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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 hero, courage or bravery but you may see it used sometimes.
I strongly recommend that you choose another form of courage/bravery.
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.
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.
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.
This is a Japanese Katakana word for mental toughness.
Katakana is a character set used in Japanese to approximate borrowed English or foreign words. So this is supposed to sound like mental toughness does in English.
Note: Because this title is entirely Japanese Katakana , it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
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.
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.
幸せである is a way to express the idea, "be happy" in Japanese.
Japanese grammar is far different than English, so the word order is kind of the opposite of English. If you translated directly, you'd have something like, "Happiness hence forth," or "Happiness hereafter." Basically, the idea is to be happy from this moment on.
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
戰術 / 戦術 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.
変態 is a Japanese word that originally means transformation, metamorphosis, abnormality, or pervert.
In English, this has come to be the name for a genre of Japanese anime and manga pornography. However, in Japan, it remains a short word to describe any perverse or bizarre sexual desires or acts.
恐れ多い is a Japanese word for something awe-inspiring or awesome (in some odd context, it can refer to the month of August).
恐れ多い is probably not appropriate for a calligraphy wall scroll unless you have a specific reason.
The word awesome is misused a lot in English, or used too casually. This Japanese word is the real form of awesome, and kind of means numerous fears and anxiety that you would feel in response to encountering something truly awesome (such as God, a tornado, a tsunami, etc).
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
This Japanese word means Devil, Demon, or Satan. 悪魔 is also the English/Japanese title for a character in Street Fighter.
In Japan, they use a few different words for soccer (football). This one is supposed to sound like the English word "soccer."
Note: Japanese are more likely to use a word like フットボール （futto bouru) which sounds like the international word football / futbol. They may only use this word if talking to an American friend (since the word "football" was hijacked in America to title a sport where the foot rarely comes in contact with the ball).
Note: Because this title is entirely Japanese Katakana , it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
大君 is the Japanese word Taikun. It's defined directly as liege, lord, or an alternate title for a shogunate.
The sound of this Japanese word entered the English lexicon by the 1800's but took the spelling of "tycoon." Even President Lincoln was referred to as a Tycoon in the 1860's.
In Japan, this is still understood to be "Great Lord" or "Big Boss." In America, it means, "Bill Gates" and "Warren Buffet."
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.
波の道 is the simple way to write "The Way of the Wave" in Japanese.
I added this at the request of several customers. 波の道 is not a very common Japanese phrase.
波 = Wave
の = Of
道 = Way
The word order is the opposite of English. Most Japanese phrases that end in "の道" are translated to English as "The Way of..."
Technically, you could write "波道" as a shorter version of "The Way of the Wave". However, without context, 波道 can mean channel or suggest a path to redirect ocean flow.
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.
克里斯托 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
嘗試 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ブラウン is the name Brown written in Katakana (phonetic Japanese). Please note: This sounds like the English word brown using Japanese pronunciation. It does not mean the color brown at all in Japanese.
Note: Because this title is entirely Japanese Katakana , it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
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.
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.
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."
社區 is how to write community in Chinese. 社區 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 contact me, and I'll translate it and make it for you.
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.
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 contact me).
This 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.
失意泰然 is a very old Japanese proverb. It suggests, "keeping calm and collected at times of disappointment," or "maintaining a serene state of mind when faced with adversity."
It's hard to relate individual character meanings into the overall meaning unless you also understand Japanese grammar. The word order is very different than English. That being said, here's the character meaning breakdown:
失 To miss, lose or fail.
意 Feelings, thoughts, meaning.
泰 Safe, peaceful.
然 Like that, in that way, however, although.
Using these definitions in English, we might say, "Although you may fail or lose, have a feeling of peace and calm."
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.
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.
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.
古道 is the Japanese word meaning "The Old Way." The first character literally means old or ancient. The second character means "the way" and is the same character as used in Taoism / Daoism (Taoism literally means "the way").
This second character can also be translated as "method," as in a way of doing things.
This word is sometimes Romanized as "kodo" though officially, the Romaji should be "Kodou."
My Japanese-English dictionary further translates this word as old road, ancient methods, ancient moral teachings, the way of learning.
Note that this would be understood differently in Chinese. Most Chinese people would just read this as, "The old road" without the other meanings derived in Japanese.
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
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.
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.
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.
恐れず is probably the best way to express "No Fear" in Japanese.
The first Kanji and following Hiragana character create a word that means: to fear, to be afraid of, frightened, or terrified.
The last Hiragana character serves to modify and negate the first word (put it in negative form). Basically, they carry a meaning like "without" or "keeping away." 恐れず is almost like the English modifier "-less."
Altogether, you get something like, "Without Fear" or "Fearless."
Here's an example of using this in a sentence: 彼女かのじょは思い切ったことを恐れずにやる。
Translation: She is not scared of taking big risks.
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
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.
印第安 is the Chinese title for (American) Indian or Native American.
For disambiguation, this refers only to indigenous people North America.
印第安 is a transliteration, so it is meant to sound like the English word "Indian" using Chinese sounds.
印第安 is not a common selection for a calligraphy 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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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).
This 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."
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).
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."
Many 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).
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
While perhaps no longer politically correct, this Chinese proverb is a reminder that you must take risks if you want reward.
This 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?."
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).
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.
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.
If you believe that life is a journey, this is a nice Japanese title for you wall.
人生行路 means "journey of life" in Japanese Kanji. The actual word order is more like "life (人生) journey (行路)" as Japanese grammar is a bit different than English.
Note: The "journey" part can also be translated as "road," so this is also how to say, "the road of life."
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
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."
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.
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."
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.
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.
This 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.
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.
This word can translate as adamantine from Chinese, Japanese, and old Korean.
Other meanings and translations can include diamond, thunderbolt, Indra's indestructible weapon, Buddhist symbol of the indestructible truth, Vajra (a mythical weapon), guardian deity, hardness, indestructibility, power, the least frangible of minerals.
The Chinese pronunciation of "Jīn Gāng" became the loanword used in English as "King Kong". You can see King Kong as the indestructible ape guardian deity depending on how you read the story.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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."
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 2018, 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."
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: 聖 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.
聖 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.
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.
This the title for football or soccer in Japanese Kanji and old Korean Hanja. The sport is very popular in both Japan and Korea (Korea and Japan co-hosted the football World Cup in 2002 - a world-class sporting event held every four years that rivals the Olympics).
In Japan, they sometimes say サッカ (sakka) or フットボール (futto bouru) in place of the pronunciation shown above. 蹴球 is supposed to sound like the English word "soccer" and "football / futbol" respectively.
The first Kanji means "kick" and the second means "ball." So technically, this means "kick ball" in Japanese and Korean (this is just an educational note - this will always be understood as the game of soccer / football).
FYI: This game would never be confused with American Football in Japan or Korea. Unlike the game of American basketball and baseball (both quite popular in Japan and Korea), there is only a vague awareness of a rugby-like game that is also called football in the USA.
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.
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.
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.
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." 阮 / 阮 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.
孝 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: 孝 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.
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 A.D.).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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.
鼈 refers to a species of turtle.
鼈 is Trionyx Sinensis.
鼈 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.
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 its 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). 鼈 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." 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.
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.
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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji(Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|England||英||ei||yīng / ying1 / ying|
|Believer||信徒||shinto||xìn tú / xin4 tu2 / xin tu / xintu||hsin t`u / hsintu / hsin tu|
|Strong and Beautiful||健美||takemi||jiàn měi / jian4 mei3 / jian mei / jianmei||chien mei / chienmei|
|Live Laugh Love||笑愛生活|
|xiào ài shēng huó|
xiao4 ai4 sheng1 huo2
xiao ai sheng huo
|hsiao ai sheng huo
|Home of the Auspicious Golden Dragon||金瑞祥龍之家|
|jīn ruì xiáng lóng zhī jiā|
jin1 rui4 xiang2 long2 zhi1 jia1
jin rui xiang long zhi jia
|chin jui hsiang lung chih chia|
|sekkyoku / sekyoku||jī jí / ji1 ji2 / ji ji / jiji||chi chi / chichi|
|Volleyball||バレーボール||bareebooru / bareboru|
|Be Happy||幸せである||Shiawa se de a ru|
|Tactics of War||戰術 / 戦術|
|senjutsu||zhàn shù / zhan4 shu4 / zhan shu / zhanshu||chan shu / chanshu|
|Hentai||変態||hen tai / hentai|
|Beer||ビール||biiru / biru|
|dài sī dì nī|
dai4 si1 di4 ni1
dai si di ni
|tai ssu ti ni
|恐れ多い||osore ooi / osoreooi / osore oi / osoreoi|
|I Miss You||我想你||wǒ xiǎng nǐ|
wo3 xiang3 ni3
wo xiang ni
|wo hsiang ni
|Cowboy||カウボーイ||kaubooi / kauboi|
|Soccer||サッカ||sakka / saka|
|大君||tai kun / taikun|
|Panda Bear||パンダ||pan da / panda|
|Gung Ho||工合||guai||gōng hé / gong1 he2 / gong he / gonghe||kung ho / kungho|
|The Way of the Wave||波の道||nami no michi|
Martial Arts Studio
|dou jou / doujou / do jo / dojo||dào cháng|
|Crystal||克里斯托||kè lǐ sī tuō|
ke4 li3 si1 tuo1
ke li si tuo
|k`o li ssu t`o
ko li ssu to
|Any success can not compensate|
for failure in the home
|suǒ yǒu de chéng gōng dōu wú fǎ bǔ cháng jiā tíng de shī bài|
suo3 you3 de cheng2 gong1 dou1 wu2 fa3 bu3 chang2 jia1 ting2 de shi1 bai4
suo you de cheng gong dou wu fa bu chang jia ting de shi bai
|so yu te ch`eng kung tou wu fa pu ch`ang chia t`ing te shih pai
so yu te cheng kung tou wu fa pu chang chia ting te shih pai
|jì lǜ / ji4 lv4 / ji lv / jilv||chi lü / chilü|
|迫力||hakuryoku||pò lì / po4 li4 / po li / poli||p`o li / poli / po li|
|Vampire||吸血鬼||kyuu ketsu ki|
kyu ketsu ki
|xī xuě guǐ|
xi1 xue3 gui3
xi xue gui
|hsi hsüeh kuei
|Let Us Try||嘗試|
|yì zhì jiān qiáng|
yi4 zhi4 jian1 qiang2
yi zhi jian qiang
|i chih chien ch`iang
i chih chien chiang
|reikan||líng gǎn / ling2 gan3 / ling gan / linggan||ling kan / lingkan|
Faith in God
|信仰||shin kou / shinkou / shin ko / shinko||xìn yǎng / xin4 yang3 / xin yang / xinyang||hsin yang / hsinyang|
|Kourei||降霊||kourei / korei|
|團結 / 糰結|
团结 / 団结
|dan ketsu / danketsu||tuán jié / tuan2 jie2 / tuan jie / tuanjie||t`uan chieh / tuanchieh / tuan chieh|
|shoujin / shojin||jīng jìn / jing1 jin4 / jing jin / jingjin||ching chin / chingchin|
|The Force||フォース||foosu / fosu|
|shè qū / she4 qu1 / she qu / shequ||she ch`ü / shechü / she chü|
|zuì wěi dà de ài|
zui4 wei3 da4 de ai4
zui wei da de ai
|tsui wei ta te ai
|Pillars of Marriage||尊重忠誠誠實|
|zūn zhòng zhōng chéng chéng shí|
zun1 zhong4 zhong1 cheng2 cheng2 shi2
zun zhong zhong cheng cheng shi
|tsun chung chung ch`eng ch`eng shih
tsun chung chung cheng cheng shih
|Keep Calm in Face of Adversity||失意泰然||shitsuitaizen|
Happy With Your Fate
|樂天 / 楽天|
|raku ten / rakuten||lè tiān / le4 tian1 / le tian / letian||le t`ien / letien / le tien|
|Reality||醒悟 / 省悟|
|xǐng wù / xing3 wu4 / xing wu / xingwu||hsing wu / hsingwu|
|The Old Way|
|古道||kodou / kodo|
|King||王||ou / o||wáng / wang2 / wang|
|智能 / 知能|
|chinou / chino||zhì néng / zhi4 neng2 / zhi neng / zhineng||chih neng / chihneng|
|Love and Respect||相敬相愛|
|xiāng jìng xiāng ài|
xiang1 jing4 xiang1 ai4
xiang jing xiang ai
|hsiang ching hsiang ai
|zhǎo xún zhě|
zhao3 xun2 zhe3
zhao xun zhe
|chao hsün che
|No Fear||恐れず||oso re zu / osorezu|
|luō sī / luo1 si1 / luo si / luosi||lo ssu / lossu|
|Exercise||鍛煉 / 鍛鍊|
|Sexy||性感||seikan||xing gǎn / xing gan3 / xing gan / xinggan||hsing kan / hsingkan|
|印第安||yìn dì ān|
yin4 di4 an1
yin di an
|yin ti an
|Sense of Shame|
Sense of Honor
|ren chi / renchi||lián chǐ / lian2 chi3 / lian chi / lianchi||lien ch`ih / lienchih / lien chih|
|盆栽||bon sai / bonsai||pén zāi / pen2 zai1 / pen zai / penzai||p`en tsai / pentsai / pen tsai|
|專心 / 専心 / 耑心|
|sen shin / senshin||zhuān xīn|
|Sangha||僧伽||sougya / sogya||sēng qié / seng1 qie2 / seng qie / sengqie||seng ch`ieh / sengchieh / seng chieh|
|Good Good Study, Day Day Up||好好學習天天向上|
|hǎo hǎo xué xí tiān tiān xiàng shàng|
hao3 hao3 xue2 xi2 tian1 tian1 xiang4 shang4
hao hao xue xi tian tian xiang shang
|hao hao hsüeh hsi t`ien t`ien hsiang shang
hao hao hsüeh hsi tien tien hsiang shang
|你好||nǐ hǎo / ni3 hao3 / ni hao / nihao|
|Christ||基督||kirisuto||jī dū / ji1 du1 / ji du / jidu||chi tu / chitu|
|bu ruu su ri|
bu ru su ri
|lǐ xiǎo lóng|
li3 xiao3 long2
li xiao long
|li hsiao lung
|Self-Confidence||自信||jishin||zì xìn / zi4 xin4 / zi xin / zixin||tzu hsin / tzuhsin|
|How can you catch tiger cubs|
without entering the lair of the tiger?
|不入虎穴焉得虎子||bú rù hǔ xué yān dé hǔ zǐ|
bu2 ru4 hu3 xue2 yan1 de2 hu3 zi3
bu ru hu xue yan de hu zi
|pu ju hu hsüeh yen te hu tzu
|jī dū jiào|
ji1 du1 jiao4
ji du jiao
|chi tu chiao
|Hella||太||tai||tài / tai4 / tai||t`ai / tai|
|juu jutsu / juujutsu / ju jutsu / jujutsu||róu shù / rou2 shu4 / rou shu / roushu||jou shu / joushu|
|Journey of Life||人生行路||jinseikouro|
|功夫||kan fu / ku fu|
kanfu / kufu
|gōng fu / gong1 fu / gong fu / gongfu||kung fu / kungfu|
|Fear No Evil||不怕邪惡|
|bú pà xié è|
bu2 pa4 xie2 e4
bu pa xie e
|pu p`a hsieh o
pu pa hsieh o
|Archer||射手||i te / sha shu|
ite / shashu
|shè shǒu / she4 shou3 / she shou / sheshou|
|bù qū bù náo|
bu4 qu1 bu4 nao2
bu qu bu nao
|pu ch`ü pu nao
pu chü pu nao
|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|
shen2 ai4 shi4 ren2 shen4 zhi4 jiang1 ta1 de du2 sheng1 zi3 ci4 gei3 ta1 men2 jiao4 yi2 qie4 xin4 ta1 de bu2 zhi4 mie4 wang2 fan3 de2 yong3 sheng1
shen ai shi ren shen zhi jiang ta de du sheng zi ci gei ta men jiao yi qie xin ta de bu zhi mie wang fan de yong sheng
|shen ai shih jen shen chih chiang t`a te tu sheng tzu tz`u kei t`a men chiao i ch`ieh hsin t`a te pu chih mieh wang fan te yung sheng
shen ai shih jen shen chih chiang ta te tu sheng tzu tzu kei ta men chiao i chieh hsin ta te pu chih mieh wang fan te yung sheng
|tou hou zi son|
to ho zi son
|dōng fāng zì zūn|
dong1 fang1 zi4 zun1
dong fang zi zun
|tung fang tzu tsun
|kongou / kongo||jīn gāng / jin1 gang1 / jin gang / jingang||chin kang / chinkang|
|Everything Happens for a Reason||萬事皆因果|
|wàn shì jiē yīn guǒ|
wan4 shi4 jie1 yin1 guo3
wan shi jie yin guo
|wan shih chieh yin kuo
|Peace and Love||和平博愛|
|hé píng bó ài|
he2 ping2 bo2 ai4
he ping bo ai
|ho p`ing po ai
ho ping po ai
|Feel at Ease Anywhere|
The World is My Home
|sì hǎi wéi jiā|
si4 hai3 wei2 jia1
si hai wei jia
|ssu hai wei chia
|nán tóng xìng liàn|
nan2 tong2 xing4 lian4
nan tong xing lian
|nan t`ung hsing lien
nan tung hsing lien
|謝謝 / 謝々|
|shie shie / shieshie||xiè xie / xie4 xie / xie xie / xiexie||hsieh hsieh / hsiehhsieh|
铁拳 / 鉄拳
|tekken / teken||tiě quán / tie3 quan2 / tie quan / tiequan||t`ieh ch`üan / tiehchüan / tieh chüan|
|Kung Fu San Soo|
|功夫散手||gōng fu sǎn shǒu|
gong1 fu san3 shou3
gong fu san shou
|kung fu san shou
|kijuuki / kijuki||qǐ zhòng jī|
qi3 zhong4 ji1
qi zhong ji
|ch`i chung chi
chi chung chi
|sei||shèng / sheng4 / sheng|
|ei haru / eiharu||yǒng chūn|
|蹴球||shuu kyuu / shuukyuu / shu kyu / shukyu|
|mā / ma1 / ma|
|Crisis equals Danger plus Opportunity?||危機|
|kiki||wēi jī / wei1 ji1 / wei ji / weiji||wei chi / weichi|
|阮 / 阮|
|Min / Gen||ruǎn / ruan3 / ruan||juan|
|Filial Piety||孝||kou / ko||xiào / xiao4 / xiao||hsiao|
|Northern Praying Mantis||螳螂拳||tou rou ken|
to ro ken
|táng láng quán|
tang2 lang2 quan2
tang lang quan
|t`ang lang ch`üan
tang lang chüan
|Bloodless Victory||兵不血刃||bīng bù xuè rèn|
bing1 bu4 xue4 ren4
bing bu xue ren
|ping pu hsüeh jen
|Geisha||芸者||geisha||yún zhě / yun2 zhe3 / yun zhe / yunzhe||yün che / yünche|
|Year-In Year-Out Have Abundance||年年有餘|
|nián nián yǒu yú|
nian2 nian2 you3 yu2
nian nian you yu
|nien nien yu yü
|拳法||kenpou / kenpo||quán fǎ / quan2 fa3 / quan fa / quanfa||ch`üan fa / chüanfa / chüan fa|
|ai ki do / aikido||hé qì dào|
he2 qi4 dao4
he qi dao
|ho ch`i tao
ho chi tao
|Japanese Snapping Turtle|
Chinese Soft Shell Turtle
|鼈||suppon / supon||biē / bie1 / bie||pieh|
|Undaunted After Repeated Setbacks||百折不撓|
|hyaku setsu su tou|
hyaku setsu su to
|bǎi zhé bù náo|
bai3 zhe2 bu4 nao2
bai zhe bu nao
|pai che pu nao
|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...
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.
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.
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.
Check out my lists of Japanese Kanji Calligraphy Wall Scrolls and Old Korean Hanja Calligraphy Wall Scrolls.
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