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Quick links to words on this page...
| 1. The Single Life
2. Life in Every Breath
3. Longevity / Long Life
4. Live Laugh Love
5. Great Aspirations / Ambition
| 6. Earth
9. Once in a Lifetime
12. Sensei / Master / Teacher / Mister
13. Undaunted After Repeated Setbacks
This Japanese proverb literally means "Single Aristocrat" or "Single Noble."
The understood meaning is that single people can live freely without a spouse or kids to support. To put it in an old cliché, they are footloose and fancy-free.
If you are a bachelor or bachelorette with few responsibilities and just a thirst for freedom and a worry-free life, this could be the title for you.
This means, "life in every breath" in Japanese.
This phrase is more like "every single breath as you live and dwell."
The characters breakdown this way:
吐く息 (hakuiki) to breathe; exhaled air; one's breath; breathing.
一つ (hitotsu) one; only; just.
にも (nimo) also; too; as well; even.
生命 (seimei) life; existence; living.
が (ga) particle.
宿り (yadori) to lodge; to dwell; lodging; abode; shelter.
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
壽 can be defined as "long life" or "longevity" in the simplest form.
Please note that Japanese use a simplified version of this character - it also happens to be the same simplification used in mainland China. Click on the character to the right if you want the Japanese/Simplified version.
In English, the word order shown in the title is the most natural or popular. In Chinese, the natural order is a little different:
The first character means laugh (sometimes means smile).
The second character means love.
The last two characters mean "live" as in "to be alive" or "pursue life."
Please note: This is not a normal phrase, in that it does not have a subject, verb, and object. It is a word list. Word lists are not common in Asian languages/grammar (at least not as normal as they are in English). We only added this entry because so many people requested it.
We put the characters in the order shown above, as it almost makes a single word with the meaning, "A life of laughter and love." It's a made-up word but it sounds good in Chinese.
We removed the Japanese pronunciation guide from this entry, as the professional Japanese translator deemed it "near nonsense" from a Japanese perspective. Choose this only if your audience is Chinese and you want the fewest-possible characters to express this idea.
In Korean, this would be 소애생활 or "so ae saeng hwar" but I have not confirmed that this makes sense in Korean.
地 is the single-character element and title of the planet Earth in Chinese, old Korean Hanja and Japanese Kanji.
Because this is a single-character, the definition is a little ambiguous, and can have many meanings depending on the context in which it is used. These meanings include: earth, ground, land, soil, dirt, place, territory, bottom (of a package, book, etc.), earth (one of the Japanese five elements), the region in question, the local area, skin, texture, fabric, material, weave, base, background, one's true nature, narrative (i.e. descriptive part of a story), real life, actuality, etc.
In Japanese, this Kanji can be pronounced several ways, including chi, ji, tsushi, or tsuchi.
地 is also an element of the Japanese version of the five elements (the original Chinese version uses a different version of earth).
清 means clarity or clear in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja. Looking at the parts of this character, you have three splashes of water on the left, "life" on the top right, and the moon on the lower right.
Because of something Confucius said about 2500 years ago, you can imagine that this character means "live life with clarity like bright moonlight piercing pure water." The Confucian idea is something like "Keep clear what is pure in yourself, and let your pure nature show through." Kind of like saying, "Don't pollute your mind or body, so that they remain clear."
This might be stretching the definition of this single Chinese character but the elements are there, and "clarity" is a powerful idea.
Korean note: Korean pronunciation is given above but this character is written with a slight difference in the "moon radical" in Korean. However, anyone who can read Korean Hanja, will understand this character with no problem (this is considered an alternate form in Korean). If you want the more standard Korean Hanja form (which is an alternate form in Chinese), just let me know.
Japanese note: When reading in Japanese, this Kanji has additional meanings of pure, purify, or cleanse (sometimes to remove demons or "exorcise"). Used more in compound words in Japanese than as a stand-alone Kanji.
This means danger, peril or "to endanger." If you live a dangerous life, or want to subtly warn others that you are a dangerous person, this may be the selection for you.
This also means "danger" and sometimes "fear" in Japanese and Korean but is seldom seen outside of compound words in those languages (as a single character, it's kind of like an abbreviation for danger in Japanese and Korean). This is also a rather odd selection for a wall scroll anyway. It's only here because people search for danger on our website.
This Japanese title can be translated as "for this time only," "chance meeting," "one meeting, one opportunity," "never again," or "one chance in a lifetime."
The characters literally mean "one time one meeting" - of course, the Kanji characters have meaning far beyond a direct translation like this.
Some might use this proverb to talk of an opportunity that presents itself just once in your life. It could also be the single chance-meeting with your true soul mate. Basically an expression for any event that might happen once in a lifetime.
This is primarily a Japanese title, however, there is also a Traditional Chinese (and old Korean) version of this proverb. Just the last character is different.
The traditional form was used in Japan before WWII and in Korea prior to 1900. This title is somewhat known in China.
If you want the older traditional form, just click on the character to the right.
業 is the simplest way to express the idea of Karma. 業 is the Buddhist concept of actions committed in a former life affecting the present and future.
Out of the context of Buddhism, this Karma character means one's profession in life, trade, occupation, business, study, or career.
The Karma definition applies to both Chinese and Japanese for this character. This also works as Korean Hanja as Karma; although the meaning can vary depending on context (my Korean dictionary gives the definition of profession/occupation).
See Also: Buddhism
武蔵 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.
If you've taken even a single karate class in your life, you know this term. This is sensei, which is associated in the west with a master or instructor of karate, aikido, judo, and other Japanese martial arts.
In reality, this is a term of respect for almost any professional or skilled person (doctor, lawyer, teacher, etc). In some cases, it is used for musicians and artists who have achieved a certain level of fame, skill, or accomplishment.
It should be noted that this is also a courtesy title in Chinese but more like calling someone "mister" or "gentleman." It doesn't really have the "master" or "teacher" meaning in Chinese - see our Chinese "Master / Sifu / Shi Fu" entry if your audience is Chinese.
In Korean Hanja, this means teacher, instructor, schoolmaster, or schoolmistress.
This entry is more for educational purposes. This is kind of a strange thing to put on a wall scroll. It's a title that is used more orally to show respect, rather than something written in calligraphy. If you feel that it is appropriate in your circumstances, we are very willing to create a piece of sensei Japanese calligraphy artwork for you.
This Chinese proverb means "Be undaunted in the face of repeated setbacks." More directly-translated, it reads, "[Overcome] a hundred setbacks, without flinching." This 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.
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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|
|The Single Life||独身貴族 / 獨身貴族|
|do kushin ki zoku|
|Life in Every Breath||吐く息一つにも生命が宿り||hakuiki hitotsu nimo seimei ga yadori|
|ju / kotobuki||shòu / shou4 / shou|
|Live Laugh Love||笑愛生活|
|xiào ài shēng huó
xiao4 ai4 sheng1 huo2
xiao ai sheng huo
|hsiao ai sheng huo
|大志を抱||tai shi wo idaku|
|Earth||地||chi / ji / tsushi / tsuchi||dì / di4 / di||ti|
|Clarity||清||sei||qīng / qing1 / qing||ch`ing / ching|
|Danger||危||ki||wēi / wei1 / wei|
|Once in a Lifetime||一期一會|
|ichigoichie||yī qī yī huì
yi1 qi1 yi1 hui4
yi qi yi hui
|i ch`i i hui
i chi i hui
|gou / go||yè / ye4 / ye||yeh|
|Musashi||武蔵||mu sashi / musashi|
|先生||sen sei / sensei||xiān shēng
|Undaunted After Repeated Setbacks||百折不撓|
|hyaku setsu su tou|
hyaku setsu su to
|bǎi zhé bù náo
bai3 zhe2 bu4 nao2
bai zhe bu nao
|pai che pu nao
|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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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 The Single Life Kanji, The Single Life Characters, The Single Life in Mandarin Chinese, The Single Life Characters, The Single Life in Chinese Writing, The Single Life in Japanese Writing, The Single Life in Asian Writing, The Single Life Ideograms, Chinese The Single Life symbols, The Single Life Hieroglyphics, The Single Life Glyphs, The Single Life in Chinese Letters, The Single Life Hanzi, The Single Life in Japanese Kanji, The Single Life Pictograms, The Single Life in the Chinese Written-Language, or The Single Life in the Japanese Written-Language.