
dou jou / doujou / do jo / dojodào cháng
dao4 chang2
dao chang
daochang
tao ch`ang
taochang
tao chang
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...

Adventure
Apollo
Balance
Billy
Caleb
Calm Mind
Cassie
Cheyenne
Chloe
Colin
Courage
Dillon
Dragon
Dylan
Empty
Ethan
Fighter
Fist
Flower
Freedom
Golden Dragon
Goldfish
Horse
I Miss You
Illusion
Independence
Indomitable Spirit
Inner Power
Inner Strength
Jack
Jade
Jerry
Jesus
Jose
Juliet
Katrina
Kirin
Kristin
Kyokushinkai
Live in the Moment
Lotus Flower
Love
Mackenzie
Maddie
Markus
Marvin
Monkey
Never Give Up
Nothingness
Paladin
Peace
Rafael
Renee
Respect
River
Robin
Ronin
Saint
Sarah
Sultan
Susan
Tai Chi Chuan
Three
Tyler
Water
Wisdom

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