Custom Sword Chinese & Japanese Calligraphy Wall Scroll

We have many options to create artwork with Sword characters on a wall scroll or portrait.
If you want to create a cool Sword Asian character tattoo, you can purchase that on our Chinese and Japanese Tattoo Image Service page and we'll help you select from many forms of ancient Asian symbols that express the idea of sword.

Quick links to words on this page...

  1. Sword
  2. Katana
  3. Mark the boat to find the lost sword...
  4. Life Saving Sword
  5. Kendo / The Way of the Sword
  6. Energy Sword Body in Concert
  7. Sword of Death
  8. Sword Saint
  9. Bloodless Victory
10. Body
11. Iaido
12. Juggernaut
13. Kenjutsu / Kenjitsu
14. Musashi
15. Intense / Serious
16. Shinkage-Ryu
17. Tai Chi Chuan / Tai Ji Quan
18. The Warrior’s Word, Dependable as Gold and Steel
19. Naginata / Halberd


Sword

China jiàn
Japan ken / tsurugi
Sword Wall Scroll

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Sword

China jiàn
Japan ken
Sword Wall Scroll

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

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


See Also:  Katana

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.

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

China kè zhōu qiú jiàn
Japan kokushuukyuuken
Mark the boat to find the lost sword / Ignoring the changing circumstances of the world Wall Scroll

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

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

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

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


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

Life Saving Sword

Japan katsu jin ken
Life Saving Sword Wall Scroll

活人剣 is a Japanese title for "life saving sword" or "katsujinken."

This title suggests that a sword used for killing can also be used for saving or giving life.


See Also:  Satsujinken

Kendo / The Way of the Sword

China jiàn dào
Japan kendou
Kendo / The Way of the Sword Wall Scroll

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

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

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


See Also:  Katana

Energy Sword Body in Concert

Spirit, Sword & Body as One
Japan ki ken tai icchi
Energy Sword Body in Concert Wall Scroll

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

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

剣 is the Japanese version of 劍 meaning sword.

体 is the modern Japanese version of 體 meaning body.

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

Sword of Death

Japan satsu jin ken
Sword of Death Wall Scroll

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

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

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


See Also:  Katsujinken

Sword Saint

China jiàn shèng
Japan kensei
Sword Saint Wall Scroll

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

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

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

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

Bloodless Victory

China bīng bù xuè rèn
Bloodless Victory Wall Scroll

Perhaps a pacifist view or perhaps the best kind of victory; these characters reflect this idea:
The edges of the swords not being stained with blood.

You could also translate it as: Win victory without firing a shot.

The first character means army or force. The second character means without or none. The last two characters mean bloodstained knives. So it represents a returning victorious army without bloodstained knives. 兵不血刃 is the very literal sense of this Chinese proverb. The title definition is more accurate to the way this proverb is understood.

Asking yourself why the direct or literal translation is different?
...Think of compound words in English such as "nevertheless" if we break it apart to "never the less" we will have trouble getting the real definition of "in spite of that." Similar things happen when multiple-characters are used to create a compounded word in Chinese.

Body

China shēn
Japan mi
Body Wall Scroll

身 is how to write "body" as in your human body, in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and Korean Hanja. Depending on context and certain language issues, this character can also mean: main part, hull, oneself, somebody, person, I, me, sword, lifetime, one's station in life, etc.

While this written word is universal in three languages, it still makes a rather odd selection for a wall scroll. Also, they tend to use 体 (karada) in Japanese for body (depending on context).


See Also:  Karada

Iaido

Japan iaidou
Iaido Wall Scroll

居合道 is the Japanese Kanji title for the martial art of Iaidō, which emphasizes the smooth and elegant draw of the sword from its scabbard.

These same characters are used in Chinese and old Korean but not with the same meaning as read in Japanese. Therefore, this should be considered a "Japanese only" title.

Juggernaut

China jiàn shèng
Juggernaut Wall Scroll

劍聖 is about the closest you can get to juggernaut in Chinese.

This more literally means, "Sage of the Sword," "Master Swordsman," or "Sword Saint." In Chinese terms, such a person with divine mastery of the sword is unstoppable. Thus, the meaning of juggernaut can be derived from this term.

There is a very similar Japanese word (slight variation on first character) that means "Sword Saint," or "Kensei."

Kenjutsu / Kenjitsu

China jiàn shù
Japan kenjutsu
Kenjutsu / Kenjitsu Wall Scroll

In Japanese, the modern definition, using simple terms is "A martial art involving swords" or "The art of the sword." However, in Chinese, this is the word for fencing (as in the Olympic sport).

I will suppose that you want this for the Japanese definition which comes from skills and techniques developed in the 15th century. At that time, Kenjutsu (or swordsmanship) was a strictly military art taught to Samurai and Bushi (soldiers). The fact that swords are rarely used in military battles anymore, and with the pacification of Japan after WWII, Kenjutsu is strictly a ceremonial practice often studied as a form of martial art (more for the discipline aspect rather than practical purpose).

Language note: The Korean definition is close the Japanese version described above. However, it should be noted that this can mean "fencing" depending on context in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.

術Character alternative notes: Japanese tend to write the second Kanji in the form shown to the right. It is a very slight difference, and the two forms were merged under the same computer font code point (thus, you will not see the Japanese version in Kanji images shown during the options selection process). If you choose our Japanese Master Calligrapher, this will be automatically written in the proper Japanese form.
Since there are about 5 common ways to write the sword character, if you are particular about which version you want, please note that in the "special instructions" when you place your order.

Romanization note: This term is often Romanized as Kenjitsu, however, following the rules of Japanese Romaji, it should be Kenjutsu.

Musashi

The most famous Samurai
Japan mu sashi
Musashi Wall Scroll

武蔵 is the short title for a man long in legend. Miyamoto Musashi is probably the most famous Samurai in all of Japanese history. While coming from a lower class, his new sword and fighting techniques put him on par with the best that feudal Japan had to offer. His long career started with his first duel was at age 13!

He is credited both with using two swords at once, and never losing a single battle in his career. After becoming a Buddhist, and getting older, like many old warriors, he took up a peaceful and solitary life until his death around 1645 A.D.

Note: Technically, Musashi is his given name, and Miyamoto is his surname. However, it's suggested that he assumed both of these names, and also had a few other names at childhood, as well as being given a Buddhist name. It's hard to know what to call him, as with most Kanji, there are multiple pronunciations. The characters for Musashi can also be pronounced "Takezō." But, everyone in modern times seems to know him by the name Musashi.

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.

Shinkage-Ryu

Style of Japanese sword fighting
Japan shin kage ryuu
Shinkage-Ryu Wall Scroll

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

Tai Chi Chuan / Tai Ji Quan

China tài jí quán
Japan tai kyoku ken
Tai Chi Chuan / Tai Ji Quan Wall Scroll

太極拳 is the famous Taoist meditation and martial art exercise. The direct translation of these characters would be something like "grand ultimate fist" but that does not quite hit the mark for what this title really means.

An early-morning walk through any city in China near a park or open area will yield a view of Chinese people practicing this ancient technique.

The typical scene is an old man of no less than 80 years on this earth, with a wispy white beard and perhaps a sword in one hand. He makes slow moves that are impossibly smooth. He is steady-footed, and always in balance. For him, time is meaningless and proper form and technique is far more important than speed.

For the younger generation, faster moves may look impressive and seem smooth to the casual observer. But far more discipline and mental strength is needed to create perfectly smooth moves in virtual slow motion.

Note: There are two ways to Romanize these Chinese characters as seen in the title above. The pronunciation and actual characters are the same in Chinese. If you really used English sounds/words to pronounce this, it would be something like "tie jee chew-on" (just make the "chew-on" as one flowing syllable).

The Warrior’s Word, Dependable as Gold and Steel

Japan bushi no ichigon kintetsu no gotoshi
The Warrior’s Word, Dependable as Gold and Steel Wall Scroll

武士の一言、金鉄の如し is an old Japanese proverb about the value of the word of a warrior. Here's a couple versions of how this can be translated:

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


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


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

Naginata / Halberd

Japan naginata
Naginata / Halberd Wall Scroll

Samurai with Naginata 薙刀 is the Japanese word naginata.

A naginata is a special kind of halberd or long sword carried by some Samurai and other warriors. It is still used ceremonially in some schools of martial arts.


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

Title CharactersRomaji(Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Sword
ken / tsurugijiàn / jian4 / jian chien
Sword
kenjiàn / jian4 / jian chien
Katana katanadāo / dao1 / dao tao
Mark the boat to find the lost sword
Ignoring the changing circumstances of the world
刻舟求劍
刻舟求剑
kokushuukyuuken
kokushukyuken
kè zhōu qiú jiàn
ke4 zhou1 qiu2 jian4
ke zhou qiu jian
kezhouqiujian
k`o chou ch`iu chien
kochouchiuchien
ko chou chiu chien
Life Saving Sword 活人剣katsu jin ken
katsujinken
Kendo
The Way of the Sword
剱道 / 劍道
剣道
kendou / kendojiàn dào / jian4 dao4 / jian dao / jiandao chien tao / chientao
Energy Sword Body in Concert 気剣体一致 / 氣劍體一致
气剑体一致
ki ken tai icchi
kikentaiicchi
ki ken tai ichi
kikentaiichi
Sword of Death 殺人剣
杀人剣
satsu jin ken
satsujinken
Sword Saint 剣聖 / 剣聖
剣圣
kenseijiàn shèng
jian4 sheng4
jian sheng
jiansheng
chien sheng
chiensheng
Bloodless Victory 兵不血刃bīng bù xuè rèn
bing1 bu4 xue4 ren4
bing bu xue ren
bingbuxueren
ping pu hsüeh jen
pingpuhsüehjen
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.

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.