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This ancient Japanese proverb can be translated as "The principle of honorable death and no surrender," or simply "No surrender." If you directly translate this, you get something that means "Doctrine of suicide," or "Ideology of honorable death."
玉砕主義 is a specifically-Japanese proverb that embraces the long history of honorable suicide or self-sacrifice for honor in Japanese culture.
This is the long version of a Chinese proverb which means, "rather be shattered piece of jade than an unbroken piece of pottery."
A little more explanation:
Death is implied with the "broken" meaning. Jade is one of the most precious materials in Chinese history, and in this case is compared with one's honor and self-worth. Pottery is just something you eat off of, it has no deep value, just as a person who has lost their honor, or had none to begin with.
Thus, this means, "better to die with honor than to live in shame" or words to that effect.
This is often translated in English as "Death Before Dishonor," the famous military slogan.
I would also compare this to the English proverb, "Better to die on your feet than live on your knees."
This is an idiom. It therefore doesn't directly say exactly what it means. If you think about the English idiom, "The grass is always greener," it does not directly say "jealousy" or "envy" but everyone knows that it is implied.
This phrase means "Old and ailing with little time left" or "Not long for this world."
There is a real suggestion here that someone will die soon.
This was added by special request of a customer, and is perhaps, not the most positive phrase that you could put on a wall scroll.
This would be the most offensive possible gift to give to an older person - please do not do that!
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.
Below are some entries from our dictionary that may match your long for death search...
If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese
|Simple Dictionary Definition|
| yuǎn xíng / yuan3 xing2
enkou;engyou(ok);ongyou(ok) / enko;engyo(ok);ongyo(ok) / えんこう;えんぎょう(ok);おんぎょう(ok)
a long journey; far from home
(noun/participle) (1) going afar; (2) dying; death
to travel far
| cháng shēng / chang2 sheng1
ch`ang sheng / chang sheng
chousei / chose / ちょうせい
(noun/participle) longevity; (given name) Yoshio; (given name) Hisao; (given name) Naganari; (surname) Nagasu; (place-name) Nagaoi; (given name) Nagao; (place-name) Nagaike; (place-name) Chousei; (given name) Takeo; (personal name) Osamu; (given name) Osami; (personal name) Osao
Long or eternal life (in Paradise), 長生不死, 長生不老 long life without death, or growing old, immortality.
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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji(Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Honorable Death - No Surrender||玉砕主義||gyokusai shugi |
|Death Before Dishonor||寧為玉碎不為瓦全|
|níng wéi yù suì bú wéi wǎ quán|
ning2 wei2 yu4 sui4 bu2 wei2 wa3 quan2
ning wei yu sui bu wei wa quan
|ning wei yü sui pu wei wa ch`üan
ning wei yü sui pu wei wa chüan
|Not Long for this World||風燭殘年|
|fēng zhú cán nián|
feng1 zhu2 can2 nian2
feng zhu can nian
|feng chu ts`an nien
feng chu tsan nien
|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.
The wall scroll that Sandy is holding in this picture is a "large size"
single-character wall scroll.
We also offer custom wall scrolls in small, medium, and an even-larger jumbo size.
Professional calligraphers are getting to be hard to find these days.
Instead of drawing characters by hand, the new generation in China merely type roman letters into their computer keyboards and pick the character that they want from a list that pops up.
There is some fear that true Chinese calligraphy may become a lost art in the coming years. Many art institutes in China are now promoting calligraphy programs in hopes of keeping this unique form of art alive.
Even with the teachings of a top-ranked calligrapher in China, my calligraphy will never be good enough to sell. I will leave that to the experts.
The same calligrapher who gave me those lessons also attracted a crowd of thousands and a TV crew as he created characters over 6-feet high. He happens to be ranked as one of the top 100 calligraphers in all of China. He is also one of very few that would actually attempt such a feat.
Check out my lists of Japanese Kanji Calligraphy Wall Scrolls and Old Korean Hanja Calligraphy Wall Scrolls.
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