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The name 50 Years Old in Chinese / Japanese...

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Look up 50 Years Old in my Japanese Kanji & Chinese Character Dictionary(My dictionary is a different system then the calligraphy search you just tried)

If you want a special phrase, word, title, name, or proverb, feel free to contact me, and I will translate your custom calligraphy idea for you.


  1. One Day Seems Like 1000 Years

  2. 100 Years of Happy Marriage

  3. The one who retreats 50 paces mocks the one to retreats 100

  4. Growing Old Together

  5. Hold Hands with You, Grow Old with You

  6. Facing the Wall Nine Years

  7. The Old Way / Old School

  8. Old, But More Vigorous in Spirit

  9. Learn New Ways From Old / Onkochishin

10. Retro / Old School

11. Birth Old-Age Sickness Death

12. Teacher / Master / Old Sage

13. The White Hairs of Old Age

14. You are only as old as you feel


One Day Seems Like 1000 Years

 yí rì qiān qiū
 ichi jitsu sen shuu
One Day Seems Like 1000 Years Scroll

一日千秋 is a Japanese and Chinese proverb about missing someone.

一日千秋 is often used to express how hard it is to wait for someone's return or to be away from someone.

Some will translate this as “one day feels like a very long time” or “waiting for someone (something) is hard.”

You might see this romanized as a single word, Ichijitsusenshuu, or as “Ichijitsu Senshuu” from Japanese.
If you break down the characters one-by-one, we get:
一 = one/a
日 = day/sun (can also represent time or date)
千 = 1000/thousand
秋 = autumn/fall

Together, 千秋 can mean “autumn comes thousand times” (or 1000 years). It can also be read as 1000 periods of time.
However, it relays the idea of heartache as you wait for someone you miss.

100 Years of Happy Marriage

 bǎi nián hǎo hé
100 Years of Happy Marriage Scroll

百年好合 is a wish or greeting, often heard at Chinese weddings, for a couple to have 100 good years together.

Some will translate this more naturally into English as: “May you live a long and happy life together.”

The character breakdown:
百 = 100
年 = Years
好 = Good (Happy)
合 = Together

The one who retreats 50 paces mocks the one to retreats 100

The pot calls the kettle black

 wù shí bù xiào bǎi bù
The one who retreats 50 paces mocks the one to retreats 100 Scroll

五十步笑百步 is a Chinese proverb that means the one who retreats 50 paces mocks the one who retreats 100 paces.

During the Warring States Period of what is now China (475 - 221 B.C.), the King of Wei was in love with war. He often fought with other kingdoms just for spite or fun.

One day, the King of Wei asked the philosopher Mencius, “I love my people, and all say I do the best for them. I move the people from famine-stricken areas to places of plenty and transport grains from rich areas to the poor. Nobody goes hungry in my kingdom, and I treat my people far better than other kings. But why does the population of my kingdom not increase, and why does the population of other kingdoms not decrease?”

Mencius answered, “Since you love war, I will make this example: When going to war, and the drums beat to start the attack, some soldiers flee for their lives in fear. Some run 100 paces in retreat, and others run 50 steps. Then the ones who retreated 50 paces laugh and taunt those who retreated 100 paces, calling them cowards mortally afraid of death. Do you think this is reasonable?

The King of Wei answered, “Of course not! Those who run 50 paces are just as timid as those who run 100 paces.”

Mencius then said, “You are a king who treats his subjects better than other kings treat their people, but you are so fond of war that your people suffer from great losses in battle. Therefore, your population does not grow. While other kings allow their people to starve to death, you send your people to die in war. Is there any difference?”

This famous conversation led to the six-character proverb shown here. It serves as a warning to avoid hypocrisy. It goes hand-in-hand with the western phrase, “The pot calls the kettle black,” or the Biblical phrase, “Before trying to remove a splinter from your neighbor's eye, first remove the plank from your own eye.”

Growing Old Together

 xié lǎo
 kairou
Growing Old Together Scroll

偕老 is a Chinese, Japanese, and Korean word that means to grow/growing old together.

This will be a nice wall scroll to hang in your home if your plan is to grow old with your mate.

Hold Hands with You, Grow Old with You

 zhí zǐ zhī shǒu yǔ zǐ xié lǎo
Hold Hands with You, Grow Old with You Scroll

執子之手, 與子偕老 is a sweet Chinese phrase that means “Hold hands with you, grow old with you.”

Facing the Wall Nine Years

 miàn bì jiǔ nián
 menpeki kyunen
Facing the Wall Nine Years Scroll

面壁九年 is a Buddhist term that means “facing a wall for nine years.”

This refers to the Bodhidharma who stared at a wall in meditation at the Shaolin Temple (or in a cave) for nine years until reaching full enlightenment.

The Old Way / Old School

 kodou
The Old Way / Old School Scroll

古道 is the Japanese word meaning “The Old Way.” The first character means old or ancient. The second character means “the way” and is the same character as used in Taoism / Daoism (Taoism literally means “the way”).

This second character can also be translated as “method,” as in a way of doing things.

古道 is sometimes Romanized as “Kodo,” though officially, the Romaji should be “Kodou.”

My Japanese-English dictionary further translates this word as the old road, ancient methods, ancient moral teachings, and the way of learning.

Note that this would be understood differently in Chinese. Most Chinese people would just read this as “The old road” without the other meanings derived in Japanese.

Old, But More Vigorous in Spirit

Age is just a number

 lǎo dāng yì zhuàng
Old, But More Vigorous in Spirit Scroll

老當益壯 is a Chinese proverb that means “old but vigorous” or “hale and hearty despite the years.”

Said of someone who is more spirited when he/she grows older.

The story behind this Chinese proverb:

In the Eastern Han Dynasty, there was a man named Ma Yuan. He had been planning to herd animals on the frontier since he was young. When he grew up, Ma became a minor official of a county.

Once, he was sending some prisoners to another location. He felt pity for them, so he set them free, and then he fled to another county in the north. He herded animals there, and thus his dream came true. He always said: “If you want to be a great man, the poorer you are, the firmer in spirit you have to be; the older you are, the more spirited you should be.”

Later, when he was even older, Ma Yuan became a famous general of the Eastern Han Dynasty and contributed to many battles.

Learn New Ways From Old / Onkochishin

New ideas coming from past history

 wēn gù zhī xīn
 on ko chi shin
Learn New Ways From Old / Onkochishin Scroll

溫故知新 is a proverb from Confucius that is used in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cultures.

It can be translated in several ways:
Coming up with new ideas based on things learned in the past.
Examine things of the past, and obtain new knowledge.
Developing new ideas based on the study of the past.
Gain new insights through restudying old issues.
Understand the present by reviewing the past.
Learning from the past.
Review the old and know the new.
Taking a lesson from the past.
Taking a lesson from the wisdom of the ancients.
Follow the old ways.

The direct translation would be, “By asking old things, know new things.”
The Character meanings breakdown this way:
溫故 = ask old
知新 = know new

Explained: To learn new things that are outside of your experience, you can learn from old things of the past. You can find wisdom in history.


溫 VS. 温

Note: Japanese use a variant of the first Kanji in modern times.
Therefore if you order this from a Japanese calligrapher, expect the first Kanji to look like 温 instead of 溫.

In addition to 温故知新 as mentioned above, this is sometimes written as 温古知新 in Japan.

Retro / Old School

 fù gǔ
 fukko
Retro / Old School Scroll

The meaning of 復古 can vary depending on the context. It used to mean a return to the old ways.

It can also mean “to turn back the clock,” “retro” (fashion style based on nostalgia, esp. for the 1960s), “revival,” or “restoration.”

The return to “the old ways” was also an aspiration of Confucius about 2500 years ago. This proves that “going retro” or “old school” has been cool since at least 500 B.C.

Birth Old-Age Sickness Death

Born to Suffer

 shēng lǎo bìng sǐ
 shou rou byou shi
Birth Old-Age Sickness Death Scroll

生老病死 means “to be born, to grow old, to get sick and to die” or “birth, aging, sickness, and death.”

This is an old somewhat-morbid Chinese proverb that is also used in Korean and Japanese. It figuratively means the fate of humankind (i.e. mortality) or suggests that we are all born to suffer.

In the Buddhist context, there are the “four inevitables in human life” or “four afflictions that are the lot of every human” known as “四苦” (literally “four afflictions”). Sometimes this proverb is written with that affliction character, 苦, at the end like 生老病死苦.

Teacher / Master / Old Sage

 lǎo shī
Teacher / Master / Old Sage Scroll

老師 directly translates as “old teacher,” “old master,” or “old sage.”

Together, they are understood as “teacher.” When you think about that, also realize that with age comes respect in Asian cultures. So calling someone old is a term of respect (not like the way we mean it in English). You could replace “old” with “respected” and be closer to how this is meant in Chinese.

Teachers, in general, are more respected by their students and the population in China. When I was a teacher in China, I certainly felt that.

This term is also used for masters of certain fields. For instance, a master calligrapher would respectfully be addressed as a “teacher.” In this case, “master” and “teacher” are synonymous.

Other artists (especially those who are famous or accomplished) should be addressed with this term. Also, some martial arts schools use this term of respect for their masters/teachers/instructors.


This title is recognized in Japanese as "roushi" with the same meaning but it’s rarely used in Japan.

The White Hairs of Old Age

Until death do us part

 bái tóu xié lǎo
The White Hairs of Old Age Scroll

白頭偕老 is a Chinese proverb that means (to live together until the) white hairs of old age.

This is the Chinese way of saying “to live to a ripe old age in conjugal bliss” or “until death do us part.”

You are only as old as you feel

You're only old if you think you're old

 bú pà rén lǎo zhǐ pà xīn lǎo
You are only as old as you feel Scroll

不怕人老只怕心老 literally translates as: Do not be concerned about being old; be concerned about a mind which is old.

Figuratively, this means: You are not as old as you look, you are only as old as you think you are.




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

Title CharactersRomaji (Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
One Day Seems Like 1000 Years一日千秋ichi jitsu sen shuu
ichijitsusenshuu
ichi jitsu sen shu
yí rì qiān qiū
yi2 ri4 qian1 qiu1
yi ri qian qiu
yiriqianqiu
i jih ch`ien ch`iu
ijihchienchiu
i jih chien chiu
100 Years of Happy Marriage百年好合bǎi nián hǎo hé
bai3 nian2 hao3 he2
bai nian hao he
bainianhaohe
pai nien hao ho
painienhaoho
The one who retreats 50 paces mocks the one to retreats 100五十步笑百步wù shí bù xiào bǎi bù
wu4 shi2 bu4 xiao4 bai3 bu4
wu shi bu xiao bai bu
wushibuxiaobaibu
wu shih pu hsiao pai pu
wushihpuhsiaopaipu
Growing Old Together偕老kairou / kairoxié lǎo / xie2 lao3 / xie lao / xielaohsieh lao / hsiehlao
Hold Hands with You, Grow Old with You執子之手與子偕老
执子之手与子偕老
zhí zǐ zhī shǒu yǔ zǐ xié lǎo
zhi2 zi3 zhi1 shou3 yu3 zi3 xie2 lao3
zhi zi zhi shou yu zi xie lao
zhizizhishouyuzixielao
chih tzu chih shou yü tzu hsieh lao
Facing the Wall Nine Years面壁九年menpeki kyunen
menpekikyunen
miàn bì jiǔ nián
mian4 bi4 jiu3 nian2
mian bi jiu nian
mianbijiunian
mien pi chiu nien
mienpichiunien
The Old Way
Old School
古道kodou / kodo
Old, But More Vigorous in Spirit老當益壯
老当益壮
lǎo dāng yì zhuàng
lao3 dang1 yi4 zhuang4
lao dang yi zhuang
laodangyizhuang
lao tang i chuang
laotangichuang
Learn New Ways From Old
Onkochishin
溫故知新
温故知新
on ko chi shin
onkochishin
wēn gù zhī xīn
wen1 gu4 zhi1 xin1
wen gu zhi xin
wenguzhixin
wen ku chih hsin
wenkuchihhsin
Retro
Old School
復古
复古
fukko / fukofù gǔ / fu4 gu3 / fu gu / fugufu ku / fuku
Birth Old-Age Sickness Death生老病死shou rou byou shi
shouroubyoushi
sho ro byo shi
shēng lǎo bìng sǐ
sheng1 lao3 bing4 si3
sheng lao bing si
shenglaobingsi
sheng lao ping ssu
shenglaopingssu
Teacher
Master
Old Sage
老師
老师
lǎo shī / lao3 shi1 / lao shi / laoshilao shih / laoshih
The White Hairs of Old Age白頭偕老
白头偕老
bái tóu xié lǎo
bai2 tou2 xie2 lao3
bai tou xie lao
baitouxielao
pai t`ou hsieh lao
paitouhsiehlao
pai tou hsieh lao
You are only as old as you feel不怕人老隻怕心老
不怕人老只怕心老
bú pà rén lǎo zhǐ pà xīn lǎo
bu2 pa4 ren2 lao3 zhi3 pa4 xin1 lao3
bu pa ren lao zhi pa xin lao
buparenlaozhipaxinlao
pu p`a jen lao chih p`a hsin lao
pupajenlaochihpahsinlao
pu pa jen lao chih pa hsin lao
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.


Dictionary

Lookup 50 Years Old in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary


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A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

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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.

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