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| 1. 1. Right Understanding / Right Perspective...
2. Happiness in the Afterlife
3. Animal Kingdom
5. Better to be Happy than Rich
6. Bonsai / Penzai
7. Bright and Promising Future
9. Calm / Tranquility
12. Mark the boat to find the lost sword...
13. Cherry Blossom
15. Every Creature Has A Domain
16. Daodejing / Tao Te Ching
17. Not Long for this World
20. Learning is Eternal
21. Eternal Life / Future Life
22. Eye for an eye
23. Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight
24. Five Elements
25. Flying Tigers AVG
26. Soccer / Football / Futbol
27. The Geisha’s World
29. Ultimate Goodness of Water
30. In Flowers the Cherry Blossom,...
33. Hell / Judges of Hell
34. Feel at Ease Anywhere / The World is My Home
35. Impartial and Fair to the...
37. A Deliberate Inaction...
38. A Life of Serenity Yields Understanding
39. Achieve Inner Peace; Find Deep Understanding
41. Intense / Serious / Deep / Profound
42. John 3:16
43. Hardships and Joys
45. Jujitsu / Jujutsu
46. Kenpo / Kempo / Quan Fa / Chuan Fa
47. Kung Fu / Gong Fu
48. Law of the Fist Karate / Kempo Karate
49. Life Is But A Dream
50. Listen to Both Sides and be Enlightened,...
51. Live Love Die
52. Live In The Moment / Live In The Now
53. Live in Prosperity
54. Love and Hate
55. Mercy / Compassion...
56. Mother Nature
58. Nature in Balance / Balanced Nature
59. Nothingness / Empty / Void
|61. One Direction|
62. One Family Under Heaven
63. Appreciation and Love for Your Parents
64. Phoenix Rise from the Ashes
65. Power of Understanding and Wisdom
66. Purified Spirit / Enlightened Attitude
68. Read 10,000 Books, Travel 10,000 Miles
70. Respect out of fear is never genuine...
71. River of Literacy, Sea of Learning
73. Self-Respect / Self-Esteem
75. Shit Happens
76. Spirit / Spiritual Essence
79. To a Willing Heart, All Things Are Possible
81. The World
82. World Peace
83. Worldwide Wish for Peace and Prosperity
85. Zen Understanding
正見 is one of the Noble Eightfold Paths of Buddhism. Right View, along with Right Thought constitutes the path to Wisdom.
To get to the right view of the world, you must first understand and follow Four Noble Truths.
Note: This term is exclusively used by devout Buddhists. It is not a common term, and is remains an unknown concept to most Japanese and Chinese people.
This unusual Chinese, Japanese, and Korean term means afterlife happiness, happiness in the next world, or the happiness of the dead.
動物王國 is literally what it says.
There is even a TV show in China that is similar to Wild Kingdom or what you would currently see on the Discovery Channel that has this same title.
For your information: In the Chinese way of thinking, the Tiger is the king of the animal kingdom (lions are not native to China, so the tiger took the role that we have given to the lion in our western way of thinking).
The Japanese version has a slight variation on the last character. Let me know if your audience is Japanese, and we will have it written in that form for you.
Like animals? These two characters are the way to write "animals" in Chinese characters, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
The first character means "moving" and the second means "things." So animals are "moving things" in these Asian languages.
Even if you are poor, you should still feel satisfied in your life...
...Satisfaction, happiness, and the meaning of your life come from within yourself and not from money or riches of the world.
In Chinese, there are a lot of four-character proverbs which express some very old philosophies.
Though there are only four characters on this scroll, in Chinese the meanings often surpass the dictionary definition of each character.
In this case, you should not set your expectations too high for the amount to money or riches you wish to have. One who sets their expectations too high is almost always disappointed. Instead, you should cherish what you have, and seek to improve yourself from within, and not measure your personal worth by the size of your bank account.
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."
This Japanese proverb means, "Bright Future." It suggests a lot of possibility and potential awaits in your future. A great gift for a graduate.
The first part of this proverb literally means bright or light. The second part means future but can also be translated as, "the world to come."
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
安 is used in a lot of compound words in the CJK world. Alone, this character has a broad span of possible meanings. These meanings include relaxed, quiet, rested, contented, calm, still, to pacify, peaceful, at peace, soothing or soothed.
安 and even the pronunciation was borrowed from Chinese and absorbed into both Japanese Kanji and Korean Hanja. In all these languages, this character is pronounced like "an."
Caring is giving love and attention to people and things that matter to you and anyone who is in need of help. When you care about people, you help them. You do a careful job, giving your very best effort. You treat people and things gently and respectfully. Caring makes the world a safer place.
關心 means caring in Chinese, and is also a word in Korean Hanja but with more of a flavor or "taking an interest" and "concern."
Note, this is also a word in Korean Hanja but in Korean, it means taking interest or concern. In Korean it's still a good word but it doesn't quite have the "caring for a person" meaning that it does in Chinese.
This can mean to change, become different, or transform. This can refer to the changing world, or a person who changes their attitude or something about themselves.
Note: An alternate version of the second character is used in Japanese. This is actually an old alternate Chinese form which is seldom seen in China anymore. If you want this version, please click on the Kanji shown to the right instead of the "Select and Customize" button.
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.
櫻花 is how to write "cherry blossom" in Chinese and traditional Japanese Kanji.
The first character means "cherry" or sometimes "cherry tree."
The second character means "flowers" or "blossoms."
Oddly, my Chinese dictionary also defines these two characters as "Japanese oriental cherry tree" or "Oriental cherry blossom." However, the first character is the only one that means "cherry," so it can refer to any cherry blossoms in the whole world (not just those in Asia).
There is an alternate version of the first character, which has become the standard for Japanese Kanji. If you want this version, instead of the one shown to the upper left, please click on the Kanji shown to the right instead of the button above. Although this is an alternate form in Chinese, most Chinese people will think this is just the Japanese version (Chinese people don't necessarily know the history and all alternate forms of Chinese characters from the past). Therefore, this version shown to the right is best if your audience is Japanese (though most Japanese will recognize the form shown in the upper left).
Creativity is the power of imagination. It is discovering your own special talents. Daring to see things in new ways and find different ways to solve problems. With your creativity, you can bring something new into the world.
The first character means "to create" the second means "to make or build." Together they mean "creative." The third character means "strength." So altogether, these three characters are a word that means "strength of creativity" or sort of "creativity (is your) strength." This can also be translated as "ingenuity."
The first line (which is the column on the right) says, "The Ocean is the World of the Dragon." The next column says, "The Clouds are the Domain of the Cranes."
This is a somewhat poetic way to say that everyone and everything has its place in the world.
The image to the right is what this calligraphy can look like in xing-kaishu style by Master Calligrapher Xing An-Ping.
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.
This phrase means "Old and ailing with little time left" or "Not long for this world."
There is a real suggestion here that someone will die soon.
This was added by special request of a customer, and is perhaps, not the most positive phrase that you could put on a wall scroll.
This would be the most offensive possible gift to give to an older person - please do not do that!
代 is the word used to designate dynasties in Asia. 代 alone can mean generation; age; period; historical era; eon; world; society; reign; era. 代 comes after the name of the dynasty, for example, the Tang Dynasty is the "Tang Dai" in Chinese.
Some have suggested that the word dynasty comes from the this Chinese word "dai" (as "dai" sounds like the first syllable of dynasty). However, dynasty is derived from the Greek word δυναστεία (dunasteia) meaning lordship and/or domination.
Sometimes this word is used in a different context where it can mean to represent or substitute. In this case, it can mean representative of; on behalf of; acting for, e.g. to offer incense in place of another.
In ancient Japan, this could also be a "shiro" (a unit of land area equal to one-fiftieth of a tan or about 20 square miles).
啟蒙 is the Chinese word for enlightenment.
The first character means to open, to start, to begin, to commence or to explain. The second character means deception or ignorance. Basically, it suggests that enlightenment is the opening or cutting through what deceives you in the world or the ignorance of the world. This title can also mean "to educate."
The Japanese and Korean version of the first character of this title varies slightly from the Chinese. Please click on the Kanji to the right, instead of the button above, if you want the Japanese/Korean version.
This Chinese philosophy tells of how we continue to learn throughout our lives. This proverb can be translated in a few ways such as "Study has no end," "Knowledge is infinite," "No end to learning," "There's always something new to study," or "You live and learn."
The deeper meaning: Even when we finish school we are still students of the world gaining more knowledge from our surroundings with each passing day.
來世 can be used in many different ways. It is often used to express the next life (life in heaven or wherever your soul is bound for). So it does have a religious overtone. However, it can also be used to express your life in the future - perhaps during your present lifetime. It can also be translated as "the next world," "the next generation," "the time that is to come," "otherworld," or simply "posterity."
This Japanese proverb relays the vicissitudes of life, with the meaning "seven times down eight times up."
Some would more naturally translate it into English as "Always rising after a fall or repeated failures" or compare it to the English, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."
The first Kanji is literally "7." The second means "fall down" (sometimes this Kanji means "turn around," "revolve" or "turn over" but in this case, it holds the meaning of "fall"). The third is "8." And the last is "get up," "rouse," or "rise."
Basically, if you fail 7 times, you should recover from those events and be prepared to rise an 8th time. This also applies if it is the world or circumstances that knock you down seven times...
...just remember that you have the ability to bounce back from any kind of adversity.
Note: This can be pronounced two ways. One is "shichi ten hakki" or "shichitenhakki." The other is "nana korobi ya oki" also written, "nanakorobi-yaoki."
Special Note: The second character is a Kanji that is not used in China. Therefore, please only select our Japanese master calligrapher for this selection.
五行 is the title of the five elements which are: wood, fire, water, earth, and metal.
The first character means "5" and the second character is simply "elements."
According to ancient Chinese science, all matter in the world is made up of these elements. One idea presented with the five elements is that when energy is added, matter is believed to expand. When energy is removed, matter contracts. Oddly, this concept is not far from Einstein's theories, and modern science. Just a few thousand years before Einstein.
More info: Wikipedia - Five Elements (Wu Xing).
飛虎隊 is the full title of the "Flying Tigers Group." These were the American pilots that volunteered to go to China and fight the Japanese prior to the entry of the USA into World War Two. These fighter pilots were so esteemed in China, that fallen American pilots could always find refuge in villages, and safe passage and escape to areas of China that were not occupied by Japan at that time. Chinese villagers helped such fallen pilots with full knowledge that when the Japanese occupation forces found out, all the men, women, and children in the village would be massacred by Japanese troops (there are more than a few known cases of such massacres).
The Flying Tigers successfully kept supply lines to the Chinese resistance open, and divided Japanese forces at a crucial time while America prepared to officially join WWII.
A wall scroll like this honors the men who risked or gave their lives as noble volunteers, and is a reminder of the best moment in the history of Sino-American relations.
These three characters literally mean "flying tiger(s) group/team/squad."
Note: Hanging these characters on your wall will not make you any friends with Japanese people who are aware or this history (most Japanese have no idea, as Japan's involvement in WWII has all but been erased from school textbooks in Japan).
This the word for football or soccer in Chinese. As with most of the world, football is very popular in China. During the World Cup, the whole country seems to shut down to watch (regardless of whether Team China is playing or not).
Soccer is probably the 3rd most popular participation sport in China (after ping pong and badminton).
As you might expect, the first character means "foot" and the second character means "ball."
FYI: This game would never be confused with American Football in Chinese. As with the rest of the world, there is a vague awareness of what American Football is (often described as "that game kind of like rugby").
For those familiar with American Football, there is some disgust regarding the fact that winners of the Superbowl call themselves "world champions" of a game that is only played in the USA. This is one of the reasons that jokes abound about how Americans are unaware that there is a world outside of their borders.
This the title for football or soccer in Japanese Kanji and old Korean Hanja. The sport is very popular in both Japan and Korea (Korea and Japan co-hosted the football World Cup in 2002 - a world-class sporting event held every four years that rivals the Olympics).
In Japan, they sometimes say サッカ (sakka) or フットボール (futto bouru) in place of the pronunciation shown above. This is supposed to sound like the English word "soccer" and "football / futbol" respectively.
The first Kanji means "kick" and the second means "ball." So technically, this means "kick ball" in Japanese and Korean (this is just an educational note - this will always be understood as the game of soccer / football).
FYI: This game would never be confused with American Football in Japan or Korea. Unlike the game of American basketball and baseball (both quite popular in Japan and Korea), there is only a vague awareness of a rugby-like game that is also called football in the USA.
This literally means "Flower Willow World/Kingdom." In Japanese, this means "The Realm of the Geisha" or "World of the Geisha." I suppose there is a presumption that the Geisha are surrounded by flowers in their residence. In Chinese and Korean, this pretty much has colloquially come to mean "The Red Light District" or to refer to pimps, prostitutes and johns as a group.
This Japanese proverb simply reads, "[In] Flowers it's Cherry Blossoms, [In] Men it's Warriors."
This is meant to say that of all the flowers in the world, the cherry blossom is the best. And of all men in the world, the Samurai or Warrior is the best
This proverb has been around for a long time. It's believed to have been composed sometime before the Edo Period in Japan (which started in 1603).
Some will drop one syllable and pronounce this, "hana wa sakura hito wa bushi." That's "sakura" instead of "sakuragi," which is like saying "cherry blossom" instead of "cherry tree."
The third character was traditionally written as 櫻. But in modern Japan, that became 桜. You may still see 櫻 used from time to time on older pieces of calligraphy. We can do either one, so just make a special request if you want 櫻.
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
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.
地獄 is the way that hell is written in modern Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
There's more than one way to express hell but this is the one that has stood the test of time.
The first character refers to the ground or the earth.
The second character means jail or prison.
You can also translate this word as infernal, inferno, Hades, or underworld.
It should be noted that this is a somewhat terrible selection for a wall scroll. Hanging this in your home is like telling the world that your home is hell. Oddly, a lot of people search for this on our website, so I added it for reference.
陰司 is the ancient way to say "Hell" or "Netherworld" in Chinese.
This title can also refer to the officials of Hell or the judges of Hades or the Netherworld.
Please note that this is a somewhat terrible selection for a wall scroll. Hanging this in your home is like telling the world that your home is hell. Oddly, a lot of people search for this on my website, so I added it for reference.
This literally reads, "Four Seas Serve-As [my/one's] Home."
Together, 四海 which literally means "four seas" is understood to mean, "the whole world" or "the seven seas." It's presumed to be an ancient word, from back when only four seas were known - so it equates to the modern English term, "seven seas."
This can be translated or understood a few different ways:
To regard the four corners of the world all as home.
To feel at home anywhere.
To roam about unconstrained.
To consider the entire country, or the world, to be one's own.
一視同仁 is how to write "universal benevolence." 一視同仁 is also how to express the idea that you see all people the same.
If you are kind and charitable to all people, this is the best way to state that virtue. It is the essence of being impartial to all mankind, regardless of social standing, background, race, sex, etc. You do not judge others but rather you see them eye to eye on the same level with you.
無常 is the state of being "not permanent," "not enduring," transitory, or evolving.
It can also mean variable or changeable. In some context, it can refer to a ghost that is supposed to take a soul upon death. Following that, this term can also mean to pass away or die.
In the Buddhist context, this is a reminder that everything in this world is ever-changing, and all circumstances of your life are temporary.
If you take the Buddhist philosophy further, none of these circumstances are real, and your existence is an illusion anyway. Thus, the idea of the eternal soul is perhaps just the attachment you have to your ego. Once you release your attachment to all impermanent things, you will be on your way to enlightenment and Buddhahood.
Language notes for this word when used outside the context of Buddhism:
In Korean Hanja, this means uncertainty, transiency, mutability, or evanescent.
In Japanese, the definition orbits closer to the state of being uncertain.
Sometimes this is translated by others as "Look before you leap" but the more accurate and direct translation is the one I used in the title.
While somewhat military in its origin, this proverb can apply to any situation where a decision needs to be made, but perhaps there are still some "unknowns."
This phrase suggests that in our "action based" world, sometimes the "smarter move" is "no move at all."
This is a kind of complex ten-character proverb composed by Zhuge Liang about 1800 years ago.
This Chinese proverb means "Leading a simple life will yield a clear mind, and having inner peace will help you see far (into the world)."
What I have translated as "simple life" means NOT being materialistic and NOT competing in the rat race.
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.
The whole phrase has a theme that suggests if you are NOT an aggressive cut-throat person who fights his way to the top no matter how many people he crushes on the way, and instead seek inner peace, you will have a happier existence and be more likely to understand the meaning of life.
See Also: Serenity
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.
靈感 is the Chinese word that is the closest to hitting the mark for the English word "inspiration." In a more extended context, I have even seen this translated as "brain wave."
The first character means alert, departed soul, efficacious, quick, effective or intelligence. The second character means to feel, to move, to touch or to affect. The combined meaning of these two characters changes a bit but I think it's nice to know the individual meanings to give you a better understanding of where a word comes from.
You could describe this word as, "the thought that pops into your head just before you patent the greatest widget ever invented, that everyone in the world will want."
…At least, that's the idea.
This term can also mean "intelligent thought" if you were to translate it directly from each of these characters. If you are looking for inspiration or otherwise need to be inspired, this is the word for you.
When the first character was absorbed into Japanese from Chinese, an alternate form became the standard in Japan. The Kanji shown to the right is the form currently used in Japan. This is still considered an alternate form in China to this day. It's readable by both Chinese and Japanese people but if your audience is Japanese, I recommend the Kanji shown to the right - just click on that Kanji to order that version.
This Chinese word is the form of intense that describes a person who is deep, serious, and a true thinker.
If you find yourself contemplating the world and coming up with profound ideas, this might we the word for you. In some context (especially Korean), it can mean seriousness, gravity, or acuteness.
In Japanese, this can mean "serious problem," or can be a rare given name, Misa. You should not use this if your audience is Japanese.
神愛世人甚至將他的獨生子賜給他們叫一切信他的不至滅亡反得永生 is the full translation of John 3:16 into Chinese.
This is from the Chinese Union Bible which comes from a revised version of the King James. This Chinese Bible was originally translated and printed in 1919 (several revisions since then).
Because of the origin being the KJV, I'll say that in English, this would be, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life."
As with any translation, there are interesting cultural and linguistic issues. For instance, the word used for "world" in Chinese can also mean "common people." So you could say that it means "For God so loved the common people..."
This does not take away from the text, as it will be understood with the same meaning and connotation.
There is no direct Greek to Chinese translation in print (that I know of), so this is the best available. Of course, you can ask any Greek person of faith, and they will claim that a bit is lost from the original Greek of the New Testament to any of the English versions of the Bible in print.
神は實にそのひとり子をお與えになったほどに世を愛されたそれは御子を信じる者がひとりとして滅びることなく永遠のいのちを持つためである is the full translation of John 3:16 into Japanese.
This translation comes from the Shinkaiyaku Bible (a preferred translation by many Japanese Christians).
Just for reference, from the KJV, this reads, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life."
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
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.
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.
One of the most famous types of martial arts in the world - and not just because of Bruce Lee.
Some translate the meaning as "Accomplishment by Great Effort." I think this is partially true but directly translated it literally means "Merit/Achievement/Accomplishment Man." The word "fu" can sometimes mean "husband" or "porter" but in this case, it can only mean "man." However, few in China will think "man" when they hear the word "Gong Fu" spoken.
This term is also used for things other than martial arts. In fact, it's used to refer to a person with excellent skills in crafts that require a great deal of effort such as cooking, tea ceremonies, and calligraphy.
What a lot of people don't know is that the spelling of "Kung Fu" was actually taken from the old Wade Giles form of Romanization. Using this method, the sounds of the English "G" and "K" were both written as "K" and an apostrophe after the "K" told you it was supposed to sound like a "G." Nobody in the west knew this rule, so most people pronounce it with a "K-sound." And so Gong Fu will always be Kung Fu for most westerners.
Also, just to educate you a little more, the "O" in "Gong" has a sound like the English word "oh."
The popular Chinese dish "Kung Pao Chicken" suffers from the same problem. It should actually be "Gong Bao Chicken."
Historical note: Many will claim that Kung Fu was invented by the monks of the Shaolin monastery. This fact is argued in both directions by scholars of Chinese history. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that the Shaolin Monks brought the original fame to Kung Fu many generations ago.
Japanese note: While most Japanese martial artists will recognize these characters, Katakana is more often used to approximate the pronunciation of "Kung Fu" with "カンフー." Some will argue as to whether this should be considered a Japanese word at all.
See Also: Bruce Lee
The first two characters mean "fist law" which is Romanized from Japanese as "Kenpo" or "Kempo."
The last two are a secondary way to express "karate."
The more common way to express "karate" is literally "empty hand" (meaning "without weapons in your hand"). This version would be translated literally as "Tang hand" (as in the Tang Dynasty) or "China hand" (sometimes "Tang" means "China" in Japanese). Even though the character for "Tang" is used instead of "empty," it's still pronounced "kara-te" in Japanese.
This is not commonly used in China - so please consider it to be a Japanese-only title.
Many Japanese people will say the last two Kanji are the old and antiquated way to say Karate. This fact does not stop this title from existing, as these four characters are often seen in Kenpo / Kempo Dojos around the western world.
A man named Wei Zheng lived between 580-643 AD. He was a noble and wise historian and minister in the court of the early Tang Dynasty.
The emperor once asked him, "What should an emperor do to understand the real-world situation and what makes an emperor out-of-touch with reality?"
Wei Zheng replied, "Listen to both sides and you will be enlightened; listen to only one side and you will be left in the dark."
Then Wei Zheng went on to site examples of leaders in history that were victorious after heeding both sides of the story, and other leaders that met their doom because they believed one-sided stories which often came from flattering lips.
Please note that there is an unwritten rule when the same character appears twice in the same phrase, the calligrapher will alter the appearance so that no two characters are exactly alike in the same piece. This calligraphy has two repeating characters that will be written differently than they appear here.
This came from a customer's request but it's not too bad. These three simple characters suggest that you are born, you learn to love, and then exit the world.
現世 is a very short way to write "live in the moment" or "live in the now" in Japanese.
This short word is open to interpretation. It's used in Japanese Buddhism to mean "the current epoch" or "the current age" (the current age is but a brief moment in the greater scope of existence). When used in that context, this is pronounced "utsushiyo" or "ustusiyo" in Japanese. Otherwise, it's pronounced "gensei" in Japanese.
Other translation possibilities include:
Live for now
This (momentary) reality
Note: This is also a word in Chinese and old Korean Hanja. While the meaning is more or less the same, this is not recommended for a wall scroll if your audience is Chinese or Korean. This selection is best if your audience is Japanese.
This means, "live in prosperity." It's kind of a suggestion to be prosperity the center of your world.
This is the way some people want to live (and you should always live for what you love). However, this phrase does not suggest a peaceful life - rather one that is always busy. It's not for everyone but it might be for you.
See Also: Prosperity
Whether you want to make a joke about what marriage really is, or just feel that the world in full of love and hate, this selection is for you.
愛與恨 happen to literally translate. So the first character is love. The middle character is a connecting particle like "and" in English. The last character is hate.
Upon request, we can omit the "and" character and just put a dot to separate love and hate if you prefer.
Besides the title above, 慈悲 can also be defined as clemency or lenience and sometimes the act of giving charity.
In Buddhist context, it can be defined as, "benevolence," "loving kindness and compassion," or "mercy and compassion."
This Buddhist virtue is perhaps the most important to employ in your life. All sentient beings that you encounter should be given your loving kindness. And trust me, however much you can give, it comes back. Make your life and the world a better place!
This Chinese/Japanese Buddhist term is the equivalent of Metta Karuna from Pali or Maitri Karuna from Sanskrit.
慈 can mean loving-kindness by itself.
悲 adds a component of sorrow, empathy, compassion, and sympathy for others.
See Also: Benevolence
大自然 is the simple way to express "mother nature" in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
This can also be translated as "the great nature" or "all of nature."
自然 is the simple way to express nature in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
This can also be translated as "the natural world."
In Japanese and Korean, this term is sometimes used to refer to spontaneity or a spontaneous act.
This is a verbose way to say "nature in balance" in Japanese
The first three Kanji have the meaning of "the natural world" or "the natural kingdom" (kind of like animal kingdom but including plants, and all things biological).
The third character is a Hiragana that acts to connect the two ideas here.
The last two Kanji mean equilibrium or balance.
虛空 means empty space, empty sky, or void.
In the Buddhist context, it can mean "emptiness of the material world." This can also be used as an adjective to modify other words with a meaning of unreal or insubstantial.
空無 is "nothingness" in a Buddhist context.
The first character means empty but can also mean air or sky (air and sky have no form).
The second character means have not, no, none, not or to lack.
Together these characters reinforce each other into a word that means "absolute nothingness."
I know this is a term used in Buddhism but I have not yet figured out the context in which it is used. I suppose it can be the fact that Buddhists believe that the world in a non-real illusion, or perhaps it's about visualizing yourself as "nothing" and therefore leaving behind your desire and worldliness.
Buddhist concepts and titles often have this element of ambiguity or rather "mystery." Therefore, such ideas can have different meanings to different people, and that's okay. If you don't get it right in this lifetime, as there will be plenty more lifetimes to master it (whatever "it" is, and if "it" really exists at all).
Soothill defines this as "Unreality, or immateriality, of things, which is defined as nothing existing of independent or self-contained nature."
一世代 is a way to write "One Direction" in Chinese, referring to the British-Irish boy band.
More commonly, they are referred to as "1D" in Japan and China (no Chinese characters for that).
This title does not exactly mean "one direction," it's more close to "one generation," "one era," or "one world."
This proverb can also be translated as "The whole world is one family." It is used to mean that all humans are related under heaven.
The first two characters can be translated as "the world," "whole country," "descended from heaven," "earth under heaven," "the public" or "the ruling power."
The second two characters can mean "one family," "a household," "one's folks," "a house" or "a home." Usually this is read as "a family."
Note: This proverb can be understood in Japanese, though not commonly used.
This is the last line of a famous poem. It is perceived as a tribute or ode to your parent's or mother from a child or children that have left home.
The poem was written by Meng Jiao during the Tang Dynasty (about 1200 years ago). The Chinese title is "You Zi Yin" which means "The Traveler's Recite."
The last line as shown here speaks of the generous and warm spring sun light which gives the grass far beyond what the little grass can could ever give back (except perhaps by showing its lovely green leaves and flourishing). The metaphor is that the sun is your mother or parents, and you are the grass. Your parents raise you and give you all the love and care you need to prepare you for the world. A debt which you can never repay, nor is repayment expected.
The first part of the poem (not written in the characters to the left) suggests that the thread in a loving mother's hands is the shirt of her traveling offspring. Vigorously sewing while wishing them to come back sooner than they left.
...This part is really hard to translate into English that makes any sense but maybe you get the idea. We are talking about a poem that is so old that many Chinese people would have trouble reading it (as if it was the King James Version of Chinese).
This proverb suggests "Legendary Phoenix rises from the ashes." Literally, it means, "Legendary Phoenix [reaches] Nirvana."
There is a legend in China of a great bird which is reborn once every 500 years. This bird gathers all the ill-will, suffering, desire, and other negative things of the whole world. The bird then plunges into the fire to burn away all negative things, sacrificing itself in the process (achieving Nirvana, or perhaps allowing others the opportunity to reach Nirvana).
500 years later, the phoenix is reborn from the ashes again, and the cycle repeats.
悟性 means the power of understanding and insight in Chinese.
It is often associated with Neo-Confucianism. In that regard, it means to realize, perceive, or have the perception of man's true nature. It can also mean to find your soul, the soul of others, or the soul of the world. Some will translate this simply as the state of being "savvy."
In Japanese, this is often translated as wisdom and understanding.
The first Kanji alone means to wash, to bathe, primness, cleanse or purify.
The second Kanji means heart, mind, soul, or essence.
Together, these two Kanji create a word that is defined as "purified spirit" or "enlightened attitude" within the context of Japanese martial arts.
This is one of the five spirits of the warrior (budo), and is often used as a Japanese martial arts tenet. Under that context it's often defined this way: A spirit that protects and harmonizes the universe. Senshin is a spirit of compassion that embraces and serves all humanity and whose function is to reconcile discord in the world. It holds all life to be sacred. It is the Buddha mind.
This title will only be familiar to Japanese who practice certain martial arts. Others may not recognize this word at all.
This word does not show up as a word in too many Chinese dictionaries but it can be read and has the same meaning in Chinese.
There is an issue with the first character. The original, and probably most correct version is shown above. However, many dojo documents and other sources have used a more simple first character. Arguments ensue about which version is correct. If you want to be correct in the Japanese language, use the "Select and Customize" button above. If you want to match the Kanji used by your dojo, click the Kanji shown to the right. There is a slightly different meaning with this first character which means before, ahead, previous, future, precedence.
This Chinese character means to read. It can also refer to observing (the world, and learning from it), or gaining life experiences. This is a good character to relay the idea of being "well read," which can include reading books, studying, and learning through experience.
The dictionary definition also includes: to inspect; to review; to peruse; to go through; to experience.
Technically, this is also a Japanese Kanji but it only used by some Japanese Buddhists (most of the population will not recognize it).
In both Chinese and Japanese Buddhism, this means: Examine, inspect, look over.
This is a lifelong suggestion for expanding your horizons by gaining knowledge, experience, and seeing the world.
Of course, this was written long ago when it was hard to travel 10,000 miles.
With air travel and the business I'm in, I often achieve that lifetime goal on a monthly basis.
However, I am a little behind in the book count.
Note: An ancient Chinese mile (里 or lǐ) referred to in this proverb is about a third of a British/American mile. However, at that time, this was a great distance to travel (being written at least 1000 years before the invention of the airplane).
靈氣 is the title of a healing practice that is now found throughout the world but with origins in Japan.
Special note: Outside of the context of the healing practice of Reiki, this means "aura" or "spiritual essence that surrounds all living things." A Japanese person not familiar with the practice will take the "aura" meaning.
Reiki is a technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also heals. It can be compared to massage but is based on the idea that an unseen "life force energy" flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If your life force energy is low, you'll be more likely to get sick or feel stress. If your life force energy is abundant and flowing well, you become more capable of being happy and healthy.
There is a lot of information available if you want to Google this term - my job is to offer the calligraphy, while you can decide if it is right for you.
Note: We are showing the ancient (traditional) form of the Reiki Kanji. I have seen Reiki written with both the slightly simplified version and this more classic form. If you want the form of Reiki with the two strokes in the shape of an X on the second character and the modern first character, simply click on the Kanji characters to the right.
Note: 靈氣 is also a Chinese word but in Chinese, these characters create a word that refers to a smart person or someone with high aspirations. It is not read as a healing method in Chinese.
In Korean Hanja, this can be read as "mysterious atmosphere" by a Korean who is not familiar with the practice of Reiki (still has a cool meaning in Korean).
This is a proverb that seems to be aimed at world leaders or others in power. Perhaps a suggestion to avoid the practice of "fear mongering" opting instead for a policy of benevolence and justice.
An example: When the Bush administration told Pakistan they could either join America in the "war on terror," or expect some bombs to be coming their way, Bush gained this kind of "less-than-genuine respect" from Pakistanis.
Leaders in places like North Korea and even Saudi Arabia reap the same bogus respect from their own citizens.
Note that calligraphers do not like to repeat the same characters in exactly the same way in the same piece of artwork. So expect the characters that are repeated to be written in different forms in the real artwork (unlike the way they are displayed to the left).
This Chinese proverb reads, "river of literacy, sea of learning"
This suggests that there is a lot to learn in the world, with an eternal amount of reading and things to study.
This is one way to translate the quote from Hippocrates, "ars longa, vita brevis," meaning, "it takes a long time to acquire and perfect one's expertise."
See Also: Learning Is Eternal
自尊 means self-respect or self-esteem in Chinese, Korean and Japanese. It can also mean "pride in oneself."
Note: Japanese sometimes put the character for heart after these two. However, this two-character word is universal between all three languages (which is often better since more than a third of the world's population can read this version as a native word).
世事難料 is a polite Chinese version of, "shit happens." This phrase just suggests that things happen (for no reason, and for which we have no control).
The first two characters mean: the affairs of life; things of the world; worldly affairs; ways of the world.
The third character means: disaster; distress; problem; difficulty; difficult; hardships; troubles; defect.
The last character in this context means: to expect; to anticipate; to guess.
If you put this back together, you have something like, "In life, troubles (should be) expected."
神 is the simplest way to write spirit in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean.
This single character alone will conjure up ideas of the spiritual world. 神 can also be translated as "vital awareness" as in the fact that one must know they exist to exist (I think, therefore, I am).
Other translations include:
God, deity, mysterious, divine essence, lively, spiritual being, divinity, supernatural, soul, mind, nerves, and energy. In some extended context it can mean genius or unusual.
Japanese romanizations vary a lot when this character is combined into other words. However, shin is the original pronunciation taken from Chinese into Japanese. You'll also see it romanized as kami, gami, jin, and a few others, depending on context.
星 is how "star" is written in Chinese, Japanese, and old Korean.
Thousands of years ago, when this character was first developed, there was belief that you could see remnants of stars in everything. In fact, some early Chinese men of science suggested that all living things came from "stardust" or cosmic debris. This could explain why the upper portion of this character mans "sun" (a star itself) and the lower portion means "birth" or "life."
Oddly enough, modern-day scientists suggest that we are all made up of cosmic dust. Seems they were getting it right in China at a time when the western world thought the Earth was flat and the Church was claiming that the sun and all cosmic bodies revolved around the Earth.
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.
This old Chinese proverb has been translated many different ways into English. As you read the translations below, keep in mind that in Chinese, heart=mind.
Nothing is impossible to a willing heart.
Nothing is impossible to a willing mind.
Nothing is difficult to a willing heart.
Where there is a will, there is a way.
Nothing in the world is impossible if you set your mind to do it.
A willful man will have his way.
If you wish it, you will do it.
A determined heart can accomplish anything.
All things are possible to a strong mind.
狼 is the character used to represent the elusive animal known as the wolf in both Chinese and Japanese.
If you are a fan of the wolf or the wolf means something special to you, this could make a great addition to your wall.
Do keep in mind, that much like our perception of wolves in the history of western culture, eastern cultures do not have a very positive view of wolves (save the scientific community and animal lovers). The wolf is clearly an animal that is misunderstood or feared the world over.
狼 is seldom used alone in Korean Hanja, but is used in a compound word that means utter failure (as in a wolf getting into your chicken pen - or an otherwise ferocious failure). Not a good choice if your audience is Korean.
世界 is the Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja for world.
Beyond the world, this can refer to society, the universe, space, a sphere or circle.
In Buddhism, this would mean the realm governed by one Buddha.
This means "To bring flourishing peace and security to the world (our current era)."
It's really a wish that a new door leading to peace and prosperity could be opened to mankind.
Character and word breakdown:
啟 to open; to start; to initiate; to enlighten or awaken.
盛世 a flourishing period; period of prosperity; a golden age.
開 to open; to start; to turn on.
太平 peace and security; peace and tranquility; peace; tranquility.
I don't really like to do breakdowns like this, as the words altogether create their own unique meaning (encompassed in the main title above). Please take that into consideration.
This title speaks of reaching an understanding (of Zen or the world). It also means "to practice meditation." The two concepts lead you to the idea that meditation leads to understanding. This is pretty deep, so you can do your own research, or decide what this means for you.
This can also be defined in a more complex way as "thoroughly penetrating with meditative insight."
Your Price: $98.88
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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|
|1. Right Understanding
|sei ken / seiken||zhèng jiàn
|Happiness in the Afterlife||冥福||mei fuku / meifuku||míng fú / ming2 fu2 / ming fu / mingfu|
|dòng wù wáng guó
dong4 wu4 wang2 guo2
dong wu wang guo
|tung wu wang kuo
|doubutsu / dobutsu||dòng wù / dong4 wu4 / dong wu / dongwu||tung wu / tungwu|
|Better to be Happy than Rich||安貧樂道|
|ān pín lè dào
an1 pin2 le4 dao4
an pin le dao
|an p`in le tao
an pin le tao
|盆栽||bon sai / bonsai||pén zāi / pen2 zai1 / pen zai / penzai||p`en tsai / pentsai / pen tsai|
|Bright and Promising Future||明るい未来||akarui mirai|
|Budokan||武道館||budoukan / budokan|
|安||an||ān / an1 / an|
|guān xīn / guan1 xin1 / guan xin / guanxin||kuan hsin / kuanhsin|
|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 The World Kanji, The World Characters, The World in Mandarin Chinese, The World Characters, The World in Chinese Writing, The World in Japanese Writing, The World in Asian Writing, The World Ideograms, Chinese The World symbols, The World Hieroglyphics, The World Glyphs, The World in Chinese Letters, The World Hanzi, The World in Japanese Kanji, The World Pictograms, The World in the Chinese Written-Language, or The World in the Japanese Written-Language.