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Your Chinese / Japanese Calligraphy Search for "Life Is Short"...

Quick links to words on this page...

  1. Life is Short
  2. New Beginning
  3. Live In The Moment / Live In The Now
  4. Eat Drink and Be Merry
  5. Great Aspirations / Ambition
  6. Time and Tide Wait for No Man
  7. Musashi


Life is Short

Japan jinsei ha mijikai
Life is Short Wall Scroll

人生は短い is "life is short" in Japanese.

The character breakdown:
人生 (jinsei) life (i.e. conception to death); human life, living, lifetime.
は (ha/wa) particle (means "is" in this case).
短い (mijikai) short.


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

Life is Short

Even a 100-year-old is but a traveler passing through this life
China bǎi suì guāng yīn rú guò kè
Life is Short Wall Scroll

百歲光陰如過客 directly translates as: [Even a] hundred-year-old [person] is [just a] traveler passing by.

The simple message is, "Human life is short." Of course, there is an unspoken suggestion that you should make the best of the time you have here on earth.

New Beginning

China yī shǐ
New Beginning Wall Scroll

伊始 is a short version of "new beginning" or simply "beginning" in Chinese characters.

You can also translated this as "from this moment on," "starting now" or "henceforth."

In day-to-day speech, this word can apply to starting new job, beginning a new career, entering a new chapter of your life, or taking a new position (in politics, scholarship, etc).

Live In The Moment / Live In The Now

China xiàn shì
Japan gen sei
Live In The Moment / Live In The Now Wall Scroll

現世 is a very short way to write "live in the moment" or "live in the now" in Japanese.

This short word is open to interpretation. It's used in Japanese Buddhism to mean "the current epoch" or "the current age" (the current age is but a brief moment in the greater scope of existence). When used in that context, this is pronounced "utsushiyo" or "ustusiyo" in Japanese. Otherwise, it's pronounced "gensei" in Japanese.

Other translation possibilities include:
Live for now
Earthly world
This world
This life
Earthly life
Present life
Present generation
Present incarnation
Current age
This existence
This (momentary) reality


Note: This is also a word in Chinese and old Korean Hanja. While the meaning is more or less the same, this is not recommended for a wall scroll if your audience is Chinese or Korean. This selection is best if your audience is Japanese.

Eat Drink and Be Merry

China chī hē wán lè
Eat Drink and Be Merry Wall Scroll

吃喝玩樂 is the short version of, "Eat, drink, and be merry."

This Chinese proverb suggests to abandon oneself to a life of pleasure.

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.

Time and Tide Wait for No Man

Japan kouinya no goto shi
Time and Tide Wait for No Man Wall Scroll

This Japanese proverb means, "time flies like an arrow." It's very similar to the English idiom, "time and tide wait for no man," or "life is short."

The Kanji breakdown:
光陰 = Time (the cycle of light and dark).
[and an]
矢 = Arrow
の = are
如し = Alike


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

Musashi

The most famous Samurai
Japan mu sashi
Musashi Wall Scroll

武蔵 is the short title for a man long in legend. Miyamoto Musashi is probably the most famous Samurai in all of Japanese history. While coming from a lower class, his new sword and fighting techniques put him on par with the best that feudal Japan had to offer. His long career started with his first duel was at age 13!

He is credited both with using two swords at once, and never losing a single battle in his career. After becoming a Buddhist, and getting older, like many old warriors, he took up a peaceful and solitary life until his death around 1645 A.D.

Note: Technically, Musashi is his given name, and Miyamoto is his surname. However, it's suggested that he assumed both of these names, and also had a few other names at childhood, as well as being given a Buddhist name. It's hard to know what to call him, as with most Kanji, there are multiple pronunciations. The characters for Musashi can also be pronounced "Takezō." But, everyone in modern times seems to know him by the name Musashi.




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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
Life is Short 人生は短いjinsei ha mijikai
jinseihamijikai
Life is Short 百歲光陰如過客
百岁光阴如过客
bǎi suì guāng yīn rú guò kè
bai3 sui4 guang1 yin1 ru2 guo4 ke4
bai sui guang yin ru guo ke
baisuiguangyinruguoke
pai sui kuang yin ju kuo k`o
paisuikuangyinjukuoko
pai sui kuang yin ju kuo ko
New Beginning 伊始yī shǐ / yi1 shi3 / yi shi / yishi i shih / ishih
Live In The Moment
Live In The Now
現世
现世
gen sei / genseixiàn shì / xian4 shi4 / xian shi / xianshi hsien shih / hsienshih
Eat Drink and Be Merry 吃喝玩樂
吃喝玩乐
chī hē wán lè
chi1 he1 wan2 le4
chi he wan le
chihewanle
ch`ih ho wan le
chihhowanle
chih ho wan le
Great Aspirations
Ambition
大志を抱tai shi wo idaku
taishiwoidaku
Time and Tide Wait for No Man 光陰矢の如し
光阴矢の如し
kouinya no goto shi
kouinyanogotoshi
koinya no goto shi
koinyanogotoshi
Musashi 武蔵mu sashi / musashi
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 Life Is Short Kanji, Life Is Short Characters, Life Is Short in Mandarin Chinese, Life Is Short Characters, Life Is Short in Chinese Writing, Life Is Short in Japanese Writing, Life Is Short in Asian Writing, Life Is Short Ideograms, Chinese Life Is Short symbols, Life Is Short Hieroglyphics, Life Is Short Glyphs, Life Is Short in Chinese Letters, Life Is Short Hanzi, Life Is Short in Japanese Kanji, Life Is Short Pictograms, Life Is Short in the Chinese Written-Language, or Life Is Short in the Japanese Written-Language.