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Sword in Chinese / Japanese...

Buy a Sword calligraphy wall scroll here!

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

Quick links to words on this page...

  1. Sword
  2. Kendo / The Way of the Sword
  3. Sword
  4. Energy Sword Body in Concert
  5. Katana
  6. Sword Saint
  7. Sword of Death
  8. Mark the boat to find the lost sword...
  9. Life Saving Sword
10. Kenjutsu / Kenjitsu
11. Shinkage-Ryu
12. Musashi
13. Intense / Serious
14. The Warrior's Word, Dependable as Gold and Steel


Sword

China jiàn
Japan ken / tsurugi
knob
ribbon top
knob

This Character is pronounced "jian" in Chinese. When you say it, imagine that you are making the sound of a sword as it clashes with a metal shield. This might get you closer to the correct pronunciation in Chinese.

I actually wonder if this word came from the metallic ringing sounds of a sword in battle - but such knowledge is lost in history.

The sword is a symbol of a warrior. The one thing that a soldier in ancient China lived and died by. A warrior with his skills and sword proves himself of great value. A warrior who losses his sword instantly becomes worthless.

This is an excellent scroll for someone in the military (especially officers of all services - as well as enlisted NCO Marines since they still carry swords even if mainly for ceremonial purposes). Or perhaps someone who practices variations of kung fu or tai chi that involve weapons.

Please note that while this character is understood with the sword meaning in Japanese, you might be looking for the word "katana" which also means sword in Japanese, but means "knife" in Chinese.


There are other ways to write sword, and here are a few...
Common Japanese and rare Chinese traditional form of sword Typical traditional form of sword in Chinese Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese This one kind of means Typical traditional form of sword in Chinese Common Japanese and rare Chinese traditional form of sword Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese This one kind of means Typical traditional form of sword in Chinese Typical traditional form of sword in Chinese Common Japanese and rare Chinese traditional form of sword Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese This one kind of means Typical traditional form of sword in Chinese Common Japanese and rare Chinese traditional form of sword Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese This one kind of means Typical traditional form of sword in Chinese Common Japanese and rare Chinese traditional form of sword Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese Old/Alternative way to write sword in Chinese This one kind of means
If you are particular about the version you receive, please let me know when you place your order (Note: Special styles are only available from one of our master calligraphers).

We have a forum entry that addresses the many ways to write sword. You can find that here: 100 Ways to Write Sword - Deciphering Ancient Seal Script

Kendo / The Way of the Sword

Japanese
China jiàn dào
Japan kendou
knob
ribbon top
knob

Often associated with Kenjutsu, this word means "The way of the sword" in Japanese (and Korean with alternate form of the first character).
This is also the term used for swordsmanship and even fencing in Japanese and Korean, depending on context.

Note: These same characters are also used separately in Chinese, but this exact combination yields a common title in Japanese only (perhaps someone who is really into swords would use this in China).

Note: There is more than one way to write the "sword" character (shown above is the Japanese version - if you want the Korean version, please let me know when you place your order).


See Also...  Katana

Sword

Japanese
China jiàn
Japan ken
knob
ribbon top
knob

This is another way to write sword. This form is commonly used in Japan, though as usual, this Kanji character comes from original Chinese. This form would also be understood in Chinese (there are often several ways to write the same character), but I suggest this one only if your audience is Japanese (because they've settled on a slightly different form as the standard in China).

In Japanese, this character also means saber/sabre, blade, bayonet, stinger and even clock hand (clock hands are the "swords" of the clock).


See Also...  Katana

Energy Sword Body in Concert

Spirit, Sword & Body as One
Japan ki ken tai icchi
knob
ribbon top
knob

This often gets translated as "Mind Sword Body", or "Spirit, Sword and Body as One". But I think these translations don't tell you enough about what this is really saying.

In this context, 気, which is the modern Japanese version of 氣, means spiritual and unseen energy or "life energy". In some cases, 気 can be translated as spirit, feeling, or nature. If defined as mind, it's more about invisible or intangible part of one's mind (or soul).

剣 is the Japanese version of 劍 meaning sword.

体 is the modern Japanese version of 體 meaning body.

The Kanji 一 means one, and in this case suggests "all in one". The Kanji 到 means to send, deliver, or convey. But together, 一到 suggests all these things in agreement, union cooperation, or in concert.

Katana

Japanese Samurai Sword
China dāo
Japan katana
knob
ribbon top
knob

This 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.

Sword Saint

Japanese
China jiàn shèng
Japan kensei
knob
ribbon top
knob

This can be translated as "Sword Saint", "God of the Sword" or "Saint of the Sword". This is an ancient Japanese title bestowed on a master with the greatest of skills in swordsmanship.

Keep in mind that this is an antiquated term. It will only be understood in the context of martial arts. The pronunciation "kensei" also applies to other words like "constitutional government" and power (these words have different kanji and are completely unrelated).

Notes: This is sometimes Romanized as "kensei", "ken sei", and incorrectly as "Kensai".

Chinese Note: This title is pronounceable in Chinese, but seldom, if ever used in Chinese. Also, the first character is an alternate character form for sword, currently only used in Japan.

Sword of Death

Japan satsu jin ken
knob
ribbon top
knob

This is a Japanese title for "Death Sword", "Life Taking Sword" or "satsujinken". This is the opposite of katsujinken, or the "life saving sword". This title is not as commonly-used in Japanese, but pairs well when hung with katsujinken.

The first two Kanji are a word that translates as homicide; to murder; to kill (a person). This is specifically to kill a person (as the second character means person or human) as opposed to an animal, etc.

The last Kanji is the Japanese variant of the originally-Chinese character for sword.


See Also...  Katsujinken

Mark the boat to find the lost sword
Ignoring the changing circumstances of the world

China kè zhōu qiú jiàn
Japan kokushuukyuuken
knob
ribbon top
knob

This originally-Chinese proverb is a warning to people that things are always in a state of change. Thus, you must take that into account, and not depend on the old ways, or a way that may have worked in the past but is no longer valid.

This idiom/proverb comes from the following story:
A man was traveling in a ferry boat across a river. With him, he carried a valuable and treasured sword. Along the way, the man became overwhelmed and intoxicated by the beautiful view, and accidentally dropped his prized sword into the river. Thinking quickly, he pulled out a knife, and marked on the rail of the boat where exactly he has lost his sword.

When the boat arrived on the other side of the river, the man jumped out of the boat and searched for his sword right under where he'd made the mark. Of course, the boat had moved a great distance since he made the mark, and thus he could not find the sword.

While this man may seem foolhardy, we have to take a great lesson from this parable: Circumstances change, so one should use methods that can handle the change. In modern China, this is used in business to mean that one should not depend on old business models for a changing market.


This proverb dates back to the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC) of the territory now known as China. It has spread and is somewhat known in Japan and Korea.

Life Saving Sword

Japan katsu jin ken
knob
ribbon top
knob

This is a Japanese title for "life saving sword" or "katsujinken". It suggests that a sword used for killing can also be used for saving or giving life.


See Also...  Satsujinken

Kenjutsu / Kenjitsu

China jiàn shù
Japan kenjutsu
knob
ribbon top
knob

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.

術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.

Shinkage-Ryu

Style of Japanese sword fighting
Japan shin kage ryuu
knob
ribbon top
knob

This is the title for "Shinkage-Ryu", and style of Japanese fencing or sword fighting.

Musashi

The most famous Samurai
Japan mu sashi
knob
ribbon top
knob

This 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.

Intense / Serious

Japanese
Japan shin ken
knob
ribbon top
knob

This Japanese word means intense, serious or earnest. It describes a person who is deep, serious, and a true thinker or dreamer.

Literally, this means "true sword", as compared to a sharpened wooden practice sword blank. It's real, true, and serious.

The Warrior's Word, Dependable as Gold and Steel

Japan bushi no ichigon kintetsu no gotoshi
knob
ribbon top
knob

This is an old Japanese proverb about the value of the word of a warrior. Here's a couple versions of how this can be translated:

A warrior's single word is as unchanging and reliable as gold and steel.
A warrior's promise is as dependable as gold, and his [scabbard contains] untarnished steel (a sword).


Note: Sometimes this phrase is written as 男子の一言、金鉄の如し (danshi no ichigon kintetsu no gotoshi)


Check dictionary for sword
A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

The scroll that I am holding in this picture is a "medium size"
4-character wall scroll.
As you can see, it is a great size to hang on your wall.
(We also offer custom wall scrolls in larger sizes)

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.




If your search is not successful, just post your request on our forum, and we'll be happy to do research or translation for any reasonable request.

Successful Chinese Character and Japanese Kanji calligraphy searches within the last few hours...

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Enso
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Family First
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Never Give Up
Nikita
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No Fear Japanese
One True Love
Only God Can Judge Me
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Plum
Power
Power of the Dragon
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Water
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White
Will
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Woman
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Yin Yang
Zhong Kui

With so many searches, we had to upgrade to our own Linux server.
Of course, only one in 500 searches results in a purchase - Hey buy a wall scroll!!!



See: Our list of specifically Japanese Kanji Calligraphy Wall Scrolls. And, check out Our list of specifically old Korean Hanja Calligraphy Wall Scrolls.

The following table is only helpful for those studying Chinese (or Japanese), and perhaps helps search engines to find this page when someone enters Romanized Chinese or Japanese

Title
Characters 
Simplified
Traditional
Japanese Romaji
(Romanized Japanese)
Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Sword
ken / tsurugijiàn
jian
chien
jian4
Kendo / The Way of the Sword (Japanese)剣道
剱道 / 劍道
kendou
kendo
jiàn dào
jian dao
chien tao
jian4 dao4
jiandao
Sword (Japanese)
kenjiàn
jian
chien
jian4
Energy Sword Body in Concert气剑体一致
気剣体一致 / 氣劍體一致
ki ken tai icchi
kikentaiicchi
ki ken tai ichi
n/a
Katana
katanadāo
dao
tao
dao1
Sword Saint (Japanese)剣圣
剣聖 / 剣聖
kenseijiàn shèng
jian sheng
chien sheng
jian4 sheng4
jiansheng
Sword of Death杀人剣
殺人剣
satsu jin ken
satsujinken
n/a
Mark the boat to find the lost sword
Ignoring the changing circumstances of the world
刻舟求剑
刻舟求劍
kokushuukyuuken
kokushukyuken
kè zhōu qiú jiàn
ke zhou qiu jian
k`o chou ch`iu chien
ke4 zhou1 qiu2 jian4
kezhouqiujian
kochouchiuchien
ko chou chiu chien
Life Saving Sword活人剣
活人剣
katsu jin ken
katsujinken
n/a
Kenjutsu / Kenjitsu剑术
剣術
kenjutsujiàn shù
jian shu
chien shu
jian4 shu4
jianshu
Shinkage-Ryu新陰流
新陰流
shin kage ryuu
shinkageryuu
shin kage ryu
n/a
Musashi武蔵
武蔵
mu sashi
musashi
n/a
Intense / Serious真剣
真剣
shin ken
shinken
n/a
The Warrior's Word, Dependable as Gold and Steel武士の一言、金鉄の如し
武士の一言、金鉄の如し
bushi no ichigon kintetsu no gotoshi n/a

If you have not set up your computer to display Chinese, the characters in this table probably look like empty boxes or random text garbage.
This is why I spent hundreds of hours making images so that you could view the characters in the "sword" listings above.
If you want your Windows computer to be able to display Chinese characters you can either head to your Regional and Language options in your Win XP control panel, select the [Languages] tab and click on [Install files for East Asian Languages]. This task will ask for your Win XP CD to complete in most cases. If you don't have your Windows XP CD, or are running Windows 98, you can also download/run the simplified Chinese font package installer from Microsoft which works independently with Win 98, ME, 2000, and XP. It's a 2.5MB download, so if you are on dial up, start the download and go make a sandwich.

Some people may refer to this entry as Sword Kanji, Sword Characters, Sword in Mandarin Chinese, Sword Characters, Sword in Chinese Writing, Sword in Japanese Writing, Sword in Asian Writing, Sword Ideograms, Chinese Sword symbols, Sword Hieroglyphics, Sword Glyphs, Sword in Chinese Letters, Sword Hanzi, Sword in Japanese Kanji, Sword Pictograms, Sword in the Chinese Written-Language, or Sword in the Japanese Written-Language.

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