There are about 200 great human virtue titles in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean on this page - it might take a while to load if you're on dial-up

Virtues and Words to Live By

Below you will find a list of words or ideas that cross over from Asian to Western cultures. We tried our best to extensively research each word to make sure it was understood the same way in both cultures and was properly translated.

After more than 200 hours of work by our translators, the list and this web page are finally ready.

Simply select the virtue that is most meaningful to you and your life (click on a "Select & Customize" button) and then choose from several options to customize your completely handmade wall scroll...

Quick links to words on this page...

  1. Achievement / Accomplishment
  2. Adoring Love
  3. Beautiful
  4. Beautiful Virtue
  5. Beauty / Beautiful / Handsome
  6. Believe / Faith / Trust
  7. Benevolence
  8. Benevolence / Kindness
  9. Benevolent Heart
10. Bravery / Courage
11. Brotherly and Sisterly Love
12. Calm / Cool
13. Calm / Cool-Headed
14. Calm / Tranquility
15. Calm and Collected
16. Caring
17. Charity
18. Chastity
19. Chastity / Pure Heart
20. Commitment
21. Compassion
22. Confidence
23. Cooperation
24. Courage to do what is right
25. Courtesy / Etiquette
26. Courtesy / Politeness
27. Creativity
28. Curious / Inquisitive
29. Dedication
30. Dependable
31. Determination
32. Determination to Achieve / Will-Power
33. Devotion / Diligence / Vigorous / Energetic
34. Devotion / Enthusiasm
35. Dignity / Honor / Sanctity / Integrity
36. Diligence
37. Discipline
38. Elegant / Exquisite / Grace
39. Endurance
40. Enlightenment
41. Enthusiasm
42. Enthusiasm / Passion for a Cause
43. Enthusiasm / Warm-Hearted
44. Ethics / Ethical / Morality
45. Excellence
46. Faith
47. Faithful / Honorable...
48. Flexibility
49. Foresight
50. Forgive
51. Forgiveness
52. Fortitude / Strength of Character
53. Friendliness
54. Friendship
55. Generosity
56. Gentleness
57. Good Health
58. Good Health / Healthy / Vigor
59. Happiness
60. Happiness / Contentment
61. Happiness / Joyful / Joy
62. Happy
63. Happy / Laughter / Cheerful Bliss
64. Harmony / Balance
65. Healthy Living
66. Helpfulness
67. Honesty
68. Honesty / Fidelity
69. Honor
70. Hope
71. Humble
72. Humble / Modest
73. Humble / Modesty / Humility
74. Humility / Being Humble
75. Imagination
76. Independence
77. Independent Spirit...
78. Indomitable / Persistence / Fortitude
79. Indomitable / Unyielding
80. Industrious / Hard Working
81. Initiative / Leadership
82. Initiative / Proactive / Positive
83. Inner Peace
84. Inner Peace / Silence / Serenity
85. Inner Strength
86. Inspiration
87. Integrity
88. Integrity...
89. Intelligence / Intellect
90. Joyful
91. Joyfulness / Happiness
92. Justice / Rectitude / Right Decision
93. Justice / Righteousness
94. Kindness / Caring
95. Kindness and Forgiving Nature
96. Longevity / Long Life
97. Love
98. Love and Affection
99. Loyalty
100. Loyalty / Devotion
101. Loyalty / Faithful / Devoted
102. Lucky / Auspicious
103. Mercy / Buddhist Compassion
104. Moderation
105. Modesty
106. Moral and Virtuous
107. Motivation
108. No Fear
109. Non-Violence
110. Passion for a Cause
111. Passions / Feelings / Emotions
112. Patience / Perseverance
113. Patience / Perseverance / To Endure / Tolerant
114. Peace / Harmony
115. Peace / Peaceful
116. Peace and Good Health
117. Peace and Love
118. Peace and Tranquility
119. Peace of Mind
120. Peaceful Heart
121. Peaceful Heart / Peace of Mind
122. Peacefulness / Tranquility...
123. Perseverance
124. Perseverance / Fortitude
125. Perseverance / Indomitable / Invincible Fortitude
126. Perseverance / Will-Power
127. Physical Strength
128. Power of Understanding and Wisdom
129. Prosperity
130. Prudence
131. Religious Faith
132. Respect
133. Respect / Honor / Esteem
134. Responsibility
135. Romantic Passion
136. Sacrifice / Devotion / Dedication
137. Self-Confidence
138. Self-Control
139. Self-Discipline / Will-Power
140. Self-Respect / Self-Esteem
141. Selflessness
142. Serenity / Tranquility
143. Simplicity
144. Simplicity / Modesty
145. Sincere Heart
146. Sincerity and Devotion
147. Sincerity and Faithfulness
148. Solidarity / Cooperation
149. Spirit
150. Strength: Strong and Solid
151. Strong / Healthy
152. Strong / Powerful
153. Strong / Powerful / Force
154. Strong / Robust
155. Strong Hearted / Strong Willed
156. Success
157. Temperance
158. Tenacious / Tenacity
159. Thankfulness
160. To Be Free / Freedom
161. Tolerance
162. Tranquil / Tranquility / Serenity
163. Trust / To Have Faith
164. Truth
165. Vitality
166. Wealth / Fortune / Riches / Abundance
167. Will-Power / Self-Control
168. Wisdom
169. Wisdom / Intelligence


Achievement / Accomplishment

China chéng jiù
Japan jouju
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This is the word most often used in Chinese, Korean and Japanese to mean accomplishment or achievement.

This word can also be used to mean success, attain a result, fulfillment, realization, or completion.

Adoring Love

China ài mù
Japan ai bou
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The best kind of love to have I suppose. This word has the well-know character for love. But the second character modifies and/or reinforces the meaning to become adore, adoring love, or to love and adore.

I say that I suppose this is the best kind of love because adoring someone is fine, until you are in the shoes of the Prince of the Kingdom of Wu. This Prince adored a certain beautiful woman (Xi Shi) so much that he neglected his duties, and soon let the kingdom fall into ruins.

Beautiful

China měi lí
Japan birei
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This is a two-character word used often in Chinese, old Korean, and ancient Japanese to express beauty.

I've had a few requests for a "two-character beautiful" and this is by far the best word. This is not a common word for an Asian person to want on a wall scroll. However, you will see it commonly used as an adjective in phrases, stories, and titles throughout magazines and signage in China.

This word can also be translated as gorgeous or lovely.

Note: This word is not common in modern Japan.

Beautiful Virtue

China měi dé
Japan bitoku
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This word written in Chinese or Korean Hanja can also mean "grace of character" or "noble virtue".


徳There is a slight variation in the modern Japanese Kanji form of the second character. If you want the modern Japanese version, please click on the special Kanji shown to the right instead of the button above. Note that the traditional Chinese form is still readable and understood by Japanese people (it's the ancient Japanese form anyway).

Beauty / Beautiful / Handsome

China měi
Japan bi
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This word is often used to describe the beauty of a woman. However, when applied to a man, it can mean handsome. It's also the first character in the word for "beauty salon" which you will see all over China and Japan.

This can be used as the given name for a girl (spell it or say it as "Mei" or "May").

For a bit of trivia: The title for the "USA" in Chinese is "Mei Guo" which literally means "Beautiful Country". This name was bestowed at a time before Chairman Mao came to power and decided that China didn't like the USA anymore (even though we fought together against the Japanese in WWII). But these days, Chinese people love Americans (but have distaste for American politics and policy). But I digress...

This is also how "Beautiful" is written in Japanese Kanji and Korean Hanja. This character can also mean: very satisfactory; good; to be pleased with oneself; abbreviation for the USA; fine; handsome; admirable; madhura; sweet; pleasant.


See Also...  Beautiful Woman | Beautiful Girl

Believe / Faith / Trust

(single character)
China xìn
Japan shin
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This single character is often part of other words with similar meanings. Alone, this character can mean to believe, truth, faith, fidelity, sincerity, trust and confidence in Chinese, old Korean Hanja and Japanese Kanji.

It is one of the five basic tenets of Confucius.

In Chinese, it sometimes has the secondary meaning of a letter (as in the mail) depending on context, but it will not be read that way when seen on a wall scroll.


See Also...  Faith | Trust | Confucius

Benevolence

China rén
Japan jin
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Beyond "benevolence" word can be also be defined as "charity" or "mercy" depending on context.

The meaning suggests that one should pay alms to the poor, care for those in trouble, and take care of his fellow man (or woman).

This is one of the five tenets of Confucius. In fact, it is a subject in which Confucius spent a great deal of time explaining to his disciples.

I have also seen this benevolent-related word translated as perfect virtue, selflessness, love for humanity, humaneness, goodness, good will, or simply "love" in the non-romantic form.

This word is so important to me that I named my second daughter with this character. Her name is "Renni" which means "Benevolent Girl".
-Gary.


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


See Also...  Love | Altruism | Kindness | Charity | Confucius

Benevolence / Kindness

China rén cí
Japan jin ji
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This word is used in Chinese, Japanese, and Buddhism. It can be used to relay the ideas of being: benevolent; charitable; kind; kindly; merciful; kind-hearted.

This encompasses the ideas of benevolence, kindness, and mercy.

In Japanese, this can also be the given name Hitoji. This would also be a good Mandarin Chinese given name romanized as Jentzu or Renci (really sounds like ren-tsu).


See Also...  Love | Altruism | Kindness | Charity

Benevolent Heart

Japan ji hi no kokoro
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This means benevolent heart, compassionate heart, or merciful heart in Japanese. This is a Japanese only phrase, and should be ordered from our Japanese master calligrapher. This is because the third character is special Hiragana.

Chances are you are into Inuyasha and are seeking the title of chapter 471 which is often translated as "Merciful Heart".


See Also...  Love | Altruism

Bravery / Courage

Courage in the face of Fear
China yǒng gǎn
Japan yuu kan
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This word is about courage is bravery in the face of fear. You do the right thing even when it is hard or scary. When you are courageous, you don't give up. You try new things. You admit mistakes. This kind of courage is the willingness to take action in the face of danger and peril.

These characters can also be translated as: braveness, valor, heroic, fearless, boldness, prowess, gallantry, audacity, daring, dauntless and/or courage in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. This version of bravery/courage can be an adjective or a noun. The first character means bravery and courage by itself. The second character means "daring" by itself. The second character just emphasizes the meaning of the first, but adds an idea that you are not afraid of taking a dare, and you are not afraid of danger.

This is about brave behavior versus the mental state of being brave. You'd more likely use this to say, "He fought courageously in the battle", rather than "He is very courageous".

Bravery / Courage

Single Character for Courage
China yǒng
Japan isamu / yu-
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This character can be translated as bravery, courage, valor, or fearless in Chinese, Japanese and Korean. This is the simplest form to express courage or bravery, as there is also a two character form which starts with this same character.

This character can also be translated as brave, daring, fearless, plucky or heroic.


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


See Also...  Bravery | Courage

Bravery / Courage

Courageous Energy
China yǒng qì
Japan yuuki
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There are several ways to express bravery and courage in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. This version is the most spiritual. This is the essence of bravery from deep within your being. This is the mental state of being brave versus actual brave behavior. You'd more likely use this to say, "He is very courageous", rather than "He fought courageously in the battle".

The first character also means bravery or courage when it's seen alone. With the second character added, an element of energy or spirit is added. The second character is the same "chi" or "qi" energy that Kung Fu masters focus when they strike. For this reason, you could say this means "spirit of courage" or "brave spirit".

This is certainly a stronger word than just the first character alone.

Beyond bravery or courage, dictionaries also translate this word as valour, valor, nerve, audacity, daring, pluck, plucky, gallantry, guts, gutsy and boldness.

This is also one of the 8 key concepts of tang soo do.


Japanese 気While the version shown to the left is commonly used in Chinese and Korean Hanja (and ancient Japanese Kanji), please note that the second character is written with slightly fewer strokes in modern Japanese. If you want the modern Japanese version, please click on the character to the right. Both styles would be understood by native Chinese, Japanese, and many (but not all) Korean people. You should choose character based on the intended audience for your calligraphy artwork. Or pick the single-character form of bravery/courage which is universal.

Brotherly and Sisterly Love

China shǒu zú qíng
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This is the love between siblings. When you love, protect, care for, and have a deep bond that only brothers or sisters can.

The actual translation is "Hand and Foot" but it is said the relationship between brothers or sisters is like that of hands and feet. They belong together, and complete the body. Even though this says "hand and foot", it will always be read with the brotherly and sisterly love meaning in Chinese.

Note: During the past 20 years, the "One child policy" in China is slowly making this term obsolete.

Calm / Cool

China zhèn jìng
Japan chin sei
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These two characters represent the idea of being calm or cool in Chinese, Japanese Kanji and old Korean Hanja.

My Korean dictionary further defines this as quiet, calm, tranquility, pacification.
From my Japanese dictionary: calm, quiet, tranquility, appeasement, pacification.


Note: This term is also used in Korean Hanja, but there is a slight deviation in the way they write the second character in Korean. Still, a Korean person who can read Hanja, will be able to read this word. We can write it in the Korean form if you wish (just let us know when you place your order). In Korean, this is the word you might use to tell someone to "calm down" or "take it easy".

Calm / Cool-Headed

China lěng jìng
Japan rei sei
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These characters mean calm and cool-headed.

Other translations: calmness, composure, coolness, serenity, tranquility.

This is a good wall scroll for someone that wants to remind themselves to stay calm and level-headed.


See Also...  Sober Calm

Calm / Tranquility

China ān
Japan an
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This character 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.

This character 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".

Calm and Collected

China chén zhuó
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These two characters mean calm and collected, or simply not nervous.

Caring

China guān xīn
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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.

This 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.


See Also...  Love | Benevolence | Altruism

Charity

China cí shàn
Japan jizen
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There are a few different words used to express charity in Chinese characters, Japanese Kanji and old Korean Hanja, but this is the most common. Some of the other words describe acts such as "giving alms" etc.


Note: Also considered to be one of the Seven Heavenly Virtues.

If you need a different meaning, just post your request on our Asian calligraphy forum.

Note: Sometimes this is translated as benevolence or benevolent.


See Also...  Benevolence | Altruism

Chastity

China zhēn jié
Japan teisetsu
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In Chinese, this would be defined as "The state of being sexually pure" or "chaste". Culturally, this especially applies to young women. This is not actually far off from our western view on this subject. In Japanese and Korean, this could also be used to express virtue, faithfulness and fidelity.


See Also...  Modesty

Chastity / Pure Heart

Also: Clean / Innocent / Pure
China chún jié
Japan jun ketsu
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This would be associated with "chastity" but with the direct meaning of clean, innocent, and pure. If you were expressing the idea of a "pure heart" in Chinese, while not literal, this would be the word you would use.

In Japanese, this word is sometimes used to express purity.

In Korean, it describes purity, chastity, virginity, and innocence (basically the same as the Chinese definition).

Commitment

China chéng nuò
Japan shoudaku
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Commitment is caring deeply about something or someone. It is deciding carefully what you want to do, and then giving it 100%, holding nothing back. You give your all to a friendship, a task, or something you believe in. You finish what you start. You keep your promises.

In Chinese, this word directly means to undertake something or to make a promise to do something.

Within the idea of commitment, this word also means to make a big effort, or undertaking a great task. Outside of the commitment idea, this particular word can also mean approval, acceptance, consent, assent, acquiescence, or agreement depending on context (especially in Japanese and Korean). Therefore this word is probably best if your audience is Chinese.


See Also...  Partnership | Hard Work | Dedication

Compassion

China tóng qíng
Japan dou jou
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Compassion is caring and understanding someone is hurt or troubled (even if you don't know them). It is wanting to help, even if all you can do is listen and say kind words. You forgive mistakes. You are a friend when someone needs a friend.

These same two characters contain this meaning of compassion and sympathy in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, which makes this word universal.


See Also...  Love | Caring | Kindness

Confidence

China xìn xīn
Japan shin jin
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Confidence is having faith in someone. Self-confidence is trusting that you have what it takes, to handle whatever happens. You feel sure of yourself and enjoy trying new things, without letting doubts or fears hold you back. When you have confidence in others, you rely on them.

The first character means faith, and the second can mean heart or soul. So you could say this means "faithful heart" or "faithful soul". In Korean especially, this word has a religious connotation.


In Japanese, this word can mean "faith", "belief" or "devotion".


See Also...  Self-Confidence

Cooperation

China xié lì
Japan kyouryoku
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If you look at the second character, which means "strength" or "power", and then you look at the first character, you will see that the first character seems to represent multiple "strengths" together. Thus you can visually see the meaning of this word as "stronger when working together". The combination of characters that form this word is commonly seen in Japanese Kanji and Korean Hanja, but not used in China (however, a Chinese person could probably guess the meaning, and it can be pronounced in Chinese).

It is implied that you are cooperating to create some project or product.

This can also be translated as "joint effort".


See Also...  Partnership

Courage to do what is right

China jiàn yì yǒng wéi
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The title says it all.

This could also be translated as:
"Never hesitate to do what is right".


See Also...  Work Unselfishly For The Common Good | Justice | Bravery

Courtesy / Etiquette

Chinese / Korean
China lǐ yì
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In Chinese, old Korean Hanja, and old Japanese Kanji, this word means "etiquette" or "courtesy".

You'll also find a Japanese entry on our website which uses a modern/simplified first Kanji. The characters shown here compose the best choice if your audience is Chinese or Korean - but also acceptable if you want an ancient-style Japanese scroll.

Note: This can also be translated as propriety, decorum, or formality.

Courtesy / Etiquette

China lǐ yì
Japan rei gi
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In Japanese, this word means "manners", "courtesy" or "etiquette".

This also clearly means etiquette in Chinese, though the first Japanese Kanji has been "modernized" and happens to be the same as the modern Simplified Chinese version. Therefore this word will be understood by both Japanese and Chinese people, but best if your audience is mostly Japanese (Chinese people would generally prefer the ancient Traditional Chinese version).


See Also...  Kindness | Respect

Courtesy / Politeness

China lǐ mào
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Courtesy is being polite and having good manners. When you speak and act courteously, you give others a feeling of being valued and respected. Greet people pleasantly. Bring courtesy home. Your family needs it most of all. Courtesy helps life to go smoothly.


If you put the words "fēi cháng bù" in front of this, it is like adding "very much not". It's a great insult in China, as nobody wants to be called "extremely discourteous" or "very much impolite".


See Also...  Kindness | Respect

Creativity

China chuàng zào lì
Japan souzouryoku
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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".

Curious / Inquisitive

China hào qí
Japan kouki
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This means curiosity or inquisitive in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja. It is a rather positive word in all three languages - though not as commonly used in Japanese.

Dedication

Dedicated to One Thing
China zhuān yòng
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This is the kind of dedication you might have to your job, or a person.

Trivia: It is the same word used as an adjective in front of the word for "network" to say "dedicated network" in Chinese.

Please note: While this is a word in Korean, the meaning is private or "exclusive use". So this is best if your audience is Chinese.


See Also...  Devotion | Passion | Tenacious | Commitment

Dependable

China jiān yì kě kào
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The first two characters mean resolute with firm determination.
The second two characters mean reliable.

Together, this creates a 4-character expression that clearly means dependable.

Determination

China jué xīn
Japan kesshin
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You focus your energy and efforts on a task and stick with it until it is finished. Determination is using your will power to do something when it isn't easy. You are determined to meet your goals even when it is hard or you are being tested. With determination we make our dreams come true.

The first characters means "to determine" or "determined". The second character means "heart", "mind" or "soul", so you can imagine that this form of "determination" partially means to put your heart into something. It can also be translated as resolve, resolution, or decision (as in a decision made and followed).


See Also...  Devotion | Tenacious | Passion | Dedication | Will-Power

Determination to Achieve / Will-Power

China yì zhì
Japan ishi
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This Chinese, Korean, and Japanese word means, "determination to achieve". It can also be translated as: will; willpower; determination; volition; intention; intent.

In Japanese, this can also be the given name Ishi.

Devotion / Diligence / Vigorous / Energetic

vīrya
China jīng jìn
Japan shoujin
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This is a wide-ranging word that is used in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

It can mean devotion, diligence, concentration, aggressive, enterprising, vigorous, energetic, purification, pushing, asceticism, assiduity, or virility. This word is deep, and these two characters can express ideas that take a full English phrase to describe such as, "concentration of mind", "to forge ahead vigorously", or "to dedicate oneself to progress".

Used in the context of Buddhism, it means, "making earnest efforts to cultivate virtue and get rid of evil", or "zeal in one's quest for enlightenment".

Devotion / Enthusiasm

China rè chéng
Japan nessei
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This word is universal in Chinese, Japanese Kanji and old Korean Hanja.

It can mean earnestness, enthusiasm, ardor, zeal, devotion, spirit, or fervor.

Dignity / Honor / Sanctity / Integrity

China zūn yán
Japan son gen
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This form of honor is showing great respect for yourself, other people, and the rules you live by.

When you are honorable, you keep your word. You do the right thing regardless of what others are doing.

This is the kind of personal honor or dignity that is of great value. If you lose this, you have lost yourself and perhaps the reputation of your family as well.

While this is not directly the same thing as "face" or "saving face" in Asian culture, it is associated with the same concept in China.


厳In Japan, they currently use a more simplified second character for this word. The ancient Japanese form is the same as China, but after WWII some Kanji were changed. If you want the modern Japanese version, just click on the Kanji image shown to the right, instead of the button above.

Diligence

China qín miǎn
Japan kinben
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Diligence is working hard and doing your absolute best. You take special care by doing things step by step. Diligence helps you to get things done with excellence and enthusiasm. Diligence leads to success.

These characters can also be translated as industry, industrious, assiduity, assiduous, diligent, or sedulity.


See Also...  Hard Work | Tenacity | Commitment | Passion For A Cause

Diligence

(single character)
China qín
Japan kin
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This single-character means diligence or "sense of duty" in Chinese and Korean (also understood in Japanese, but not commonly-seen as a stand-alone Kanji).

As a single character on a wall scroll, this will only be seen with this meaning. However, it can also mean industrious, hardworking, frequent, regular, constant, energy, zeal, fortitude, or virility.

In Buddhism this can represent vīrya (viriya), the idea of energy, diligence, enthusiasm, or effort. It can be defined as an attitude of gladly engaging in wholesome activities, and it functions to cause one to accomplish wholesome or virtuous actions. Some Buddhists may even define this as "manliness" (a definition from a hundred years ago, before equality).

If you, or someone you know is a hard-worker (or needs a reminder to be diligent), then this is the wall scroll to have in your/their office.


See Also...  Tenacity | Undaunted

Discipline

China jì lǜ
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Discipline: There are a few different ways to define this word in English. This Asian word conveys the idea of extreme self-control and perhaps self-sacrifice, and obedience. This matches what I was taught as the meaning of "discipline" when I was in the Marine Corps. There is also an additional idea of maintaining order or being orderly in your tasks.

This idea would also fit an athlete training for the Olympics who gives up many pleasures to stay focused on their training.


See Also...  Self-Control | Will-Power

Discipline

China duàn liàn
Japan tan ren
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This is the Japanese Kanji and Korean Hanja word that is used for discipline. This has a meaning like "forging or creating something from lots of training and practice". My Japanese dictionary translates this as, "tempering, forging, hardening, disciplining, training".

This is for Japanese and Korean only. In Chinese, these characters might be translated as (physical) "exercise".


練'
練'
錬

The modern form of the second Japanese Kanji looks like the first image to the right. There's also an alternate modern form after that, and finally, an alternate traditional form. Because calligraphy is an art, the calligrapher could choose any of these possible forms. Let us know if you have a preference.


See Also...  Self-Control | Will-Power

Elegant / Exquisite / Grace

China měi miào
Japan bimyou
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Beyond elegant and exquisite elegance, this is also the word used to say "beautiful" or "marvelous" when referring to a work of art.

Can also be translated as exquisiteness, gracefulness.

Note: Not a commonly-used word in Japanese.

Endurance

China chí jiǔ
Japan ji kyuu
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This word means "to endure" or "lasting". In some context, it can mean "persistent" or "persistence" (especially in Japanese and Korean).

Enlightenment

China qǐ méng
Japan keimou
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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".


啓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.

Enthusiasm

China rè qíng
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This is the same as the translation of "Passion for a cause" in Chinese. Enthusiasm is being cheerful, happy, and full of spirit. It is doing something wholeheartedly and eagerly. When you are enthusiastic, you have a positive attitude.

In some context, this could have a meaning of being extremely fond of something, or having fondness for a cause or person.


This Chinese word can also be translated as "sincere and warm" or literally "warm sentiment / affection".


See Also...  Motivation | Passion | Commitment | Tenacity | Happiness

Enthusiasm / Passion for a Cause

Japanese / Korean
China qíng rè
Japan jou netsu
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This is the Japanese word that means enthusiasm, or "passion for a cause".

In some context, this could have a meaning of being extremely fond of something, or having fondness for a cause or person.

Can also be translated as passion, zeal, ardour, or fervor.

Note: This character order is not natural in Chinese. However, a typical Chinese person can guess that this is a Japanese or Korean word and also understand the intended the meaning. This selection is best if your audience is Japanese or old-school Korean.


See Also...  Persistence | Devotion | Tenacity | Commitment | Motivation

Enthusiasm / Warm-Hearted

China rè xīn
Japan nesshin
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This is another version of Enthusiasm in Chinese, Japanese Kanji and old Korean Hanja. This literally means "warm-hearted" (can also mean warm-spirited or warm-souled).

This word is also used to express the ideas of earnestness or eagerness.

Can mean "zeal" in Japanese.


See Also...  Happiness

Ethics / Ethical / Morality

China dào dé
Japan dou toku
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This Chinese, Japanese, and old Korean word can also be defined as "moral principles", morality, ethics, ethical, morals, or virtue.

The first character is the same that is associated with Daoism / Taoism. This word is also used to express morality, virtue, or simply morals.


徳There is a slight deviation in the Japanese Kanji form. If you want the modern Japanese version, please click on the special Kanji shown to the right instead of the button above. Note that the traditional Chinese form is still readable and understood by Japanese people.


See Also...  Chastity | Prudence

Excellence

China zhuó yuè
Japan taku etsu
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Excellence is doing your best, giving careful attention to every task and every relationship.

This word can also be defined as excellence, remarkable, surpassing, splendid, transcendence, preeminence, or distinguished. Sometimes it can mean "superiority".


See Also...  Pride

Faith

China xìn niàn
Japan shinnen
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These characters express the idea of "having a belief", or "trusting in the unseen".

This word could also be translated as beliefs or convictions.


Note: Also considered to be one of the Seven Heavenly Virtues.


See Also...  Devotion | Dedication | Trust

Faithful / Honorable
Trustworthy / Fidelity / Loyalty

China xìn yì
Japan shingi
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This is a word that is often used to describe a person with an honest and loyal reputation. To put it simply, this applies to somebody you can trust (with your life).

In Chinese, this is often defined as good faith, honor, trust and justice.
In Korean, this word means fidelity, truthfulness, or faithfulness.
In Japanese: faith, fidelity and loyalty. It's also a Japanese male given name when pronounced "Nobuyoshi".

Flexibility

China líng huó xìng
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Flexibility is being open to change. You consider others' ideas and feelings and don't insist on your own way. Flexibility gives you creative new ways to get things done. Flexibility helps you to keep changing for the better. This Chinese word could also be defined as "flexible nature".


See Also...  Cooperation

Flexibility

Alternate / Japanese version
China róu ruǎn xìng
Japan junansei
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This is the Chinese, Japanese Kanji and Korean Hanja word that means "flexibility". It can also mean "compatibility", "pliability", "softness" and "elasticity".


See Also...  Flexibility | Cooperation

Foresight

China xiān jiàn
Japan senken
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Seeing the potential benefits or troubles that may lie ahead in the future.

Can also be defined as "presupposition" or "forethought".


See Also...  Fate

Forgive

China liàng
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This single character means "forgive" in Chinese. In Korean, this kind of means forgive, but also has slightly different definitions of consider, excuse, faithful, believe.

Forgive

China yuán liàng
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This two-character word means "forgive" in Chinese. It can also be defined as "to pardon" or "to excuse". This is kind of a general forgiveness.

Forgive

Deep heartfelt forgiveness
China kuān shù
Japan kan jo
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This two-character word of Chinese origin means forgive or forgiveness. This is a deep kind of forgiveness from the bottom of your heart.

In a religious context, this is the kind of forgiveness that you beg God for and that God grants you.

In Korean Hanja, this can also be defined as forbearance or leniency.

In Japanese Kanji, beyond forgiveness, this can also mean magnanimity or generosity.

While we don't actively recommend Asian tattoos, this would be the forgiveness title which is best for a tattoo in most cases.


寛 Note: The first character can also be written in the form shown to the right (especially in Japanese). If you have a preference, please let us know in the "special instructions" when you place your order.

Forgiveness

China shù
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This character means forgive, show mercy, absolve, or excuse in Chinese and Korean Hanja (though mostly used in compound words in Korean).

This character incorporates the pictogram of a heart at the bottom, and a woman and a mouth at the top. The heart portion has the most significance, as it is suggested that it is the heart's nature to forgive.
In Asian culture, as with most other cultures, forgiveness is an act of benevolence and altruism. In forgiving, you put yourself in someone else's shoes and show them the kindness that you would want them to show you. Confucius referred to this quality as "human-heartedness".

Forgiveness (from the top down)

China róng shè
Japan you sha
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This is the kind of forgiveness that a king might give to his subjects for crimes or wrong-doings. This is a rather high-level forgiveness. Meaning that it goes from a higher level to lower (not the reverse).

Alone, the first character can mean "to bear", "to allow" and/or "to tolerate", and the second can mean "to forgive", "to pardon" and/or "to excuse".

When you put both characters together, you get forgiveness, pardon, mercy, leniency, or going easy (on someone).


See Also...  Benevolence

Fortitude / Strength of Character

China gāng yì
Japan gouki
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This Japanese and Chinese word means, "resolute and firm", "fortitude", "firmness of character", "hardihood", "manliness" or "macho".


See Also...  Perseverance | Strength | Tenacity

Friendliness

China yǒu hǎo
Japan yuukou
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This Chinese/Japanese word can also be defined as "amity", "friendly", and "outgoing".


See Also...  Friendship

Friendship

Chinese and Korean
China yǒu yì
Japan yuugi
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Can also be defined as companionship or fellowship. This word is common in Chinese and Korean Hanja but seldom used in Japanese anymore.


See Also...  Partnership | Friendliness

Friendship

Japanese and Korean
China yǒu qíng
Japan yuujou
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Can also be translated as "camaraderie" or "fellowship". But this character combination is only used commonly in Japanese Kanji and Korean Hanja.

Generosity

China kuān dà
Japan kandai
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Generosity is giving and sharing. You share freely, not with the idea of receiving something in return. You find ways to give others happiness, and give just for the joy of giving. Generosity is one of the best ways to show love and friendship.

This word can also be translated as charitable, magnanimity, liberality or in some context broad-mindedness.

Note: There is a tiny deviation in the first character when written in Japanese. If you choose our Japanese master calligrapher, the little dot on the lower right of the first character will be omitted. With or without the dot, this can be read in Chinese, Japanese, and old Korean.


See Also...  Benevolence | Altruism | Charity

Gentleness

China wēn róu
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Gentleness is moving wisely, touching softly, holding carefully, speaking quietly and thinking kindly. When you feel mad or hurt, use your self-control. Instead of harming someone, talk things out peacefully. You are making the world a safer, gentler place.


See Also...  Kindness | Caring

Gentleness

China wēn hòu
Japan on kou
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This is a Chinese, Japanese and old Korean word for "gentle" or "gentleness". This can also mean "kindness" (more as an adjective like "kind person").


温The modern Japanese version of the first character looks like the one to the right. If you want this modern Japanese form, just click on that Kanji instead of the button above.


See Also...  Kindness | Caring

Good Health

China jiàn kāng
Japan kenkou
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This is the best way to express good health in Chinese, Korean and Japanese.

These characters also suggest the ideas of being solid, strong, sound, wholesome and at peace.

Can also be used to express "healthy", "vitality", or "well-being".


See Also...  Health | Vitality | Wellness

Good Health / Healthy / Vigor

Also suggests being at peace
China kāng
Japan kou
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This is a single character that means good health or vigor in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

This character can also mean peaceful, at ease, or abundant in some contexts.

Please note that this is rarely seen alone in Japanese Kanji. In Japanese, it is used both for health-related compound words and to denote the kouhou through koushou eras of Japan.

In Korean, this can also be the family name "Kang" (caution: not the only family name romanized as Kang in Korean).


See Also...  Health | Vitality | Wellness

Happiness

China xìng fú
Japan koufuku
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This is a general state of "happiness" which can also be translated as truly-blessed, welfare, well-being, or fortunate.

Happiness / Contentment

China mǎn zú
Japan man zoku
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This is the kind of happiness that involves being satisfied and content.

This can also suggest the actions of "to satisfy", "to meet the needs of".

Other single-word definitions include: satisfaction; contentment; sufficient; enough; adequate; full; complete.


満In Japanese, the Kanji for this word is an alternate Chinese form. You can see and select this version at the right (recommended only if your audience is specifically Japanese).


See Also...  Satisfaction | Contentment | Pleasure | Well-Being

Happiness / Joyful / Joy

China
Japan ki / yorokobi
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This is the Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and Korean Hanja for the kind of happiness known in the west as "joy".

This character can also be translated as rejoice, enjoyment, delighted, pleased, or "take pleasure in". Sometimes it can mean, "to be fond of" (in certain context).

If you write two of these happiness/joy characters side by side, you create another character known in English as "double happiness", which is a symbol associated with weddings and a happy marriage.


There is another version of this character that you will find on our website with an additional radical on the left side (exactly same meaning, just an alternate form). The version of happiness shown here is the commonly written form in China, Japan and South Korea (banned in North Korea).


See Also...  Contentment | Happiness | Joy

Happy

China xīn
Japan kin
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This is the type of happiness that you feel on the inside. It is the feeling of being released and delighted as well as being in a state of contentment. This is a more internal happiness that perhaps only shows by the smile on your face. It can also be translated as "to take pleasure in" or "to rejoice".

Note: This character is often used in compound words - especially in Korean Hanja.
As Japanese Kanji, this is so rare, that most Japanese people are not aware of its existence.


See Also...  Happiness

Happy / Laughter / Cheerful Bliss

China
Japan raku
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This is a single-character form of happiness or bliss that holds the ideas of laughing and having a good time. It can also be translated as happy, glad, enjoyable, fun, and sometimes, music.

This a really good character if your audience is Chinese.

This is not a word seen alone very often in Korean.

楽In Japanese, this character is written like the image shown to the right. If you order this from the Japanese master calligrapher, it will look like this instead of the character shown above.
Note: In Japanese, this has a meaning of comfort, ease, and enjoyment.


See Also...  Joyfulness

Harmony / Balance

China hé xié
Japan wa kai
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This word means harmonious, harmony, concordant, or balanced in Chinese and Japanese Kanji.

In Korean Hanja, it sometimes means reconciliation or compromise.


See Also...  Peace

Healthy Living

China jiàn kāng shēng huó
Japan kenkou seikatsu
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If you are into healthy living, this might be a great selection for a wall scroll to hang in your home. The first two characters speak of health, vitality, vigor and being of sound body. The second two mean living or life (daily existence).


See Also...  Strength | Vitality | Health

Helpfulness

China lè yú zhù rén
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Helpfulness is being of service to others, doing thoughtful things that make a difference in their lives. Offer your help without waiting to be asked. Ask for help when you need it. When we help each other, we get more done. We make our lives easier.


See Also...  Caring | Charity | Benevolence

Honesty

China zhèng zhí
Japan shoujiki
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Honesty is being truthful and sincere. It is important because it builds trust. When people are honest, they can be relied on not to lie, cheat or steal. Being honest means that you accept yourself as you are. When you are open and trustworthy, others can believe in you.

This is one of the 8 key concepts of Tang Soo Do.


Note: This entry is cross-listed as "integrity" because it also fits that definition.

Japanese jikiPlease note that the second Kanji sometimes has an alternate form in Japanese. Let us know if you want the alternate form shown to the right.


See Also...  Truth | Trust | Integrity

Honesty

China shí
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This character 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

China chéng
Japan makoto
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This character means truth, faith, fidelity, sincerity, trust and/or confidence.

As a single-character wall scroll, this suggests that you believe "honesty is the best policy", as your personal philosophy.


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


See Also...  Sincerity | Sincere

Honesty / Fidelity

China xìn
Japan shin
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This 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

Honor

Japanese / Simplified version
China míng yù
Japan meiyo
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This version of honor is about having or earning the respect of others and about your reputation. It is the status of being worthy of honor (not to be confused with doing honorable things or specific actions - see our other "honor" listing for that).

譽Both modern Japanese and modern mainland Chinese use the same simplified version of the second character of honor. We will automatically use the simplified version shown to the left, unless you make a special request for the traditional second character as shown to the right (just click on that character to order the traditional Chinese version). Before WWII, both Japan and China used the traditional form, but modern Japanese and Chinese are more likely to identify this simplified form. Koreans still use the traditional form when they are not writing in their modern Hangul glyphs.


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


See Also...  Integrity | Respect

Hope

China xī wàng
Japan ki bou
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Besides "to hope" this also means "to wish for" or "to desire". It can also mean expectation or aspiration depending on context.


Note: Also considered to be one of the Seven Heavenly Virtues.


See Also...  Faith | Desire

Humble

China qiān gōng
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The first character means "modest". The second means "respectful".


See Also...  Modesty | Purity

Humble / Modest

China qiān xū
Japan ken kyo
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In Chinese and Korean, the first character means "modest". The second means "empty". Together these characters reinforce the ideas of modesty and being empty of ego.

This can also be translated as humbleness or humility.


In Japan, they tend to use a slightly-simplified version of the second Kanji for this word. It also happens to be an alternate/simplified version used in China too. If you want to order the modern Japanese/simplified version, just click in the Kanji image shown to the right, instead of the button above.


See Also...  Moderation

Humble / Modesty / Humility

China qiān xū
Japan ken kyo
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In Japanese, first Kanji means "self-effacing", "humble oneself", "condescend", "be modest". The second means "void" or "emptiness".

This is the most common way to say humble or modest in Japanese without a derogatory meaning (some other words suggest weakness, but this version holds a better humble meaning).


See Also...  Moderation

Humility / Being Humble

China qiān xùn
Japan ken son
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Being humble is considering others to be as important as yourself. You are thoughtful of their needs and willing to be of service. You don't expect others or yourself to be perfect. You learn from your mistakes. When you do great things, humility reminds you to be thankful instead of boastful.

These characters can also be translated as being modest, humble, or unpretentious.

This Humility title is also used as one of the 8 key concepts of Tang Soo Do. Often romanized as "Kyum Son".

Also sometimes used in Japanese to express humility with an essence of modesty.


See Also...  Modesty | Humility

Imagination

China xiǎng xiàng lì
Japan souzouryoku
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This is probably the best way to express "imagination" in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja. It literally means "your strength to imagine". As the last character means strength or ability, while the first two mean imagine or conceptualize. My Japanese dictionary defines this as, "The power of imagination". While my Korean dictionary says, "imaginative power".

Independence

China dú lì
Japan dokuritsu
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Besides meaning "to be independent" this can also means "to stand alone", self-reliance or self-support.


独Modern Japanese use a simplified version of the first character of independence. It's the same simplified version currently used in mainland China, so understood by most Chinese and all Japanese people. Click on the character to the right if you want the simplified/Japanese version.

Independent Spirit
Independent Heart

Japan dokuritsushin
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The first two characters mean independent or independence. The third character means spirit, heart or mind.

This is a Japanese and Korean term, although Chinese people would be able to guess the meaning (the characters make sense individually in Chinese, but are not used in this order).

Indomitable / Persistence / Fortitude

China bù qū
Japan fukutsu
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This is the short form of a longer Chinese word, and also a word used in Korean and Japanese to express the idea of being indomitable. It literally means, "will not bend", "will not crouch", "will not yield", "will not flinch", or "will not submit".

Note: Some will translate this as "indomitable spirit"; however, technically, there is no character to suggest the idea of "spirit" in this word.


See Also...  Tenacity | Fortitude | Strength | Undaunted

Indomitable / Unyielding

China bù qū bù náo
Japan fukutsu futou
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This is a long word by Chinese standards. At least it is often translated as a single word into English. It's actually a proverb in Chinese.

This simply means "Indomitable" or "Unyielding".

If you want to break it down, you can see that the first and third characters are the same. Both meaning "not" (they work as a suffix to make a negative or opposite meaning to whatever character follows). The second character means "bendable". The last means "scratched" or "bothered".
So this really means "Won't be bent, can't be bothered". I have also seen it written as "Will not crouch, will not submit". This comes from the fact that the second character can mean, "to crouch" and the last can mean "to submit" (as in "to give in" such as "submitting to the rule of someone else"). This may explain better why these four characters mean "indomitable".

Notes:
Some will translate this as "indomitable spirit"; however, technically, there is no character to suggest the idea of "spirit" in this word.
The first two characters can be a stand-alone word in Chinese.
In Japanese, this is considered to be two words (with very similar meanings).
The same characters are used in Korean, but the 2nd and 4th characters are swapped to create a word pronounced "불요불굴" in Korean.
Just let me know if you want the Korean version, which will also make sense in Japanese, and though not as natural, will also make sense in Chinese as well.


See Also...  Tenacity | Fortitude | Strength | Undaunted

Industrious / Hard Working

China ài gǎng jìng yè
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Used to refer to someone who puts forth maximum effort and achieves much. We might call this kind of person a "go-getter" in English.


See Also...  Dedication | Tenacious | Devotion

Initiative / Leadership

China jī jí
Japan shudou
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In Chinese, this word means "to take the initiative".

In Japanese and Korean, the meaning varies slightly to a meaning that leans more toward "leadership" (as in one who is leading a group or organization).

Initiative / Proactive / Positive

China jī jí
Japan sekkyoku
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This word closely matches the way initiative is often used in English. This word can also mean active, energetic, vigorous, positive (outlook), or proactive in Chinese.

The meaning also includes positive and progressive in Japanese and Korean.

Inner Peace

China nèi xīn píng jìng
Japan naishin heizyou
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This Chinese and Japanese phrase is a direct translation for the western idea of inner peace.

The first two characters contain the idea of "heart", "innermost being", or "deep in the/your inner mind".

The last two characters mean "tranquil" and "serene".

I have seen this phrase used as "inner peace" for art prints and even on the side of coffee cups. But I think the translation is too literal. It feels like a direct translation from English rather than a nicely composed Chinese or Japanese phrase. See my other entries for "inner peace".


See Also...  Serenity | Simplicity | Peace

Inner Peace / Silence / Serenity

China jìng
Japan shizu
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This is the simplest way to convey the meaning of inner peace.

Looking for Inner Peace? Who isn't?

Literally this word means still, calm, serene, quietm silent, or stillness.

In the old days, Chinese, Japanese, or Korean people might hang a wall scroll with this character in their reading room to bring about a sense of peace in the room.


静While they once used the same character form in Japan, they now use a slightly-simplified version in modern Japan (after WWII). This version is shown to the right, and can be selected for your wall scroll by clicking on that Kanji instead of the button above.


See Also...  Peace

Inner Strength

China nèi zài lì liàng
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This is the slightly-verbose way to say inner-strength. The first two characters mean "intrinsic" or "inner". The second two characters mean "power", "force" or "strength" (especially physical strength). This is more a short phrase rather than just a word in Chinese and Korean. This can sort of be understood in Japanese, but it's not normal/proper Japanese.

Inner Strength

(short version)
China nèi lì
Japan nai ryoku
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This is the shorter version of inner-strength (can also be translated as "internal force"). The first character holds the meaning of "inner" or "internal". The second character means "power", "force" or "strength".

This is kind of a Kung Fu way of talking about an inner power or strength from within. This is sort of a way to express "inner-chi". This is clearly something that you might hear in a real Chinese Kung Fu movie.

While understood in both Chinese and Japanese, this can have a secondary meaning of "inner stress" in Japanese.

Inspiration

China líng gǎn
Japan reikan
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This 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.


霊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.

Integrity

China zhèng zhí
Japan shoujiki
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Integrity is living by your highest values. It is being honest and sincere. Integrity helps you to listen to your conscience, to do the right thing, and to tell the truth. You act with integrity when your words and actions match. Integrity gives you self-respect and a peaceful heart.

Japanese jikiPlease note that the second Kanji sometimes has an alternate form in Japanese. Let us know if you want the alternate form shown to the right.

Note: This entry is cross-listed as "honesty" because it also fits that definition.


Beyond Integrity, this word also means "upright" and "honest" in Chinese. Means "integrity", "honesty" or "frankness" in Japanese.


See Also...  Honor | Honesty | Truth | Trust

Integrity
Sincere Honest and Faithful

Japan sei jitsu
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This is the Japanese version of integrity which can also be defined as a combination of "sincere, honest and faithful".

Some may also define this as "loyal" or "loyalty". In some context, it can mean "genuine". Yes, all of this meaning in just one Japanese word!

Intelligence / Intellect

China zhì néng
Japan chinou
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These two characters mean intelligence or intelligent.

The first character means wisdom, intellect or knowledge.

The second means ability, talent, skill, capacity, capable, able, and can even mean competent.

Together, the compound word can mean "capacity for wisdom", "useful knowledge", or even "mental power". Obviously this translates more clearly into English as "intelligence".

Note: This is not the same word used to mean "military intelligence". See our other entry for that.


知In modern Japan, they tend to use a version of the first character without the bottom radical. If your audience for this artwork is Japanese, please click on the Kanji to the right instead of the button above.

Joyful

China huān
Japan kan
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This is yet another way to express the idea of happiness. This character means joyous, happy, delight, and pleased. This is an external happiness that may have you clapping and cheering.


Please note: The other happiness/joyful which looks like 喜 is more popular.

歓The above left Kanji is the ancient/old version in Japan. After WWII, they started using the version shown at the right. Just let us know if you want this modern version instead of the ancient one.


See Also...  Happiness

Joyfulness / Happiness

China kuài lè
Japan kai raku
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Joyfulness is an inner sense of peace and happiness. You appreciate the gifts each day brings. Without joyfulness, when the fun stops, our happiness stops. Joy can carry us through the hard times even when we are feeling very sad.

This word can also mean pleasure, enjoyment, delight, cheerful, or merry. In some ways, this is the essence that makes someone to be perceived as a charming person.


See Also...  Happiness

Justice / Rectitude / Right Decision

Also means: honor loyalty morality righteousness
China
Japan gi
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This is about doing the right thing or making the right decision, not because it's easy, but because it's ethically and morally correct.
No matter the outcome or result, one does not lose face if tempering proper justice.

This character can also be defined as righteousness, justice, morality, honor, or "right conduct". In more a more expanded definition, it can mean loyalty to friends, loyalty to the public good, or patriotism. This idea of loyalty and friendship comes from the fact that you will treat those you are loyal to with morality and justice.

This is also one of the five tenets of Confucius doctrine.

儀There's also an alternate version of this character sometimes seen in Bushido or Korean Taekwondo tenets. It's just the addition of a radical on the left side of the character. If you want this version, click on the image to the right instead of the button above.


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


See Also...  Judgement | Impartial | Confucius Tenets

Justice / Righteousness

China zhèng yì
Japan sei gi
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Practicing justice and righteousness is being fair. It is solving problems so everyone wins. You don't prejudge. You see people as individuals. You don't accept it when someone acts like a bully, cheats or lies. Being a champion for justice takes courage. Sometimes when you stand for justice, you stand alone.


Note: This is also considered to be one of the Seven Heavenly Virtues.

Kindness / Caring

China qīn qiè
Japan shin setsu
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Kindness is showing you care, doing some good to make life better for others. Be thoughtful about people's needs. Show love and compassion to someone who is sad or needs your help. When you are tempted to be cruel, to criticize or tease, decide to be kind instead.

This Chinese / Japanese / Korean word can also mean affectionate, cordial, warmly, or close (emotionally).


See Also...  Love | Caring | Benevolence

Kindness and Forgiving Nature

China rén shù
Japan jinjo
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These two characters create a word in Chinese and Japanese that means something like benevolence with magnanimity or kindness with a forgiving nature.

If this describes you, then you are the type of person that I would like to call my friend.

This may not be the most common word in daily use, but it's old enough that it transcended cultures from China to Japan in the 5th century when Japan lacked a written language, and absorbed Chinese characters and words into their language.
Note: This is not commonly-used in Korean.

Longevity / Long Life

China cháng shòu
Japan chouju
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Used as a noun, this word means "longevity" or "the ability to live long". It can also be an adjective meaning "long lived".


Japanese LongevityPlease note that Japanese use a simplified version of the second character of longevity - it also happens to be the same simplification used in mainland China. Click on the character to the right if you want the Japanese/Simplified version of this two-character longevity calligraphy.

Longevity / Long Life

China shòu
Japan ju / kotobuki
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Can be defined as "long life" or "longevity" in the simplest form.


Japanese LongevityPlease note that Japanese use a simplified version of this character - it also happens to be the same simplification used in mainland China. Click on the character to the right if you want the Japanese/Simplified version.

Love

China ài
Japan ai
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This is a very universal character. It means love in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, old Korean Hanja, and old Vietnamese.

This is one of the most recognized Asian symbols in the west, and is often seen on tee-shirts, coffee mugs, tattoos, and more.

This character can also be defined as affection, to be fond of, to like, or to be keen on. It often refers to romantic love, and is found in phrases like, "I love you". But in Chinese, one can say, "I love that movie" using this character as well.

This can also be a pet-name or part of a pet-name in the way we say "dear" or "honey" in English.


It's very common for couples to say "I love you" in Chinese. However, in Japanese, "love" is not a term used very often. In fact, a person is more likely to say "I like you" rather than "I love you" in Japanese. So this word is well-known, but seldom spoken.


More about this character:

This may be hard to imagine as a westerner, but the strokes at the top of this love character symbolize family & marriage.

心The symbol in the middle is a little easier to identify. It is the character for "heart" (it can also mean "mind" or "soul"). I guess you can say that no matter if you are from the East or the West, you must put your heart into your love.

友The strokes at the bottom create a modified character that means "friend" or "friendship".

I suppose you could say that the full meaning of this love character is to love your family, spouse, and friends with all of your heart, since all three elements exist in this character.


See Also...  I Love You | Caring | Benevolence | Friendliness | Double Happiness Happy Marriage Wall Scroll

Love and Affection

China ài qíng
Japan aijou
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This is a universal word in Japanese, Korean and Chinese which means love and affection. Some may translate this as "love between a man and a woman". Depending on context, it can mean utter devotion or favorite.

Loyalty

Japanese Chinese Korean
China zhōng chéng
Japan chuu sei
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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

Loyalty / Devotion

Chinese, Korean, and Japanese
China zhōng yì
Japan chuu gi
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This is another form of loyalty or devotion.

In Chinese, this is more specifically about being loyal and devoted to your friends.

In Japanese, this is more often used to mean loyalty to your country or nation.

Except for the slight difference noted above between Japanese and Chinese, this word is understood universally in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja. It can also be used to describe devotion or fidelity.

It should be noted that this Kanji combination is being used less and less in modern Japan (this is a better choice if your audience is Chinese, though any Japanese person will clearly understand it).

Loyalty / Faithful / Devoted

Japan chuujitsu
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This 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

Lucky / Auspicious

China
Japan kichi
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A simple way to express the state of being lucky. Also used in conversation to hope that all is well with someone. This is more often seen as part of a compound word with a lucky association (especially in Korean).


Not as often used in Japanese, but still means "good luck" but can also mean "joy" in Japanese.


See Also...  Good Luck

Mercy / Buddhist Compassion

China cí bēi
Japan ji hi
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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 Chinese/Japanese Buddhist term is the equivalent of Metta Karuna from Pali or Maitri Karuna from Sanskrit.


See Also...  Benevolence

Moderation

China jié zhì
Japan sessei
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Moderation is creating a healthy balance in your life between work and play, rest and exercise. You don't overdo or get swept away by the things you like. You use your self-discipline to take charge of your life and your time.

This word can also be translated as sobriety, self-restraint, or temperance.

This is often used as part of the Seven Heavenly Virtues to represent sobriety and/or temperance.


See Also...  Prudence | Ethics | Humble | Humility

Modesty

China qiān xùn
Japan kenson
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We have also used this word as "Humility" in another listing. Depending on context, it can be translated as modesty, humbleness or humility. The first character means "modesty" while the second means "yielding". Together it could be stated as "yielding modesty".


See Also...  Chastity | Prudence | Moderation

Moral and Virtuous

China
Japan toku
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This is the simple way to express the ideas of having virtue, morals, kindness, benevolence, goodness etc. This character also happens to be the first character of the Chinese word for Germany.


徳There is a slight deviation in the Japanese Kanji form. If you want the modern Japanese version, please click on the special Kanji shown to the right instead of the button above. Note that the traditional Chinese form is still readable and understood by Japanese people.


See Also...  Ethics | Chastity | Prudence | Benevolence | Morality

Motivation

Chinese only
China dòng lì
Japan douryoku
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This word can be used for motivation - it can also mean power / motion / propulsion / force. It can be anything internal or external that keeps you going.

This is the safest way to express motivation in Chinese. If your audience is Japanese, please see the other entry for motivation. This is a word in Japanese and Korean, but it means "motive power" or "kinetic energy" (without the motivation meaning that you are probably looking for).


See Also...  Enthusiasm | Passion

No Fear

(four-character version)
China yǒng zhě wú wèi
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This is a complete sentence that means literally "Brave People Have No Fear" or "A Brave Person Has No Fear" (plural or singular is not implied). We translated "No Fear" into the two variations that you will find on our website. Then we checked Chinese Google and found that others had translated "No Fear" in the exact same ways. Pick the one you like best. A great gift for your fearless friend.


See Also...  Fear No Man

Non-Violence

China fēi bào lì
Japan hibouryoku
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This is fairly self-explanatory.

The first character means "not", "non-" or "un-"
The middle and last character together mean "violence", "use of force" or simply "violent".

Together, these three characters would normally be translated as "nonviolence". A great gift for your favorite peace-lover.


See Also...  Peace

Passion for a Cause

Chinese
China rè qíng
Japan netsujou
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Depending on context, this word can mean "cordial", "enthusiastic", "passionate" or "passionately".

This version is sometimes used in Japanese, but the character order is more common in Chinese and Korean Hanja. The meaning in Japanese for this Kanji order is "ardour" or "zeal", but rarely used in modern Japan. I suggest you choose a different version of "passion" if your audience is Japanese.


See Also...  Persistence | Devotion | Tenacity | Commitment | Motivation

Passions / Feelings / Emotions

China qíng
Japan jou / nasake
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This means feelings, emotions, passions, and sometimes refers to the situation you are in (with your emotions). At least, this is the definition in Chinese and Japanese. This word is a bit stronger in Korean Hanja, where it means affection, love, compassion, sympathy, tender feelings, and emotions. Just as in Chinese and Japanese, this can also refer to your circumstances or your facts of life in Korean.

Patience / Perseverance

China rěn
Japan nin
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This character contains the ideas of patience, equanimity, perseverance and endurance. Alone, this single character can be a bit ambiguous or flexible. It can also mean to endure, to bear, to put up with or to conceal. If you want to simply decide what this character means to you within the general meaning, but keep it a mystery to others, this is a good choice.

If you want to be more direct, you may want to choose one of our other selections that mean perseverance or patience (you will see this character within those larger words/phrases).

There is a secondary meaning in Japanese, since this is the first character of the word ninja.

忍Note that when writing this as Kanji, Japanese will tend to write it in the form shown to the right. If you select our Japanese master calligrapher, please expect this Kanji form (yes, it's just one stroke that is slightly different in location, crossing another stroke in the Japanese Kanji form).


See Also...  Perseverance | Patience | Tenacious

Patience / Perseverance / To Endure / Tolerant

China rěn nài
Japan nin tai
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Patience is quiet hope and trust that things will turn out right. You wait without complaining. You are tolerant and accepting of difficulties and mistakes. You picture the end in the beginning and persevere to meet your goals.

These characters can also mean "to endure", "restrain oneself" and in some context it can mean "perseverance" or "endurance".

This is also used as a tenet of Taekwondo, Tang Soo Do, and other Korean martial arts where it's titled "Endurance" and romanized as "In Neh".


忍Note that when writing this as Kanji, Japanese will tend to write the first character in the form shown to the right. If you select our Japanese master calligrapher, please expect this Kanji form (yes, it's just one stroke that is slightly different in location, crossing another stroke in the Japanese Kanji form).


See Also...  Peace | Harmony | Perseverance

Peace / Harmony

(single character)
China
Japan wa
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The simplest form of peace and harmony.

This can also be translated as the peaceful ideas of gentle, mild, kind, and calm. With the more harmonious context, it can be translated as union, together with, on good terms with, or on friendly terms.

Most people would just translate this character as peace and/or harmony. This is a very popular character in Asian cultures - you can even call it the "peace symbol" of Asia. In fact, this peace and harmony character was seen repeatedly during the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing (a major theme of the games).


In old Chinese poems and literature, you might see this used as a kind of "and". As in two things summed together. As much as you could say, "the sun and moon", you could say "the sun in harmony with the moon".


See Also...  Inner Peace | Patience | Simplicity

Peace / Peaceful

Japanese / Korean
China píng hé
Japan hei wa
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This is the Japanese and Korean order of these characters used most often to express the idea of peace, tranquility and harmony. It's just the reverse order of the Chinese. In this order in Chinese, it means takes the "mild" definition, rather than "peace". In Korean, the combination keeps the same meaning in either order.

Peace and Good Health

China ān kāng
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This means just what it says. It's a word that expresses both the idea of being at peace and healthy at the same time.

Note: This is a bona-fide word in Chinese and Korean, and the characters will at least make sense in Japanese.

Peace and Love

China hé píng bó ài
Japan wahei hakuai
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This is the Chinese and Japanese way to express "Peace and Love". These are two separate words, so the calligrapher will put a slight space between the first two characters which mean peace, and the last two which represent universal love. This space is not shown on the sample character images for this phrase.

A special note: Word lists may seem okay in English, but feel strange in Chinese and Japanese. We don't offer too many of them, but this one is often-requested, and feels okay in Chinese and Japanese, though a bit uncommon in Korean.


See Also...  Peace | Love

Peace and Tranquility

Korean and Japanese
Japan taihei
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This means peace and/or tranquility in Japanese and Korean (also understood, but not as common in Chinese).

Peace of Mind

China hé píng
Japan wa hei
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This is the Chinese order for these two characters which means peace but can also be translated as amicability, pacifically or mildness. This is often translated as a simple way to say "peace of mind". This combination is used in Korean Hanja to mean "peace and harmony".

Alone, the first character means peace and harmony.
The second chracter means balance, when read by itself.

Note: These characters are often seen in the opposite order in Japanese with the same meaning (You'll sometimes find them in this order in Japan, so either way is OK).

Peaceful Heart

China jìng xīn
Japan shizugokoro / seishin
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This is how to write "peaceful heart" in Chinese.

The first character means peaceful, calm, and quiet. The second means heart, but can also mean mind, soul, or spirit.

Because the word for heart / mind / soul is interchangeable in Chinese, this can also be translated as "a peaceful soul" or "a quiet mind".

I have also seen this translated as "placid temperament" or "spirit of serenity", especially from Japanese.


静While they once used the same first character form in Japan, they now use a slightly-simplified version in modern Japan (after WWII). This version is shown to the right, and can be selected for your wall scroll by clicking on that Kanji instead of the button above.

Peaceful Heart / Peace of Mind

China ān xīn
Japan anshin
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This is a nice word that encompasses great meanings within just two characters. This can be defined as relief, peace of mind, feeling at ease, to be relieved, set one's mind at rest. easiness. To put it another way, it's the idea of feeling a sense of security, safety, and confidence in your state of well-being.

Peacefulness / Tranquility
Perfectly Quiet

China jìng mì
Japan seihitsu
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The first and second character both mean quiet. Together, they reinforce the meanings almost creating a word that means "double quiet" or "perfect quiet".

A good wall scroll for a library, reading room, or other quiet place.


See Also...  Peace | Harmony

Perseverance

(Chinese)
China jiān rèn bù bá
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Perseverance is being steadfast and persistent. You commit to your goals and overcome obstacles, no matter how long it takes. When you persevere, you don't give up...you keep going. Like a strong ship in a storm, you don't become battered or blown off course. You just ride the waves.

The translation of this proverb literally means, "something so persistent or steadfast, that it is not uprootable / movable / surpassable".


See Also...  Tenacious | Devotion | Persistence | Indomitable

Perseverance

(2 characters)
China jiān rèn
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This is a simpler version that just holds the meaning of "fortitude", "steadfast" and "persistent".

Perseverance

(single character)
China
Japan see note
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This is the simplest way to express perseverance in Chinese and Korean Hanja.
This single-character version leaves a bit of mystery about what kind of perseverance you might want to convey.

In Korean, this is usually associated with "strength of character".

In Japanese, this character can be pronounced about a dozen different ways (so we have left out the Japanese pronunciation guide that normally appears above). In Japanese this Kanji would usually be translated "strong" (perhaps strong-willed).


See Also...  Tenacity | Fortitude | Strength | Undaunted

Perseverance / Fortitude

China jiǎn rěn
Japan ken nin
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The first character means "strong", "solid", "firm", "unyielding" or "resolute".
The second character means "to beat", "to endure", or "to tolerate".
Together they speak of the strength from within yourself. Some may also translate this as "long-suffering" in a more Biblical sense.

This is a common term in Chinese and Korean Hanja, but a little less commonly-used in modern Japanese Kanji. For that reason, this selection is best if your audience is Chinese or Korean.


忍忍 Note that when writing this as Kanji, Japanese will tend to write the second Kanji a little differently. If you select our Japanese master calligrapher, please expect the form where the little horizontal stroke crosses the vertical stroke. See differences in the images to the right. Technically, they are both the same character, and will be read the same in either language.

Perseverance / Indomitable / Invincible Fortitude

Japanese
China jiān rěn bù bá
Japan kenninfubatsu
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This is the Japanese version of the 4-character perseverance proverb. This would be understood in Chinese but it's not commonly written this way in Chinese.


忍Note that when writing this as Kanji, Japanese sometimes write the second Kanji in the form shown to the right. Yes, it's just one stroke that is slightly different in location, crossing another stroke in this alternate Japanese Kanji form. If you have a preference, let us know when you order.

Due to some odd computer coding conventions, these two character forms were combined/merged into the same code point - thus you will not see Kanji images of more Japanese form as you select options for your scroll.

Perseverance / Will-Power

China yì lì
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These two characters are a way to express "perseverance" with the idea of "willpower" in Chinese and old Korean Hanja. It can also mean "strong willed".

The first character means "strong" and "persistent", while the second means "strength" and "power".

Physical Strength

Traditional Chinese and Korean
China tǐ lì
Japan tai ryoku
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Means "physical strength", "physical power", or "physical stamina".


See Also...  Fortitude | Health

Physical Strength

Japanese / Simplified Chinese
China tǐ lì
Japan tairyoku
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Means "physical strength" or "physical power".

The first character was first simplified in Japan. Then that simplified version became the standard in mainland China. Just in case you want this version, it is offered here. I suggest it if you audience is Japanese. Most Chinese know the older traditional version.

This word can also be defined: stamina; endurance; physical strength; resilience; resistance to disease; clout; stability.

Power of Understanding and Wisdom

China wù xìng
Japan gosei
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This 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.

Prosperity

China fán róng
Japan han ei
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This means "prosperous", "flourishing", or "thriving" when used in regards to a person.

However, when used in reference to a whole country, it can mean "booming economy".

This is the traditional Chinese, ancient Japanese Kanji, and ancient Korean Hanja version of prosperity.


栄 Note: If you order this from the Japanese master calligrapher, the second character may look more like the Kanji shown to the right. If you want a different form, please note that in the special instructions for your order.

Prosperity

China fán róng
Japan hanei
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This is the same "prosperity" as our traditional Chinese version, except for a slight change in the way the second character is written (it's the Japanese Kanji deviation from the original/ancient Chinese form). Chinese people will still be able to read this, though you should consider this to be the Japanese form (better if your audience is Japanese).

繁
荣

Sometimes the Kanji form shown to the right is used in Japanese. It will depend on the mood of the calligrapher, as to which form you may receive. If you have a preference, please let us know at the time of your order.

Prosperity

(also means salary)
China
Japan fuchi
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This character is occasionally used in China to mean "prosperity".
This character once meant the "official's salary" in old feudal China and Korea (obviously, the officials lived well, so you can imagine how this was associated with the idea of being prosperous).

This is only used in Korean historical documents for "salary". In old Japanese, this means "fief", "allowance", "pension", "grant" and sometimes "happiness" depending on context. It's very obscure in modern Japanese.

We have other entries that are better-suited for a wall scroll. This entry just addresses "the coffee cup issue" where this character has been used on coffee cups and tee-shirts in a naive manner.
In other words: Don't order this!

Prudence

China shèn zhòng
Japan shin chou
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Can also mean "cautious" or "careful".

This is considered to be one of the Seven Heavenly Virtues.


慎慎 Note: Depending on your choice of Chinese or Japanese calligraphers, the first Kanji will vary slightly. It is technically the same character. Japanese tend to leave a space between the upper and lower portions of this particular Kanji. See sample images to the right.


See Also...  Moderation | Modesty | Chastity

Religious Faith

China xìn yǎng
Japan shinkou
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This is the more religious form of "faith". It has this same meaning in Chinese, Korean Hanja and Japanese Kanji. This is often used to refer to a person of faith or a religious person. Can be directly translated as "firm belief", "creed", "conviction" or simply as "religious" depending on context.

Some will also use this to mean "trust in God" in Japanese (though the term for God is not actually in this title).


See Also...  Devotion | Trust | Trust In God

Respect

Can also be a sign of gratitude
China
Japan rei
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We show respect by speaking and acting with courtesy. We treat others with dignity and honor the rules of our family, school and nation. Respect yourself, and others will respect you.

This is also one of the five tenets of Confucius.

This character can also be translated as propriety, good manners, politeness, rite, worship or an expression of gratitude.

Chinese RespectPlease note that Japanese use a simplified version of the character for respect - it also happens to be the same simplification used in mainland China. Click on the character to the right if you want the Traditional Chinese version.


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


See Also...  Confucius

Respect / Honor / Esteem

China zūn jìng
Japan sonkei
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This is how to express the ideas of respect, honor, reverence, esteem, nobility, and sometimes the state of being noble, all in one word. Most of the time this is used in the form of "giving respect", but depending on context, it can suggest that you should try to be "worthy of respect".

Although pronounced differently, the Chinese characters, Japanese Kanji, and Korean Hanja are the same across these languages. This is an indication that this word is very old, and crosses many barriers and cultures in the Orient (East Asia).

Responsibility

China zé rèn
Japan sekinin
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Being responsible means others can trust you to do things with excellence. Responsibility is the ability to respond ably and to make smart choices.

This word can also refer to someone who is willing to take the blame when things go wrong (instead of making excuses or passing the blame to someone else). While this is a noble idea, I think it is getting more rare these days in both eastern and western cultures.


Also associated with the idea of "duty".

Romantic Passion

China jī qíng
Japan gekijou
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Also means "strong emotion" or "fervor".


The meaning in Japanese is a little more radical, as beyond "passion" it can be understood as "violent emotion" or "fury".

Sacrifice / Devotion / Dedication

(complete bodily devotion)
China xiàn shēn
Japan ken shin
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This word is used to describe being so devoted to something that you will make sacrifices for that goal/thing/person. You can also translate this word as any of the following:
Give one's life for...
Sacrifice one's life for...
To dedicate oneself to...
Self-devotion
Dedication
Commit ones energy to...
Devote to...
Self-sacrifice
Giving your whole body to...

This can be a dedication to or for someone, but more often is used in reference to a dedication or making sacrifices for your country, public service, or a cause. For instance, an Olympic athlete makes great sacrifices to train in his/her sport for their country and compatriots.


献
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While the form shown to the upper-left is considered an ancient Japanese version, in modern Japan, they use the simplified version of the first Kanji (shown to the right). Click on the Kanji at the right instead of the button above if you want this modern Japanese version.

If you are looking for a more religious meaning of devotion, see Faith.


See Also...  Confidence | Dedication

Self-Confidence

China zì xìn
Japan jishin
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This word is created by simply putting the character for "confidence" with the character for "self" in front of it.

The literal translation holds the same meaning in English, Chinese and Japanese.

It's like a self-affirmation to say, "you can do it".

Some may also use this to mean self-esteem or a sense of self-worth.


See Also...  Confidence

Self-Confidence

China zì xìn xīn
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This is the long title for self-confidence. It differs from the other version, only with the addition of the character for heart or soul at the end. With that addition, you could say this means self-confident heart.


See Also...  Confidence

Self-Control

China zì zhì
Japan jisei
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The short and sweet version of self-control.

Note: This can also mean self-restraint.


See Also...  Will-Power | Discipline

Self-Control

China zì jǐ yì zhì
Japan jikoyokusei
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The first two characters mean "regarding oneself", and the second two mean "to refrain" or "to restrain". So together, this has a meaning like "to restrain oneself".


See Also...  Discipline | Will-Power

Self-Discipline / Will-Power

China zì lǜ
Japan jiritsu
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Self-discipline means self-control. It is doing what you really want to do, rather than being tossed around by your feelings like a leaf in the wind. You act instead of react. You get things done in an orderly and efficient way. With self-discipline, you take charge of yourself.


Not sure if this one works for a Japanese audience.


See Also...  Discipline | Self-Control

Self-Respect / Self-Esteem

China zì zūn
Japan jison
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This word 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).

Selflessness

China wú sī
Japan mushi
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This would be literally translated as "none self" in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. It is used to express "selflessness" or "unselfish". This is a popular term for the idea of being selfless or unselfish in modern China and Japan.
This term is not as commonly-used in Korea, but still has good meaning.


See Also...  Unselfish | Altruism

Selflessness

China wú wǒ
Japan muga
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This is a more common way to say selflessness in Japanese. This literally means "no self" or a better translation might be "not thinking of oneself". This is also understood in Chinese and Korean. This is a very old word in CJK languages.

This is the word a Buddhist would use express the idea of selflessness or unselfishness. For Korean Buddhists it can mean self-renunciation.


See Also...  Altruism

Serenity / Tranquility

China píng jìng
Japan heisei
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This is one of several ways to express as "serenity" or "tranquility" in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

It can also be translated as calm, serenity, tranquil, undisturbed or serene.


See Also...  Peace

Serenity / Tranquility

Japan seion
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This is a Japanese-specific way to express "serenity" or "tranquility".

Notes: The second Kanji is not a Chinese character - it was morphed or developed in Japan after Chinese characters were absorbed into the Japanese language during the 5th century.
The first character is slightly-simplified from the original Chinese form, but still recognizable.


See Also...  Peace

Simplicity

China jiǎn
Japan kan
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This character expresses the idea of something simple, or the essence of simplicity in life in Chinese.

This can also refer to a simple slip of bamboo for taking notes or writing a letter (especially in Korean Hanja).

Technically this is a word meaning simple and brevity in Japanese but it's rarely used in modern Japanese. Therefore, you should probably only select this character if your audience is Chinese.


See Also...  Brevity

Simplicity / Modesty

China zhì sù
Japan shisso
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In Japanese this word means "simplicity", "modesty" and/or "frugality".

While these Japanese Kanji are also currently-used Chinese characters, they do not create single word or idea in Chinese. Therefore, only select this if your audience is Japanese.


See Also...  Modesty | Prudence

Sincere Heart

China xuě xīn
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When you take this word apart, you find the sum is a little different than the parts. The first character means blood and the second means heart. It is important to note that for thousands of years, it was believed that your heart was both your soul and your mind in Asian culture. When you add blood to the heart, it is your whole being - it is pure and clean dedication with your whole soul.

Most Chinese dictionaries define this as sincerity of heart or a MEDICAL TERM!!!
Please think carefully before ordering this selection - it was only added as others have used this for coffee cups and other novelties (though perhaps naively).

Sincerity and Devotion

China zhì chéng
Japan shisei
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This 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.

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

Sincerity and Faithfulness

China dǔ shí
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This word means sincere, solid, and faithful.

Solidarity / Cooperation

China tuán jié
Japan danketsu
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This means to join forces, unity, united, union, combination, cooperation or solidarity. In fact, this was part of the Chinese title used for the Solidarity workers union in Poland. In some circumstances, this can mean "hold a rally".


団This is also a word in Japanese. However, the first Japanese Kanji has morphed since being absorbed from Chinese. That Japanese form is shown to the right. If you want this modern Japanese form, just click on the Kanji to the right, instead of the button above.

Spirit

China jīng shén
Japan sei shin
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This is the kind of spirit that you have if you perform well in sports or competition. It is the idea of having a good attitude, and putting your all into something - so much so that others can see or feel your spirit. It is the essence of your being that can only be subjectively described because there are no words that can fully explain what "spirit" really is.

For your information:
My Japanese dictionary further tries to explain this word by comparing it to mind, soul, heart or intention.
My Chinese dictionary compares these characters to meanings like vigor, vitality, drive and mentality.
My Korean dictionary defines this as mind, spirit and soul.


See Also...  Vitality | Heart | Soul

Strength: Strong and Solid

(Japanese)
China qiáng gù
Japan kyouko
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Means firmness, stability, security, and strength in Japanese. It's not used commonly in China, but it means "powerful", "firm", "solid", "strong" or "better than others" in Chinese. There is a slight variation in the top of the first character between Chinese and Japanese. Because this is more a Japanese word, we are showing the Japanese form here.

This is also a Korean word, but Korean Hanja uses the Chinese form of the first character (one tiny stroke is a little different), so just let me now if your audience is Korean when you place your order, and we'll have it written in the Chinese/Korean version.

Strong / Healthy

China jiàn
Japan ken
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This "strong" character is the more "healthy" version of strong. This is the "strong" that is appropriate for an athlete.

Beyond "healthy", it can also mean strength, persistence, vigorous or invigorated.

Strong / Healthy

Japan sukoyaka
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This is a verbose way to say strong and healthy in Japanese. This is the "strong" that is appropriate for an athlete.

Beyond "healthy", it can also mean strength, persistence, vigorous or invigorated.

Japanese also use the first Kanji to mean the same thing. This version just adds two hiragana which serve to emphasize or amplify the word and clarify the meaning.

Strong / Powerful

China qiáng zhuàng
Japan kyousou
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This is an adjective that means powerful or strong. It can also be translated as able-bodied, robust, or sturdy. This version of strength suggests muscularity.


壮Note that the second character was simplified in Japan after WWII (also simplified in mainland China, but not for calligraphy). If you want the modern Japanese/simplified version, please click on the Kanji shown to the right.


See Also...  Strength | Vitality | Health

Strong / Powerful / Force

China qiáng
Japan kyou
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This "strong" character means strength, force, powerful, better, stubborn, and stiff (yes, all of this in one character). This "strong" has less to do with physical strength and more to do with having a winning attitude, or just having the ability to win at something.

Note that most of the time, this character is pronounced "qiang", but when used with the meaning of stubborn, unyielding, or stiff, it is pronounced "jiang" in Chinese.

Also, sometimes "qiang" is used in modern Chinese to describe people that do crazy things (Example: Bicycling from Beijing to Tibet alone). I sometimes can be found outside my Beijing apartment wearing nothing but shorts and a tee-shirt while eating an ice cream during a snow storm, just to hear my neighbors call me "qiang". Maybe they mean "strong" but perhaps they are using the new meaning of "crazy strong".

Also a Korean Hanja with same meaning, but mostly used in compound words.

This is used in Japanese (though normally in compound words). In Japanese, it has the same meaning, but in some context can mean "a little more than..." or "a little over [some amount]". Most Japanese would read this as tough, strength, stiff, hard, inflexible, obstinate, or stubborn.

Strong / Robust

China zhuàng
Japan sou
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This "strong" character means "to strengthen" or robust. This brings images of a muscle-bound hulk of a weight lifter or body builder to an Asian person who sees this character.

Note that in Korean and Japanese, this character is normally part of compound words, and is not seen alone too often.


壮Note that the this character was simplified in Japan after WWII (also simplified in mainland China, but not for calligraphy). If you want the modern Japanese/simplified version, please click on the Kanji shown to the right.

Strong Hearted / Strong Willed

China yì zhì jiān qiáng
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This phrase can mean either "strong hearted", "strong willed" or "determination".

The first two characters can be translated as "will", "willpower", "determination", "volition", "intention", or "intent". But, it should be noted that this first part possess the element of "heart" in the lower portion of both characters (they also partially carry the meaning "with whole heart").

The last two characters mean "strong" or "staunch".

Chinese word order and grammar is a bit different than English, so in this case, they are in reverse order of English, but have the correct meaning in a natural form.


See Also...  Strong Willed | Discipline | Will-Power

Success

China chéng gōng
Japan seikou
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This Chinese and Japanese word for "success" is often used to refer to "career success", but is also used for other successes in life.

It matches the western dictionary definition of "The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted". And it's also used it this old Chinese proverb: Failure is the Mother of Success which means Failure is the Mother of Success.

Sometimes this word is translated as prosperity, but success, succeed, or successfully are more correct definitions.


See Also...  Prosperity

Temperance

China jié zhì
Japan sessei
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In short, temperance is knowing when to say "when".

Temperance is the practice of moderation and restraint (in fact, this Asian word is often translated as moderation or restraint).

It was one of the five tenets held to be vital to society in Hellenic culture. It is also one of the Four Cardinal Virtues considered central to Christian behavior by the Catholic Church.


Note: Also considered to be one of the Seven Heavenly Virtues.

Tenacious / Tenacity

China wán qiáng
Japan gan kyou
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These two characters together mean "Tenacious", "Hard to Defeat", or "Dogged".

Alone, the first character means mischievous, obstinate or stubborn. But it loses some of the mischievous meaning when the second character is added.

The second character means strength, force, powerful or better.


See Also...  Determination | Dedication | Devotion | Never Give Up

Thankfulness

China gǎn jī
Japan kangeki
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Thankfulness is being grateful for what we have. It is an attitude of gratitude for learning, loving and being. Appreciate the little things that happen around you and within you every day. Think positively. Thankfulness brings contentment.


Different meaning in Japanese - more like "deep emotion", "impression", "inspiration" - not recommended for a Japanese audience.

To Be Free / Freedom

China xiāo yáo
Japan shou you
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This has a good written-meaning for a wall scroll in Chinese. What I mean by that is while there is a way to say "freedom" orally, this word seems more appropriate for calligraphy. This can also be translated as "free and unfettered" from Chinese.

Note: In Korean and Japanese, this means one who rambles, saunters or strolls (this entry is best if your audience is Chinese).

Tolerance

China kuān róng
Japan kanyou
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Being tolerant is accepting differences. You don't expect others to think, look, speak or act just like you. You are free of prejudice, knowing that all people have feelings, needs, hopes and dreams. Tolerance is also accepting things you wish were different with patience and flexibility.

These characters can also be translated as magnanimity, generosity, or leniency.

Note: There is a tiny deviation in the first character when written in Japanese. If you choose our Japanese master calligrapher, the little dot on the lower right of the first character will be omitted. With or without the dot, this can be read in Chinese, Japanese, and old Korean.


See Also...  Patience

Tranquil / Tranquility / Serenity

China níng jìng
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This word expresses the idea of tranquility and serenity in Chinese.


See Also...  Peace | Inner Peace | Harmony | Calm

Trust / To Have Faith

China xìn lài
Japan shinrai
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Trust is having faith in someone or something. It is a positive attitude about life. You are confident that the right thing will happen without trying to control it or make it happen. Even when difficult things happen, trust helps us to find the gift or lesson in it.

This word can also be translated as confidence, reliance, or dependence; thus it can also mean "to rely on" or "to depend on".


頼There is a slight deviation in the Japanese Kanji form of the second character. If you want the modern Japanese version, please click on the special Kanji shown to the right instead of the button above. Note that the traditional Chinese form is still readable and understood by Japanese people.


See Also...  Confidence | Truth | Honor

Truth

(Chinese)
China zhēn xiàng
Japan shin sou
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Beyond "truth" in Chinese, this can also be used to say "the actual facts" or "genuine" depending on context.


This also means "truth" in Japanese, just not as commonly used.


See Also...  Honesty

Truth

(Japanese)
Japan shinjitsu / sana
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Means "truth", "actual" or "reality" in Japanese. The second character is modified or no longer used in Chinese vocabulary - so this is Japanese only.

Vitality

China shēng mìng lì
Japan seimeiryoku
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This word can mean "vitality" or "libido". The first two characters mean "life" or "life force". The last character is a common word that means "strength". So together you get the meaning "life strength" which is the essence of vitality. Some will also translate this word as "good health".


See Also...  Life Force | Health

Wealth / Fortune / Riches / Abundance

China
Japan tomi
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The title says it all; this word is clearly understood in Chinese and Japanese as well as Korean Hanja.

Will-Power / Self-Control

China yì zhì lì
Japan ishi ryoku
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This is the form of will power or self-control is about having the determination or tenacity to keep going.

In Japanese, this is the power of will, strength of will, volition, intention, intent, or determination.

Wisdom

(single character)
China zhì
Japan chi / tomo
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This is the simplest way to write wisdom in Chinese, Korean Hanja and Japanese Kanji.
Being a single character, the wisdom meaning is open to interpretation, and can also mean intellect, knowledge or reason.

This character is also one of the five tenets of Confucius.

Beyond the title definitions, this also can mean, resourcefulness, or wit.

This character is sometimes included in the Bushido code, but usually not considered part of the seven key concepts of the code.


See our Wisdom in Chinese, Japanese and Korean page for more wisdom-related calligraphy.


See Also...  Learn From Wisdom | Confucius

Wisdom

(All-Knowing)
China zhì huì
Japan chie
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The first character means, "wise" or "smart" and the second character means "intelligence".

I have also seen these two characters translated together as knowledge, sagacity, sense, and intelligence.

Note: This word is used commonly in Chinese and is a less-common word in Japanese and Korean. If your audience is Japanese, I suggest our other Japanese wisdom option.


This means intellect or wisdom in Japanese too, but is a more unusual way to write this word (though both versions are pronounced the same in Japanese).


See Also...  Learn From Wisdom

Wisdom

China zhī huì
Japan chie
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The first Kanji represents "to know" or "to realize". Combined, these two Kanji mean "learn, know, and understand completely". Another way to translate this is "to know all things in their entirety".

Note: While vaguely understood in Chinese, this is only a real word in Japanese.


惠 Ancient Japanese/Korean version: This is also a word in old Korean Hanja, with a slight difference in the last character - if you want that version (which is also the ancient Japanese version) please click on the character to the right, instead of the button above.

Wisdom / Intelligence

China huì
Japan e / kei
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This single character can be translated as wisdom, but it has more of an "intelligent" flavor. This can also mean cleverness or wit.

Japanese note: This is understood in Japanese, but seldom seen as a lone Kanji.


See Also...  Knowledge | Learning | Read



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