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

Quick links to words on this page...

  1. Great Aspirations / Ambition
  2. Great Endeavor / To Strive
  3. Great Sea
  4. Great Ambitions
  5. Great Britain
  6. Door of Great Wisdom
  7. Daimyo / Great Name
  8. The Great Wall of China
  9. Great Lord / Tycoon
10. Heroic Spirit / Great Ambition
11. Great Expectations
12. Big Dream...
13. Boys be Ambitious
14. Gibraltar
15. Falkland Islands
16. Northern Ireland
17. United Kingdom
18. Ireland
19. Hong Kong
20. England
21. Scotland
22. Realize Your Ambitions...
23. Man of Remarkable Character...
24. Without a big net, how can you catch fish?
25. Wisdom from Hard Knocks
26. Woman Hero / Heroine
27. Roar of Laughter / Big Laughs
28. The Spirit of the Dragon Horse,...
29. Archangel / Arch Angel
30. Dignity / Honor / Sanctity / Integrity
31. Strive / Struggle
32. Reiki - Master Symbol
33. London
34. Cayman Islands
35. Realistic / Practical
36. Longevity / Long Life Wishes
37. Together Forever
38. Shiken Haramitsu Daikomyo
39. Realistic / Practical
40. Loving Father
41. Loving Mother
42. Strive / Struggle
43. A Life of Happiness and Prosperity
44. Okami / God
45. Smooth Sailing
46. Mother Nature
47. Nichiren
48. Ouch!
49. Always with a Book in Hand
50. Ultimate Goodness of Water
51. Peaceful Heart / Peace of Mind / Calm Mind
52. Hung Kuen
53. Strength and Courage
54. Filial Piety / Filial Conduct
55. Opening / Blooming Flowers
56. Non-Violence
57. Duty / Responsibility / Obligation
58. Hung Ga Kuen
59. Beast / Animal
60. The Way of the Wave
61. Giant Panda
62. Man of Character
63. Bright and Promising Future
64. Big Dream
65. Outstanding
66. Homosexual / Gay
67. Serendipity / Nice Coincidence
68. Inner Strength / Self-Improvement
69. Angel / Messenger of Heaven
70. Hero
71. Optimistic
72. Hung Gar
73. Mark the boat to find the lost sword...
74. Crazy / Mad
75. Kaili
76. Brave the Waves
77. American Football
78. Hella
79. Life is Good / Life is Beautiful
80. Daisy
81. Love Forever / Love Eternally
82. Homosexual / Gay
83. Prosperous Business
84. Active Duty Military
85. No Fear
86. Legendary Turtle
87. The Confident Helmsman...
88. American Football
89. Flower Open / Blooming Flower
90. Greatest Love
91. Isshin Ryu Karate Do
92. Five Ancestors Fist
93. Read 10,000 Books, Travel 10,000 Miles
94. Humility / Being Humble
95. Cooperation / Collaboration
96. Kung Fu / Gong Fu
97. Healing Hands
98. Shidai / Sida / Mahabhuta
99. The Spirit of the Dragon Horse
100. Flowers Fall / The End Comes
101. Phoenix Rise from the Ashes
102. Beauty Shop / Beauty Salon
103. Bonsai / Penzai
104. Sacrifice / Devotion / Dedication
105. You are always a beauty in your lover’s eyes
106. Light / Bright and Promising Future
107. Commitment
108. Golden Anniversary / 50th Wedding Anniversary
109. Five Red Bats
110. Smooth Sailing
111. Benevolence
112. Wolf
113. Gassho
114. Hua Mulan
115. Improvise Adapt Overcome
116. Soul Mates
117. Daodejing / Tao Te Ching
118. Profound / Powerful Words
119. Katana
120. Undaunted After Repeated Setbacks
121. Kai Zen / Kaizen
122. Rooster / Chicken
123. Kansei Engineering...
124. Sword
125. Confucius: Golden Rule / Ethic of Reciprocity
126. Confucius
127. Not Only Can Water Float A Boat, It Can Sink It Also
128. An Open Book Benefits Your Mind
129. A Bright Future
130. Banzai / Wansui
131. Banzai
132. A sly rabbit has three openings to its den
133. Work Unselfishly for the Common Good
134. Joshua 24:15
135. Crisis equals Danger plus Opportunity?
136. Kirin / Giraffe / Mythical Creature
137. The one who retreats 50 paces mocks the one to retreats 100
138. Broken Mirror Rejoined
139. Better Late Than Never

Great Aspirations / Ambition

China hóng hú zhī zhì
Great Aspirations / Ambition Wall Scroll

This Chinese proverb implies that having great ambitions also means that others will not understand your great expectations and ideas.

Though the actual words come from a longer saying of Confucius which goes, "The little swallows living under the eaves wouldn't understand the lofty ambitions of a swan (who flies far and wide)."

This Confucius quote has led to this idiomatic expression in China that means "think big." What you'd really be saying is "The lofty ambitions of a swan."

Note that Chinese people sometimes refer to the little swallow, as one who does not "think big" but is, instead, stuck in a rut, or just leading a mundane life. Therefore, it's a compliment to be called a swan but not a good thing to be called a swallow.

Great Aspirations / Ambition

Japan tai shi wo idaku
Great Aspirations / Ambition Wall Scroll

大志を抱 is a single Japanese word that kind of reads like a short proverb. It suggests that you should have "high aims," "ambitions," or "aspirations" in your life.

Great Endeavor / To Strive

China nǔ lì
Japan doryoku
Great Endeavor / To Strive Wall Scroll

努力 means great effort; to strive; to try hard; great effort; great exertion; great endeavor (endeavour); great effort; to strive.

This "striving endeavor" word is valid in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

Great Sea

China dà yáng
Japan tai you
Great Sea Wall Scroll

大洋 is a rarely-used word for ocean in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. 大洋 is here mostly for reference - please order a different ocean for your custom calligraphy wall scroll.

The first character means "big" or "great."
The second means "ocean" or "body of water" (it can sometimes mean "foreign" but not in this case).
The first character designates that you are talking about a great or huge body of water (certainly a major ocean and not a smaller sea).

Great Ambitions

Brave the wind and the waves
China chéng fēng pò làng
Great Ambitions Wall Scroll

This Chinese proverb represents having great ambitions. British might say "to plough through." Another way to understand it is, "surmount all difficulties and forge ahead courageously."

This can also be translated as, "braving the wind and waves" or "to brave the wind and the billows."

Literally it reads: "ride [the] wind [and] break/cleave/cut [the] waves," or "ride [the] wind [and] slash [through the] waves."

乘風破浪 is a great proverb to encourage yourself or someone else not to be afraid of problems or troubles, and when you have a dream just go for it.

Great Britain

Japan ei koku
Great Britain Wall Scroll

英國 is Great Britain written in Japanese.

Great Britain

China dà bù liè diān
Great Britain Wall Scroll

大不列顛 is the Chinese name for Great Britain

See Also:  England | United Kingdom | Scotland | Ireland | Europe

Door of Great Wisdom

China dà zhì huì mén
Japan dai chi e mon
Door of Great Wisdom Wall Scroll

大智慧門 is the title for, "The Great Wisdom Door," or "The Gate to Great Wisdom."

This refers to a portal to all wisdom and knowledge in Buddhism.

Daimyo / Great Name

China dà míng
Japan dai myou
Daimyo / Great Name Wall Scroll

大名 is the title Daimyō in Japanese, which means "lord" or "great name."

This has the same meaning in Chinese of "great name," "your distinguished name." In ancient Japan, this referred to a feudal lord.

Also sometimes romanized from Japanese as Daimio, Daimyou, Oomiyou, or Oomyou.

The Great Wall of China

Japan ban ri no chou jyou
The Great Wall of China Wall Scroll

萬裡の長城 is the Japanese name for the Great Wall of China.

The Great Wall of China

China cháng chéng
Japan nagaki
The Great Wall of China Wall Scroll

長城 is the Chinese name for the Great Wall. Built at the northern border of China to protect from Mongol attack.

In Japanese, this is a surname Nagaki. Japanese use a longer title for the Great Wall of China.
In Korean, this refers to Changsŏng (a city in Changsŏng-kun county, Chŏllanam-to province).

Great Lord / Tycoon

Japan tai kun
Great Lord / Tycoon Wall Scroll

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."

Heroic Spirit / Great Ambition

China xióng xīn
Japan yuushin
Heroic Spirit / Great Ambition Wall Scroll

雄心 is the Chinese characters and Japanese Kanji for great ambition, lofty aspiration, or heroic spirit.

Great Expectations

China wàng
Japan bou / nozomi
Great Expectations Wall Scroll

This character holds the ideas of ambition, hope, desire, aspiring to, expectations, looking towards, to gaze (into the distance), and in some context full moon rising.

望 is one of those single characters that is vague but in that vagueness, in also means many things.

望 is a whole word in Chinese and old Korean but is seldom seen alone in Japanese. Still, it holds the meanings noted above in all three languages.

Big Dream
Great Hope

Japan tai mou
Big Dream / Great Hope Wall Scroll

大望 is one of a few ways to write "dream big" in Japanese.

大望 is a good title if you want that to inspire ambition or high aspirations. 大望 is also a way to say "great expectations."

Boys be Ambitious

Quote from William S. Clark in Japan
Japan shou nen yo tai shi o ida ke
Boys be Ambitious Wall Scroll

This was a sort of motto or proverb invoked by William S. Clark, after being hired by the Emperor of Japan in 1876 to establish a university in Hokkaido, Japan.

This phrase is famous across all generations of Japan since that time.

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


China zhí bù luō tuó
Gibraltar Wall Scroll

直布羅陀 is the Chinese name for Gibraltar (overseas territory of the United Kingdom but also claimed by Spain)

See Also:  Spain | Europe

Falkland Islands

China fú kè lán qún dǎo
Falkland Islands Wall Scroll

福克蘭群島 is the Chinese name for the Falkland Islands (overseas territory of the United Kingdom).

See Also:  United Kingdom | Africa

Northern Ireland

China běi ài ěr lán
Northern Ireland Wall Scroll

北愛爾蘭 is the Chinese name for the country of Northern Ireland

See Also:  Ireland | United Kingdom | Europe

United Kingdom

Japan rengououkoku / rengookoku
United Kingdom Wall Scroll

連合王國 is the most common Japanese name for the United Kingdom.

See Also:  England | Scotland | Ireland | Europe

United Kingdom

China dài yīng lián hé wáng guó
United Kingdom Wall Scroll

大英聯合王國 is the Chinese name for the United Kingdom

See Also:  England | Scotland | Ireland | Europe


China ài ěr lán
Ireland Wall Scroll

愛爾蘭 is the Chinese name for the country of Ireland

See Also:  Northern Ireland | England | Scotland | United Kingdom | Europe

Hong Kong

China xiāng gǎng
HK hoeng1 gong2
Japan hon kon
Hong Kong Wall Scroll

香港 is the Chinese and Japanese name for the Special Administrative Region (SAR) of The Peoples Republic of China known as Hong Kong (formerly a British administrated territory).

The romanization "Hong Kong" is probably a British approximation of the Cantonese pronunciation for this land.

See Also:  China | Macao | Taiwan | Singapore | Japan | Vietnam | Korea | Asia


China yīng guó
England Wall Scroll

英國 is the Chinese name for the country of England.

See Also:  United Kingdom | Ireland | Scotland | Northern Ireland | Europe


China sū gé lán
Scotland Wall Scroll

蘇格蘭 is the Chinese name for Scotland.

See Also:  United Kingdom | England | Northern Ireland | Ireland | Europe

Realize Your Ambitions
Ride on the Crest of Success

China dà jiǎn hóng tú
Realize Your Ambitions / Ride on the Crest of Success Wall Scroll

This four-character proverb is used in Chinese to mean "realize your ambitions" or "exhibit your ambition and success." It's used to talk about someone with great career ambitions. Almost literally, it expresses the idea of someone unfolding a great career like a map or a set of blueprint plans.

Very literally translated, these four characters mean, "Great unfolding of a huge map" or "Great exhibition of an colossal plan."

Man of Remarkable Character

Japan ketsubutsu
Man of Remarkable Character / Hero Wall Scroll

This Japanese title can mean, "great man," "heroic figure," or "remarkable character." You would be giving someone a great honor by presenting this wall scroll to them as a gift.

Without a big net, how can you catch fish?

China bù sā dà wǎng bù dé dà yú
Without a big net, how can you catch fish? Wall Scroll

This Chinese proverb literally translates as: [if one does] not cast a big net, [one can] not get big fish.

Figuratively, this means: One cannot make great accomplishments without making great efforts or taking great pains.

不撒大網不得大魚 is sort of the fishing version of, "No pain, no gain."

Wisdom from Hard Knocks

The school of hard knocks
China ái yī quán dé yī zhāo ái shí quán biàn zhū gě
Wisdom from Hard Knocks Wall Scroll

This Chinese proverb literally translates as: Receive on blow, [and one] learns a lesson; Receive ten blows, [and one] becomes a great Zhuge [Liang]. You must first understand that a man named Zhuge Liang was one of the great strategists and philosophers in Chinese history. He's known as a man of great wisdom.

Figuratively, this phrase means:
One can learn much from failure or "hard knocks."

Woman Hero / Heroine

China jīn guó yīng xióng
Woman Hero / Heroine Wall Scroll

巾幗英雄 is a cool and somewhat ancient way to say woman hero in Chinese. This word is used in modern times to refer to an outstanding woman or a woman with great accomplishments.

In the old days, it was a title for a woman warrior (oh, did I mention that there were great female generals who led huge armies into battle in ancient China?)

Roar of Laughter / Big Laughs

China dà xiào
Japan taishou
Roar of Laughter / Big Laughs Wall Scroll

This can be translated as "roar of laughter," "loud laughter," "hearty laugh" or "cachinnation."

The first character means big or great, and the second character means laugh or smile.

If you like humor, this is a great wall scroll to hang in your home.

See Also:  The Whole Room Rocks With Laughter

The Spirit of the Dragon Horse,
the Power of a Tiger.

China lóng mǎ jīng shén hǔ hǔ shēng wēi
The Spirit of the Dragon Horse, / the Power of a Tiger. Wall Scroll

龍馬精神虎虎生威 is an old proverb that is used to wish someone great health and success combined as a great compliment.

The meaning is "The vigor and spirit of the legendary dragon-horse, and the power and prestige of the tiger."

By giving a wall scroll like this to someone, you were either wishing or telling them that they have these qualities. There is also a suggestion of good health - at least anyone with the vigor of a dragon horse, would seem to also be in good health.

Archangel / Arch Angel

China dà tiān shǐ
Japan dai ten shi
Archangel / Arch Angel Wall Scroll

大天使 is the title Archangel in Chinese characters, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

The first character means big or great (in this case, it means "arch").
The second means heaven (or sky).
The last means messenger.

The second and third characters together make the title for angel, which is literally "Heaven's Messenger."

This title would be understood as "The Chief of all Angels," or "The Great Angel." Some might even say it's the boss of Angels.

See Also:  Angel

Dignity / Honor / Sanctity / Integrity

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strive / Struggle

China fèn dòu
Strive / Struggle Wall Scroll

奮鬥 / 奮斗 means strive (as in to put great effort into something or a cause). It can also be translated as struggle.

斗 The second character of this word can also be written as shown to the right. Yes. it's very different. If you want this alternate version, just let us know when you place your order (in the special instructions).

Reiki - Master Symbol

China dà guāng míng
Japan dai kou myou
Reiki - Master Symbol Wall Scroll

大光明 is the master symbol "Daikomyo," which is usually associated with the healing practice of Reiki.

This title can be translated as "Great Bright Light." This symbol, as used in Reiki, alludes to "Enlightened Nature" or the radiance of a purified soul or deity.

Pronunciations in Chinese and Korean are included above but this title has no meaning except when used by a Reiki practitioner. In fact, this title is not that well known by those outside the Reiki community in Japan.

In Chinese, this would be interpreted as "Great Bright Future" (the second two characters alone create a word that means "bright future" in Chinese).


China lún dūn
Japan ron don
London Wall Scroll

倫敦 is the current Chinese, and an old Japanese way to write London (capital of the United Kingdom / Great Britain).

Cayman Islands

China kāi màn qún dǎo
Cayman Islands Wall Scroll

開曼群島 is the Chinese name for the Cayman Islands (overseas territory of the United Kingdom and a great place to hide money).

See Also:  North America | United Kingdom

Realistic / Practical

Japan genjitsu shugi / genjisu syugi
Realistic / Practical Wall Scroll

現実主義 means realistic or practical. If you need a reminder to remain grounded in your life, this is a great way to do that.

Longevity / Long Life Wishes

A wish for a long and prosperous life
China fú rú dōng hǎi shòu bǐ nán shān
Longevity / Long Life Wishes Wall Scroll

福如東海壽比南山 is a phrase that means "May you have good fortune as great as the eastern oceans, and may your life last as long as the southern mountains."

In ancient Chinese mythology, the eastern oceans and southern mountains are where God resides (basically it is the same as saying "heaven"). So it's like saying, "May your good fortune and life be as vast as the heavens."

There is also a longer, 14-character version of this phrase. Also, this can be cut into two scrolls (with half the phrase on each side - great for hanging on either side of a doorway). Just let me know if you'd like a special version (there is an additional cost).

Together Forever

China yǒng yuǎn zài yī qǐ
Together Forever Wall Scroll

永遠在一起 is "together forever" in Chinese.

永遠在一起 is a great idea for couples making a commitment of a lifetime.

Shiken Haramitsu Daikomyo

Japan shi ken ha ra mitsu dai kou myou
Shiken Haramitsu Daikomyo Wall Scroll

四拳波羅蜜大光明 is "shiken haramitsu daikōmyō," a famous Japanese Buddhist mantra.

四拳 = shi-ken = four fist (many translate this as "four hearts").
波羅蜜 = ha-ra-mitsu = A loanword representing pāramitā, or entrance into Nirvana. Awkwardly, it also means jackfruit.
大光明 = dai-kou-myo = big/great light bright (great bright light).

Shiken represents four hearts:
1. The Merciful Heart - Love and caring for all living things.
2. The Sincere Heart - Pursues righteousness, or the right path - sincerely trying to do what is right.
3. The Attuned Heart - Knows that nature and fate have their ways, and thus stays in tune with the universe.
4. The Dedicated Heart - Steadfast on the chosen path to the end.

Realistic / Practical

China tā shí
Realistic / Practical Wall Scroll

踏實 means realistic or practical. If you need a reminder to remain grounded in your life, this is a great way to do that. It also can have the meanings of "at ease" or "down to earth."

Loving Father

China cí fù
Japan jifu
Loving Father Wall Scroll

These characters create the title of loving father, affectionate father, or merciful father. A great gift for your dad.

Loving Mother

China cí mǔ
Japan ji bo
Loving Mother Wall Scroll

These characters create the title of loving mother, affectionate mother, or merciful mother. A great gift for your mom.

See Also:  Family

Strive / Struggle

Japan fun tou
Strive / Struggle Wall Scroll

奮闘 / 奮鬥 is the Japanese version of a word that means strive (as in to put great effort into something or a cause). It can also be translated as struggle. There's a very similar version used in Chinese with same meaning.

A Life of Happiness and Prosperity

China xìng fú chéng gōng de yì shēng
A Life of Happiness and Prosperity Wall Scroll

幸福成功的一生 means, "A life of happiness and prosperity" or "A life of happiness and success." It's a great and very positive and inspirational wall scroll selection.

See Also:  Prosperity

Okami / God

Japan okami / daijin
Okami / God Wall Scroll

大神 is Okami. It is an honorific title for God (used in Shinto and other religions). If you directly translate this, you get something like, "Big Spirit" or "Great Spirit."

There are other titles that romanize as "Okami" in Japanese, so make sure this is the right meaning for you. Another common okami means wolf but is a completely different Kanji and meaning.

Smooth Sailing

Japan jun puu man pan
Smooth Sailing Wall Scroll

順風満帆 means "smooth sailing" in Japanese.

The Kanji literally mean, "Favorable wind, full sail."

This title can also suggest having great ambitions.

Mother Nature

China dà zì rán
Japan dai shi zen
Mother Nature Wall Scroll

大自然 is the simple way to express "mother nature" in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

This can also be translated as "the great nature" or "all of nature."


China rì lián
Japan nichi ren
Nichiren Wall Scroll

日蓮 is the title Nichiren.

This title refers to a Buddhist priest, who lived from 1222 to 1282. He is the founder of the Nichiren sect of Buddhism.
According to historical documents, the Nichiren sect was established in 1252. Adding the character for sect, this would be 日蓮宗 (Nichiren sect), which is also known as the 法華宗 or Lotus sect.

According to Soothill-Hodous...
Nichiren's chief tenets are the three great mysteries 三大祕法, representing the trikāya:
1. 本尊 or chief object of worship, being the great maṇḍala of the worlds of the ten directions, or universe, i.e. the body or nirmāṇakāya of Buddha.
2. 題目 the title of the Lotus Sutra 妙法蓮華經 Myo-ho-ren-ge-kyo, preceded by Namo, or, "Adoration to the scripture of the lotus of the wonderful law," for it is Buddha's spiritual body.
3. 戒壇 the altar of the law, which is also the title of the Lotus as above; the believer, wherever he is, dwells in the Pure-land of calm light 寂光淨土, the saṃbhogakāya.


Japan itai
Ouch! Wall Scroll

痛い is the way to yell, Ouch! in Japanese.

This expresses that something is painful, sore, hurts, or is causing great discomfort.

痛い is a very strange selection for a wall scroll, so consider this entry to be for educational purposes only.

Always with a Book in Hand

Said of a hardworking scholar or student.
China shǒu bù shì juàn
Always with a Book in Hand Wall Scroll

This Chinese proverb literally means, "always with a book in hand."

手不釋卷 is used to refer to a student or scholar who is diligent and hardworking. 手不釋卷 is a great gift for a student or scholar who loves books.

Ultimate Goodness of Water

Quote from Lao Tzu
China shàng shàn ruò shuǐ
Ultimate Goodness of Water Wall Scroll

This quote is sometimes presented as, "Be like water." However, this is an ancient quote from the great philosopher Lao Tzu. It basically suggests that the ultimate goodness and purity (in the world) is water. Many take this as a suggestion to be like pure/good water.

Peaceful Heart / Peace of Mind / Calm Mind

China ān xīn
Japan an shin
Peaceful Heart / Peace of Mind / Calm Mind Wall Scroll

安心 is a nice word that encompasses great meanings within just two characters. This can be defined as relief, peace of mind, feeling at ease, to be relieved, set one's mind at rest. easiness. To put it another way, it's the idea of feeling a sense of security, safety, and confidence in your state of well-being.

Hung Kuen

China hóng quán
HK hung kyun
Hung Kuen Wall Scroll

洪拳 is the martial arts title Hung Kuen.

The first character means flood, big, immense, or great but it can also be the surname, Hong or Hung.

The last character means fist.

Strength and Courage

China lì liàng hé yǒng qì
Strength and Courage Wall Scroll

While not a typical Chinese phrase, this is how to write "strength and courage."

If this is an important idea for you, we can make a great custom Chinese "strength and courage" wall scroll for you.

Filial Piety / Filial Conduct

China xiào xìng
Japan koukou
Filial Piety / Filial Conduct Wall Scroll

These two characters express the idea of filial piety or filial conduct. The second character suggests "action" so these are the actions you take to show your respect and obedience to your elders or ancestors.

Confucius is probably the first great advocate for filial piety.

Opening / Blooming Flowers

China kāi huā
Japan kai ka
Opening / Blooming Flowers Wall Scroll

These two characters literally mean opening flowers (a verb). This word is also associated with Springtime, the beginning of something, or youth.

If you like flowers and the Springtime, this is a great selection for you.

In Korean Hanja, this can be a metaphor for achieving enlightenment or becoming civilized (blooming civilization).

See Also:  Flowers Fall


China fēi bào lì
Japan hibouryoku
Non-Violence Wall Scroll

非暴力 is fairly self-explanatory.

The first character means "not," "non-" or "un-"
The middle and last character together mean "violence," "use of force" or simply "violent."

Together, these three characters would normally be translated as "nonviolence." A great gift for your favorite peace-lover.

See Also:  Peace

Duty / Responsibility / Obligation

China zhí zé
Duty / Responsibility / Obligation Wall Scroll

If you have a sense of duty or sense of responsibility, this might be the wall scroll that you want to hang above your desk. It is a great way to quietly remind yourself to take pride in your duties at all times.

In a different context, this can mean "official duties" or "position."

Hung Ga Kuen

China hóng jiā quán
HK hung gaa kyun
Hung Ga Kuen Wall Scroll

洪家拳 is the martial arts title Hung Ga Kuen.

The first character means flood, big, immense, or great but it can also be the surname, Hong or Hung.

The second character means family or home.

The last character is a fist.

Beast / Animal

China shòu
Japan shishi
Beast / Animal Wall Scroll

獸 means beast, animal, brute, beastly, or bestial. A strange selection for a calligraphy wall scroll.

獸 is a very generic term for beast, so it can be one hunted for food (such as a deer or boar). It can also mean a great animal, or someone who acts like a beast.

Note: In Japanese, this can be the personal name Munetada.

獣 In modern Japan, they use the version of this character shown to the right. If your audience in Japanese, click this special Kanji instead of the button above.

The Way of the Wave

The Tao of the Waves
China làng zhī dào
The Way of the Wave Wall Scroll

浪之道 is a great title for a surfer whose lifestyle is entwined with the surf and waves.
This can be translated a few different ways:
The Way of the Wave
The Dao of the Wave
The Tao of the Waves
Note: Dao and Tao are the same character, just sometimes romanized differently.

Giant Panda

China dà xióng māo
Giant Panda Wall Scroll

大熊貓 is how to write "giant panda" in Chinese. 大熊貓 is specific to the "giant panda" which has black and white fur. Not to be confused with other types of smaller pandas in China.

The literal meaning of these characters is "great/big bear cat." Chinese do, in fact, think of pandas as "cat-like bears."

Note: In Japanese, they only express Giant Panda in Katakana, which is ジャイアント パンダ” (Jaianto Panda). So we have not included that for wall scroll orders.

Man of Character

China dà zhàng fu
Japan dai jou bu
Man of Character Wall Scroll

大丈夫 is a Chinese, Korean, and Japanese title that means, a manly man, a man of character, a great man, or fine figure of a man.

In Japanese, this can also be used to mean safe, all right, alright, OK, sure, or "no problem." Basically, used in Japanese for something of that is undoubted or very acceptable.

Bright and Promising Future

Japan akarui mirai
Bright and Promising Future Wall Scroll

This Japanese proverb means, "Bright Future." It suggests a lot of possibility and potential awaits in your future. A great gift for a graduate.

The first part of this proverb literally means bright or light. The second part means future but can also be translated as, "the world to come."

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

Big Dream

China dà mèng
Japan daimu
Big Dream Wall Scroll

大夢 means, "Big Dream" in Chinese and Japanese. 大夢 is mostly a Buddhist term referring to the great dream that represents a long and winding life that feels like a dream (since reality is an illusion anyway in Buddhism).

This can also be a female given name, Hiromu or Oomu in Japanese. Also more rare unisex given names Daimu or Taimu.


China chū lèi bá cuì
Outstanding Wall Scroll

出類拔萃 means "one who stands out from his/her peers," "stand out from the crowd," or "standing out from others." It can also mean, "leaving your peers behind."

A great way to tell yourself that you are outstanding (or give it to a friend that you want to encourage to excel).

Homosexual / Gay

China tóng xìng liàn
Homosexual / Gay Wall Scroll

A great way to tell your Chinese friends about your lifestyle, while keeping your Anglo friends in the dark.

Kind of a huge bold sign to say "I'm Gay" without anybody knowing.

These characters literally mean "same sex feeling" or "same sex affection" in Chinese.

Serendipity / Nice Coincidence

Japan Su teki na guu zen
Serendipity / Nice Coincidence Wall Scroll

素敵な偶然 is a common way to express serendipity in Japanese.

The first two characters mean nice, lovely, dreamy, beautiful, great, fantastic, superb, or cool.

In the middle is a Japanese Hiragana character that serves to connect these words/ideas together.

The last two Kanji mean incidentally, by chance, randomly, unexpectedly, suddenly, accident, fortuity, or by coincidence.

Inner Strength / Self-Improvement

China zì qiáng
Inner Strength / Self-Improvement Wall Scroll

自強 is the kind of inner-strength that applies to a person who has will-power and can inspire themselves to do great things.

This word can also be the creed of a person that always pursues self-improvement.

Other translations: self-strengthening, striving for improvement, self-improvement, strive to become stronger, and self-renewal.

Angel / Messenger of Heaven

China tiān shǐ
Japan ten shi
Angel / Messenger of Heaven Wall Scroll

天使 is the meaning of Angel in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

The first character means heaven. The second means messenger. Together it makes sense that we are talking about angels as Heaven's Messengers.

If you are an "Angel Junkie," this may be the wall scroll for you.
I also think it's a great choice if your name happens to be Angel.

See Also:  Angel


China yīng xióng
Japan ei yuu
Hero Wall Scroll

英雄 is the best way to write hero in Chinese and Japanese - especially for calligraphy. 英雄 is also the name of the Chinese movie titled Hero starring Jet Li.

The first character means brave (it can also mean British or English but not in this case).
The second character means heroic but also suggests a male person.
My Japanese dictionary also defines this as "a great man."


China huò dá
Japan katsudatsu
Optimistic Wall Scroll

Beyond optimistic, this word can also be defined as sanguine; magnanimous; open-minded; openhearted; broad-minded.

豁達 is appropriate if you are, or want to be, the kind of person who is not bothered by the little things or minor troubles of life. This signifies a person who always feels things will get better. 豁達 is great for the person who figuratively sees a window of opportunity opening even as a door closes.

While a valid word in Japanese, this is kind of antiquated, and not in common use in modern Japan.

Hung Gar

China hóng jiā
HK hung gaa
Hung Gar Wall Scroll

洪家 is the martial arts title Hung Ga or Hung Gar.

The first character means flood, big, immense, or great but it can also be the surname, Hong or Hung.

The last character means family or home.

This can also be read as "The Hung Family" or "The Hung Household." This title is mostly associated as a style of Kung Fu.

Mark the boat to find the lost sword
Ignoring the changing circumstances of the world

China kè zhōu qiú jiàn
Japan kokushuukyuuken
Mark the boat to find the lost sword / Ignoring the changing circumstances of the world Wall Scroll

This originally-Chinese proverb is a warning to people that things are always in a state of change. Thus, you must take that into account, and not depend on the old ways, or a way that may have worked in the past but is no longer valid.

This idiom/proverb comes from the following story:
A man was traveling in a ferry boat across a river. With him, he carried a valuable and treasured sword. Along the way, the man became overwhelmed and intoxicated by the beautiful view, and accidentally dropped his prized sword into the river. Thinking quickly, he pulled out a knife, and marked on the rail of the boat where exactly he has lost his sword.

When the boat arrived on the other side of the river, the man jumped out of the boat and searched for his sword right under where he'd made the mark. Of course, the boat had moved a great distance since he made the mark, and thus, he could not find the sword.

While this man may seem foolhardy, we have to take a great lesson from this parable: Circumstances change, so one should use methods that can handle the change. In modern China, this is used in business to mean that one should not depend on old business models for a changing market.

This proverb dates back to the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC) of the territory now known as China. It has spread and is somewhat known in Japan and Korea.

Crazy / Mad

China fā kuáng
Crazy / Mad Wall Scroll

髮狂 is the nicest/coolest way to write "crazy" in Chinese. There are several other ways to express "insane" or "mentally disturbed" but they are either clinical terms, or very serious afflictions.

髮狂 is not a great or normal selection for a wall scroll. Please only order this if you really want this idea for some personal reason.

To put it another way: It's a little crazy to have a "crazy" wall scroll.


China kǎi lǐ
Kaili Wall Scroll

凱裡 is a common transliteration to Mandarin Chinese for the name Kaili.

凱裡 is also the name of Kaili city in Guizhou province.

I named my first daughter Kaili after visiting Kaili city and finding very friendly people there. I think this is a great English-Chinese baby name, as it is pronounceable in both languages, and the name works as a given name in both languages as well.

Brave the Waves

China pò làng
Japan ha rou
Brave the Waves Wall Scroll

This can be translated from Chinese as "braving the waves" or "bravely setting sail." It literally means: "break/cleave/cut [the] waves."

破浪 is a great title to encourage yourself or someone else not to be afraid of problems or troubles.

Because of the context, this is especially good for sailors or yachtsmen and surfers too.

Note: While this can be understood in Japanese, it's not commonly used in Japan. Therefore, please consider this to be primarily a Chinese proverb.

American Football

Japan ame futou
American Football Wall Scroll

アメフト is a short word that means "American football" in Japanese.

It is supposed to sound like an abbreviated version, "ame futo" which sounds like "ah-may foot-oh" (American Football).

There's not a great standard way to say "football" in Japanese, as the sport is not popular in Japan. Other Japanese terms for football can be confused with soccer or rugby.

Note: Because this title is entirely Japanese Katakana , it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.

See Also:  Soccer


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.

Life is Good / Life is Beautiful

Japan jinsei wa subarashii
Life is Good / Life is Beautiful Wall Scroll

人生は素晴らしい means "life is good," "life is great," or "life is beautiful" in Japanese.

The first two characters mean "life" (as in your or a human lifespan).

The third character kind of means "is."

The last five characters are a long adjective that means wonderful, splendid, and/or magnificent. In the context of life it reads more like good or beautiful.

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


The yellow flower
China chú jú
Japan hinagiku
Daisy Wall Scroll

雛菊 is how they write "daisy" in Chinese and Japanese. Great if you love daisies, or your name is Daisy. If you translated it directly, this means "chick flower" (as in baby chickens) or "baby chrysanthemum." Of course, when an Asian person reads this, they just think "daisy."

If you're into botany, this title represents "Bellis Perennis."

In Japanese, this can be the female given name, Hinagiku.

Love Forever / Love Eternally

China ài yǒng yuǎn
Japan ai ei en
Love Forever / Love Eternally Wall Scroll

The first character here means "love."

The last two mean forever, eternity, eternal, perpetuity, immortality, and/or permanence.

愛永遠 is the shortest and most universal way to express this idea in Chinese and Japanese.

Japanese note: This sound more like a title than a phrase in Japanese (if that makes any sense). 愛永遠 is a great title for a romantic book, title of a movie, name of a perfume, or even a name for a store.

See Also:  Eternal Love | Forever Love

Homosexual / Gay

China tóng xìng ài
Japan douseiai
Homosexual / Gay Wall Scroll

A great way to tell your Japanese friends about your lifestyle, while keeping your Anglo friends in the dark.

Kind of a huge bold sign to say "I'm Gay" without anybody knowing.

These Kanji characters literally mean "same sex love." This phrase would also be understood in Chinese but this combination would act to really emphasize the "love" component to a native Chinese person.

Prosperous Business

China xīng lóng
Japan kou ryuu
Prosperous Business Wall Scroll

This kind of prosperity applies to a business. Something great to hang behind your desk if you are a small or large business owner. Doing so says that you either are a successful business, or you wish success and prosperity for your business.

Can also be translated as thriving, flourishing, brisk business, and other words related to prosperity in business.

A good meaning in China but a little antiquated in Japanese.

See Also:  Prosperity

Active Duty Military

Person on Active Duty
China xiàn yì jūn rén
Japan geneki gunjin
Active Duty Military Wall Scroll

現役軍人 means "Active Duty Soldier" or literally "Active Duty Military Person."

This title is a great way to show your pride in being an active duty member of the armed forces.

The first two characters mean "active duty" and the second two characters can be translated as "military personnel," "soldier," or "serviceman" (it is unisex, so male or female is not indicated).

If anyone is looking for "reservist" just post your request on our Asian calligraphy forum.

See Also:  Military

No Fear

(four-character version)
China yǒng zhě wú wèi
No Fear Wall Scroll

勇者無畏 is a complete sentence that means literally "Brave People Have No Fear" or "A Brave Person Has No Fear" (plural or singular is not implied). We translated "No Fear" into the two variations that you will find on our website. Then we checked Chinese Google and found that others had translated "No Fear" in the exact same ways. Pick the one you like best. A great gift for your fearless friend.

See Also:  Fear No Man

Legendary Turtle

China áo
Legendary Turtle Wall Scroll

鼇 means "legendary turtle" in Chinese. 鼇 is a great mythological turtle that travels the seas. The creature is comparable to the dragon of China, however, it so happens that dragons became a bit more famous as history progressed. In modern Chinese, this character can just refer to a large sea turtle.

Note: This character can be pronounced in Korean but this is a very rare Korean Hanja form - it hasn't been used in Korea for at least a few hundred years (even before they switched to Hangul characters).

The Confident Helmsman
Inspires Confidence in the Passengers

China bǎ tuò de bù huāng chéng chuán de wěn dang
The Confident Helmsman / Inspires Confidence in the Passengers Wall Scroll

This Chinese proverb literally translates as: [If the] helmsman is not nervous, the passengers [will feel] secure.

Figuratively, this means: If the leader appears confident, his/her followers will gain confidence also.

把舵的不慌乘船的穩當 is a great suggestion that a confident leader inspires confidence in his/her troops or followers. Of course, a nervous leader will create fear in troops or followers.

American Football

China měi shì gǎn lǎn qiú
American Football Wall Scroll

美式橄欖球 is the Chinese title for "American football" (not to be confused with international football known as soccer in the USA).

If you are a player or fan of American football, this would make a great wall scroll for your home.

The first two characters mean "American style."
The last three characters mean football or rugby (a game involving an oblong or ovoid ball).
The "American" adjective is needed in this title to differentiate from Canadian football, Australian rules football, and rugby.

See Also:  Soccer

Flower Open / Blooming Flower

China huā kāi
Flower Open / Blooming Flower Wall Scroll

These two characters literally mean "flower open."

This word is also associated with Springtime, the beginning of something, or youth.

This word is often followed by "flower falls" (closes and loses its petals) which means "Things come and go" or "Youth comes and goes."

If you like flowers and the Springtime, this is a great selection for you. However, if you want the companion "flower falls" (flower withers), we offer that as a companion wall scroll or all together as a four-character phrase.

See Also:  Flowers Fall

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.

Isshin Ryu Karate Do

Japan i sshin ryuu kara te dou
Isshin Ryu Karate Do Wall Scroll

一心流空手道 is the full title for Isshin-Ryu Karate-Do.

The literal meaning is "one heart method empty hand way."

There are also other ways you can translate this, but if you are looking for this title, you already know that.

This would make a great wall scroll for your dojo or private studio, if you study this form of Japanese (technically from Okinawa) Karate.

Because this is a specifically-Japanese title, I strongly recommend that you select our Japanese Master Calligrapher to create this artwork for you.

Five Ancestors Fist

China wǔ zǔ quán
Five Ancestors Fist Wall Scroll

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

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

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

Read 10,000 Books, Travel 10,000 Miles

China dú wàn juǎn shū, xíng wàn lǐ lù
Read 10,000 Books, Travel 10,000 Miles Wall Scroll

讀萬卷書行萬裡路 is a lifelong suggestion for expanding your horizons by gaining knowledge, experience, and seeing the world.

Of course, this was written long ago when it was hard to travel 10,000 miles.
With air travel and the business I'm in, I often achieve that lifetime goal on a monthly basis.
However, I am a little behind in the book count.

Note: An ancient Chinese mile (lǐ) referred to in this proverb is about a third of a British/American mile. However, at that time, this was a great distance to travel (being written at least 1000 years before the invention of the airplane).

Humility / Being Humble

China qiān xùn
Japan ken son
Humility / Being Humble Wall Scroll

These characters can also be translated as being modest, humble, or unpretentious.

Being humble is considering others to be as important as yourself. You are thoughtful of their needs and willing to be of service. You don't expect others or yourself to be perfect. You learn from your mistakes. When you do great things, humility reminds you to be thankful instead of boastful.

This Humility title is also used as one of the 8 key concepts of Tang Soo Do. Often romanized as "Kyum Son."

Also sometimes used in Japanese to express humility with an essence of modesty.

See Also:  Modesty | Humility

Cooperation / Collaboration

China xié zuò
Japan kyou saku
Cooperation / Collaboration Wall Scroll

Cooperation is working together and sharing the load. When we cooperate, we join with others to do things that cannot be done alone. We are willing to follow the rules which keep everyone safe and happy. Together we can accomplish great things.

The first character means "united" or "to coordinate." The second character means "to do," "to make," or "to compose." Knowing this, you can understand why together, these characters create a word that can be defined as "cooperation" in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

It is implied that you are cooperating to create some project or product.

See Also:  Partnership

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

Healing Hands

China miào shǒu huí chūn
Healing Hands Wall Scroll

This can be translated as "healing hands."

The first two characters are used to describe a doctor or medical professional who has admirable skill in curing disease. Literally: Wonderful or skilled hands.

The last two characters mean "Springing back to life."

Altogether, it suggests that these skilled hands can cure whatever ails you and bring you back to life. 妙手回春 is a great honor to bestow on your doctor or other healthcare professional that has helped you.

Shidai / Sida / Mahabhuta

China sì dà
Japan shi dai
Shidai / Sida / Mahabhuta Wall Scroll

In Buddhism, this is mahābhūta, the four elements of which all things are made: earth, water, fire, and wind.

This can also represent the four freedoms: speaking out freely, airing views fully, holding great debates, and writing big-character posters.

In some context, this can be a university or college offering four-year programs.

To others, this can represent the Tao, Heaven, Earth and King.

Going back to the Buddhist context, these four elements "earth, water, fire, and wind" represent 堅, 濕, 煖, 動, which is: solid, liquid, heat, and motion.

The Spirit of the Dragon Horse

China lóng mǎ jīng shén
The Spirit of the Dragon Horse Wall Scroll

龍馬精神 is an old proverb that is used to wish someone good health and success combined as a great compliment.

The meaning is "The vigor and spirit of the legendary dragon-horse." These four characters are often accompanied by four more which mean, "...and the power and prestige of the tiger." Here we are just offering the first part which is considered the short version.

By giving a wall scroll like this to someone, you were either wishing or telling them that they have an amazing quality. There is also a suggestion of good health - at least anyone with the vigor of a dragon horse, would seem to also be in good health.

Note: In Japanese, this would be read as the spirit of 坂本龍馬 (Sakamoto_Ryōma), a beloved rebel who help abolish the old Japanese feudal system. This can be confusing, so I am declaring this proverb to be Chinese only.

Flowers Fall / The End Comes

China huā sà
Flowers Fall / The End Comes Wall Scroll

These two characters mean flower fall (closes and loses its petals). It suggests nearing the end of something. A time that some might call "The sunset of life." This word often follows "flower open" to talk of the cycle of life.

We offer this as a possible companion to a "flower open" scroll (to be placed side by side, or at either side of a doorway to say "things come and go" - a cool metaphor for a doorway). If placed in a doorway, it could be used as a suggestion to your guests that things bloom when they arrive through your door but wither when they leave (a great compliment).

See Also:  Flowers Bloom

Phoenix Rise from the Ashes

China fèng huáng niè pán
Phoenix Rise from the Ashes Wall Scroll

This proverb suggests "Legendary Phoenix rises from the ashes." Literally, it means, "Legendary Phoenix [reaches] Nirvana."

There is a legend in China of a great bird which is reborn once every 500 years. This bird gathers all the ill-will, suffering, desire, and other negative things of the whole world. The bird then plunges into the fire to burn away all negative things, sacrificing itself in the process (achieving Nirvana, or perhaps allowing others the opportunity to reach Nirvana).

500 years later, the phoenix is reborn from the ashes again, and the cycle repeats.

Beauty Shop / Beauty Salon

China měi róng diàn
Beauty Shop / Beauty Salon Wall Scroll

美容店 is how to write "Beauty Shop" or "Beauty Salon." If you own such a business, this would make a nice wall scroll to hang up - and many of your Asian customers will be able to read and appreciate it. When traveling in China, you will see signs like this in the window of any place that offers full services of hair styling, manicures, pedicures, and often shampoo with head and back massage.

However, as a handmade wall scroll, this becomes a very fancy piece of artwork that shows the high class of your business (a great sign for your window, if you don't get direct sunlight).

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."

Sacrifice / Devotion / Dedication

(complete bodily devotion)
China xiàn shēn
Japan ken shin
Sacrifice / Devotion / Dedication Wall Scroll

This word is used to describe being so devoted to something that you will make sacrifices for that goal/thing/person. You can also translate this word as any of the following:
Give one's life for...
Sacrifice one's life for...
To dedicate oneself to...
Commit ones energy to...
Devote to...
Giving your whole body to...

This can be a dedication to or for someone but more often is used in reference to a dedication or making sacrifices for your country, public service, or a cause. For instance, an Olympic athlete makes great sacrifices to train in his/her sport for their country and compatriots.

While the form shown to the upper-left is considered an ancient Japanese version, in modern Japan, they use the simplified version of the first Kanji (shown to the right). Click on the Kanji at the right instead of the button above if you want this modern Japanese version.

If you are looking for a more religious meaning of devotion, see Faith.

See Also:  Confidence | Dedication

You are always a beauty in your lover’s eyes

China qíng rén yǎn lǐ chū xī shī
You are always a beauty in your lover’s eyes Wall Scroll

Any woman with affection for Asian art and you will love a gift of this Chinese proverb calligraphy on a wall scroll. She will melt in your arms as you tell her the meaning of these characters.

Contained in this phrase is a reference to the most beautiful woman in Chinese history. Her name was Xi Shi, and she was known to have good looks that need not fine robes or make up. Her charms were so powerful that she brought down an entire kingdom (in a successful effort to bring honor and pride back to her people).

情人眼裡出西施 is a great way to express that the woman in your life is your one love.

Light / Bright and Promising Future

China guāng míng
Japan kou mei / mitsu haru
Light / Bright and Promising Future Wall Scroll

光明 is a nice way to say "light" in Chinese, and old Korean Hanja. 光明 is because the word also suggests a bright future or refers so someone who is very promising (great future potential).

The first character means light or bright.

The second character means bright and clear (in this context).

This word appears in most Japanese dictionaries but it not the most common Japanese Kanji word for light (more commonly used for the name Mitsuharu).

In old Korean Hanja, this can have a meaning of brightness or brilliancy.

In the context of Buddhism, this means, "Light emanating from a Buddha or Bodhisattva, symbolizing their wisdom and compassion"


China chéng nuò
Japan shoudaku
Commitment Wall Scroll

Commitment is caring deeply about something or someone. It is deciding carefully what you want to do, and then giving it 100%, holding nothing back. You give your all to a friendship, a task, or something you believe in. You finish what you start. You keep your promises.

In Chinese, this word directly means to undertake something or to make a promise to do something.

Within the idea of commitment, this word also means to make a big effort, or undertaking a great task. Outside of the commitment idea, this particular word can also mean approval, acceptance, consent, assent, acquiescence, or agreement depending on context (especially in Japanese and Korean). Therefore, this word is probably best if your audience is Chinese.

See Also:  Partnership | Hard Work | Dedication

Golden Anniversary / 50th Wedding Anniversary

China xìng fú jīn hūn
Japan kou fuku kin kon
Golden Anniversary / 50th Wedding Anniversary Wall Scroll

幸福金婚 / 倖福金婚 means "Happy Golden Anniversary" and is a great gift for a couple who is celebrating 50 years together.

The first two characters mean happy, blessed, or happiness.

The last two characters mean, "couple's golden anniversary." It literally means "golden wedding" or "golden marriage" but this is only used for the 50-year-mark of a marriage (the same way we use gold to represent 50 years in the west).

幸福金婚 / 倖福金婚 is a nice title to use with an inscription. You could request something like, "Happy 50th Anniversary Mr. and Mrs. Smith," to be written down the side of this title, in smaller Chinese characters.

Please note: This can be pronounced and understood in Japanese but not as commonly used in Japan. Japanese people who read this will understand it but might tend to feel it's of Chinese origin.

Five Red Bats

China hóng wǔ fú
Five Red Bats Wall Scroll

紅五蝠 is a play on words in Chinese because of some homophones.

The first thing you need to know is that the word for bat, 蝠, sounds exactly like the word for good fortune, 福. Thus, bats are often associated with good luck and good fortune in Chinese culture.

Five bats (五福 / 五蝠) means "five fortunes" referring to luck, prosperity, wealth, happiness, and longevity.

The word red, 红, has the same sound as 宏 meaning vast, great, or magnificent. Therefore, a red bat means "vast fortune."

Altogether, five red bats represent vast reaches of the five fortunes.

Smooth Sailing

China yī fán fēng shùn
Smooth Sailing Wall Scroll

一帆風順 is just what you think it means. It suggests that you are on a trouble-free voyage through life, or literally on a sailing ship or sail boat. It is often used in China as a wish for good luck on a voyage or as you set out on a new quest or career in your life. Some may use this in lieu of "bon voyage."

The literal meaning is roughly, "Once you raise your sail, you will get the wind you need, and it will take you where you want to go." Another way to translate it is "Your sail and the wind follow your will."

一帆風順 is a great gift for a mariner, sailor, adventurer, or someone starting a new career.

Note: Can be understood in Korean Hanja but rarely used.

See Also:  Bon Voyage | Adventure | Travel


China rén
Japan jin
Benevolence Wall Scroll

Beyond "benevolence" this character can be also be defined as "charity" or "mercy" depending on context.

The deeper meaning suggests that one should pay alms to the poor, care for those in trouble, and take care of his fellow man (or woman).

仁 is one of the five tenets of Confucius. In fact, it is a subject in which Confucius spent a great deal of time explaining to his disciples.

I have also seen this benevolent-related word translated as perfect virtue, selflessness, love for humanity, humaneness, goodness, good will, or simply "love" in the non-romantic form.

This word is so important to me that I named my second daughter with this character. Her name is "Renni" which means "Benevolent Girl."

This is also a virtue of the Samurai Warrior
See our page with just Code of the Samurai / Bushido here

See Also:  Love | Altruism | Kindness | Charity | Confucius


China láng
Japan okami
Wolf Wall Scroll

狼 is the character used to represent the elusive animal known as the wolf in both Chinese and Japanese.

If you are a fan of the wolf or the wolf means something special to you, this could make a great addition to your wall.

Do keep in mind, that much like our perception of wolves in the history of western culture, eastern cultures do not have a very positive view of wolves (save the scientific community and animal lovers). The wolf is clearly an animal that is misunderstood or feared the world over.

This character is seldom used alone in Korean Hanja, but is used in a compound word that means utter failure (as in a wolf getting into your chicken pen - or an otherwise ferocious failure). Not a good choice if your audience is Korean.


China hé zhǎng
Japan gasshou
Gassho Wall Scroll

合掌 is the act of greeting someone (can also be done when departing) with hands brought together in a prayerful manner.

In India, this would be accompanied by the verbal greeting and blessing of "Namaste." In China, Japan, and Korea, this is how Buddhists will greet each other. Sometimes done by people who are not devout Buddhists in China, Japan, and Korea to show respect, reverence or great thanks to someone for a gift, forgiveness, or some honor that has been bestowed.

In Japan, this is almost always associated with a deep bow. In China where bowing is not an everyday occurrence, there may be a shallow bow but the act will be done with deep feeling. Korean culture seems to have more bowing than China but less than Japan.

See Also:  Namaste

Hua Mulan

China huā mù lán
Hua Mulan Wall Scroll

花木蘭 is the name of the famous Chinese woman warrior Hua Mulan.

She was made famous in the west by Disney's animated movie, "Mulan."

Most of the historical information about her comes from an ancient poem. It starts with a concerned Mulan, as she is told a man from each family is to serve conscription in the army. Her father is too old, and her brother is too young. Mulan decides to take the place of her father. After twelve years of war, the army returns and the best warriors are awarded great posts in the government and riches. Mulan turns down all offers, and asks only for a good horse for the long trip home. When Mulan greets visiting comrades wearing her old clothes, they are shocked to find the warrior they rode into battle with for years was actually a woman.

Improvise Adapt Overcome

China jí xìng fā huī jí kè shì yìng jí shí kè fú
Improvise Adapt Overcome Wall Scroll

即興發揮即刻適應即時克服 is the coolest way to put together this famous word list, "Improvise Adapt Overcome."

There are shorter ways to write "adapt," and "overcome", but "improvise" needs a four-character word to be expressed accurately in Chinese. To match them up, the other two are using four-character words as well. This makes it sound more natural in Chinese (though word lists are not a natural construct in Chinese grammar).

The words break down like this: 即興發揮, 即刻適應, 即時克服. I suggest the 3-column option when you customize your wall scroll. That way, the words will occupy one column each.

A great gift for a U.S. Marine, or anyone who follows this mantra.

Soul Mates

China tiān shēng yí duì
Soul Mates Wall Scroll

It was tough to find the best way to say "soul mates" in Chinese. We settled on this old way to say "A couple selected by heaven."

The first two characters together mean "natural" or "innate." Separated, they mean "heaven" and "born." The last two characters mean "couple." So this can be translated as "A couple that is together by nature," or "A couple brought together by heaven's decree," with a slight stretch, you could say "A couple born together from heaven."

It's a struggle to find the best way to describe this idea in English but trust me, it is pretty cool and it is a great way to say "soulmates."

If you're in a happy relationship or marriage and think you have found your soul mate, this would be a wonderful wall scroll to hang in your home.

Daodejing / Tao Te Ching

Except from Chapter 67
China yī yuē cí èr yuē jiǎn sān yuē bù gǎn wéi tiān xià xiān
Daodejing / Tao Te Ching Wall Scroll

一曰慈二曰儉三曰不敢為天下先 is an except from the 67th Chapter of Lao Tzu's (Lao Zi's) Te-Tao Ching (Dao De Jing). 一曰慈二曰儉三曰不敢為天下先 is the part where the three treasures are discussed. In English, we'd say these three treasures are compassion, frugality, and humility. Some may translate these as love, moderation, and lack of arrogance. I have also seen them translated as benevolence, modesty, and "Not presuming to be at the forefront in the world." You can mix them up the way you want, as translation is not really a science but rather an art.

I should also explain that the first two treasures are single-character ideas, yet the third treasure was written out in six characters (there are also some auxiliary characters to number the treasures).

If Lao Tzu's words are important to you, then a wall scroll with this passage might make a great addition to your home.

Profound / Powerful Words

China rù mù sān fēn
Profound / Powerful Words Wall Scroll

These four characters together translate in English to a strong form of "profound" or "written with a forceful hand."

But there is much more to the story...

The deep meaning behind this proverb comes from a man named Wan Xizhi who lived in the third century.

He was a great writer and calligrapher whose writing style influenced generations of other writers and calligraphers.

He once wrote words on a piece of wood to be taken to an engraver.
When the engraver began to carve the characters into the wood, he found that Wang Xizhi's writing had penetrated the wood about 3/8 of an inch.

Thus people believed that his words were so powerful, and so profound this it caused the ink from his brush to penetrate the wood deeply.

The proverb literally means "penetrated wood three fen" (fen is an ancient Chinese measurement a little over to 1/8 of an inch or almost 4mm).


Japanese Samurai Sword
China dāo
Japan katana
Katana Wall Scroll

刀 is the Japanese Kanji for "sword." This refers to the style of sword carried by warriors, samurai, and shogun of ancient Japan.

With the pacification of Japan, such swords are now only used for ceremony and decoration. The true art of sword-smithing is all but lost in Japan with new sword production dedicated to making inexpensive replicas for the tourist and foreign market.

For those of you that want to ask whether I can get you a real antique sword. Let me tell you that most real Asian swords were melted down after WWII in Japan, and during the Great Leap Forward in China. Any remaining swords are family heirlooms that nobody will part with.

Please carefully note that the Japanese kanji character shown above is only for a Japanese audience. In China, this character means "knife." See our other entry for "sword" in Chinese.
Note: This can mean knife, sword, or blade in Korean, depending on context.

See Also:  Sword

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

Kai Zen / Kaizen

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

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

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

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

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

See Also:  Kansei

Rooster / Chicken

Year of the Rooster / Zodiac Sign
Japan niwatori
Rooster / Chicken Wall Scroll

鷄 or 雞 is the character for rooster or chicken in Chinese, old Korean, and Japanese.

If you were born in the year of the rooster (chicken), you . . .

Have a unique sense of color.
Are high principled and responsible.
Have persuasive power.
Are honest.
Have a great ability to communicate.

Common Chinese chicken Alternate Chinese chicken #1 Alternate Chinese chicken #2

Please note: There are a few different ways to write rooster / chicken as shown to the right. If you are particular about the form, please let us know when you place your order.

See also our Chinese Zodiac page.

Kansei Engineering
Sense Engineering

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

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

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

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

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

See Also:  Kaizen


China jiàn
Japan ken / tsurugi
Sword Wall Scroll

This Character is pronounced "jian" in Chinese. When you say it, imagine that you are making the sound of a sword as it clashes with a metal shield. This might get you closer to the correct pronunciation in Chinese.

I actually wonder if this word came from the metallic ringing sounds of a sword in battle - but such knowledge is lost in history.

The sword is a symbol of a warrior. The one thing that a soldier in ancient China lived and died by. A warrior with his skills and sword proves himself of great value. A warrior who losses his sword instantly becomes worthless.

劍 is an excellent scroll for someone in the military (especially officers of all services - as well as enlisted NCO Marines since they still carry swords even if mainly for ceremonial purposes). Or perhaps someone who practices variations of kung fu or tai chi that involve weapons.

Please note that while this character is understood with the sword meaning in Japanese, you might be looking for the word "katana" which also means sword in Japanese but means "knife" in Chinese.

There are other ways to write sword, and here are a few...
Common Japanese and rare Chinese traditional form of sword Typical traditional form of sword in Chinese Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese This one kind of means golden sword in Chinese Typical traditional form of sword in Chinese Common Japanese and rare Chinese traditional form of sword Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese This one kind of means golden sword in Chinese Typical traditional form of sword in Chinese Typical traditional form of sword in Chinese Common Japanese and rare Chinese traditional form of sword Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese This one kind of means golden sword in Chinese Typical traditional form of sword in Chinese Common Japanese and rare Chinese traditional form of sword Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese This one kind of means golden sword in Chinese Typical traditional form of sword in Chinese Common Japanese and rare Chinese traditional form of sword Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese This one kind of means golden sword in Chinese
If you are particular about the version you receive, please let me know when you place your order (Note: Special styles are only available from one of our master calligraphers).

We have a forum entry that addresses the many ways to write sword. You can find that here: 100 Ways to Write Sword - Deciphering Ancient Seal Script

Confucius: Golden Rule / Ethic of Reciprocity

Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself
China jǐ suǒ bú yù wù shī yú rén
Confucius: Golden Rule / Ethic of Reciprocity Wall Scroll

Some may think of this as a "Christian trait" but actually it transcends many religions.

This Chinese teaching dates back to about 2,500 years ago in China. Confucius had always taught the belief in being benevolent (ren) but this idea was hard to grasp for some of his students, as benevolence could be kind-heartedness, or an essence of humanity itself.

When answering Zhong Gong's question as to what "ren" actually meant, Confucius said:

"When you go out, you should behave as if you were in the presence of a distinguished guest, when people do favors for you, act as if a great sacrifice was made for you. Whatever you wouldn't like done to you, do not do that thing to others. Don't complain at work or at home."

Hearing this, Zhong Gong said humbly, "Although I am not clever, I will do what you say."

From this encounter, the Chinese version of the "Golden Rule" or "Ethic of Reciprocity" came to be.
The characters you see above express, "Do not do to others whatever you do not want done to yourself."

See Also:  Confucius Teachings | Benevolence


China kǒng zǐ
Japan koushi
Confucius Wall Scroll

孔子 is how to write the name of the great sage, known in the west as Confucius. His real name is Kongzi (The name Confucius is a westernized version of his name - his family name is Kong, and "zi" was added as a title of distinction). He lived some 2500 years ago in Qufu, a town in modern-day Shandong Province of Northern China (about 6 hours south of Beijing by bus). He was a consort to Emperors, and after his death, the impact of his philosophies still served to advise emperors, officials, and common people for generations. Also during these thousands of years, the Kong family remained powerful in China, and the Kong estate was much like the Vatican in Rome. The Kong estate existed as if on sovereign ground with its own small garrison of guards and privileges of a kingdom within an empire.

This was true up until the time the Kong family had to flee to Taiwan in 1949 when the Red Army took victory over the Nationalists during the Revolution. The home of Confucius was later razed and all statues defaced or stolen during the Cultural Revolution. Finally, after years of smearing his name and image, it is once again okay to celebrate the teachings of Confucius in mainland China.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Open Book Benefits Your Mind

China kāi juàn yǒu yì
An Open Book Benefits Your Mind Wall Scroll

There are several ways to translate this ancient proverb. Translated literally and directly it says, "Open roll has/yields benefit."

To understand that, you must know a few things...

First, Chinese characters and language have deeper meanings that often are not spoken but are understood - especially with ancient text like this. Example: It's understood that the "benefit" referred to in this proverb is to the mind of the reader. Just the last character expresses that whole idea.

Second, Chinese proverbs are supposed to make you think, and leave a bit of mystery to figure out.

Third, for this proverb, it should be noted that roll = book. When this proverb came about (about two thousand years ago) books were really rolls of bamboo slips strung together. The first bound books like the ones we use today did not come about until about a thousand years after this proverb when they invented paper in China.

開卷有益 is a great gift for a bookworm who loves to read and increase their knowledge. Or for any friend that is or wants to be well-read.

Some other translations of this phrase:
Opening a book is profitable
The benefits of education.

A Bright Future

Incredible 10,000-Mile Flight of the Peng
China péng chéng wàn lǐ
A Bright Future Wall Scroll

鵬程萬里 / 鵬程萬裡 is an ancient Chinese proverb used in modern times to wish someone a long and successful career.

It's really about the 10,000 Flight of the Peng (Peng, also known as Roc is a mythical fish that can turn into a bird and take flight).


庄子 - Zhuangzi

Breaking down each character:
1. Peng or Roc (a kind of bird).
2. Journey (in this case, a flight).
3. 10,000 (Ten Thousand).
4. Li is a unit of distance often referred to as a "Chinese Mile," though the real distance is about half a kilometer.

Direct Translation: "Peng's Journey [of] 10,000 Li."
Literal meaning: "The 10,000-Li Flying Range Of The Roc."
Perceived meaning: "To have a bright future" or "To go far."

This proverb/idiom comes from the book of Zhuangzi. It tells the tale of a huge fish which could turn into a gigantic bird. This bird was called "peng" and was many miles long. This legendary size allowed the Peng to fly from the Northern Sea to the Southern Sea in a single bound.

Wishing someone "a Peng's Journey of 10,000 Li," will imply that they will be able to travel far without stopping, and will have great success, a long career, and a prosperous future.

Banzai / Wansui

Old Japanese / Traditional Chinese & Korean
China wàn suì
Japan banzai / manzai
Banzai / Wansui Wall Scroll

We've made two almost identical entries for this word. 萬歲 is the traditional Chinese, Korean Hanja, and ancient Japanese way to write banzai. In modern times, the first character was simplified in Japan and China. So you might want to select the other entry for more universal readability.

While it has become a popular if not an odd thing to scream as you jump out of an airplane (preferably with a parachute attached), banzai is actually a very old Asian way to say "hooray." The Japanese word "banzai" comes from the Chinese word "wan sui" which means "The age of 10,000 years." It is actually a wish that the Emperor or the Empire live that long.

Imagine long ago as the Emperor made a rare public appearance. 萬歲 is what all of the people would yell to their leader in respect.

So if you like is as a hooray, or you want to wish someone that they live for 10,000 years, this is the calligraphy for you.

Other translations include: Cheers! (not the drinking kind), hurrah!, long live [name]!, congratulations!

To other things with banzai in their names; I am still waiting for the promised sequel to Buckaroo Banzai.

Notes: Sometimes people confuse banzai with bonsai. A bonsai is a miniature tree. They have nothing to do with each other. Further, bonzai is not a word at all - although it would make a great name for a calcium supplement for older people.


Modern Japanese Version
China wàn suì
Japan banzai
Banzai Wall Scroll

We've made two almost identical entries for this word. 萬歲 is the modern Japanese way to write banzai. In the last century, the first character was simplified in Japan and China. The new generation will expect it to be written this way but the old generation can still read the more traditional form. You must make your own determination as to what version is best for you. If your audience is mostly Japanese, I suggest this form.

While it has become a popular if not an odd thing to scream as you jump out of an airplane (preferably with a parachute attached), banzai is actually a very old Asian way to say "hooray." The Japanese word "banzai" comes from the Chinese word "wan sui" which means "The age of 10,000 years." It is actually a wish that the Emperor or the Empire live that long.

Imagine long ago as the Emperor made a rare public appearance. 萬歲 is what all of the people would yell to their leader in respect.

So if you like is as a hooray, or you want to wish someone that they live for 10,000 years, this is the calligraphy for you.

To other things with banzai in their names; I am still waiting for the promised sequel to Buckaroo Banzai.

Other translations: hurrah, long life, congratulations, cheers, live long.

Notes: Sometimes people confuse banzai with bonsai. A bonsai is a miniature tree. They have nothing to do with each other. Further, bonzai is not a word at all - although it would make a great name for a calcium supplement for older people.

A sly rabbit has three openings to its den

-or- The crafty rabbit has three different entrances to its lair
China jiǎo tù sān kū
A sly rabbit has three openings to its den Wall Scroll

This speaks to the cunning character of a sly rabbit. Such a rabbit will not have just one hole but rather a few entrances and exits from his liar.

About 2,250 years ago a very rich man told his assistant to go and buy something wonderful that he did not yet posses. He was a man that already had everything, so the assistant went to a local village that owed a great deal of money to the rich man. The assistant told the village elders that all debts were forgiven. All the villagers rejoiced and praised the rich man's name. The assistant returned to the rich man and told him he had purchased "benevolence" for him. The rich man was mildly amused but perhaps a bit confused by the action.

Some time later, the rich man fell from the favor of the Emperor, and was wiped out without a penny to his name. One day he was walking aimlessly and stumbled into the village in which the debts had been forgiven. The villagers recognized the man and welcomed him with open arms, clothed, fed, and gave him a place to live.

Without trying, the man had become like the sly and cunning rabbit. When his exit was blocked, he had another hole to emerge from - and was reborn. This story and idiom comes from a book titled "The Amendment" - it's unclear whether this man actually existed or not. But the book did propel this idiom into common use in China.

Still today this idiom about the rabbit is used in China when suggesting "backup plans" alternate methods, and anyone with a good escape plan.

Work Unselfishly for the Common Good

China kè jǐ fèng gōng
Work Unselfishly for the Common Good Wall Scroll

This can also mean: "Place Strict Standards on Oneself in Public Service."
This Chinese proverb is often used to express how one should act as a government official. Most of us wish our public officials would hold themselves to higher standards. I wish I could send this scroll, along with the meaning to every member of Congress, and the President (or if I was from the UK, all the members of Parliament, and the PM)

The story behind this ancient Chinese idiom:
A man named Cai Zun was born in China a little over 2000 years ago. In 24 AD, he joined an uprising led by Liu Xiu who later became the emperor of the Eastern Han Dynasty.

Later, the new emperor put Cai Zun in charge of the military court. Cai Zun exercised his power in strict accordance with military law, regardless of the offender's rank or background. He even ordered the execution of one of the emperor's close servants after the servant committed a serious crime.

Cai Zun led a simple life but put great demands on himself to do all things in an honorable way. The emperor rewarded him for his honest character and honorable nature by promoting him to the rank of General and granting him the title of Marquis.

Whenever Cai Zun would receive an award, he would give credit to his men and share the reward with them.
Cai Zun was always praised by historians who found many examples of his selfless acts that served the public interest.
Sometime, long ago in history, people began to refer to Cai Zun as "ke ji feng gong."

See Also:  Unselfish | Selflessness | Altruism

Joshua 24:15

This House Serves the LORD
China zhì yú wǒ hé wǒ jiā wǒ men bì dìng shì fèng yē hé huá
Joshua 24:15 Wall Scroll

至於我和我家我們必定事奉耶和華 is Joshua 24:15 in Chinese.

Joshua 24:15 in Chinese

What your
might look like
from our
Chinese Master

Joshua 24:15 (KJV) And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Joshua 24:15 (NIV) But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.

These characters here just dwell on the last line of the verse, " for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

We used the only official Christian Chinese Bible that I know of so that the translation would be as accurate and standard as possible. Any Chinese Christian worth their salt will easily be able to identify this verse from the Chinese words on this scroll.

I think it is a bit like having a secret code on your wall that quietly expresses to whom your are faithful.

A great gift for your devout Christian or Jewish friend if they happen to be fond of Asian art.

Or perhaps a wonderful "conversation starter" for your own home.

Note: If you are curious, the last three characters represent they way "LORD" is used in most English Bibles. In Chinese, this is actually the phonetic name in Mandarin Chinese for "Jehovah."

Crisis equals Danger plus Opportunity?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kirin / Giraffe / Mythical Creature

China qí lǐn
HK keilun
Japan kirin
Kirin / Giraffe / Mythical Creature Wall Scroll

This word is the title of a mythical beast of Asia.

The animal is thought to be related to the giraffe, and in some ways, it is a giraffe. However, it is often depicted with the horns of a dragon or deer and sometimes with the body like a horse but many variations exist.

In Japanese it is pronounced “Kirin” as in “Kirin Ichiban” beer.

Kirin - Mythical Beast and Great Japanese Beer!

1. 麒麟 is sometimes spelled as “kylin”.

2. In Japanese, this is the only Kanji word for giraffe. Therefore in Japan, this word needs context to know whether you are talking about the mythical creature or the long-necked giraffe of Africa.

3. Apparently, this was the first word used for regular giraffes in China (some were brought from Africa to China during the Ming Dynasty - probably around the year 1400). Though the mythical creature may have existed before, the name “qilin” was given to the “new giraffe”. 麒麟 is because, more than 600 years ago, giraffes somewhat matched the mythical creature's description when Chinese people saw them for the first time. Later, to avoid such an ambiguous title, a three-character word was devised to mean a “giraffe of Africa”. The characters for “qilin” shown here are only for the mythological version in modern Chinese.

4. More information about the qilin / kirin from Wikipedia.

5. This creature is sometimes translated as the “Chinese Unicorn”, even though it is generally portrayed with two horns. I think this is done more for the fantasy aspect of the unicorn and because most westerners don't know what a qilin or kirin is (this avoids a long explanation by the translator).

6. In Korean, this can mean kirin or simply giraffe (usually the mythological creature is what they would think of when seeing these characters alone on a wall scroll).

The one who retreats 50 paces mocks the one to retreats 100

The pot calls the kettle black
China wù shí bù xiào bǎi bù
The one who retreats 50 paces mocks the one to retreats 100 Wall Scroll

During the Warring States Period of what is now China (475 - 221 B.C.), the King of Wei was in love with war. He often fought with other kingdoms just for spite or fun.

One day, the King of Wei asked the philosopher Mencius, "I love my people, and all say I do the best for them. I move the people from famine-stricken areas to places of plenty, and transport grains from rich areas to the poor. Nobody goes hungry in my kingdom, and I treat my people far better than other kings. But why does the population of my kingdom not increase, and why does the population of other kingdoms not decrease?"

Mencius answered, "Since you love war, I will make this example: When going to war, and the drums beat to start the attack, some soldiers flee for their lives in fear. Some run 100 paces in retreat, and others run 50 steps. Then the ones who retreated 50 paces laugh and taunt those who retreated 100 paces, calling them cowards mortally afraid of death. Do you think this is reasonable?

The King of Wei answered, "Of course not! Those who run 50 paces are just as timid as those who run 100 paces."

Mencius then said, "You are a king who treats his subjects better than other kings treat their people but you are so fond of war, that your people suffer from great losses in battle. Therefore, your population does not grow. While other kings allow their people to starve to death, you send your people to die in war. Is there really any difference?"

This famous conversation led to the six-character proverb shown here. It serves as a warning to avoid hypocrisy. It goes hand-in-hand with the western phrase, "The pot calls the kettle black," or the Biblical phrase, "Before trying to remove a splinter from your neighbor's eye, first remove the plank from your own eye."

Broken Mirror Rejoined

Used in modern times for divorced couples that come back together
China pò jìng chóng yuán
Broken Mirror Rejoined Wall Scroll

A husband and wife separated and reunited.

About 1500 years ago in China, there lived a beautiful princess named Le Chang. She and her husband Xu De Yan loved each other very much. But when the army of the Sui Dynasty was about to attack their kingdom, disposed of all of their worldly possessions and prepared to flee into exile.

They knew that in the chaos, they might lose track of each other, so the one possession they kept was a bronze mirror which is a symbol of unity for a husband and wife. They broke the mirror into two pieces, and each of them kept half of the mirror. They decided that if separated, they would try to meet in the fair during the 15th day of the first lunar month (which is the lantern festival). Unfortunately, the occupation was brutal, and the princess was forced to become the mistress of the new commissioner of the territory, Yang Su.

At the Lantern Festival the next year, the husband came to the fair to search for his wife. He carried with him, his half of the mirror. As he walked through the fair, he saw the other half of the mirror for sale at a junk market by a servant of the commissioner. The husband recognized his wife's half of the mirror immediately, and tears rolled down his face as he was told by the servant about the bitter and loveless life that the princess had endured.

As his tears dripped onto the mirror, the husband scratched a poem into his wife's half of the mirror:

You left me with the severed mirror,
The mirror has returned but absent are you,
As I gaze in the mirror I seek your face,
I see the moon but as for you, I see not a trace.

The servant brought the inscribed half of the mirror back to the princess. For many days, the princess could not stop crying when she found that her husband was alive and still loved her.

Commissioner Yang Su, becoming aware of this saga realized that he could never obtain the love of the princess. He sent for the husband and allowed them to reunite.

This proverb in Chinese is now used to describe a couple who has been torn apart for some reason (usually divorce) but have come back together (or remarried).
It seems to be more common these days in America for divorced couples to reconcile and get married to each other again. This would be a great gift if you know someone who is about to remarry their ex.

Better Late Than Never

It's Never Too Late Too Mend
China wáng yáng bǔ láo yóu wèi wéi wǎn
Better Late Than Never Wall Scroll

Long ago in what is now China, there were many kingdoms throughout the land. This time period is known as "The Warring States Period" by historians because these kingdoms often did not get along with each other.

Some time around 279 B.C. the Kingdom of Chu was a large but not particularly powerful kingdom. Part of the reason it lacked power was the fact that the King was surrounded by "yes men" who told him only what he wanted to hear. Many of the King’s court officials were corrupt and incompetent which did not help the situation.

The King was not blameless himself, as he started spending much of his time being entertained by his many concubines.

One of the King’s ministers, Zhuang Xin, saw problems on the horizon for the Kingdom, and warned the King, "Your Majesty, you are surrounded by people who tell you what you want to hear. They tell you things to make you happy, and cause you to ignore important state affairs. If this is allowed to continue, the Kingdom of Chu will surely perish, and fall into ruins."

This enraged the King who scolded Zhuang Xin for insulting the country and accused him of trying to create resentment among the people. Zhuang Xin explained, "I dare not curse the Kingdom of Chu but I feel that we face great danger in the future because of the current situation." The King was simply not impressed with Zhuang Xin’s words.
Seeing the King’s displeasure with him and the King’s fondness for his court of corrupt officials, Zhuang Xin asked permission of the King that he may take leave of the Kingdom of Chu, and travel to the State of Zhao to live. The King agreed, and Zhuang Xin left the Kingdom of Chu, perhaps forever.

Five months later, troops from the neighboring Kingdom of Qin invaded Chu, taking a huge tract of land. The King of Chu went into exile, and it appeared that soon, the Kingdom of Chu would no longer exist.

The King of Chu remembered the words of Zhuang Xin, and sent some of his men to find him. Immediately, Zhuang Xin returned to meet the King. The first question asked by the King was, "What can I do now?"

Zhuang Xin told the King this story:

A shepherd woke one morning to find a sheep missing. Looking at the pen saw a hole in the fence where a wolf had come through to steal one of his sheep. His friends told him that he had best fix the hole at once. But the Shepherd thought since the sheep is already gone, there is no use fixing the hole.
The next morning, another sheep was missing. And the Shepherd realized that he must mend the fence at once. Zhuang Xin then went on to make suggestions about what could be done to reclaim the land lost to the Kingdom of Qin, and reclaim the former glory and integrity in the Kingdom of Chu.

The Chinese idiom shown above came from this reply from Zhuang Xin to the King of Chu almost 2,300 years ago.
It translates roughly into English as...
"Even if you have lost some sheep, it’s never too late to mend the fence."

This proverb is often used in modern China when suggesting in a hopeful way that someone change their ways, or fix something in their life. It might be used to suggest fixing a marriage, quit smoking, or getting back on track after taking an unfortunate path in life among other things one might fix in their life.

I suppose in the same way that we might say, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life" in our western cultures to suggest that you can always start anew.

Note: This does have Korean pronunciation but is not a well-known proverb in Korean (only Koreans familiar with ancient Chinese history would know it). Best if your audience is Chinese.

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

Title CharactersRomaji(Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Great Aspirations
hóng hú zhī zhì
hong2 hu2 zhi1 zhi4
hong hu zhi zhi
hung hu chih chih
Great Aspirations
大志を抱tai shi wo idaku
Great Endeavor
To Strive
努力doryoku / doryokunǔ lì / nu3 li4 / nu li / nuli
Great Sea 大洋tai you / taiyou / tai yo / taiyodà yáng / da4 yang2 / da yang / dayang ta yang / tayang
Great Ambitions 乘風破浪
chéng fēng pò làng
cheng2 feng1 po4 lang4
cheng feng po lang
ch`eng feng p`o lang
cheng feng po lang
Great Britain 英國
ei koku / eikoku
Great Britain 大不列顛
dà bù liè diān
da4 bu4 lie4 dian1
da bu lie dian
ta pu lieh tien
Door of Great Wisdom 大智慧門
dai chi e mon
dà zhì huì mén
da4 zhi4 hui4 men2
da zhi hui men
ta chih hui men
Great Name
大名dai myou / daimyou / dai myo / daimyodà míng / da4 ming2 / da ming / daming ta ming / taming
The Great Wall of China 萬裡の長城
ban ri no chou jyou
ban ri no cho jyo
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...

Compassionate Heart
Good Luck
Heart Sutra
I Love You
Lasting Love
Love and Protect
Love Forever
Martial Arts
Never Give Up
Yin Yang

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