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Master Teacher in Chinese / Japanese...

Buy a Master Teacher calligraphy wall scroll here!

Start your custom "Master Teacher" project by clicking the button next to your favorite "Master Teacher" title below...

  1. Teacher / Master / Old Sage
  2. Sensei / Master / Teacher / Mister
  3. Respected Teacher
  4. Master / Skilled Worker
  5. Fatherly Master / Sifu / Shi Fu / Shifu
  6. Hunter / Huntsmen
  7. Shihan
  8. Architect
  9. Beware of the Lawyers

Teacher / Master / Old Sage

China lǎo shī
Teacher / Master / Old Sage

老師 directly translates as, "old teacher," "old master," or "old sage."

Together, they are understood as "teacher." When you think about that, also realize that with age comes respect in Asian cultures. So calling someone old is actually a term of respect (not like the way we mean it in English). You could actually replace "old" with "respected" and be closer to the way this is meant in Chinese.

Teachers, in general, are more respected by their students and the population in China. When I was a teacher in China, I certainly felt that.

This term is also used for masters of certain fields. For instance, a master calligrapher would respectfully be addressed as "teacher." In fact, in this case, "master" and "teacher" are synonymous.

Other artists (especially those are famous or accomplished) should be addressed with this term. Also, some schools of martial arts use this term of respect for their masters/teachers/instructors.


This title is recognized in Japanese as "roushi" with the same meaning but it's rarely used in Japan.

Sensei / Master / Teacher / Mister

China xiān shēng
Japan sen sei
Sensei / Master / Teacher / Mister

If you've taken even a single karate class in your life, you know this term. 先生 is sensei, which is associated in the west with a master or instructor of karate, aikido, judo, and other Japanese martial arts.

In reality, this is a term of respect for almost any professional or skilled person (doctor, lawyer, teacher, etc). In some cases, it is used for musicians and artists who have achieved a certain level of fame, skill, or accomplishment.

It should be noted that this is also a courtesy title in Chinese but more like calling someone "mister" or "gentleman." It doesn't really have the "master" or "teacher" meaning in Chinese - see our Chinese "Master / Sifu / Shi Fu" entry if your audience is Chinese.

In Korean Hanja, this means teacher, instructor, schoolmaster, or schoolmistress.

This entry is more for educational purposes. 先生 is kind of a strange thing to put on a wall scroll. It's a title that is used more orally to show respect, rather than something written in calligraphy. If you feel that it is appropriate in your circumstances, we are very willing to create a piece of sensei Japanese calligraphy artwork for you.

Respected Teacher

China zūn shī
Japan son shi
Respected Teacher

尊師 means, "respected teacher," "revered master," or "guru" in Japanese and Chinese.

尊師 is a nice gift for a revered teacher in your life whose knowledge and mentoring has meant a lot to you.

Master / Skilled Worker

Secondary version of Sifu
China shī fu
HK si fu
Master / Skilled Worker

師傅 is "sifu" as in the "master" in the context of martial arts.

But there are two sifu titles floating around. This one can simply mean "skilled worker."

Historically, this term has been used for a lot of things, such as, "The tutor of a king or emperor." But now it's more commonly used to mean, master worker, or qualified worker.

Currently, within the field of skilled labor, a master (shifu) is higher than a journeyman, and is considered to be one worthy to teach others.

Note: In the 1970's and 1980's this term was used as a common form of polite address between people. You might say, "master, do you know were Tian'anmen Square is?" to just a person on the street at that time. This usage has almost passed, however, for some reason, people still often refer to taxi cab drivers as "master" in China (though I think/hope this is fading).

In Mandarin Chinese, this is pronounced like "Sure Foo," and in Cantonese like, "See Foo."

The second character is the difference between this sifu and the other. In this case, the second character by itself means tutor, instructor, or teacher.

Fatherly Master / Sifu / Shi Fu / Shifu

Martial Arts Teacher
China shī fu
HK si fu
Japan shi fu
Fatherly Master / Sifu / Shi Fu / Shifu

師父 means master in Chinese (occasionally used in Korean Hanja and Japanese as well). In the context of Martial Arts, this is the master and teacher who instructs students.

The second character by itself means father. Thus, you get the "Fatherly Master" translation. There's an old Chinese saying that goes something like, "One who is your teacher for one day, is your father for life."

Language notes: I've often seen this romanized as "sifu," this is actually the Cantonese romanization. In Mandarin Chinese, it's "shifu." The pronunciation in Mandarin is actually like "sure foo" (using typical English pronunciation). There's an "R-sound" in there, which is not obvious from the romanization. Many martial arts studios incorrectly pronounce this like "she foo" (which is actually the Japanese pronunciation). In Cantonese, it sounds like "Sea foo" (almost like "sea food," minus the "d" on the end).

師父 is kind of a weird selection for a calligraphy wall scroll, this entry is more for educational purposes. But you are welcome to buy it if you feel it's appropriate for your circumstances.

Hunter / Huntsmen

Japan ryou shi
Hunter / Huntsmen

This his hunter or huntsman in Japanese Kanji.

There are several ways to say "hunter" in Japanese but this is probably the most common.

The first Kanji means hunting or game.

The second Kanji means master, specialist, or teacher. In this case, it will be read as "master." So this is also "game master" or "hunt master."

Shihan

China shī fàn
Japan shi han
Shihan

Shihan is a Japanese term, often used in Japanese martial arts.

In typical Japanese language, it can refer to a teacher or instructor. However, in martial arts, it's often an honorific title for an expert or master instructor.

Example: In Aikido the title can refer to someone with the rank of 7th dan. But other schools us it to mean a master who has earned the right to award black belts.

This term is also used in Chinese, where it refers to teacher-training or the art of teaching by example. It's used within the proper name of certain types of universities in China.

Architect

China jiàn zhù shī
Architect

建築師 means Architect in Chinese.

The first two characters mean construction or architecture (of buildings).

The last character means teacher, master, or expert.

Beware of the Lawyers

China xiǎo xīn lǜ shī
Beware of the Lawyers

提防律師 is kind of a joke. The first two characters mean "guard yourself against (an attack)" or simply "beware." The last two characters can be translated as lawyer, attorney, or solicitor. Separately, those characters mean law/regulation/control and master/expert/teacher. Here, you can see the attorney meaning is pretty clear in the individual characters.

Please note, this is Chinese only (it won't make sense in Japanese, and the last two characters are sometimes translated together as "Buddhist Priest" in Japanese).

Search for Master Teacher 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
Teacher
Master
Old Sage
老師
老师
lǎo shī / lao3 shi1 / lao shi / laoshilao shih / laoshih
Sensei
Master
Teacher
Mister
先生sen sei / senseixiān shēng
xian1 sheng1
xian sheng
xiansheng
hsien sheng
hsiensheng
Respected Teacher尊師
尊师
son shi / sonshizūn shī / zun1 shi1 / zun shi / zunshitsun shih / tsunshih
Master
Skilled Worker
師傅
师傅
shī fu / shi1 fu / shi fu / shifushih fu / shihfu
Fatherly Master
Sifu
Shi Fu
Shifu
師父
师父
shi fu / shifushī fu / shi1 fu / shi fu / shifushih fu / shihfu
Hunter
Huntsmen
猟師ryou shi / ryoushi / ryo shi / ryoshi
Shihan師範
师范
shi han / shihanshī fàn / shi1 fan4 / shi fan / shifanshih fan / shihfan
Architect建築師
建筑师
jiàn zhù shī
jian4 zhu4 shi1
jian zhu shi
jianzhushi
chien chu shih
chienchushih
Beware of the Lawyers提防律師
提防律师
xiǎo xīn lǜ shī
xiao3 xin1 lv4 shi1
xiao xin lv shi
xiaoxinlvshi
hsiao hsin lü shih
hsiaohsinlüshih
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...

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