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1. Other similar-meaning words.
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Your Chinese / Japanese Calligraphy Search for "True"...

Quick links to words on this page...

  1. True to Yourself
  2. Sincere / True Sincerity
  3. To thine own self be true
  4. ...And this above all to thine own self be true.
  5. Be True to Yourself
  6. My True Love
  7. True Heart
  8. True Friend
  9. Be True to Yourself
10. True Love
11. My True Love
12. True Friend
13. True Religion / Buddha Truth
14. True / Real / Genuine
15. Dream Come True / Enjoy Success
16. True Emptiness Yields Transcendent Existence
17. True Victory is Victory Over Oneself
18. Honesty
19. Honesty / Fidelity
20. Intense / Serious
21. Believe
22. Shoshin-Ryu
23. Reality / Realistic
24. Seal
25. Fantasy / Illusion
26. Tempering Makes Strong Steel
27. Loyalty / Faithful / Devoted
28. Sincerity and Devotion
29. Truth Goodness and Beauty
30. Pursue Your Dreams / Follow Your Dreams / Chase Your Dreams
31. Shin Buddhism
32. Reality and Illusion
33. Goldfish
34. Power of Understanding and Wisdom
35. Dojo / Martial Arts Studio
36. Pursue Your Dreams / Follow Your Dreams / Chase Your Dreams
37. Intense / Serious / Deep / Profound
38. Inhale
39. Keep Your Feet on the Ground
40. To Know Hardship, One Must Experience It
41. Green
42. Only the sleepless know the length of night
43. You are who you hang out with.
44. Maintain An Army For 1000 Days, Use It For An Hour
45. Reality
46. Strong bones come from hard knocks
47. Daodejing / Tao Te Ching Chapter 81
48. Once in a Lifetime
49. Crisis equals Danger plus Opportunity?
50. Loyalty
51. Earth
52. Allah / God of Islam
53. Katana
54. Christianity / Christian
55. Confucius
56. Lingering Mind
57. Daodejing / Tao Te Ching - Chapter 33
58. In Wine there is Truth
59. Kung Fu / Gong Fu
60. Kenpo / Kempo / Quan Fa / Chuan Fa
61. Tiger Rumor


True to Yourself

China zuò zhēn shí de zì jǐ
True to Yourself Wall Scroll

真實的自己 means, "true to yourself" in Chinese.

真實的自己 is just a one-word difference from "be true to yourself."


Note: This is more a western-style phrase or idea, so it's not that common to see this in Chinese.

Sincere / True Sincerity

China zhēn chéng
Sincere / True Sincerity Wall Scroll

真誠 is the true essence of sincerity. It takes strength of personality to be truly sincere without over-doing it. Speaking of strength, this is probably the strongest way to convey the idea of sincerity in the Chinese language without over-doing it.

The first character literally means true, real, and genuine. While the second character means sincere and honest.


See Also:  Love | Honor

To thine own self be true

Japan onore ni chuujitsu nare
To thine own self be true Wall Scroll

己に忠実なれ is "...to thine own self be true" in Japanese.

己に忠実なれ is a small portion of the classic line from Shakespeare's Hamlet.


Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.

...And this above all to thine own self be true.

Line from Shakespeare's Hamlet
China yóu qí yào jǐn de nǐ bì xū duì nǐ zì jǐ zhōng shí
...And this above all to thine own self be true. Wall Scroll

尤其要緊的你必須對你自己忠實 is the classic translation of a line from Shakespeare's Hamlet into Chinese.

Be True to Yourself

Japan jibun jishin ni chuujitsu de aru
Be True to Yourself Wall Scroll

自分自身に忠実である is, "be true to yourself" in Japanese.

You could also translate this as "be true to oneself."


Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.

My True Love

Japan shin jitsu no ai
My True Love Wall Scroll

真実の愛 means "true love" or "genuine affection" in Japanese.

The first two Kanji mean true, real, genuine, or authentic.
The third Kanji is a connecting possessive article.
The last character is love or affection.

True Heart

China zhēn xīn
Japan mago koro
True Heart Wall Scroll

While these two characters literally read as "true heart" or "genuine heart," the understood meaning is sincerity, devotion, sincere, or heartfelt. Some will extend the meaning to be like, "true love." Basically, it's the idea of doing something or treating someone with genuine feelings.

真心 is valid and has the same meaning in both Chinese characters and Japanese Kanji.

Note: While not too common, this can be the female given name "Mami" in Japanese.

True Friend

Japan shinnotomo
True Friend Wall Scroll

真の友 is "true friend" in Japanese.

Be True to Yourself

China zuò zhēn shí de zì jǐ
Be True to Yourself Wall Scroll

做真實的自己 means, "be true to yourself" in Chinese.


Note: This is more a western-style phrase or idea, so it's not that common to see this in Chinese.

True Love

China zhēn ài
Japan shinai
True Love Wall Scroll

真愛 is literally "True Love" in Chinese.

The first character means "real," "true" and "genuine." The second character means "love" and "affection."

During the customization of your calligraphy wall scroll, there is a place to add an inscription. You might want that inscription to be your names in Chinese down the side of your wall scroll, or perhaps just below these two main characters (just $9 extra). A nice gift to celebrate an anniversary or marriage!

My True Love

China wǒ xīn zhēn ài
My True Love Wall Scroll

我心真愛 is a slightly poetic way to express this sentiment to someone.

The meaning is "My True Love" but the characters directly translate as "I/Me/My Heart/Mind True/Real Love."

Note that Chinese grammar and construction are different, so this sounds very eloquent and artsy in Chinese.
In Korean Hanja, the third character should be written differently, just let me know when you place your order if you want that version - it will still make sense in Chinese. This phrase makes sense in Korean but not commonly used.

True Friend

China gòu péng you
True Friend Wall Scroll

夠朋友 is a colloquial title in Chinese meaning, "to be a true friend."

True Religion / Buddha Truth

The way of the truth
China shí dào
Japan jitsu dou
True Religion / Buddha Truth Wall Scroll

This Buddhist title means, "The true way," "The true religion," "The way of the truth," or "The absolute Buddha-truth."

True / Real / Genuine

China zhēn
Japan shin / makoto
True / Real / Genuine Wall Scroll

真 is a simple way to express the idea that something is real, true, truth or genuine.

Occasionally, this character is used to refer to a Buddhist sect that originated in the 13th century.

真 is commonly used as a compound with other characters to create ideas like "true love." It's also used like the English "really" or "truly," to say "really good" or "He is really knowledgeable." Those phrases start with "他真的是..." (note second character is this one).


There are two ways to write this character, shown here is the most common way in China; however, a slight stroke variation is used in Korean Hanja. If you want that version, just let us know when you place your order.


See Also:  Honesty

Dream Come True / Enjoy Success

China dé zhì
Dream Come True / Enjoy Success Wall Scroll

This Chinese word means to accomplish one's ambition, a dream come true, or to enjoy your success.

True Emptiness Yields Transcendent Existence

China zhēn kōng miào yǒu
Japan shin kuu myou u
True Emptiness Yields Transcendent Existence Wall Scroll

According to Soothill 眞空妙有 means:
The true void is the mysteriously existing; truly void, or immaterial, yet transcendentally existing.

眞空妙有 is the state of being absolutely nonexistent after removing all errant worldly influences. 眞空妙有 is achieved when all forms of existence is seen for their real nature.


This is a complex Buddhist concept. Feel free to add to the conversation about this concept here: Asian Forum: Shinku Myou

True Victory is Victory Over Oneself

Japan masa katsu a gatsu
True Victory is Victory Over Oneself Wall Scroll

This proverb is often translated as, "True victory is victory over oneself."

However, literally, Kanji by Kanji, it means, "True victory [is] my/self victory."

My Japanese friends rate this very highly for a wall scroll.


See Also:  Know Thy Enemy Know Thyself

Honesty

China shí
Honesty Wall Scroll

實 means real, true, honest, or solid.

It is one of several ways to express the idea of truth.

Note: In some context, this can carry extended meanings of reality, actuality, really, sincerity, or substance.


See Also:  Truth | Trust | Justice

Honesty / Fidelity

China xìn
Japan shin
Honesty / Fidelity Wall Scroll

信 is another character that expresses the idea of honesty. It can also mean truth, faith, believe in, fidelity, sincerity, trust and/or confidence.

Some have included this in the list for the Bushido, although "makoto" is probably more common/popular.

Note: In some context, this character can mean letter; news or envoy. However, alone, it will generally be read with the honesty-meaning.


See our page with just Code of the Samurai / Bushido here


See Also:  Loyalty Trustworthiness Trustworthy

Intense / Serious

Japan shin ken
Intense / Serious Wall Scroll

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.

Believe

China xiāng xìn
Believe Wall Scroll

相信 is the Chinese way to say believe.

This specifically means to be convinced that something is true or to accept something as true or real.

This can also be translated as "convinced of," "have trust in," "have faith in"

Shoshin-Ryu

Japan shou shin ryuu
Shoshin-Ryu Wall Scroll

This Japanese title means "right heart style" or "true mind method."

The first character means right, correct, greater, or true.

The second character means heart, mind, soul, or essence.

The third character means style, method, or some will translate it as school.


Please note, there is more than one martial arts school that romanizes as Shoshin-Ryu.

Reality / Realistic

Japan gen jitsu sei
Reality / Realistic Wall Scroll

現実性 is a Japanese word that expresses the idea of reality or coming to understand what is true and real. This can also be translated as realistic, practical, or feasible.


See Also:  Illusion

Seal

China hǎi bào
Japan kaihyou
Seal Wall Scroll

海豹 is the title for a true seal (also known as an earless seal).

Fantasy / Illusion

China huàn xiǎng
Japan gensou
Fantasy / Illusion Wall Scroll

幻想 is illusions or fantasy in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

This can also refer to delusion or daydreaming. It sort of means a dream or idea that cannot be true or real ( at least not in this realm).

Tempering Makes Strong Steel

Hardship Develops Strong Character
China bǎi liàn cái chéng gāng
Tempering Makes Strong Steel Wall Scroll

This literally translates as: Only after much tempering is steel produced.

Figuratively, this means: True character must be tested in hardship.

百煉才成鋼 / 百煉纔成鋼 is a mild form of saying, "Whatever doesn't kill me, makes me stronger."

Loyalty / Faithful / Devoted

Japan chuujitsu
Loyalty / Faithful / Devoted Wall Scroll

忠實 is a Japanese way to write "Loyalty" - it also contains the ideas of being faithful, devoted, true, and obedient.

The second character is a modified form only used in the Japanese lexicon, however, Chinese speakers can easily guess the meaning.


This is also a virtue of the Samurai Warrior
See our page with just Code of the Samurai / Bushido here

Sincerity and Devotion

China zhì chéng
Japan shisei
Sincerity and Devotion Wall Scroll

至誠 is the idea that you enter into something with the utmost sincerity and fidelity. Ideas such as devotion, honesty, and "one's true heart" are also contained in this word.

至誠 is a universal word as the Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and Korean Hanja are all identical.

Truth Goodness and Beauty

China zhēn shàn měi
Japan shinzenbi
Truth Goodness and Beauty Wall Scroll

真善美 means truth, goodness and beauty in Chinese and Japanese.

These can also be read as "the true, the good, and the beautiful."

In Japanese, this can be the female given name Mazemi or the personal name Shinzenbi.

Pursue Your Dreams / Follow Your Dreams / Chase Your Dreams

Japan yume wo oi tsudukeru
Pursue Your Dreams / Follow Your Dreams / Chase Your Dreams Wall Scroll

夢を追い続ける is the Japanese way to express "Follow Your Dreams." If you have dreams that you want to pursue and make true, this is the phrase for you.

The first character is "dream" or "dreams." The rest of the characters establish the idea of chasing or pursuing.


Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.


See Also:  Pursuit of Happiness

Shin Buddhism

True Pure Land Buddhism
Japan jou do shin shuu
Shin Buddhism Wall Scroll

Known in the west as "Shin Buddhism," this is a school of Japanese "Pure Land Buddhism." This form is also known as "True Pure Land Buddhism" or "Jodoshinshu" (jōdoshinshū).

If you are looking for this title, you probably already know the rest of the story.


See Also:  Pure Land Buddhism

Reality and Illusion

Buddhism Concept
China zhēn wàng
Reality and Illusion Wall Scroll

真妄 is a specifically Buddhist term that means, "reality and illusion." Out of Buddhist context, it might be read as, "The real and the absurd."

Separately, the first character means real, true, and genuine, and the second character means absurd, fantastic, or related to fantasy.

Goldfish

China jīn yú
Japan kin gyo
Goldfish Wall Scroll

金魚 is the title for goldfish in Chinese and Japanese.

There was a time in ancient China when only the Emperor could possess the true yellow-gold colored fish. 金魚 is why alternate coloration such as orange, black, red, and white were bred. Many believe this is why colors other than yellow-gold are more common for "goldfish" found in pet shops today.

Power of Understanding and Wisdom

China wù xìng
Japan gosei
Power of Understanding and Wisdom Wall Scroll

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.

Dojo / Martial Arts Studio

China dào cháng
Japan dou jou
Dojo / Martial Arts Studio Wall Scroll

道場 is the Japanese term for a room or hall in which martial arts are taught. This word is often spelled "dojo" which has become a word in the English lexicon. However, the true Romaji is "doujou" or "dōjō."

Please note: The Chinese definition of these characters is quite different. In Chinese, this is a place where Buddhist or Taoist mass is held. It could also be the place where spiritual or psychic events are performed.

Pursue Your Dreams / Follow Your Dreams / Chase Your Dreams

China zhuī xún mèng xiǎng
Pursue Your Dreams / Follow Your Dreams / Chase Your Dreams Wall Scroll

The first two characters mean "to pursue," "to track down," or "to search for."

The last two mean dreams. This version of dreams refers to those with an element of reality (not the dreams you have when you sleep but rather your aspirations or goals in life).

This title will tell everyone that you want to make your dreams come true.


See Also:  Pursuit of Happiness

Intense / Serious / Deep / Profound

China shēn kè
Japan shinkoku / misa
Intense / Serious / Deep / Profound Wall Scroll

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.

Inhale

China xī rù
Japan kyuu nyuu
Inhale Wall Scroll

吸入 is a Chinese, Japanese, and old Korean word that means inhale, inhalation, or to breathe in.

吸 by itself can mean to inhale or suck in.
入 means to enter (in this case, the body) so it clarifies that this is true inhalation of air into the body.

If you need a reminder to breathe (slow down and take a deep breath) this may be the word you want hanging on your wall.

Keep Your Feet on the Ground

Be Down-to-Earth
China jiǎo tà shí dì
Keep Your Feet on the Ground Wall Scroll

This four-character proverb suggests that you should be practical, realistic, and grounded. Some translate this as a suggestion to be down-to-earth.

The first character means "feet."
The second means "step on" or "stand."
The third means "solid," "real," or "true."
The last character means "ground," "earth," or "terra."

Literally this means, "[keep your] Feet Standing [on] Solid Ground."

To Know Hardship, One Must Experience It

China bù dāng hé shàng bù zhī tóu lěng
To Know Hardship, One Must Experience It Wall Scroll

This Chinese proverb literally translates as: [One who has] not been a monk [does] not know [the feeling of a] cold head.
I need to explain that a Chinese Buddhist monk always has a shaved head, and thus a cold head in winter.

Figuratively, this means: One cannot know the true meaning of hardship until one has experienced it oneself.


This is an idiom in Chinese, so the figurative meaning is what people perceive when they hear or read this phrase. Just as in English, when someone says, "The grass is always greener," one will think about the idea of jealousy, rather than the quality of one's lawn.

Green

The fresh green of nature
China qīng
Japan ao
Green Wall Scroll

青 is nature's color. This character can refer to forest green, greenish-blue, or greenish black.

This character and color represent nature, youth, young people.

In the same way, we refer to green bananas and the rookie being green, the same is true in Chinese and Japanese, where, in a certain context, this can mean immature, unripe, or young.

In Japan, this can also be a female given name "Haru." It can also be used as a given name (for either sex) in China.

Only the sleepless know the length of night

China bù mián zhī yè cháng jiǔ jiāo zhī rén xīn
Only the sleepless know the length of night Wall Scroll

This literally translates as: [Only one who does] not sleep, learns how long the night is; [Only by] long acquaintance [does one] learn a person ['s true] character.

Basically, this proverb suggests that we really need to experience something intimately and for a long time to really know everything about it.

This can also be translated as, "Spending years with someone is the only way to know them."

Note: Sometimes this proverb is split into just the first or second idea alone (first 5 or last 5 characters only).

You are who you hang out with.

China āi jīn sì jīn āi yù sì yù
You are who you hang out with. Wall Scroll

This Chinese proverb literally translates as: [One who is] close to gold [is] like gold [and one who is] close to jade [is] like jade.

Figuratively, this means:
A good environment produces good people.
People are in influenced by the company they keep.

Basically, if you hang out with good people, you are likely to become or stay good yourself. The opposite also being true. 挨金似金挨玉似玉 is like the moral version of "You are what you eat."


Note: In Japanese, they have a similar phrase, 類は友を呼ぶ (rui wa tomo o yobu) Birds of a feather flock together. However, this is not a good meaning, so we're not offering it for wall scrolls.

Maintain An Army For 1000 Days, Use It For An Hour

China yǎng bīng qiān rì, yàng bīng yì shí
Maintain An Army For 1000 Days, Use It For An Hour Wall Scroll

Nothing could be more true. When I was in the Marine Corps, we trained for years for combat that often lasts only hours.

This Chinese proverb also reminds me of a common phrase used in the military to describe combat: "Weeks of total boredom, punctuated with five minutes of shear terror."

This may have some roots in Sun Tzu's The Art of War. Though I can not find this passage in his writings.

On the subject of the Art of War, if you have a favorite passage, we can create a custom calligraphy scroll with that phrase.

Reality

China xǐng wù
Reality Wall Scroll

醒悟 / 省悟 is a Chinese word that expresses the idea of reality or coming to understand what is true and real.

The first character means to wake up, awaken, comprehend, introspect, or visit.

The second character means to comprehend or understand (be enlightened).

The meanings of Chinese words are not necessarily the sum of their parts. In this case, at best, you can derive that the characters express "understanding what is real" or "knowing what is real." Any Chinese person will perceive this word in a similar way to how we use "reality" in English.


省Note: The first character can also be written in a different form as shown to the right. Same meaning in Chinese, either way it's written.

Strong bones come from hard knocks

China bù kē bù pèng gǔ tóu bù yìng
Strong bones come from hard knocks Wall Scroll

This Chinese proverb literally translates as: Without being knocked around a bit, [one's] bones won't become hard.

Figuratively, this means: One can't become strong without first being tempered by "hard knocks."

While true for everyone, this sounds like the "Iron Body" form of Kung Fu, where practitioners bodies are beaten (and often bone fractured) in order to become stronger.
For the rest of us, this is just about how we can be tempered and build character through the hardships in our lives.

不磕不碰骨頭不硬 is not a common title for a wall scroll in China.

Daodejing / Tao Te Ching Chapter 81

Daodejing / Tao Te Ching Chapter 81 Wall Scroll

信言不美美言不信知者不博博者不知善者不多多者不善聖人無積既以為人己癒有既以予人矣已癒多故天之道利而不害聖人之道為而不爭 is the Mawangdui version of Daodejing chapter 81.

It can be translated this way:
Credible words are not eloquent;
Eloquent words are not credible.

The wise are not erudite;
The erudite are not wise.

The adept are not all-around;
The all-around are not adept.
The sages do not accumulate things.
Yet the more they have done for others,
The more they have gained themselves;
The more they have given to others,
The more they have gotten themselves.

Thus, the way of tian (heaven) is to benefit without harming;
The way of sages is to do without contending.


Another translation:
Sincere words are not showy;
showy words are not sincere.
Those who know are not "widely learned";
those "widely learned" do not know.
The good do not have a lot;
Those with a lot are not good.
The Sage accumulates nothing.
Having used what he had for others,
he has even more.
Having given what he had to others,
what he has is even greater.
Therefore, the Way of Heaven is to benefit and not cause any harm,
The Way of Man is to act on behalf of others and not to compete with them.


And a third translation:
True words aren't charming,
charming words aren't true.
Good people aren't contentious,
contentious people aren't good.
People who know aren't learned,
learned people don't know.
Wise souls don't hoard;
the more they do for others the more they have,
the more they give the richer they are.
The Way of heaven provides without destroying.
Doing without outdoing
is the Way of the wise.

Once in a Lifetime

China yī qī yī huì
Japan ichigoichie
Once in a Lifetime Wall Scroll

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.
會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.

Crisis equals Danger plus Opportunity?

China wēi jī
Japan kiki
Crisis equals Danger plus Opportunity? Wall Scroll

Separately, the first character here does mean "danger" or "to endanger" and the second character can mean "opportunity."

However, I want to debunk a myth that was propagated by some westerners who did not have a clear understanding of Asian languages...

While often, Chinese/Japanese/Korean compound words (words of two or more characters) are the sum of their parts, this is not always the case. The compound is often understood with a completely different meaning than the two characters individually.

Many have said that the Chinese/Japanese/Korean word for Crisis is made up of the characters for "danger" and "opportunity." 危機 is true when phrased this way.
However, it's not absolutely correct to say that "danger + opportunity = crisis" in Asian cultures.

English example:
If I tell you that...
Bovine creature + Guy behind the plate in baseball = Locomotive protection
...you would think I was mad. But consider that "cow + catcher = cowcatcher," which is the device that used to be found on steam engines to protect them if they hit an animal on the tracks. When we hear the word "cowcatcher" we don't separate the words into their individual meanings (necessarily).
The same is true with the word for crisis in Chinese/Japanese/Korean. While you can separate the characters, few Asian people would automatically do so in their minds.

The final answer:
It is a half-truth to say, "danger plus opportunity equals crisis" in Chinese/Japanese/Korean. Use this statement and concept with caution.

Also, the second character can mean "secret" or "machine" depending on context so I guess you have to say "a dangerous machine = crisis" or "danger + a secret = crisis." Both of these are only slightly more ridiculous than the first premise.

PS: 危機 is probably not a great word for a scroll, unless you have a special use for it.

Loyalty

China zhōng chéng
Japan chuu sei
Loyalty Wall Scroll

Loyalty is staying true to someone. It is standing up for something you believe in without wavering. It is being faithful to your family, country, school, friends or ideals, when the going gets tough as well as when things are good. With loyalty, you build relationships that last forever.

Notes:
1. This written form of loyalty is universal in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

2. There is also a Japanese version that is part of the Bushido Code which may be more desirable depending on whether your intended audience is Japanese or Chinese.

3. This version of loyalty is sometimes translated as devotion, sincerity, fidelity, or allegiance.


See Also:  Honor | Trust | Integrity | Sincerity

Earth

(Used in Japanese version of five elements)
China
Japan chi / ji / tsushi / tsuchi
Earth Wall Scroll

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).

Allah / God of Islam

China zhēn zhǔ
Allah / God of Islam Wall Scroll

真主 is how Chinese Muslims refer to God (it literally means "True Master").

Oddly, in China, two different names for God have emerged. Even though Muslims, Christians, and Jews all worship the same God of Abraham.

In Arabic, the word Allah is just the Arabic way to say, God. Arab Christians pray to Allah, just like Arab Muslims. Somehow in China, the title of God diverged.

If you are curious, there are millions of Muslims throughout China but especially in the northwest portion of China known as Xinjiang. Here you will find descendants of Turkmen, Persian, Arab, and other ethnicities. Some are mixed with Han-Chinese blood; others appear to be pure Turkmen. Many have fair complexions, green eyes, and light hair but all are citizens of China. A visit to Xinjiang will shift your paradigm and blow away all of your stereotypes about what it means to be Chinese.

Katana

Japanese Samurai Sword
China dāo
Japan katana
Katana Wall Scroll

刀 is the Japanese Kanji for "sword." This refers to the style of sword carried by warriors, samurai, and shogun of ancient Japan.

With the pacification of Japan, such swords are now only used for ceremony and decoration. The true art of sword-smithing is all but lost in Japan with new sword production dedicated to making inexpensive replicas for the tourist and foreign market.

For those of you that want to ask whether I can get you a real antique sword. Let me tell you that most real Asian swords were melted down after WWII in Japan, and during the Great Leap Forward in China. Any remaining swords are family heirlooms that nobody will part with.

Please carefully note that the Japanese kanji character shown above is only for a Japanese audience. In China, this character means "knife." See our other entry for "sword" in Chinese.
Note: This can mean knife, sword, or blade in Korean, depending on context.


See Also:  Sword

Christianity / Christian

China jī dū jiào
Japan kirisutokyou
Christianity / Christian Wall Scroll

基督教 is the Chinese, Japanese and Korean word for "Christianity." Just as in English, this word is often used to mean "Protestant" but includes Catholics in the true definition.

It is the word used to refer to the whole "Christian religion" or "Christian Faith" and therefore, it can be translated as "Christianity." However, used as an adjective in regards to a person, it would translate as "Christian." But more like saying "His religion is Christianity" rather than a noun form.

If you break it apart, the characters mean Base/Foundation Leading/Supervising Religion/Teaching. It makes more sense in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. The first two characters together are translated as "Christ." So you can also say this means "Christ's Religion" or "Christ's Teachings" when directly translated, or in reverse, "The Religion of Christ" or "The Teaching of Christ."

Notes: The last character has a slight difference in one stroke - however, in calligraphic form, this will not be apparent. This entry can easily be read by any Korean person who knows Hanja characters (Chinese characters used in Korean).


See Also:  Jesus Christ | God of Abraham

Confucius

China kǒng zǐ
Japan koushi
Confucius Wall Scroll

孔子 is how to write the name of the great sage, known in the west as Confucius. His real name is Kongzi (The name Confucius is a westernized version of his name - his family name is Kong, and "zi" was added as a title of distinction). He lived some 2500 years ago in Qufu, a town in modern-day Shandong Province of Northern China (about 6 hours south of Beijing by bus). He was a consort to Emperors, and after his death, the impact of his philosophies still served to advise emperors, officials, and common people for generations. Also during these thousands of years, the Kong family remained powerful in China, and the Kong estate was much like the Vatican in Rome. The Kong estate existed as if on sovereign ground with its own small garrison of guards and privileges of a kingdom within an empire.

This was true up until the time the Kong family had to flee to Taiwan in 1949 when the Red Army took victory over the Nationalists during the Revolution. The home of Confucius was later razed and all statues defaced or stolen during the Cultural Revolution. Finally, after years of smearing his name and image, it is once again okay to celebrate the teachings of Confucius in mainland China.

Lingering Mind

Zanshin
China cán xīn
Japan zan shin
Lingering Mind Wall Scroll

First off, this should only be used in context of Japanese martial arts. In Chinese, it's a rather sad title (like a broken heart). In Chinese, the first character alone means destroyed, spoiled, ruined, injured, cruel, oppressive, savage, incomplete, disabled. However, in Japanese, it's remainder, leftover, balance, or lingering.
The second character means heart, mind, soul, or essence in both languages.

殘心 is one of the five spirits of the warrior (budo), and is often used as a Japanese martial arts tenet. Under that context, places such as the Budo Dojo define it this way: The spirit of zanshin is the state of the remaining or lingering spirit. It is often described as a sustained and heightened state of awareness and mental follow-through. However, true zanshin is a state of focus or concentration before, during, and after the execution of a technique, where a link or connection between uke and nage is preserved. Zanshin is the state of mind that allows us to stay spiritually connected, not only to a single attacker but to multiple attackers and even an entire context; a space, a time, an event.


残In modern Japan (and Simplified Chinese), they use a different version of the first character, as seen to the right. Click on this character to the right instead of the button above if you want this modern Japanese version of lingering mind / zanshin.

Daodejing / Tao Te Ching - Chapter 33

China zhī rén zhě zhī yě zì zhī zhě míng yě shèng rén zhě yǒu lì yě zì shèng zhě qiáng yě zhī zú zhě fù yě qiáng xíng zhě yǒu zhì yě bù zhī qí suǒ zhě jiǔ yě sǐ ér bù wáng zhě shòu yě
Daodejing / Tao Te Ching - Chapter 33 Wall Scroll

知人者知也自知者明也勝人者有力也自勝者強也知足者富也強行者有志也不失其所者久也死而不亡者壽也 is referred to as passage or chapter 33 of the Dao De Jing (often Romanized as "Tao Te Ching"). These are the words of the philosopher Laozi (Lao Tzu).

The following is one translation of this passage:
To know others is wisdom;
To know oneself is acuity/intelligence.
To conquer others is power,
To conquer oneself is strength.
To know contentment is to have wealth.
To act resolutely is to have purpose.
To stay one's ground is to be enduring.
To die and yet not be forgotten is to be long-lived.


Another translation:
To understand others is to be knowledgeable;
To understand yourself is to be wise.
To conquer others is to have strength;
To conquer yourself is to be strong.
To know when you have enough is to be rich.
To go forward with strength is to have ambition.
To not lose your place is to be long lasting.
To die but not be forgotten -- that's true long life.


A third translation of the second half:
He who is content is rich;
He who acts with persistence has will;
He who does not lose his roots will endure;
He who dies physically but preserves the Dao will enjoy a long after-life.


Notes:

During our research, the Chinese characters shown here are probably the most accurate to the original text of Laozi. These were taken for the most part from the Mawangdui 1973 and Guodan 1993 manuscripts which pre-date other Daodejing texts by about 1000 years.

Grammar was a little different in Laozi's time. So you should consider this to be the ancient Chinese version. Some have modernized this passage by adding, removing, or swapping articles and changing the grammar (we felt the oldest and most original version would be more desirable). You may find other versions printed in books or online - sometimes these modern texts are simply used to explain to Chinese people what the original text really means.

This language issue can be compared in English by thinking how the King James (known as the Authorized version in Great Britain) Bible from 1611 was written, and comparing it to modern English. Now imagine that the Daodejing was probably written around 403 BCE (2000 years before the King James Version of the Bible). To a Chinese person, the original Daodejing reads like text that is 3 times more detached compared to Shakespeare's English is to our modern-day speech.

Extended notes:

While on this Biblical text comparison, it should be noted, that just like the Bible, all the original texts of the Daodejing were lost or destroyed long ago. Just as with the scripture used to create the Bible, various manuscripts exist, many with variations or copyist errors. Just as the earliest New Testament scripture (incomplete) is from 170 years after Christ, the earliest Daodejing manuscript (incomplete) is from 100-200 years after the death of Laozi.

The reason that the originals were lost probably has a lot to do with the first Qin Emperor. Upon taking power and unifying China, he ordered the burning and destruction of all books (scrolls/rolls) except those pertaining to Chinese medicine and a few other subjects. The surviving Daodejing manuscripts were either hidden on purpose or simply forgotten about. Some were not unearthed until as late as 1993.

We compared a lot of research by various archeologists and historians before deciding on this as the most accurate and correct version. But one must allow that it may not be perfect, or the actual and original as from the hand of Laozi himself.

In Wine there is Truth

China jiǔ hòu tǔ zhēn yán
In Wine there is Truth Wall Scroll

酒后吐真言 / 酒後吐真言 is a nice Asian proverb if you know a vintner or wine seller - or wine lover - although the actual meaning might not be exactly what you think or hope.

The literal meaning is that someone drinking wine is more likely to let the truth slip out. It can also be translated as, "People speak their true feelings after drinking alcohol."

It's long-believed in many parts of Asia that one can not consciously hold up a facade of lies when getting drunk, and therefore the truth will come out with a few drinks.

I've had the experience where a Korean man would not trust me until I got drunk with him (I was trying to gain access to the black market in North Korea which is tough to do as an untrusted outsider) - so I think this idea is still well-practiced in many Asian countries.

后 VS 後

Please note that there are two common ways to write the second character of this phrase. The way it's written will be left up to the mood of the calligrapher, unless you let us know that you have a certain preference.


See Also:  Honesty | Truth

Kung Fu / Gong Fu

China gōng fu
HK gung fu
Japan kan fu / ku fu
Kung Fu / Gong Fu Wall Scroll

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

Kenpo / Kempo / Quan Fa / Chuan Fa

China quán fǎ
Japan kenpou
Kenpo / Kempo / Quan Fa / Chuan Fa Wall Scroll

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.

Tiger Rumor

China sān rén chéng hǔ
Tiger Rumor Wall Scroll

These four characters together relay the meaning that can be expressed in English as, "When three people say there's a tiger running in the street, you believe it."

Of course, there is an ancient story behind this idiom...

三人成虎 is actually a proverb that resulted from a conversation that occurred around 300 B.C.

The conversation was between the king of the Wei kingdom and one of the king's ministers named Pang Cong.

It was near the end of one of many wars, this time with the Zhao kingdom. Pang Cong was to be sent by the king to the Zhao kingdom with the king's son who was to be held hostage. It was common at the time for a king to make his son a hostage to secure stable peace between warring kingdoms.

Before minister Pang Cong departed, he asked his king, "If one person told you there was a tiger running in the street, would you believe it?."

"No," the king said.

The minister continued, "What if two people told you?"

The king replied, "Well, I would have my doubts but I might believe it."

The minister continued, "So, what if three people told you that there is a tiger running in the streets?"

The king replied, "Yes, I would believe it, it must be true if three people say it."

The minister then reminded the king, "Your son and I are now traveling far away to live in the distant Zhao kingdom - much farther from your palace than the street. Rumors may fly about me in my absence, so I hope your majesty will weight such rumors appropriately."

The king replied, "I have every trust in you, do not worry"

While the minister was gone, the king's enemies gossiped about minister Pang Cong on many occasions. At first, the king thought nothing of these comments and rumors. But slowly as the rumors mounted, the king began to suspect ill of his minister.

Some time later when peace was well-established, the minister and prince were freed and returned to the kingdom of Wei. The king received his son, BUT DID NOT EVEN SUMMON MINISTER PANG CONG TO THE PALACE!

Hopefully this story will help you see how dangerous words can be when used to promote rumors, or create ill will. And perhaps will inspire you to not believe everything you hear.

There is also a secondary suggestion in this idiom that gossip is as ferocious as a tiger. Some Chinese people who don't know the ancient story above may believe that this scroll means that rumors are as vicious as three tigers.

Note: This proverb appears in my Korean dictionary but is not well-known in Korea.




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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...

Title CharactersRomaji(Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
True to Yourself 真實的自己
真实的自己
zuò zhēn shí de zì jǐ
zhen1 shi2 de zi4 ji3
zhen shi de zi ji
zhenshideziji
chen shih te tzu chi
chenshihtetzuchi
Sincere
True Sincerity
真誠
真诚
zhēn chéng
zhen1 cheng2
zhen cheng
zhencheng
chen ch`eng
chencheng
chen cheng
To thine own self be true 己に忠実なれonore ni chuujitsu nare
onorenichuujitsunare
onore ni chujitsu nare
onorenichujitsunare
...And this above all to thine own self be true. 尤其要緊的你必須對你自己忠實
尤其要紧的你必须对你自己忠实
yóu qí yào jǐn de nǐ bì xū duì nǐ zì jǐ zhōng shí
you2 qi2 yao4 jin3 de ni3 bi4 xu1 dui4 ni3 zi4 ji3 zhong1 shi2
you qi yao jin de ni bi xu dui ni zi ji zhong shi
yu ch`i yao chin te ni pi hsü tui ni tzu chi chung shih
yu chi yao chin te ni pi hsü tui ni tzu chi chung shih
Be True to Yourself 自分自身に忠実であるjibun jishin ni chuujitsu de aru
jibun jishin ni chujitsu de aru
jibunjishinnichujitsudearu
My True Love 真実の愛shin jitsu no ai
shinjitsunoai
True Heart 真心mago koro / magokorozhēn xīn / zhen1 xin1 / zhen xin / zhenxin chen hsin / chenhsin
True Friend 真の友shinnotomo
Be True to Yourself 做真實的自己
做真实的自己
zuò zhēn shí de zì jǐ
zuo4 zhen1 shi2 de zi4 ji3
zuo zhen shi de zi ji
zuozhenshideziji
tso chen shih te tzu chi
tsochenshihtetzuchi
True Love 真愛
真爱
shinaizhēn ài / zhen1 ai4 / zhen ai / zhenai chen ai / chenai
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...

Aikido
Alison
Angie
Beautiful
Belierve in Yourself
Beloved Daughter
Best Friends Forever
Black
Blessed
Clint
Courage
Crystal
Daughter
David
Dragon
Dragon Soul
Earth
Enough
Family
Father
Fire
Fire Dragon
Friendship
Golden Dragon
Happy
Heroic Spirit
Honor
Hope
Humble
I Miss You
Jean
Jeanine
Jenna
Kari
Karma
Kind Heart
Kristin
Life Force
Lotus
Love
Luna
Meiya
Miranda
Namaste
Noah
Pablo
Power of Understanding
Priyanka
Rebirth
Revenge
Robert
Sara
Senpai
Sensei
Strong Will
Success
Travis
True Love
Vermillion Dragon
Warrior
Wolf

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.


A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

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.

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.


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 True Kanji, True Characters, True in Mandarin Chinese, True Characters, True in Chinese Writing, True in Japanese Writing, True in Asian Writing, True Ideograms, Chinese True symbols, True Hieroglyphics, True Glyphs, True in Chinese Letters, True Hanzi, True in Japanese Kanji, True Pictograms, True in the Chinese Written-Language, or True in the Japanese Written-Language.