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4 in Chinese / Japanese...

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Personalize your custom “4” project by clicking the button next to your favorite “4” title below...


  1. Rooster / Chicken

  2. Demon / Raksha

  3. Money

  4. One

  5. Reiki

  6. Life Energy / Spiritual Energy

  7. Listen

  8. Ace / One

  9. Woman

10. Integrity

11. Shinobi / Ninja Outcast

12. Guanxi

13. Prosperity

14. In Wine there is Truth

15. Glory and Honor

16. Kenjutsu / Kenjitsu

17. Japanese Snapping Turtle / Chinese Soft Shell Turtle

18. Zen / Chan / Meditation


Rooster / Chicken

Year of the Rooster / Zodiac Sign
jī
niwatori
Rooster / Chicken Scroll

鷄 or 雞 is the character for rooster or chicken in Chinese, old Korean, and Japanese.

If you were born in the year of the rooster (chicken), you . . .

Have a unique sense of color.
Are high principled and responsible.
Have persuasive power.
Are honest.
Have a great ability to communicate.

Common Chinese chicken Alternate Chinese chicken #1 Alternate Chinese chicken #2

Please note: There are a few different ways to write rooster / chicken as shown to the right. If you are particular about the form, please let us know when you place your order.


See also our Chinese Zodiac page.

Demon / Raksha

luó chà
Demon / Raksha Scroll

This Chinese version of demon comes from the ancient Sanskrit word raksha, raksasa (rākṣasa), raksas (rakṣas), or raksasi (rākṣasī).

This title regards malignant spirits, demons. These demons are described in ancient texts as terrifying, with black bodies, red hair, green eyes, and as devourers of men.

刹FYI: Sometimes the second character is written in the form shown to the right.

qián
sen
Money Scroll

錢 is the simplest way to say "money" in Chinese.

It can also mean cash, coins, or currency. It's also a surname, Qian, in China.

銭 This also means coins in old Korean Hanja, and Japanese Kanji (though they use a slightly alternate form in Japan as seen to the right). In both Japan and Korea, this can simply mean "one cent".

金 On the left side of this character is a radical which means "gold" (or metal depending on context).

戋 戔 On the right are two repeated radicals which currently mean "small" or "narrow" but used to kind of mean "tools" or "weapon".

It's a bit of a stretch but you could suggest that money = "gold weapons" or "gold tools" in Chinese. Many Chinese people would argue otherwise depending on what they know of or the way they understand the etymology of the right side radical. I've seen some who say it means "industrialized gold" but I take that to mean "raw gold turned into coins".

One

The number one
yī
ichi
One Scroll

一 is "one" or "1" in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

People keep searching for "one" but I'm not sure what you want. This would be a strange selection for a wall scroll, so please don't order it. Post a request on our forum if you want a phrase with "one" in it that you can't find on our site.

The "one" character is really simple, it's just one stroke. Two is two strokes and three is three strokes, from four and above, the characters get more complicated.

In some ways, the "one" character is too simple, it could be a stray mark, or added to a banking document. Therefore, the following banking anti-fraud character for "one" have developed over the last 1500 years in China and Japan:
壱 壹 弌

líng qì
reiki
Reiki Scroll

靈氣 is the title of a healing practice that is now found throughout the world but with origins in Japan.

Special note: Outside of the context of the healing practice of Reiki, this means "aura" or "spiritual essence that surrounds all living things". A Japanese person not familiar with the practice will take the "aura" meaning.

Reiki is a technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also heals. It can be compared to massage but is based on the idea that an unseen "life force energy" flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If your life force energy is low, you'll be more likely to get sick or feel stress. If your life force energy is abundant and flowing well, you become more capable of being happy and healthy.

There is a lot of information available if you want to Google this term - my job is to offer the calligraphy, while you can decide if it is right for you.

Note: We are showing the ancient (traditional) form of the Reiki Kanji. I have seen Reiki written with both the slightly simplified version and this more classic form. If you want the form of Reiki with the two strokes in the shape of an X on the second character and the modern first character, simply click on the Kanji characters to the right.

Note: 靈氣 is also a Chinese word but in Chinese, these characters create a word that refers to a smart person or someone with high aspirations. It is not read as a healing method in Chinese.
In Korean Hanja, this can be read as "mysterious atmosphere" by a Korean who is not familiar with the practice of Reiki (still has a cool meaning in Korean).

Life Energy / Spiritual Energy

Chi Energy: Essence of Life / Energy Flow
qì
ki
Life Energy / Spiritual Energy Scroll

This energy flow is a fundamental concept of traditional Asian culture.

氣 is romanized as "Qi" or "Chi" in Chinese, "Gi" in Korean, and "Ki" in Japanese.
Chi is believed to be part of everything that exists, as in "life force" or "spiritual energy". It is most often translated as "energy flow", or literally as "air" or "breath". Some people will simply translate this as "spirit" but you have to take into consideration the kind of spirit we're talking about. I think this is weighted more toward energy than spirit.

The character itself is a representation of steam (or breath) rising from rice. To clarify, the character for rice looks like this: 米
Steam was apparently seen as visual evidence of the release of "life energy" when this concept was first developed. The Qi / Chi / Ki character is still used in compound words to mean steam or vapor.
The etymology of this character is a bit complicated. It's suggested that the first form of this character from bronze script (about 2500 years ago) looked like these samples: 氣氣
However, it was easy to confuse this with the character for the number three. So the rice radical was added by 221 B.C. (the exact time of this change is debated). This first version with the rice radical looks like this: 氣
The idea of Qi / Chi / Ki is really a philosophical concept. It's often used to refer to the "flow" of metaphysical energy that sustains living beings. Yet there is much debate that has continued for thousands of years as to whether Qi / Chi / Ki is pure energy, or consists partially, or fully of matter.

You can also see the character for Qi / Chi / Ki in common compound words such as Tai Chi / Tai Qi, Aikido, Reiki and Qi Gong / Chi Kung.

In the modern Japanese Kanji, the rice radical has been changed into two strokes that form an X.

気 The original and traditional Chinese form is still understood in Japanese but we can also offer that modern Kanji form in our custom calligraphy. If you want this Japanese Kanji, please click on the character to the right, instead of the “Select and Customize” button above.


More language notes: This is pronounced like “chee” in Mandarin Chinese, and like “key” in Japanese.
This is also the same way to write this in Korean Hanja where it is Romanized as “gi” and pronounced like “gee” but with a real G-sound, not a J-sound.
Though Vietnamese no longer use Chinese characters in their daily language, this character is still widely known in Vietnam.


See Also:  Energy | Life Force | Vitality | Life | Birth | Soul

Listen

tīng

chou / ki
Listen Scroll

聽 means to listen, hear, and obey (depending on context).

聽 is a stand-alone word in Chinese but is usually seen in compound words in Korean. Therefore, this title is best for a Chinese audience.

聴 The ancient form of this character is shown in the upper left. However, there is a modern Japanese Kanji version shown to the right. If you want this modern Japanese version, please let us know when you place your order.

Ace / One

yāo
yao
Ace / One Scroll

幺 means one, as used on a dice or in a card game.

Thus, in that context, it means Ace.

幺 can also be the surname "Yao" in both Chinese and Japanese.
Note: Rarely if ever used in Korean.

幺 can sometimes be written these ways: 么麼

Woman

The ancient way to say Woman
jīn guó
Woman Scroll

巾幗 is the very old way to say woman in Chinese.

A common title ancient China, this actually refers to the scarf or head wrapping worn by virtually all women at that time.

巾幗 is kind of a cool way to say Woman now. The actual gender character alone on a wall scroll would actually just look like a fancy sign for the woman's restroom (WC).
女If you are curious, the character to the right directly means female or woman. 巾幗 is useful information if you are a woman in need of a toilet in China.

Integrity

zhèng zhí
shoujiki
Integrity Scroll

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

Shinobi / Ninja Outcast

shino-bi
Shinobi / Ninja Outcast Scroll

忍び (Shinobi) is a term often associated with ninjas of ancient Japan.

忍び really means stealing (into), a spy, a sneaking thief, stealth, or a surreptitious visit to a house of ill repute. However, 忍び is sometimes used to refer to an outcast ninja.

This term was somehow given a better report when various video games, TV series, and even a movie came out with this Shinobi title.

忍び are sometimes Romanized as two words: Shin obi, or Shin-obi.

Note: The first character can be written as 忍 or 忍.

Guanxi

The Chinese Concept of Relationship and Exchange of Favors
guān xì
kankei
Guanxi Scroll

The dictionary definition is:
relations / relationship / to concern / to affect / to have to do with / connection.

But there's more to it...

In China, your relationship that you have with certain people can open doors for you. Having guanxi with someone also means they would never defraud you but instead are honor-bound to treat you fairly (of course, this goes both ways). Sometimes it is suggested that guanxi is the exchange of favors. I would say this is more having a relationship that allows you to ask for, and expect favors without shame.

There is no concept in western culture that exactly matches guanxi but perhaps having a social or professional network is similar.

Note that there are some variations common within Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and Korean Hanja for this word...

関Japanese tend to use a Chinese alternate form as shown to the right for
the first character.

關There's also another alternate form of that first character (currently used as the official Simplified form in mainland China) which looks like the character shown to the right. It's basically the central radical of the alternate version shown above but without the "door radical" around it. In more free-flowing calligraphy styles, this version would be the likely choice for a calligrapher.

係In Modern Japanese, they use the character shown to the right.
They also tend to use this same form in Korean Hanja (I've only checked this word in my Korean dictionary but it has not been confirmed by a translator's review).

系If that was not confusing enough, there is another alternate form of that second character. See right.

An Asian calligrapher of any nationality may use any of these forms at their discretion. However, They would tend to stick to the most common form used in their respective languages.

If you have any preference on any of these issues, please give us a special note with your order, and we'll make sure it's done the way you want.

Prosperity

fán róng

hanei
Prosperity Scroll

繁栄 is the same "prosperity" as the 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.

In Wine there is Truth

jiǔ hòu tǔ zhēn yán
In Wine there is Truth Scroll

This is a nice Asian proverb if you know a vintner or wine seller - or wine lover - although the actual meaning might not be exactly what you think or hope.

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

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

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

后 VS 後

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


See Also:  Honesty | Truth

Glory and Honor

róng
ei
Glory and Honor Scroll

榮 relates to giving someone a tribute or praise.

It's a little odd as a gift, so this may not be the best selection for a wall scroll.

I've made this entry just because this character is often misused as "honorable" or "keeping your honor". It's not quite the same meaning, as this usually refers to a tribute or giving an honor to someone.

榮 is often found in tattoo books incorrectly listed as the western idea of personal honor or being honorable. Check with us before you get a tattoo that does not match the meaning you are really looking for. As a tattoo, this suggests that you either have a lot of pride in yourself or that you have a wish for prosperity for you and/or your family.

栄In modern Japanese Kanji, glory and honor looks like the image to the right.

There is a lot of confusion about this character, so here are some alternate translations for this character: prosperous, flourishing, blooming (like a flower), glorious beauty, proud, praise, rich, or it can be the family name "Rong". The context in which the character is used can change the meaning between these various ideas.

In the old days, this could be an honor paid to someone by the Emperor (basically a designation by the Emperor that a person has high standing).

To sum it up: 榮 has a positive meaning, however, it's a different flavor than the idea of being honorable and having integrity.

Kenjutsu / Kenjitsu

jiàn shù
kenjutsu
Kenjutsu / Kenjitsu Scroll

In Japanese, the modern definition, using simple terms is "A martial art involving swords" or "The art of the sword".

However, in Chinese, this is the word for fencing (as in the Olympic sport).

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

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

術 術Character variation notes: There are slight variations possible with second character. Either way is correct and understood by both Japanese and Chinese folks.

Since there are about 5 common ways to write the sword character, if you are particular about which version you want, please note that in the "special instructions" when you place your order.

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

Japanese Snapping Turtle / Chinese Soft Shell Turtle

biē
suppon
Japanese Snapping Turtle / Chinese Soft Shell Turtle Scroll

鼈 refers to a species of turtle.

Sinensis Turtle

鼈 is Trionyx Sinensis.

鼈 refers to different turtles in different languages. See individual language notes below:

Japanese: 鼈 means "snapping turtle" or "mud turtle". But rarely used as a single Kanji like this in Japanese.

Chinese: 鼈 means soft-shelled turtle. A specific species, Trionyx Sinensis which is native to Asia.
In China, this species is related to the "wang ba", a soft-shelled turtle sometimes known in English as a banjo turtle (due to its long neck, and general shape). Unfortunately, there is a word, "wang ba dan" which means the egg of this species of turtle. That term has come to mean "bastard" in Chinese (a turtle hatches from an abandoned egg, and does not know who his mother or father is). 鼈 is not a good selection for a wall scroll if your audience is Chinese.

In Korean, this character can be pronounced (though most Koreans would have to look it up in a dictionary). It has not been in common use in Korea for at least a few hundred years.

General notes: You may notice that the bottom half of this character is the same as some other turtle-related titles. That bottom half is actually an ancient character that means "toad". 黽 Though not see in this way today, most turtle-related characters hold the meaning of "a toad with a shell" in their ancient origin. That toad character is rarely used alone anymore but you can see what it looks like in the image to the right.

Zen / Chan / Meditation

...as in Zen Buddhism
chán
zen
Zen / Chan / Meditation Scroll

First let's correct something: The Japanese romanization for this character, "Zen" has penetrated the English language. In English, it's almost always incorrectly used for phrases like "That's so zen". Nobody says "That's so meditation" - right? As the title of a sect, this would be like saying, "That's soooo Baptist!"

禪 by itself just means "meditation". In that context, it should not be confined to use by any one religion or sect.

Regardless of the dictionary definition, more often than not, this character is associated with Buddhism. And here is one of the main reasons:
Zen is used as the title of a branch of Mahayana Buddhism which strongly emphasizes the practice of meditation.
However, it should be noted that Buddhism came from India, and "Chan Buddhism" evolved and developed in medieval China. The Chinese character "Chan" was eventually pronounced as "Zen" in Japanese. Chan Buddhists in China have a lot in common with Zen Buddhists in Japan.

More about the history of Zen Buddhism here.

Please also note that the Japanese Kanji character for Zen has evolved a little in Japan, and the two boxes (kou) that you see at the top of the right side of the character have been replaced by three dots with tails. Japanese Zen Kanji The original character would still be generally understood and recognized in Japanese (it's considered an ancient version in Japan) but if you want the specifically modern Japanese version, please click on the zen Kanji to the right. Technically, there is no difference in Tensho and Reisho versions of Zen since they are ancient character styles that existed long before Japan had a written language.

Chinese Zen/Chan CharacterThere is also an alternate/shorthand/simplified Chinese version which has two dots or tails above the right-side radical. This version is also popular for calligraphy in China. If you want this version, just click the character to the right.


Further notes: Zen is just one of seven sects of Buddhism practiced in Japan. The others are 律 Ritsu (or Risshū), 法相 Hossō, 論 Sanron 華嚴 Kegon, 天台 Tendai, and 眞言 Shingon.


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

Title CharactersRomaji (Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Rooster
Chicken
鷄 or 雞
鸡 or 鶏
niwatorijī / ji1 / jichi
Demon
Raksha
羅剎 / 羅刹
罗刹
luó chà / luo2 cha4 / luo cha / luochalo ch`a / locha / lo cha
Money錢 / 銭
senqián / qian2 / qianch`ien / chien
Oneichiyī / yi1 / yii
Reiki靈氣
灵气 霊気
reikilíng qì / ling2 qi4 / ling qi / lingqiling ch`i / lingchi / ling chi
Life Energy
Spiritual Energy

气 / 気
kiqì / qi4 / qich`i / chi
Listen
听 / 聴
chou / ki / cho / ki / cho / kitīng / ting1 / tingt`ing / ting
Ace
One
yaoyāo / yao1 / yao
Woman巾幗
巾帼
jīn guó / jin1 guo2 / jin guo / jinguochin kuo / chinkuo
Integrity正直shoujiki / shojikizhèng zhí
zheng4 zhi2
zheng zhi
zhengzhi
cheng chih
chengchih
Shinobi
Ninja Outcast
忍びshino-bi
Guanxi關繫 / 関繫 / 關係
关系 / 関係
kankeiguān xì / guan1 xi4 / guan xi / guanxikuan hsi / kuanhsi
Prosperity繁栄
繁荣
haneifán róng / fan2 rong2 / fan rong / fanrongfan jung / fanjung
In Wine there is Truth酒后吐真言 / 酒後吐真言
酒后吐真言
jiǔ hòu tǔ zhēn yán
jiu3 hou4 tu3 zhen1 yan2
jiu hou tu zhen yan
jiuhoutuzhenyan
chiu hou t`u chen yen
chiuhoutuchenyen
chiu hou tu chen yen
Glory and Honor
荣 / 栄
eiróng / rong2 / rongjung
Kenjutsu
Kenjitsu
剣術
剑术
kenjutsujiàn shù / jian4 shu4 / jian shu / jianshuchien shu / chienshu
Japanese Snapping Turtle
Chinese Soft Shell Turtle
suppon / suponbiē / bie1 / biepieh
Zen
Chan
Meditation

zenchán / chan2 / chanch`an / chan
In some entries above you will see that characters have different versions above and below a line.
In these cases, the characters above the line are Traditional Chinese, while the ones below are Simplified Chinese.


Many custom options...


Zen / Chan / Meditation Scroll
Zen / Chan / Meditation Scroll
Zen / Chan / Meditation Scroll
Zen / Chan / Meditation Scroll


And formats...

Zen / Chan / Meditation Vertical Portrait
Zen / Chan / Meditation Horizontal Wall Scroll
Zen / Chan / Meditation Vertical Portrait
Dictionary

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All of our calligraphy wall scrolls are handmade.

When the calligrapher finishes creating your artwork, it is taken to my art mounting workshop in Beijing where a wall scroll is made by hand from a combination of silk, rice paper, and wood.
After we create your wall scroll, it takes at least two weeks for air mail delivery from Beijing to you.

Allow a few weeks for delivery. Rush service speeds it up by a week or two for $10!

When you select your calligraphy, you'll be taken to another page where you can choose various custom options.


A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

The wall scroll that Sandy is holding in this picture is a "large size"
single-character wall scroll.
We also offer custom wall scrolls in small, medium, and an even-larger jumbo size.

A professional Chinese Calligrapher

Professional calligraphers are getting to be hard to find these days.
Instead of drawing characters by hand, the new generation in China merely type roman letters into their computer keyboards and pick the character that they want from a list that pops up.

There is some fear that true Chinese calligraphy may become a lost art in the coming years. Many art institutes in China are now promoting calligraphy programs in hopes of keeping this unique form of art alive.

Trying to learn Chinese calligrapher - a futile effort

Even with the teachings of a top-ranked calligrapher in China, my calligraphy will never be good enough to sell. I will leave that to the experts.

A high-ranked Chinese master calligrapher that I met in Zhongwei

The same calligrapher who gave me those lessons also attracted a crowd of thousands and a TV crew as he created characters over 6-feet high. He happens to be ranked as one of the top 100 calligraphers in all of China. He is also one of very few that would actually attempt such a feat.


Check out my lists of Japanese Kanji Calligraphy Wall Scrolls and Old Korean Hanja Calligraphy Wall Scrolls.

Some people may refer to this entry as 4 Kanji, 4 Characters, 4 in Mandarin Chinese, 4 Characters, 4 in Chinese Writing, 4 in Japanese Writing, 4 in Asian Writing, 4 Ideograms, Chinese 4 symbols, 4 Hieroglyphics, 4 Glyphs, 4 in Chinese Letters, 4 Hanzi, 4 in Japanese Kanji, 4 Pictograms, 4 in the Chinese Written-Language, or 4 in the Japanese Written-Language.

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