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Japanese Wisdom in Japanese...

Buy a Japanese Wisdom calligraphy wall scroll here!

Start your custom "Japanese Wisdom" project by clicking the button next to your favorite "Japanese Wisdom" title below...

See also: Selections of just Japanese Kanji Calligraphy

  1. Wisdom

  2. Door of Great Wisdom

  3. Inner Wisdom

  4. Wisdom / Intelligence

  5. Wisdom / Brilliance

  6. Wisdom / Intelligence

  7. When Three People Gather,...

  8. Power of Understanding and Wisdom

  9. Intuitive Wisdom / Inner Light

10. Intelligence / Intellect

11. A Wise Man Changes His Mind

12. Bodhi - Awakening Enlightenment

13. You May Learn from Victory,...

14. The Five Tenets of Confucius

15. Perception of Knowledge

16. Awareness

17. Failure is the Mother of Success

18. Shikin Haramitsu Daikomyo

19. Learn New Ways From Old

20. Tetsu / Wise Sage

21. 1. Right Understanding / Right Perspective...

22. 2. Right Resolve / Right Thought...

23. Gem

24. Light / Bright and Promising Future

25. Wise and Virtuous


Wisdom

China zhì
Japan chi / tomo
Wisdom Vertical Wall Scroll

智 is the simplest way to write wisdom in Chinese, Korean Hanja, and Japanese Kanji.
Being a single character, the wisdom meaning is open to interpretation, and can also mean intellect, knowledge or reason, resourcefulness, or wit.

智 is also one of the five tenets of Confucius.

智 is sometimes included in the Bushido code but usually not considered part of the seven key concepts of the code.


See our Wisdom in Chinese, Japanese and Korean page for more wisdom-related calligraphy.


See Also:  Learn From Wisdom | Confucius

Wisdom

(All-Knowing)
China zhì huì
Japan chie
Wisdom Vertical Wall Scroll

The first character means, "wise" or "smart" and the second character means "intelligence."

I have also seen these two characters translated together as knowledge, sagacity, sense, and intelligence.

Note: 智慧 is used commonly in Chinese and is a less-common word in Japanese and Korean. If your audience is Japanese, I suggest our other Japanese wisdom option.


This means intellect or wisdom in Japanese too but is a more unusual way to write this word (though both versions are pronounced the same in Japanese).


See Also:  Learn From Wisdom

Wisdom

China zhī huì
Japan chie
Wisdom Vertical Wall Scroll

The first Kanji represents "to know" or "to realize." Combined, these two Kanji mean "learn, know, and understand completely." Another way to translate this is "to know all things in their entirety."

Note: While vaguely understood in Chinese, this is only a real word in Japanese.


惠 Ancient Japanese/Korean version: This is also a word in old Korean Hanja, with a slight difference in the last character - if you want that version (which is also the ancient Japanese version) please click on the character to the right, instead of the button above.

Door of Great Wisdom

China dà zhì huì mén
Japan dai chi e mon
Door of Great Wisdom Vertical 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.

Inner Wisdom

China nèi zhì
Japan nai chi
Inner Wisdom Vertical Wall Scroll

內智 is a Buddhist term that means, "inner wisdom."

Wisdom / Intelligence

China huì
Japan e / kei
Wisdom / Intelligence Vertical Wall Scroll

This single character can be translated as wisdom but it has more of an "intelligent" flavor. This can also mean cleverness or wit.

Japanese note: 慧 is understood in Japanese but seldom seen as a lone Kanji.


See Also:  Knowledge | Learning | Read

Wisdom / Intelligence

Japan chie
Wisdom / Intelligence Vertical Wall Scroll

This Japanese word means wisdom; wit; sagacity; sense; intelligence.

In Buddhist context, this is prajna (insight leading to enlightenment).

This can also be the Japanese female given name Norie.

Wisdom / Brilliance

China cái zhì
Japan sai chi
Wisdom / Brilliance Vertical Wall Scroll

In Chinese, this means "ability and wisdom" or "ability and intelligence."
It can also be defined as brilliance, or genius.

In Japanese, it takes on a meaning more of "wit and intelligence."


才智Note that the ancient/traditional form is shown above. After WWII, in both Japan and China, the first character was simplified. If you want this reformed/simplified version, just click on the characters to the right, instead of the button above. This is a good choice if your audience is Japanese.

Wisdom / Intelligence

China xián míng
Japan ken mei
Wisdom / Intelligence Vertical Wall Scroll

This Japanese word refers to wisdom, intelligence, and prudence.

It was originally a Chinese word which refers to a wise person or enlightened ruler. It means wise and able, sagacious now in China.

When Three People Gather,
Wisdom is Multiplied

Japan san nin yore ba monju no chie
When Three People Gather, / Wisdom is Multiplied Vertical Wall Scroll

This literally means, "when three people meet, wisdom is exchanged."

Some will suggest this means when three people come together, their wisdom is multiplied.

That wisdom part can also be translated as wit, sagacity, intelligence, or Buddhist Prajna (insight leading to enlightenment).

In the middle of this proverb is "monju," suggesting "transcendent wisdom." This is where the multiplication of wisdom idea comes from.


Note: This is very similar to the Chinese proverb, "When 3 people meet, one becomes a teacher."


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

Power of Understanding and Wisdom

China wù xìng
Japan gosei
Power of Understanding and Wisdom Vertical Wall Scroll

悟性 means the power of understanding and insight in Chinese.

It is often associated with Neo-Confucianism. In that regard, it means to realize, perceive, or have the perception of man's true nature. It can also mean to find your soul, the soul of others, or the soul of the world. Some will translate this simply as the state of being "savvy."

In Japanese, this is often translated as wisdom and understanding.

Intuitive Wisdom / Inner Light

China yī dào shén guāng
Japan ichidou no shinkou
Intuitive Wisdom / Inner Light Vertical Wall Scroll

一道神光 is a Buddhist term that means, "inner light," or "intuitive wisdom."

This actually reads, "[the] one path/way [of] spiritual light." It implies that your spirit knows the way, and will light the path for you.

Intelligence / Intellect

China zhì néng
Japan chinou
Intelligence / Intellect Vertical Wall Scroll

These two characters mean intelligence or intelligent.

The first character means wisdom, intellect or knowledge.

The second means ability, talent, skill, capacity, capable, able, and can even mean competent.

Together, the compound word can mean "capacity for wisdom," "useful knowledge," or even "mental power." Obviously this translates more clearly into English as "intelligence."

Note: 智能 / 知能 is not the same word used to mean "military intelligence." See our other entry for that.


知In modern Japan, they tend to use a version of the first character without the bottom radical. If your audience for this artwork is Japanese, please click on the Kanji to the right instead of the button above.

A Wise Man Changes His Mind (but a fool never will)

Japan kun shi hyou hen su
A Wise Man Changes His Mind (but a fool never will) Vertical Wall Scroll

This Japanese proverb suggests that a wise man is willing to change his mind but a fool will stubbornly never change his.

The first word is 君子 (kunshi) man of virtue, person of high rank, wise man.

The second word is 豹変 (hyouhen) sudden change, complete change.

The last part す (su) just modifies the verb to a more humble form.

The "fool" part is merely implied or understood. So if wise and noble people are willing to change their minds, it automatically says that foolish people are the ones unwilling to change.

Bodhi - Awakening Enlightenment

China pú tí
Japan bodai
Bodhi - Awakening Enlightenment Vertical Wall Scroll

The Bodhi is the moment of completion in Buddhism. It is when all things become known, and you have completed your journey to enlightenment.

The reference is to the Bodhi tree where Siddhartha Gautama (the legendary man and who established the Buddhist religion), achieved enlightenment. Sometimes this is referred to as "the tree of enlightenment" but if you want the full version with the character for tree on the end, please see our other entry.


See Also:  Buddhism | Buddha | Nirvana | Enlightenment

You May Learn from Victory,
You Will Learn from Failure

Japan katte erumono mo areba makete erumono mo aru
You May Learn from Victory, / You Will Learn from Failure Vertical Wall Scroll

You may learn when everything goes right but the lessons learned when everything goes wrong are more vivid and lead to long-lasting wisdom.

Another way to look at this: One cannot always depend on past successes to guarantee future success but one can always learn from lessons drawn from failure.


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

The Five Tenets of Confucius

The Five Cardinal Rules / Virtues of Confucius
China rén yì lǐ zhì xìn
Japan jin gi rei tomo nobu
The Five Tenets of Confucius Vertical Wall Scroll

These are the core of Confucius philosophy. Simply stated they are:
benevolence / charity
justice / rectitude
courtesy / politeness / tact
wisdom / knowledge
fidelity / trust / sincerity

Many of these concepts can be found in various religious teachings. Though it should be clearly understood that Confucianism is not a religion but should instead be considered a moral code for a proper and civilized society.

This title is also labeled, "5 Confucian virtues."


礼 If you order this from the Japanese calligrapher, expect the middle Kanji to be written in a more simple form (as seen to the right). This can also be romanized as "jin gi rei satoshi shin" in Japanese. Not all Japanese will recognize this as Confucian tenets but they will know all the meanings of the characters.


See Also:  Confucius Teachings | Ethics

Perception of Knowledge

China zhī shi
Japan chishiki
Perception of Knowledge Vertical Wall Scroll

The first character represents "to know" or "to realize." The second character alone refers to the ability to "recognize," or "realize" and can also be used to mean "knowing." Combined, these two characters have the very strong meaning of "knowledge" and in some context, "learning."


See Also:  Wisdom | Learn From Wisdom

Awareness

China jué / jiào
Japan gaku / satoru
Awareness Vertical Wall Scroll

覺 can mean to feel; to figure out; thinking; awake; aware; bodhi; knowing; understanding; enlightenment; illumination; apprehend; perceive; realize.

覺 is a character that is impossible to define in a single word.

This term is often associated with Buddhism where it's understood to be: Illumination, enlightenment, or awakening in regard to the real in contrast to the seeming. However, it can also refer to enlightenment in regard to morality and evil.


Notes:

In Japanese, this can be the personal name Satoru.

In certain context, and only when pronounced as "jiao" in Chinese, it can refer to a nap, sleep or the state of sleeping. However, as a single character on a wall scroll, everyone will read this with the awareness or enlightenment context.

By no means is this the only way to write enlightenment. In fact, you should only choose this character if you are looking more for a word meaning awareness.


See Also:  Enlightenment | Wisdom | Knowledge

Failure is the Mother of Success

Japan shippai wa seikou no haha
Failure is the Mother of Success Vertical Wall Scroll

This Japanese proverb means exactly what you think.

Every failure that you experience is a chance to learn from it and find success.

Knowing what does not work is just as important as finding out what does work.


Note: This is the Japanese version of an ancient Chinese proverb.


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


See Also:  Experience Is the Mother of Wisdom

Shikin Haramitsu Daikomyo

Japan shi kin ha ra mitsu dai kou myo
Shikin Haramitsu Daikomyo Vertical Wall Scroll

These are the Japanese Kanji characters that romanize as "Shikin Haramitsu Daikōmyō."

This is a complicated proverb. I'm actually going to forgo writing any translation information here. You can figure it out via Google search and at sites like Paramita and the Perfection of Wisdom or Fecastel.Wordpress.com::Shikin Haramitsu Daikōmyō

Learn New Ways From Old

New ideas coming from past history
China wēn gù zhī xīn
Japan on ko chi shin
Learn New Ways From Old Vertical Wall Scroll

溫故知新 is a proverb from Confucius that is used in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cultures.

It can be translated several ways:
Coming up with new ideas based on things learned in the past.
Examine things of the past, and obtain the new knowledge.
Developing new ideas based on study of the past.
Gain new insights through restudying old issues.
Understand the present by reviewing the past.
Learning from the past.
Review the old and know the new.
Taking a lesson from the past.
Taking a lesson from the wisdom of the ancients.
Follow the old ways.

The direct translation would be, "By asking old things know new things."
The Character meanings breakdown this way:
溫故 = ask old
知新 = know new

Explained: To learn new things that are outside of your experience, you can learn from old things of the past. You can find wisdom from history.


温 Note: Japanese use a simplified version of the first Kanji in modern times. So if you order this from our Japanese master calligrapher, expect the first Kanji to look like the one shown to the right.

Tetsu / Wise Sage

China zhé
Japan tetsu
Tetsu / Wise Sage Vertical Wall Scroll

哲 is a Japanese name that is often romanized as Tetsu.

The meaning of the character can be: philosophy; wise; sage; wise man; philosopher; disciple; sagacity; wisdom; intelligence.

哲 can also be romanized as: Yutaka; Masaru; Hiroshi; Tooru; Tetsuji; Choru; Satoru; Satoshi; Akira; Aki.

1. Right Understanding / Right Perspective
Right View / Perfect View

Samyag Dristhi / Samyag Drsti / Samma Ditthi
China zhèng jiàn
Japan sei ken
1. Right Understanding / Right Perspective / Right View / Perfect View Vertical Wall Scroll

正見 is one of the Noble Eightfold Paths of Buddhism. Right View, along with Right Thought constitutes the path to Wisdom.

To get to the right view of the world, you must first understand and follow Four Noble Truths.


Note: This term is exclusively used by devout Buddhists. It is not a common term, and is remains an unknown concept to most Japanese and Chinese people.


See Also:  Buddhism | Enlightenment

2. Right Resolve / Right Thought
Right Intention / Perfect Resolve

Samyak Samkalpa / Samma Sankappa
China zhèng sī wéi
Japan sei shi yui
2. Right Resolve / Right Thought / Right Intention / Perfect Resolve Vertical Wall Scroll

正思唯 is one of the Noble Eightfold Paths of Buddhism. Right Thought, along with Right View constitute the path to Wisdom.

In Buddhism, Right Thought in simple terms means to free yourself from having ill-will towards anyone or anything. It also suggests that you remain harmless to other living creatures.

This can also be defined as, "Resolve in favor of renunciation, good will, and non-harming of sentient beings."


惟There is an ancient/alternate version of the third character for this selection. You can see that alternation third character to the right. If you want your selection to use that older character, just click on the character to the right, instead of the button above.

Note: This term is exclusively used by devout Buddhists. It is not a common term, and is remains an unknown concept to most Japanese and Chinese people.


See Also:  Buddhism | Enlightenment

Gem

China zhū yù
Japan shugyoku
Gem Vertical Wall Scroll

珠玉 is a Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja word meaning gem. Beyond just the word gem, this can refer to pearls and jades, jewels, a clever remark, beautiful writing, gems of wisdom, genius, or an outstanding person.

If your name is Gem, this is a nice way to represent your name in 3 Asian languages. Though the pronunciation will be far from Gem, the meaning of gem is really nice.

Note: In Japanese, this is sometimes used as the female given name, "Tama."

Light / Bright and Promising Future

China guāng míng
Japan kou mei / mitsu haru
Light / Bright and Promising Future Vertical 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).

光明 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"

Wise and Virtuous

China xián
Japan ken
Wise and Virtuous Vertical Wall Scroll

賢 is used to refer to being a wise, trustworthy and virtuous person. But it also contains the ideas of intelligence, genius, scholarship, virtue, sage, saint, good, excellent in character.

賢 is used in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja. Also used in a Buddhist context with same meaning.

Note: Can also be male given name, Masaru, in Japanese.

Search for Japanese Wisdom in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary




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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
Wisdomchi / tomozhì / zhi4 / zhichih
Wisdom智慧chiezhì huì / zhi4 hui4 / zhi hui / zhihuichih hui / chihhui
Wisdom知惠
知恵
chiezhī huì / zhi1 hui4 / zhi hui / zhihuichih hui / chihhui
Door of Great Wisdom大智慧門
大智慧门
dai chi e mon
daichiemon
dà zhì huì mén
da4 zhi4 hui4 men2
da zhi hui men
dazhihuimen
ta chih hui men
tachihhuimen
Inner Wisdom內智
内智
nai chi / naichinèi zhì / nei4 zhi4 / nei zhi / neizhinei chih / neichih
Wisdom
Intelligence
e / keihuì / hui4 / hui
Wisdom
Intelligence
智恵chie
Wisdom
Brilliance
纔智
才智
sai chi / saichicái zhì / cai2 zhi4 / cai zhi / caizhits`ai chih / tsaichih / tsai chih
Wisdom
Intelligence
賢明
贤明
ken mei / kenmeixián míng
xian2 ming2
xian ming
xianming
hsien ming
hsienming
When Three People Gather, Wisdom is Multiplied三人寄れば文殊の知恵san nin yore ba monju no chie
sanninyorebamonjunochie
Power of Understanding and Wisdom悟性goseiwù xìng / wu4 xing4 / wu xing / wuxingwu hsing / wuhsing
Intuitive Wisdom
Inner Light
一道神光ichidou no shinkou
ichidounoshinkou
ichido no shinko
ichidonoshinko
yī dào shén guāng
yi1 dao4 shen2 guang1
yi dao shen guang
yidaoshenguang
i tao shen kuang
itaoshenkuang
Intelligence
Intellect
智能 / 知能
智能
chinou / chinozhì néng / zhi4 neng2 / zhi neng / zhinengchih neng / chihneng
A Wise Man Changes His Mind (but a fool never will)君子豹変すkun shi hyou hen su
kunshihyouhensu
kun shi hyo hen su
kunshihyohensu
Bodhi - Awakening Enlightenment菩提bodaipú tí / pu2 ti2 / pu ti / putip`u t`i / puti / pu ti
You May Learn from Victory, You Will Learn from Failure勝って得るものも有れば負けて得るものも有るkatte erumono mo areba makete erumono mo aru
The Five Tenets of Confucius仁義禮智信
仁义礼智信
jin gi rei tomo nobu
jingireitomonobu
rén yì lǐ zhì xìn
ren2 yi4 li3 zhi4 xin4
ren yi li zhi xin
renyilizhixin
jen i li chih hsin
jenilichihhsin
Perception of Knowledge知識
知识
chishikizhī shi / zhi1 shi / zhi shi / zhishichih shih / chihshih
Awareness
gaku / satorujué / jiào
jue2 / jiao4
jue / jiao
jue/jiao
chüeh chiao
chüehchiao
Failure is the Mother of Success失敗は成功の母shippai wa seikou no haha
shippaiwaseikounohaha
shipai wa seiko no haha
shipaiwaseikonohaha
Shikin Haramitsu Daikomyo詞韻波羅蜜大光明
词韵波罗蜜大光明
shi kin ha ra mitsu dai kou myo
shikinharamitsudaikoumyo
shi kin ha ra mitsu dai ko myo
shikinharamitsudaikomyo
Learn New Ways From Old溫故知新
温故知新
on ko chi shin
onkochishin
wēn gù zhī xīn
wen1 gu4 zhi1 xin1
wen gu zhi xin
wenguzhixin
wen ku chih hsin
wenkuchihhsin
Tetsu
Wise Sage
tetsuzhé / zhe2 / zheche
1. Right Understanding
Right Perspective
Right View
Perfect View
正見
正见
sei ken / seikenzhèng jiàn
zheng4 jian4
zheng jian
zhengjian
cheng chien
chengchien
2. Right Resolve
Right Thought
Right Intention
Perfect Resolve
正思唯sei shi yui
seishiyui
zhèng sī wéi
zheng4 si1 wei2
zheng si wei
zhengsiwei
cheng ssu wei
chengssuwei
Gem珠玉shugyokuzhū yù / zhu1 yu4 / zhu yu / zhuyuchu yü / chuyü
Light
Bright and Promising Future
光明kou mei / mitsu haru
koumei / mitsuharu
ko mei / mitsu haru
komei/mitsuharu
guāng míng
guang1 ming2
guang ming
guangming
kuang ming
kuangming
Wise and Virtuous
kenxián / xian2 / xianhsien
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.



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