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| 1. Sparrow
3. Art of War
4. Sun Tzu - Art of War
5. Beauty: The art of makeup / cosmetics
6. Art of War: 5 Points of Analysis
7. Way of Life / Art of Life
9. Hunt Foxes with Stealth, Hunt Wolves in the Open
11. United States Marine Corps
12. Dance / Dancing
13. Drunken Fist
14. Know Thy Enemy, Know Thyself
15. Maintain An Army For 1000 Days, Use It For An Hour
16. Bojutsu / Bojitsu
17. Charm / Grace
18. Wabi Sabi
19. Wing Chun
20. Green Fire
22. Kenjutsu / Kenjitsu
23. Shaolin Kung Fu
24. Shaolin Chuan / Shao Lin Quan
26. Elegant / Exquisite / Grace
27. Jujitsu / Jujutsu
28. Johrei / Jyorei
30. Ninjutsu / Ninjitsu
36. Jeet Kune Do
37. Sun Tzu: Regard Your Soldiers as Children
39. Naginata / Halberd
42. Jackie Chan
44. Beauty of Nature
45. Kenpo / Kempo / Quan Fa / Chuan Fa
46. Griffin / Gryphon
47. Brevity: Fewer Words are Best
48. Words Have Enormous Weight...
49. Know Your Enemy, Know Yourself, and You Cannot Lose
50. Inner Peace
53. Let Us Try
54. Ba Ji Quan
55. Bonsai / Penzai
56. You are always a beauty in your lover’s eyes
57. Balance / Peace
58. Martial Arts / Budo
59. Enso - Japanese Zen Circle
60. Achieve Inner Peace; Find Deep Understanding
|61. Daodejing / Tao Te Ching|
62. Kempo Karate / Law of the Fist Empty Hand
66. Zendo / The Zen Way
67. Martial Arts Master
68. Wing Chun Fist Maxims
69. Tai Chi Chuan / Tai Ji Quan
70. A Bright Future
71. Joshua 24:15
72. Wing Chun Fist Maxims
73. Taekwondo Tenets / Spirit of Taekwon-do
74. Kirin / Giraffe / Mythical Creature
76. Mountain Travels Poem by Dumu
78. Life in Balance / Balancing Life
麻雀 is the common and specific name for a hemp sparrow bird in Chinese.
This was also the original name for the game known commonly as Mahjong. You will still see boxes of Mahjong tiles with the title 麻雀 for sparrow instead of the modern 麻將 in Southern China. This title is also used for Mahjong in Japan.
雀 is the shortest way to say small bird, or sparrow in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
In Chinese, this can also be a colloquial way to speak of a freckle.
In Japanese, it's a nickname for a talkative person - not a bad thing, as it can also be a knowledgeable person
藝術 is a Chinese, Japanese, and old Korean Hanja word that means art, as in fine art, the arts, or artwork.
孫子兵法 is the full title of the most famous book of military proverbs about warfare.
The English title is "Sun Tzu's The Art of War."
The last two characters have come to be known in the west as "The Art of War" but a better translation would be, "military strategy and tactics," "military skills" or "army procedures."
Note: Sometimes the author's name is Romanized as "Sun Zi" or "Sunzi."
It's written the same in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and Korean Hanja.
In Chinese, this is the title for the art of beauty, as applying makeup or cosmetics to enhance beauty.
Note: In Japanese and Korean, this takes the meaning of beautiful face or beauty of figure or form. Be sure you know who your audience is, and have matched the desired meaning.
The first chapter of Sun Tzu's Art of War lists five key points to analyzing your situation.
It reads like a 5-part military proverb. Sun Tzu says that to sharpen your skills, you must plan. To plan well, you must know your situation. Therefore, you must consider and discuss the following:
1. Philosophy and Politics: Make sure your way or your policy is agreeable among all of your troops (and the citizens of your kingdom as well). For when your soldiers believe in you and your way, they will follow you to their deaths without hesitation, and will not question your orders.
2. Heaven/Sky: Consider climate / weather. This can also mean to consider whether God is smiling on you. In the modern military, this could be waiting for clear skies so that you can have air support for an amphibious landing.
3. Ground/Earth: Consider the terrain in which the battle will take place. This includes analyzing defensible positions, exit routes, and using varying elevation to your advantage. When you plan an ambush, you must know your terrain, and the best location from which to stage that ambush. This knowledge will also help you avoid being ambushed, as you will know where the likely places in which to expect an ambush from your enemy.
4. Leadership: This applies to you as the general, and also to your lieutenants. A leader should be smart and be able to develop good strategies. Leaders should keep their word, and if they break a promise, they should punish themselves as harshly as they would punish subordinates. Leaders should be benevolent to their troops, with almost a fatherly love for them. Leaders must have the ability to make brave and fast decisions. Leaders must have steadfast principles.
5. [Military] Methods: This can also mean laws, rules, principles, model, or system. You must have an efficient organization in place to manage both your troops and supplies. In the modern military, this would be a combination of how your unit is organized, and your SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).
Notes: This is a simplistic translation and explanation. Much more is suggested in the actual text of the Art of War (Bing Fa). It would take a lot of study to master all of these aspects. In fact, these five characters can be compared to the modern military acronyms such as BAMCIS or SMEAC.
CJK notes: I have included the Japanese and Korean pronunciations but in Chinese, Korean and Japanese, this does not make a typical phrase (with subject, verb, and object) it is a list that only someone familiar with Sun Tzu's writings would understand.
生活法 is a Japanese and Chinese title meaning, "art of living" or "way of life."
This can also be translated a few other ways, such as, "rule of life" and "the act of living."
The "art" title kind of comes from the fact that the last character is the same as the book, "The Art of War." So when you write your book, this is the title for, "The Art of Life," in Chinese and Japanese.
風林火山 is the battle strategy and proverb of Japanese feudal lord Takeda Shingen (1521–1573 A.D.).
This came from the Art of War by Chinese strategist and tactician Sun Tzu (Sunzi).
You can think of this as a sort of abbreviation to remind officers and troops how to conduct battle.
風林火山 is literally a word list: Wind, Forest, Fire, Mountain.
The more expanded meaning is supposed to be...
"Swift as the wind, quiet as the forest, fierce as fire, and immovable as a mountain"
"As fast as the wind, as quiet as the forest, as daring as fire, and immovable as the mountain"
"Move as swift as the wind, stay as silent as a forest, attack as fierce as fire, undefeatable defense like a mountain"
"Move swiftly like the wind, stay silent like the forest, attack fiercely like fire, take tactical position on the mountain"
See Also: Art of War
This Chinese proverb literally translates as: Hunt foxes stealthily, [and] hunt wolves openly [just as they themselves do].
Figuratively, this means:
Different opponents require different appropriate strategies.
This is a suggestion that you should know your enemy, and know that each enemy is different, that therefore requires a specialized approach (attack).
See Also: Art of War Military
This is the Chinese way to express "Marine." (as in a member of the Marine Corps). It is not country-specific, so it could be the Royal Marines, U.S. Marines, Chinese Marines, etc.
In Australian English, they would translate this as "Naval Infantryman."
Breaking down each character, this means:
"ocean/sea military/arms shore/land fighting/war/battle corps/team/group person/member." Note that the first two characters presented together but outside of this phrase mean "navy" (sea military).
米海兵隊 is the Japanese way to write "United States Marine Corps" or simply "U.S. Marines."
Breaking down each Kanji, this means:
"rice (American) ocean/sea soldiers/army/military corps/regiment/group."
This title will only make sense in Japanese, it is not the same in Chinese! Make sure you know your audience before ordering a custom wall scroll.
If you are wondering about the rice, America is known as "rice country" or "rice kingdom" when literally translated. The Kanji for rice is often used as an abbreviation in front of words (like a sub-adjective) to make something "American." Americans say "rice-burner" for a Japanese car, and "rice-rocket" for a Japanese motorcycle. If you did the same in Japanese, it would be exactly the opposite meaning.
Note: I have not verified this but I've found this title used for U.S. Marines in Korean articles, so it's most likely a normal Korean term as well (but only in Korean Hanja).
舞蹈 is the clearest way to express the art of dancing in Chinese, Japanese and Korean. If you are a dancer, or love the art of dance, this is the calligraphy selection for you.
Drunken Fist is a traditional Chinese martial art / technique of Kung Fu.
It is a northern style of martial art that imitates a drunk person in its movements. Many staggering movements serve to deceive the opponent and keep them off-balance.
Some consider Drunken Fist to be among the harder styles of martial arts due to the need for powerful joints and fingers.
See Also: Drunken Monkey
This proverb is from Sun Tzu's (Sunzi's) Art of War. It means that if you know and understand the enemy, you also know yourself. There is a secondary four characters that come after this in the Art of War (not included here) which suggest you cannot lose a battle when you follow this philosophy.
In a very literal and somewhat-boring way, this can also be translated as, "Estimate correctly one's strength as well as that of one's opponent."
Nothing could be more true. When I was in the Marine Corps, we trained for years for combat that often lasts only hours.
This Chinese proverb also reminds me of a common phrase used in the military to describe combat: "Weeks of total boredom, punctuated with five minutes of shear terror."
This may have some roots in Sun Tzu's The Art of War. Though I can not find this passage in his writings.
On the subject of the Art of War, if you have a favorite passage, we can create a custom calligraphy scroll with that phrase.
棒術 is the title Bōjutsu (though some use the romanization Bojitsu). A martial art centered around the use of a "bō" or staff as a weapon.
This title is a combination of the Japanese word "bō" (which means staff, stick, club, rod, pole, or cudgel) with the Japanese word "jutsu" (which means art, or technique).
While this word can be pronounced in Chinese (bang shu), it's not a common term in China. Please consider this title to be "Japanese only."
侘寂 is Wabi-Sabi, the aesthetic sense in Japanese art emphasizing quiet simplicity and subdued refinement.
More about this subject at Wikipedia: Wabi Sabi
This martial arts technique has an oral history (versus a written one) so very little can be said for sure about its origins.
Wing Chun (or Wing Cheun) is a Chinese martial art that emphasizes short combat strokes.
The characters literally mean "Singing Spring" (as in springtime).
If you are wondering, the spelling and pronunciation of this martial arts style in English comes from the Cantonese pronunciation of these characters. The second character sounds similar in both Mandarin and Cantonese but the first is quite different.
Note: This title can be pronounced in Japanese but only a Japanese practitioner of Wing Chun would recognize or understand this title. It is not considered to be a Japanese word or martial art at all.
In Japanese, the modern definition, using simple terms is "A martial art involving swords" or "The art of the sword." However, in Chinese, this is the word for fencing (as in the Olympic sport).
I will suppose that you want this for the Japanese definition which comes from skills and techniques developed in the 15th century. At that time, Kenjutsu (or swordsmanship) was a strictly military art taught to Samurai and Bushi (soldiers). The fact that swords are rarely used in military battles anymore, and with the pacification of Japan after WWII, Kenjutsu is strictly a ceremonial practice often studied as a form of martial art (more for the discipline aspect rather than practical purpose).
Language note: The Korean definition is close the Japanese version described above. However, it should be noted that this can mean "fencing" depending on context in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.
Character alternative notes: Japanese tend to write the second Kanji in the form shown to the right. It is a very slight difference, and the two forms were merged under the same computer font code point (thus, you will not see the Japanese version in Kanji images shown during the options selection process). If you choose our Japanese Master Calligrapher, this will be automatically written in the proper Japanese form.
Since there are about 5 common ways to write the sword character, if you are particular about which version you want, please note that in the "special instructions" when you place your order.
Romanization note: This term is often Romanized as Kenjitsu, however, following the rules of Japanese Romaji, it should be Kenjutsu.
少林拳 is the title of the martial art (style of Kung Fu) that is taught to the monks and students in the Shaolin Buddhist Monastery. The addition of Chuan or Quan which means fist is what signifies that you are talking about this school or form of martial arts.
ジーザス is the name Jesus written in Katakana (phonetic Japanese). ジーザス is a common version that approximates pronunciation in English. However, there are many variations for writing Jesus in Japanese, and it's hard to come up with an absolute answer (transliteration of names is more art than science).
Note: Because this title is entirely Japanese Katakana , it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
Beyond elegant and exquisite elegance, this is also the word used to say "beautiful" or "marvelous" when referring to a work of art.
Can also be translated as exquisiteness, gracefulness.
Note: Not a commonly used word in Japanese.
柔術 has been somewhat incorrectly spelled and pronounced "Jujitsu" for some time in the English-speaking world. The correct Japanese Romaji is Jujutsu or Juujutsu.
A little background on the word: By combining the Kanji pronounced "Ju" (which means flexible, pliable, gentle, yielding) with the Kanji pronounced "Jutsu" (which means art, or technique), we get a meaning that can be translated as "flexible technique," "gentle art" or "yielding technique."
柔術 does make sense in Chinese as well, although pronounced, "rou shu" in China.
The Jujutsu system has a history in Japan that started well-before the 1600's. Some see this style as a variation of the "Empty Hand Method" (Karate-do). Even the samurai of old used some Jujutsu methods in defending themselves with their unarmed hands against weapons that could pierce their heavy armor.
There are convoluted relationships between various schools and systems of martial arts but it's generally accepted that Jujutsu led to the development of Judo and a few other variations.
Jyorei or Johrei is a healing art that uses divine light to dissolve the spiritual impurities that are the source of all physical, emotional, and personal problems.
This is a Japanese title that can refer to the purification of spirit described above, but this is also the word for exorcism in Japanese.
Romanization variations include Jyorei, Johrei, Jourei and Jore. Regardless of romanization, the actual pronunciation is like "Joe Ray."
跆拳道 is one of the most widespread types of martial arts in the world as well as being an Olympic sport. Taekwondo was born in Korea with influences of Chinese and Japanese styles, combined with traditional Korean combat skills. Some will define it as the "Korean art of empty-handed self-defense."
In the simplest translation, the first character means "kick," the second character can mean either "fist" or "punching" the third means "way" or "method." Altogether, you could say this is "Kick Punch Method." When heard or read in various Asian languages, all will automatically think of this famous Korean martial art. It is written the same in Japanese Kanji, Chinese, and Korean Hanja characters - so the appearance of the characters are rather universal. However, you should note that there is another way to write this in modern Korean Hangul characters which looks like the image to the right.
We suggest the original Korean Hanja (Chinese characters) for a wall scroll but if you really need the Hangul version, you must use master calligrapher Xing An-Ping: Order Taekwondo in Korean Hangul
Note: Taekwondo is sometimes Romanized as Tae-Kwondo, Tae Kwon Do, Taekwon-do, Taegwondo, Tae Gweon Do, Tai Kwon Do, Taikwondo, Taekwando, Tae Kwan Do and in Chinese Taiquandao, Tai Quan Dao, Taichuando, or Tai Chuan Tao.
忍術 is the "art of the ninja" in Japanese. Most Japanese people associate ninjas with some degree of romance and reverence to Japan's ancient past. But most will accept that the ninja is an idea or way of life whose time has passed. However, this has not stopped floods of movies about ninjas and dojos offering Ninjutsu training from keeping the idea of the ninja alive in modern times.
My modern Japanese dictionary defines this term as "assassination, stealth and combat techniques," or "fighting art of the ninja."
Note that when writing this as Kanji, Japanese will tend to write the first character in the form shown to the right. Because this is specifically a Japanese title, we only suggest our Japanese master calligrapher for this selection - and you will get the form shown to the right if you do that (please ignore the fact that some of the images you see during the following pages in the options process will be the Chinese/alternate form).
大師範 is a Japanese title for master, grandmaster, or senior instructor.
大師範 is a bit of an odd selection for a piece of calligraphy artwork, so proceed with caution. Better to find an appropriate phrase or title (such as the name of the martial art), and then add something like "Grandmaster Smith" as a smaller inscription down the side.
居合道 is the Japanese Kanji title for the martial art of Iaidō, which emphasizes the smooth and elegant draw of the sword from its scabbard.
These same characters are used in Chinese and old Korean but not with the same meaning as read in Japanese. Therefore, this should be considered a "Japanese only" title.
極真會 is the Japanese title Kyokushinkai, which is a school / type of Karate-Do.
If you want a longer title, such as Kyokushinkaikan, Kyokushinkai-Karate, Kyokushin-Karate please post your request on our Asian Art Forum.
In Cantonese, this is Jeet Kune Do. Often it is explained as the "Way of the Intercepting Fist." This is a martial art style founded by Bruce Lee.
The first character means to cut-off or sever.
The second character is fist.
The last character means way or method.
See Also: Bruce Lee
This is an entry from the 10th section within the Earth/Terrain chapter of Sun Tzu's Art of War.
This is often translated as, "Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys. Look upon them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death."
復仇者 is a Chinese title that means avenger or taker of revenge.
The first two characters literally mean avenge, vengeance, reprisal, or revenge.
The last character is a way to say person. This last character is like adding -er or -ist to subjects like write and art to get writer and artist.
看護 is one title (of a few) for nurse in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
In most cases, this title refers to a hospital nurse, those who participate in the art of nursing, and is a term for an army nurse (especially in Japan).
The first character means, "to look after," or "to watch over." The second character means, "to protect," or "to guard."
合気道 is the modern Japanese way to write Aikido.
Aikido is often referred to as the defensive martial art.
While Aikido was born in Japan, it has become a somewhat famous form of defensive tactics taught to soldiers and Marines, as well as some law enforcement officers in the West.
Looking at the characters, the first means "union" or "harmony."
The second character means "universal energy" or "spirit."
The third means "way" or "method."
Please note that while the original 合氣道 characters can be pronounced in Chinese, this word is not well-known in China and is not considered part of the Chinese lexicon.
Note: It is somewhat accepted that this is the origin of Hapkido in Korea. And other than a modern simplification to the middle Kanji of this 3-Kanji word, it is written the same in Korean Hanja.
Credit is given that karate started in China but migrated and became refined, and vastly popular in Japan. The literal meaning of these characters is "empty hand method" or "empty hand way." Karate is a martial art that uses no blades of weapons other than the "natural weapons" that God gave to humans (fists and feet). The last character somehow became optional but the meaning of that character is "method" or "the way" as in Taoism / Daoism.
花鳥風月 is the Japanese Kanji proverb for "Beauties of Nature."
The dictionary definition is, "the traditional themes of natural beauty in Japanese aesthetics."
The Kanji each represents an element of nature that constitute beauty in traditional Japanese art and culture.
The Kanji breakdown:
花 = ka = flower (also pronounced "hana")
鳥 = chou = bird (also pronounced "tori").
風 = fuu = wind (also pronounced "kaze").
月 = getsu = moon (also pronounced "tsuki")
This form of martial arts can be translated in several ways. Some will call it "fist principles" or "the way of the fist," or even "law of the fist." The first character literally means fist. The second can mean law, method, way, principle or Buddhist teaching.
Kempo is really a potluck of martial arts. Often a combination of Chinese martial arts such as Shaolin Kung Fu with Japanese martial arts such as Karate, Jujutsu (Jujitsu), Aikido, and others. You may see the term "Kempo Karate" which basically means Karate with other disciplines added. In this way, Kempo becomes an adjective rather than a title or school of martial arts.
These facts will long be argued by various masters and students of Kempo. Even the argument as to whether it should be spelled "kenpo" or "Kempo" ensues at dojos around the world (the correct Romaji should actually be "kenpou" if you precisely follow the rules).
The benefit of Kempo is that the techniques are easier to learn and master compared to pure Kung Fu (wu shu). Students are often taught basic Karate moves, kicks, and punches before augmenting the basic skills with complex Kung Fu techniques. This allows students of Kempo achieve a level where they can defend themselves or fight in a relatively short amount of time (a few years rather than a decade or more).
Because the definition of this word is so fluid, I should make some notes here:
1. Purists in Okinawa will claim that "Okinawa Kenpo" or "Ryukyu Hon Kenpo" is the original and true version of this martial art from the old kingdom. There is actually little or no connection between Okinawa Kenpo and the way the word is used elsewhere.
2. In Chinese, where these characters are pronounced "quan fa" (sometimes Romanized as "chuan fa" because the Chinese-pinyin "q" actually sounds like an English "ch" sound), these characters do not hold the connotation of being a mixed martial art. It is simply defined as "the law of the fist."
3. In my Japanese dictionary, it oddly defines Kenpo as "Chinese art of self-defense." I personally don't feel this is the most common way that people perceive the word but just something you should know.
This is the Chinese title for a Griffin.
This refers to the legendary creature with the head, talons, and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion. Sometimes also spelled Gryphon or Griffon. From the Greek γρύφων or γρύπων, or Latin Gryphus.
This Chinese title, 鷹頭獅, literally means, "Eagle Head Lion."
Get to the point quickly with the fewest words possible is the suggestion of this Chinese proverb. But taking it deeper, there is a warning that using too many words may act to "tip your hat" or "show your hand" (to use two American idioms).
It can also be said that using many words does not make the message have more value.
This proverb is really about the art of brevity.
Now my only hope is that I did not use too many words to explain this proverb.
This is an ancient Chinese proverb used in modern times talk of profound or powerful words.
The literal meaning is, "one word [worth] nine [sacred] tripods." The tripod is a highly-prized three-legged (sometimes four-legged) metal pot or kettle of ancient China. They are often made of bronze, and the Emperor would have very large ones gilded in gold. See the image to the right for an example.
This is from Sun Tzu's (Sunzi's) Art of War. It means that if you know and understand the enemy, you also know yourself, and thus with this complete understanding, you cannot lose.
This proverb is often somewhat-directly translated as, "Know the enemy and know yourself, and you can fight a hundred battles without defeat."
It can also be translated as, "If you know both yourself and your enemy, you can come out of hundreds of battles without danger," or "Know your enemy, know yourself, and your victory will not be threatened."
This Chinese and Japanese phrase is a direct translation for the western idea of inner peace.
The first two characters contain the idea of "heart," "innermost being," or "deep in the/your inner mind."
The last two characters mean "tranquil" and "serene."
I have seen this phrase used as "inner peace" for art prints and even on the side of coffee cups. But I think the translation is too literal. It feels like a direct translation from English rather than a nicely composed Chinese or Japanese phrase. See my other entries for "inner peace."
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.
忍法 is Ninpo which can be translated as "Ninja Arts" from Japanese.
If you want this to mean "Ninja Arts," you should consider this to be Japanese only. In Chinese, someone might read this as "patience law" or "the art of patience."
The first character can be associated with "Ninja" since it is the "Nin" of "Ninja." But the literal meaning is patience or perseverance. The second character means "law" or "method." Often this is extended to mean or be translated as "arts."
Within a Buddhist context (especially Chinese Buddhism), this is the method or stage of patience, the sixth of the seven stages of the Hīnayāna in the attainment of arhatship, or sainthood.
嘗試 is a close match for the English phrase, "let us try" or the French word "Essayons" as used by Combat Engineers in the U.S. Army.
嘗試 can also be translated as "to try" or "to attempt."
Even if you're not a Combat Engineer, this word should inspire you to attempt to accomplish difficult things. If you don't try, you are certain to fail, if you do try, at least there is a chance of success.
The worst thing is not failure, the worst thing is not trying at all.
八極拳 is "Ba Ji Quan" or "Eight Extremes Fist."
Some also translate this as "Eight Extremities Fist," though I don't feel that's accurate.
八極拳 (Bājíquán) is a Chinese martial art that features explosive, short-range power and is famous for its elbow strikes. It originated in the Hebei Province in Northern China but spread to Taiwan and other places.
The full title is 開門八極拳 (Kāimén Bājíquán), which means Open-Door Bajiquan.
You may also see this romanized as "BaJiQuan," "Pa Chi Ch`üan," or "Pa Chi Chuan."
In Japan, this is known as, "Hakkyokuken."
盆栽 is the word that refers to the culture, hobby and to the miniature trees themselves that have become popular around the world. Like many things, this art migrated from China to Japan some time ago but we tend to associate it with Japanese culture and even use the Japanese word in English.
Granted, in present day, this hobby seems to be more popular in Japan but still has a great following in China and even a little in Korea as well.
Note: Many people confuse the title of the bonsai tree with "banzai" which is a form of "hooray" in Japanese. I have also seen it misspelled as "bansai." The correct Romanization (Romaji) is "bonsai."
Any woman with affection for Asian art and you will love a gift of this Chinese proverb calligraphy on a wall scroll. She will melt in your arms as you tell her the meaning of these characters.
Contained in this phrase is a reference to the most beautiful woman in Chinese history. Her name was Xi Shi, and she was known to have good looks that need not fine robes or make up. Her charms were so powerful that she brought down an entire kingdom (in a successful effort to bring honor and pride back to her people).
This is a great way to express that the woman in your life is your one love.
平 is a single-character that means balance in Chinese but it's not too direct or too specific about what kind of balance. Chinese people often like calligraphy art that is a little vague or mysterious. In this way, you can decide what it means to you, and you'll be right.
平 is also part of a word that means peace in Chinese, Japanese and old Korean.
Some alternate translations of this single character include: balanced, peaceful, calm, equal, even, level, smooth or flat.
Note that in Japanese, this just means "level" or "flat" by itself (not the best choice for balance if your audience is Japanese).
武道 is the very common Japanese way to say "Martial Arts."
武道 is used mostly in Japanese dojos but is also understood in Chinese and Korean.
Some will use this title to mean chivalry (the conduct of a knight) or military art. The way this word is understood would depend on the context in which it is used.
The first character means "force" or "warlike" or "essence of a warrior."
The second character means "method," "path," and "the way." It is the same character used to describe/mean the philosophy of Taoism / Daoism.
Some will also translate this as, "The Way of the Warrior," especially in the context of Korean martial arts.
〇 / 円相 is Enso, which is really NOT a regular Japanese Kanji character. It falls more into the category of a symbol. In this case, it can be considered a religious symbol, as it is strongly-associated with Japanese Zen Buddhism.
〇 / 円相 is a typical appearance of Enso with an inscription by master calligrapher Bishou Imai.
Some call this "The Circle of Enlightenment." Others call it the "Infinity Circle." If you actually took the meanings of the two Kanji that make up the word "Enso," you could read it as "Mutual Circle" or "Circle of Togetherness." I think the Enso symbol can simply mean different things to different people. Therefore, you should let it have the meaning that you perceive.
Please note when you start making your customizations for an Enso wall scroll, you will see some possible ways it might be written, listed under the different calligraphy styles that we normally offer. However, Enso does not really conform to normal Asian calligraphy styles. Therefore, do not expect that you can make a style selection and expect the actual result to be identical. The appearance of your Enso will be determined by the artist's personal style, feeling, mood, etc. You cannot control or constrain that, as you cannot constrain art, without removing some of the artistic quality. Note: Our calligraphy selection process does not take this into account, as it was designed for Chinese characters and Japanese Kanji selection.
Please ignore the part where you are invited to pick a calligraphy style in the following pages.
Both our Japanese and Chinese master calligraphers are Buddhist (not as devout as monks but Buddhist none the less). Therefore, you can be assured that your Enso symbol will be written with the utmost effort and feeling.
By the way, when "Enso" is written in Kanji, it looks like this:
诸葛亮 Zhuge Liang
This is five characters from a longer ten-character proverb composed by Zhuge Liang about 1800 years ago.
The proverb means, "Your inner peace / tranquility / serenity will help you see or reach far (into the world)."
The last word means "far" but the deeper meaning is that you will surpass what you can currently see or understand. Perhaps even the idea of opening up vast knowledge and understanding of complex ideas.
This is an except from the 67th Chapter of Lao Tzu's (Lao Zi's) Te-Tao Ching (Dao De Jing). This is the part where the three treasures are discussed. In English, we'd say these three treasures are compassion, frugality, and humility. Some may translate these as love, moderation, and lack of arrogance. I have also seen them translated as benevolence, modesty, and "Not presuming to be at the forefront in the world." You can mix them up the way you want, as translation is not really a science but rather an art.
I should also explain that the first two treasures are single-character ideas, yet the third treasure was written out in six characters (there are also some auxiliary characters to number the treasures).
If Lao Tzu's words are important to you, then a wall scroll with this passage might make a great addition to your home.
The first two characters mean "karate" - technically they express "empty hand."
The last two express "fist law" which is Romanized from Japanese as "Kenpo" or "Kempo."
That "empty hand" translation can be understood better when you grasp the idea that karate is a martial art without weapons (other than the weapons organic to your body, such as your foot, hand, fist, etc). When you practice karate, you do so with empty hands (no weapons).
Note: There is also an antiquated way to write karate. It has the same pronunciation but a different first character which means "Tang" as in the Tang Dynasty. Some dojos use that form - let us know if you need that alternate form, and we'll add it for you.
芸者 is the real basis for the way we spell geisha.
However, there are many more ways to refer to a woman that fills the role that westerners think of when they hear the word geisha.
In Japanese, these characters literally mean "artful person." But in English, it might be better translated as "a person (woman) highly trained/accomplished in the arts."
However, my Japanese dictionary says "a singing and dancing girl."
Many will argue as to whether "geisha" = "prostitute" or not. My Japanese friends seem to have the opinion that a geisha is so highly trained in the art playing musical instruments and dancing that the fact she might also be a prostitute is secondary to her performance on stage.
芸者 is a "Japanese only" term, they use a slightly different first character to express "geisha" in Chinese. Since this is a Japanese term, I have not included the Chinese version.
The Shaolin monks of China have been practicing the art of Kung Fu for thousands of years. While there are many schools of Kung Fu in China, Shaolin are one of the more religiously devout and disciplined.
The title of Shaolin actually refers to a specific Buddhist monastery. It should be noted that the Shaolin were famous in China long before the Kung Fu TV show. Their fame in China is due to the monks' heroic and swift rescue an emperor during the Tang Dynasty. Most Chinese people are not keenly aware of the Kung Fu TV show, and have no idea who David Carradine is or anything about his character, Kwai Chang Caine.
Note: The literal meaning of these two characters is "little forest."
The fame of the Shaolin has spread all over Asia, as even though this is a Chinese title, the same characters are used in Japanese with the same meaning.
刀 is the Japanese Kanji for "sword." This refers to the style of sword carried by warriors, samurai, and shogun of ancient Japan.
With the pacification of Japan, such swords are now only used for ceremony and decoration. The true art of sword-smithing is all but lost in Japan with new sword production dedicated to making inexpensive replicas for the tourist and foreign market.
For those of you that want to ask whether I can get you a real antique sword. Let me tell you that most real Asian swords were melted down after WWII in Japan, and during the Great Leap Forward in China. Any remaining swords are family heirlooms that nobody will part with.
Please carefully note that the Japanese kanji character shown above is only for a Japanese audience. In China, this character means "knife." See our other entry for "sword" in Chinese.
Note: This can mean knife, sword, or blade in Korean, depending on context.
See Also: Sword
This title is used in certain contexts but is not widely-known by the general population of China or Japan.
From Japanese, you will see this title romanized as "zendo," which is the brand name of a board game, and also a title used by some martial arts studios and karate dojos. Oddly, many translate this as "zen fist" although there is no "fist" in the title. If you literally translated this title, it would be "meditation way" or "meditation method."
In Chinese, this would be "chan dao" with the same literal meaning as the Japanese title. It's used in China by just a handful of martial arts styles/studios.
You should only order this title if you really understand the meaning, and it has some personal connection to you (such as practicing a martial art style that uses this title, or if you love the board game Zendo). Many who see your wall scroll will not be familiar with this title, and you'll have some explaining to do.
The first character can also be written in a more complex traditional way as shown to the right. Let us know in the special instructions for your calligraphy project if you want this style.
If you order this from the Japanese master calligrapher, the first character will automatically be written with an extra dot on top. This is the variant form of the original Chinese character which is commonly used in modern Japan Kanji. See sample to the right.
武芸者 is the Japanese Kanji title for "Martial Arts Master." It suggests that you have reached at least the level of black belt, and are probably to the level where you are ready to become an instructor.
Please consider carefully where you stand before ordering this phrase on a wall scroll. If you are not a master, this will make you look a bit foolish.
If you want to get this as a gift for your master at the dojo. Try to discreetly make sure this term is used in your school. Different schools and styles of Japanese martial arts use different terms. You may notice in the Romaji and the characters, this has the same characters as "geisha" which means "person skilled in arts" (what a geisha girl really is). The title here has the character for "martial," "warrior," and/or "military" in front of it. Therefore the literal translation is "martial art person."
These Kanji are valid Chinese characters and Korean Hanja but this title does not really make sense in Chinese and not often used in Korean, though a Chinese or Korean would be able to guess the meaning by looking at the first and last characters.
A customer asked me to split these Wing Chun maxims into two parts, so he could order a couplet. It thought this was a good idea, so it's been added here.
A couplet is a set of two wall scrolls that start and finish one phrase or idea. Often, couplets are hung with the first wall scroll on the right side, and the second on the left side of a doorway or entrance. The order in Chinese is right-to-left, so that's why the first wall scroll goes on the right as you face the door.
Of course, couplets can also be hung together on a wall. Often they can be hung to flank an alter, or table with incense, or even flanking a larger central wall scroll. See an example here from the home of Confucius
Be sure to order both part 1 and 2 together. One without the other is like Eve without Adam.
太極拳 is the famous Taoist meditation and martial art exercise. The direct translation of these characters would be something like "grand ultimate fist" but that does not quite hit the mark for what this title really means.
An early-morning walk through any city in China near a park or open area will yield a view of Chinese people practicing this ancient technique.
The typical scene is an old man of no less than 80 years on this earth, with a wispy white beard and perhaps a sword in one hand. He makes slow moves that are impossibly smooth. He is steady-footed, and always in balance. For him, time is meaningless and proper form and technique is far more important than speed.
For the younger generation, faster moves may look impressive and seem smooth to the casual observer. But far more discipline and mental strength is needed to create perfectly smooth moves in virtual slow motion.
Note: There are two ways to Romanize these Chinese characters as seen in the title above. The pronunciation and actual characters are the same in Chinese. If you really used English sounds/words to pronounce this, it would be something like "tie jee chew-on" (just make the "chew-on" as one flowing syllable).
鵬程萬里 is an ancient Chinese proverb used in modern times to wish someone a long and successful career.
It's really about the 10,000 Flight of the Peng (Peng, also known as Roc is a mythical fish that can turn into a bird and take flight).
庄子 - Zhuangzi
Breaking down each character:
1. Peng or Roc (a kind of bird).
2. Journey (in this case, a flight).
3. 10,000 (Ten Thousand).
4. Li is a unit of distance often referred to as a "Chinese Mile," though the real distance is about half a kilometer.
Direct Translation: "Peng's Journey [of] 10,000 Li."
Literal meaning: "The 10,000-Li Flying Range Of The Roc."
Perceived meaning: "To have a bright future" or "To go far."
This proverb/idiom comes from the book of Zhuangzi. It tells the tale of a huge fish which could turn into a gigantic bird. This bird was called "peng" and was many miles long. This legendary size allowed the Peng to fly from the Northern Sea to the Southern Sea in a single bound.
Wishing someone "a Peng's Journey of 10,000 Li," will imply that they will be able to travel far without stopping, and will have great success, a long career, and a prosperous future.
This is Joshua 24:15 in Chinese.
might look like
Joshua 24:15 (KJV) And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Joshua 24:15 (NIV) But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
These characters here just dwell on the last line of the verse, "...as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."
We used the only official Christian Chinese Bible that I know of so that the translation would be as accurate and standard as possible. Any Chinese Christian worth their salt will easily be able to identify this verse from the Chinese words on this scroll.
I think it is a bit like having a secret code on your wall that quietly expresses to whom your are faithful.
A great gift for your devout Christian or Jewish friend if they happen to be fond of Asian art.
Or perhaps a wonderful "conversation starter" for your own home.
Note: If you are curious, the last three characters represent they way "LORD" is used in most English Bibles. In Chinese, this is actually the phonetic name in Mandarin Chinese for "Jehovah."
This is the chant or poem of Wing Chun. I call it a "chant" because it was meant to be a somewhat rhythmic poem to help practitioners memorize many aspects of Wing Chun.
You will see this referred to as, "Wing Chun Kuem Kuit." This Cantonese romanization is popular in the west (and there is no official way to romanize Cantonese, so many variations exist). In Mandarin it would be, "Yong Chun Quan Jue." The last character (kuit or kyut from Cantonese, jue or chüeh from Mandarin) kind of means "secrets of the art." It's a short way to write 口訣, meaning "mnemonic chant" or "rhyme for remembering."
In the west (especially in the military), we often use acronyms to remember things. There's no initials to make acronyms in Chinese, so in ancient times, chants like this are used to remember vast amounts of information.
I will presume you already know the meaning of the 10 maxims, so I will skip that to keep this calligraphy entry from getting too large.
Some think 练拳者必记 is the title but that just says, "Training fist people should remember:." Therefore, I've not included that in the calligraphy. However, you can put a note in the special instructions if you want it added.
Note: On a traditional calligraphy wall scroll, the characters will be written in vertical columns, starting from the right, and proceeding left.
Note: This is an except and variation from a huge 口訣. These 10 maxims are used extensively in Wing Chun training, and you'll find them all over the internet. Just know there is a much longer version out there, along with several variations and excepts like this one. If you know of, or want a different version, just contact me, and I will add it for you.
This is General Choi's writing that is often called "The Tenets of Taekwon-do." The actual title would be translated as, "Taekwondo Spirit" or "The Spirit of Taekwondo." It was originally written in Korean Hanja (Chinese characters used in Korea for about 1600 years).
General Choi's original calligraphy is shown to the right. Your custom calligraphy will be unique, and not an exact match, as each calligrapher has their own style.
In modern times, the common form of written Korean is Hangul (a phonetic character set). The table below shows the text in Hangul and Hanja along with a pronunciation guide and a brief English translation:
|Traditional Korean Hanja||Modern Korean Hangul||Pronunciation||English|
|跆拳道精神||태권도정신||tae gweon do jeong sin||Taekwondo Spirit|
|禮儀||예의||ye yi||Courtesy / Etiquette / Propriety / Decorum / Formality|
|廉耻||염치||yeom ci||Integrity / Sense of Honor|
|忍耐||인내||in nae||Patience / Perseverance / Endurance|
|克己||극기||geug gi||Self-Control / Self-Denial / Self-Abnegation|
|百折不屈||백절불굴||baeg jeor bur gur||Indomitable Spirit (Undaunted even after repeated attacks from the opponent)|
|Note that the pronunciation is the official version now used in South Korea. However, it is different than what you may be used to. For instance, "Taekwon-do" is "tae gweon do." This new romanization is supposed to be closer to actual Korean pronunciation.|
This word is the title of a mythical beast of Asia.
The animal is thought to be related to the giraffe, and in some ways, it is a giraffe. However, it is often depicted with the horns of a dragon or deer and sometimes with the body like a horse but many variations exist.
In Japanese it is pronounced “Kirin” as in “Kirin Ichiban” beer.
1. This is sometimes spelled as “kylin”.
2. In Japanese, this is the only Kanji word for giraffe. Therefore in Japan, this word needs context to know whether you are talking about the mythical creature or the long-necked giraffe of Africa.
3. Apparently, this was the first word used for regular giraffes in China (some were brought from Africa to China during the Ming Dynasty - probably around the year 1400). Though the mythical creature may have existed before, the name “qilin” was given to the “new giraffe”. This is because, more than 600 years ago, giraffes somewhat matched the mythical creature's description when Chinese people saw them for the first time. Later, to avoid such an ambiguous title, a three-character word was devised to mean a “giraffe of Africa”. The characters for “qilin” shown here are only for the mythological version in modern Chinese.
4. More information about the qilin / kirin from Wikipedia.
5. This creature is sometimes translated as the “Chinese Unicorn”, even though it is generally portrayed with two horns. I think this is done more for the fantasy aspect of the unicorn and because most westerners don't know what a qilin or kirin is (this avoids a long explanation by the translator).
6. In Korean, this can mean kirin or simply giraffe (usually the mythological creature is what they would think of when seeing these characters alone on a wall scroll).
Hapkido is a mostly-defensive martial art of Korea. It has some connection to Aikido of Japan. In fact, they are written with the same characters in both languages. However, it should be noted that the Korean Hanja characters shown here are the traditional Chinese form - but in modern Japan, the middle character was slightly simplified.
Note: You can consider this to be the older Japanese written form of Aikido. Titles on older books and signs about Aikido use this form.
The connection between Japanese Aikido and Korean Hapkido is a bit muddled in history. This is probably due to the relationship between the two countries - especially during WWII when many Koreans became virtual slaves for the Japanese (many Koreans are still bitter about that, so many things were disassociated from having any Japanese origin).
Looking at the characters, the first means "union" or "harmony."
The second character means "universal energy" or "spirit."
The third means "way" or "method."
One way to translate this into English is "Harmonizing Energy Method." This makes since, as Hapkido has more to do with redirecting energy, rather that fighting with strength against strength.
More Hapkido info
1. Sometimes Hapkido is Romanized as "hap ki do," "hapki-do" "hab gi do" or "hapgido."
2. Korean Hanja characters are actually Chinese characters that usually hold the same meaning in both languages. There was a time when these characters were the standard and only written form of Korean. The development of modern Korean Hangul characters is a somewhat recent event in the greater scope of history. There was a time when Chinese characters were the written form of many languages in places known in modern times as North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mainland China, and a significant portion of Malaysia. Even today, more people in the world can read Chinese characters than can read English.
3. While these Korean Hanja characters can be pronounced in Chinese, this word is not well-known in China and is not considered part of the Chinese lexicon.
This poem was written almost 1200 years ago during the Tang dynasty. It depicts traveling up a place known as Cold Mountain, where some hearty people have built their homes. The traveler is overwhelmed by the beauty of the turning leaves of the maple forest that surrounds him just as night overtakes the day, and darkness prevails. His heart implores him to stop, and take in all of the beauty around him.
First before you get to the full translation, I must tell you that Chinese poetry is a lot different than what we have in the west. Chinese words simply don't rhyme in the same way that English, or other western languages do. Chinese poetry depends on rhythm and a certain beat of repeated numbers of characters.
I have done my best to translate this poem keeping a certain feel of the original poet. But some of the original beauty of the poem in it's original Chinese will be lost in translation.
Far away on Cold Mountain, a stone path leads upwards.
Among white clouds peoples homes reside.
Stopping my carriage I must, as to admire the maple forest at nights fall.
In awe of autumn leaves showing more red than even flowers of early spring.
Hopefully, this poem will remind you to stop, and "take it all in" as you travel through life.
The poet's name is "Du Mu" in Chinese that is: .
The title of the poem, "Mountain Travels" is:
You can have the title, poet's name, and even Tang Dynasty written as an inscription on your custom wall scroll if you like.
More about the poet:
Dumu lived from 803-852 AD and was a leading Chinese poet during the later part of the Tang dynasty.
He was born in Chang'an, a city of central China and former capital of the ancient Chinese empire in 221-206 BC. In present day China, his birthplace is currently known as Xi'an, the home of the Terracotta Soldiers.
He was awarded his Jinshi degree (an exam administered by the emperor's court which leads to becoming an official of the court) at the age of 25, and went on to hold many official positions over the years. However, he never achieved a high rank, apparently because of some disputes between various factions, and his family's criticism of the government. His last post in the court was his appointment to the office of Secretariat Drafter.
During his life, he wrote scores of narrative poems, as well as a commentary on the Art of War and many letters of advice to high officials.
His poems were often very realistic, and often depicted every day life. He wrote poems about everything, from drinking beer in a tavern to weepy poems about lost love.
The thing that strikes you most is the fact even after 1200 years, not much has changed about the beauty of nature, toils and troubles of love and beer drinking.
擊氣道 is the title of the Kyuki-Do form of Korean martial arts.
In Korean Hangul, it's 격기도.
While "Kyuki-Do" is the most common romanized form of this title, the official Korean romanization is actually "Gyeog Gi Do" or "Gyeoggi-Do."
The first character means to hit, strike, attack, rout, or break.
The second means "life energy" or "atmosphere."
The last means "the way" or "method."
FYI: The last two characters are the same as the last two in the titles Hapkido and Aikido.
I have included Mandarin Chinese pronunciation above, however, this term would only be known by Chinese people familiar with this style of martial arts. Consider this to be a Korean-only title.
This title suggests that you are actively trying to keep your life in balance. Think of this as being the action-verb of seeking or having a balanced life.
The first two characters mean balance, equilibrium or keeping things equal.
The last two characters mean "life." Literally "human life."
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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|
|Sparrow||麻雀||maa jan / maajan / ma jan / majan||má què / ma2 que4 / ma que / maque||ma ch`üeh / machüeh / ma chüeh|
|Sparrow||雀||chie / suzume||què / que4 / que||ch`üeh / chüeh|
|geijutsu||yì shù / yi4 shu4 / yi shu / yishu||i shu / ishu|
|yǎ tè / ya3 te4 / ya te / yate||ya t`e / yate / ya te|
|Art||アート||aato / ato|
|Art of War||兵法||hyou hou / hyouhou / hyo ho / hyoho||bīng fǎ / bing1 fa3 / bing fa / bingfa||ping fa / pingfa|
|Sun Tzu - Art of War||孫子兵法|
|son shi hyou hou|
son shi hyo ho
|sūn zǐ bīng fǎ
sun1 zi3 bing1 fa3
sun zi bing fa
|sun tzu ping fa
|Beauty: The art of makeup
|美容||biyou / biyo||měi róng / mei3 rong2 / mei rong / meirong||mei jung / meijung|
|Art of War: 5 Points of Analysis||道天地將法|
|dou ten chi shou hou|
do ten chi sho ho
|dào tiān dì jiàng fǎ
dao4 tian1 di4 jiang4 fa3
dao tian di jiang fa
|tao t`ien ti chiang fa
tao tien ti chiang fa
|Way of Life
Art of Life
|shēng huó fǎ
sheng1 huo2 fa3
sheng huo fa
|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...
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.
Some people may refer to this entry as Sparrow-Art Kanji, Sparrow-Art Characters, Sparrow-Art in Mandarin Chinese, Sparrow-Art Characters, Sparrow-Art in Chinese Writing, Sparrow-Art in Japanese Writing, Sparrow-Art in Asian Writing, Sparrow-Art Ideograms, Chinese Sparrow-Art symbols, Sparrow-Art Hieroglyphics, Sparrow-Art Glyphs, Sparrow-Art in Chinese Letters, Sparrow-Art Hanzi, Sparrow-Art in Japanese Kanji, Sparrow-Art Pictograms, Sparrow-Art in the Chinese Written-Language, or Sparrow-Art in the Japanese Written-Language.