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Politeness in Chinese / Japanese...

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Courtesy / Politeness

China lǐ mào
Courtesy / Politeness

Courtesy is being polite and having good manners. When you speak and act courteously, you give others a feeling of being valued and respected. Greet people pleasantly. Bring courtesy home. Your family needs it most of all. Courtesy helps life to go smoothly.

If you put the words "fēi cháng bù" in front of this, it is like adding "very much not." It's a great insult in China, as nobody wants to be called "extremely discourteous" or "very much impolite."

See Also:  Kindness | Respect

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

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

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Below are some entries from our dictionary that may match your politeness search...


If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese

Simple Dictionary Definition


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Japanese mashi まし
Japanese (auxiliary) (1) (polite language) please; (2) used to increase the politeness of a greeting, apology, etc.

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Japanese mase ませ
Japanese (auxiliary) (1) (polite language) please; (2) used to increase the politeness of a greeting, apology, etc.

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Mandarin wǔ cháng / wu3 chang2
Taiwan wu ch`ang / wu chang
Japanese gojou / gojo ごじょう
Chinese five constant virtues of Confucianism, namely: benevolence 仁, righteousness 義|义, propriety 禮|礼, wisdom 智 and fidelity 信; five cardinal relationships of Confucianism (between ruler and subject, father and son, husband and wife, brothers, friends); five phases of Chinese philosophy: water 水, fire 火, wood 木, metal 金, earth 土; Wuchang county level city in Harbin 哈爾濱|哈尔滨, Heilongjiang
Japanese the five cardinal Confucian virtues (justice, politeness, wisdom, fidelity and benevolence); (place-name) Gojou
This term is used in Buddhism, but due to a licensing issue, we cannot show the definition

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Japanese kontou / konto こんとう
Japanese (noun or adjectival noun) cordiality; attentiveness; politeness

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Japanese reisetsu / resetsu れいせつ
Japanese decorum; propriety; politeness

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Mandarin huán lǐ / huan2 li3
Taiwan huan li
Japanese genrei
Chinese to return a politeness; to present a gift in return
還拜; 還香 Return of courtesy, of a salute, of incense offered, etc.

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Mandarin kè qi huà / ke4 qi5 hua4
Taiwan k`o ch`i hua / ko chi hua
Chinese words of politeness; politesse; decorous talking; talk with propriety

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Japanese yasansu やさんす
Japanese (auxiliary verb) (archaism) (feminine speech) (polite language) indicates respect for the one performing an action and politeness to the listener

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Mandarin bié tài kè qi / bie2 tai4 ke4 qi5
Taiwan pieh t`ai k`o ch`i / pieh tai ko chi
Chinese lit. no excessive politeness; Don't mention it!; You're welcome!; Please don't stand on ceremony.

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Mandarin háo bù kè qi / hao2 bu4 ke4 qi5
Taiwan hao pu k`o ch`i / hao pu ko chi
Chinese no trace of politeness; unrestrained (criticism)

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Mandarin lǐ shàng wǎng lái / li3 shang4 wang3 lai2
Taiwan li shang wang lai
Chinese lit. proper behavior is based on reciprocity (idiom); fig. to return politeness for politeness

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Japanese bakaingin ばかいんぎん
Japanese (noun or adjectival noun) (yoji) overdone politeness; polite to a fault; feigned politeness

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Mandarin xián jū shí dé / xian2 ju1 shi2 de2
Taiwan hsien chü shih te
Japanese kanko juttoku
Ten advantages of a hermitage given in verse, i.e. absence of sex and passion; of temptation to say wrong things; of enemies, and so of strife; of friends to praise or blame; of others' faults, and so of talk about them; of followers or servants, and so no longing for companions; of society, and so no burden of politeness; of guests, and so no preparations; of social intercourse, and so no trouble about garments; of hindrance from others in mystic practice; ten advantages of staying in a hermitage

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Japanese yashamasu やしゃます
Japanese (auxiliary verb) (archaism) (feminine speech) (polite language) indicates respect for the one performing an action and politeness to the listener

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Japanese yashansu やしゃんす
Japanese (auxiliary verb) (archaism) (feminine speech) (polite language) indicates respect for the one performing an action and politeness to the listener

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Japanese reigitadashisa / regitadashisa れいぎただしさ
Japanese politeness; courtesy

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Japanese poraitonesu ポライトネス
Japanese politeness

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Search for Politeness 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
lǐ mào / li3 mao4 / li mao / limao
The Five Tenets of Confucius 仁義禮智信
jin gi rei tomo nobu
rén yì lǐ zhì xìn
ren2 yi4 li3 zhi4 xin4
ren yi li zhi xin
jen i li chih hsin
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

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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.

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