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Perseverance / Will-Power in Chinese / Japanese...

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Perseverance / Will-Power

China yì lì
Perseverance / Will-Power

These two characters are a way to express "perseverance" with the idea of "willpower" in Chinese and old Korean Hanja. It can also mean "strong willed."

The first character means "strong" and "persistent," while the second means "strength" and "power."

Strong Hearted / Strong Willed

China yì zhì jiān qiáng
Strong Hearted / Strong Willed

This phrase can mean either "strong hearted," "strong willed" or "determination."

The first two characters can be translated as "will," "willpower," "determination," "volition," "intention," or "intent." But, it should be noted that this first part possess the element of "heart" in the lower portion of both characters (they also partially carry the meaning "with whole heart").

The last two characters mean "strong" or "staunch."

Chinese word order and grammar is a bit different than English, so in this case, they are in reverse order of English but have the correct meaning in a natural form.


See Also:  Strong Willed | Discipline | Will-Power

Perseverance

China
Japan see note
Perseverance

毅 is the simplest way to express perseverance in Chinese and Korean Hanja.
This single-character version leaves a bit of mystery about what kind of perseverance you might want to convey.

In Korean, this is usually associated with "strength of character."

In Japanese, this character can be pronounced about a dozen different ways (so we have left out the Japanese pronunciation guide that normally appears above). In Japanese this Kanji would usually be translated "strong" (perhaps strong-willed).


See Also:  Tenacity | Fortitude | Strength | Undaunted

Undaunted After Repeated Setbacks

Persistence to overcome all challenges
China bǎi zhé bù náo
Japan hyaku setsu su tou
Undaunted After Repeated Setbacks

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

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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
Perseverance
Will-Power
毅力yì lì / yi4 li4 / yi li / yilii li / ili
Strong Hearted
Strong Willed
意志堅強
意志坚强
yì zhì jiān qiáng
yi4 zhi4 jian1 qiang2
yi zhi jian qiang
yizhijianqiang
i chih chien ch`iang
ichihchienchiang
i chih chien chiang
Perseverancesee note / seenote / se note / senoteyì / yi4 / yii
Undaunted After Repeated Setbacks百折不撓
百折不挠
hyaku setsu su tou
hyakusetsusutou
hyaku setsu su to
hyakusetsusuto
bǎi zhé bù náo
bai3 zhe2 bu4 nao2
bai zhe bu nao
baizhebunao
pai che pu nao
paichepunao
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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A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

The wall scroll that Sandy is holding in this picture is a "large size"
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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.

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