Tiger in Chinese / Japanese...

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


  1. Tiger

  2. White Tiger

  3. How can you catch tiger cubs without entering the lair of the tiger?

  4. Fire Tiger

  5. Fierce Tiger

  6. Water Tiger

  7. The Spirit of Dragon and Tiger

  8. Tiger Heart

  9. Dragon Crane Tiger

10. Black Tiger Fist

11. Tiger Rumor

12. Hidden Dragon Crouching Tiger

13. The Spirit of the Dragon Horse and Power of a Tiger

14. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

15. The Five Animals


Tiger

Year of the Tiger / Zodiac Sign

tora
Tiger Scroll

虎 is the character for tiger in Chinese, old Korean Hanja, and Japanese Kanji.

Since you already know what a tiger is, here's some trivia: If you look at the Japanese pronunciation, you might remember a movie called “Tora Tora Tora” which was the code word used to initiate the attack on Pearl Harbor. It simply means “Tiger Tiger Tiger.”

In Chinese culture, the tiger is considered to be the king of all animals (in much the way we see the lion in western culture).

From the Chinese Zodiac, if you were born in the year of the tiger, you . . .

Have a strong personality.
Are full of self-confidence.
Love adventure
Don't like to obey others.


See also our Chinese Zodiac or Tiger Calligraphy pages.

bái hǔ
byakko / hakko
White Tiger Scroll

白虎 is the title “White Tiger” in Chinese, Japanese, and old Korean Hanja.

In Chinese folklore, the White Tiger rules or represents the seven mansions (constellations) of the western sky. However, in modern Chinese, a “white tiger” is also slang for hairless female genitalia (be careful about this, as Chinese men might secretly laugh or snicker when they see your white tiger wall scroll).

In Japanese folklore, the White Tiger is a god said to rule over the western heavens. They also know of the Chinese seven mansions of the western heavens. In Japanese, this can also be the given name Byakko.

How can you catch tiger cubs without entering the lair of the tiger?

Nothing ventured, nothing gained

bú rù hǔ xué yān dé hǔ zǐ
How can you catch tiger cubs without entering the lair of the tiger? Scroll

While perhaps no longer politically correct, this Chinese proverb is a reminder that you must take risks if you want rewards.

不入虎穴焉得虎子 is similar to the English proverb, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

The literal word order of the Chinese is, “If (you) don't enter the tiger's lair/cave, how can (you) get/obtain tiger cubs?.”

How can you catch tiger cubs without entering the lair of the tiger?

Nothing ventured, nothing gained

koketsu ni haira zun ba tora ko o e zu
How can you catch tiger cubs without entering the lair of the tiger? Scroll

虎穴に入らずんば虎子を得ず is the Japanese version of an ancient Chinese proverb. 虎穴に入らずんば虎子を得ず is a reminder that you must take risks if you want the reward.

虎穴に入らずんば虎子を得ず is similar to the English proverb, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”


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

huǒ hǔ
hi tora
Fire Tiger Scroll

火虎 is the Chinese and Japanese title for “fire tiger.”

If you were born between 9 Feb 1986 and 28 Jan 1987, or between 13 Feb 1926 and 1 Feb 1927, you are a fire tiger according to the Chinese Zodiac.

There are 12 animals and 5 elements in the cycle. Therefore, the fire tiger comes around once every 60 years. The next will be in 2046.

The branch of the zodiac for tiger is written 寅 when dating ancient documents and artwork, but 虎 is the way to write the character for an actual tiger.

Fierce Tiger

měng hǔ
mou ko
Fierce Tiger Scroll

猛虎 means “fierce tiger” or “ferocious tiger” in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

shuǐ hǔ
sui ko
Water Tiger Scroll

水虎 means “water tiger” in Chinese and Japanese.

The Spirit of Dragon and Tiger

lóng hǔ jīng shén
ryu ko sei shin
The Spirit of Dragon and Tiger Scroll

龍虎精神 means the spirit of the dragon and tiger.

It speaks to the vitality and vigor that is the nature of these two creatures.

Beyond “spirit,” the last two characters can also mean mind, soul, or heart. Therefore, you can also say this means “Heart of the Dragon and Tiger,” etc.

龍虎精神 is often titled “Ryukoseishin” in many Japanese martial arts.

hǔ xīn
tora kokoro
Tiger Heart Scroll

虎心 is “Tiger Heart” in Chinese and Japanese.

This can be a name and is also a rare and exotic gourmet dish served on occasion in southern China.

Dragon Crane Tiger

lóng hè hǔ
Dragon Crane Tiger Scroll

龍鶴虎 is Dragon Crane Tiger in Chinese.

Black Tiger Fist

hēi hǔ quán
Black Tiger Fist Scroll

黑虎拳 is Hei Hu Quan or “Black Tiger Fist” - a school of Chinese Martial Arts.

sān rén chéng hǔ
Tiger Rumor Scroll

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

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

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

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

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

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

“No,” the king said.

The minister continued, “What if two people told you?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hidden Dragon Crouching Tiger

Undiscovered persons of exceptional ability

cáng lóng wò hǔ
Hidden Dragon Crouching Tiger Scroll

The meaning of 藏龍臥虎 is that both the tiger and dragon have amazing talents, but if they are out of view, you may not have discovered them.

This old Chinese idiom/proverb is appropriate for someone with an amazing ability that keeps that ability hidden.

You might think this title is in reverse, but actually, this is the original Chinese proverb.
The movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, popularized this alternate version.

The Spirit of the Dragon Horse and Power of a Tiger

lóng mǎ jīng shén hǔ hǔ shēng wēi
The Spirit of the Dragon Horse and Power of a Tiger Scroll

龍馬精神虎虎生威 is an old proverb that is used to wish someone great health and success combined as a great compliment.

The meaning is “The vigor and spirit of the legendary dragon-horse and the power and prestige of the tiger.”

By giving a wall scroll like this to someone, you were either wishing or telling them that they have these qualities. There is also a suggestion of good health - at least anyone with the vigor of a dragon horse would seem to also be in good health.

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

wò hǔ cáng lóng
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon Scroll

臥虎藏龍 is the movie title of the Kung Fu epic that was very popular in the west a few years back.

This is a re-ordering of an ancient Chinese proverb that refers to undiscovered talents.

The movie was one of the most popular Chinese foreign films to ever debut in the USA but received a lukewarm reception in China.

Note: This can be pronounced in Korean, but it's not a commonly used term.

The Five Animals

Dragon Snake Tiger Leopard Crane

lóng shé hǔ bào hè
ryuu hebi tora hyou tsuru
The Five Animals Scroll

龍蛇虎豹鶴 is a list of the Chinese characters for the five animals of Shaolin Kung Fu in a comfortable order (meaning that they are in the proper order and will “feel right” to a Chinese person who views this arrangement).




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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
Tigertorahǔ / hu3 / hu
White Tiger白虎byakko / hakko
byako / hako
bái hǔ / bai2 hu3 / bai hu / baihupai hu / paihu
How can you catch tiger cubs without entering the lair of the tiger?不入虎穴焉得虎子bú rù hǔ xué yān dé hǔ zǐ
bu2 ru4 hu3 xue2 yan1 de2 hu3 zi3
bu ru hu xue yan de hu zi
buruhuxueyandehuzi
pu ju hu hsüeh yen te hu tzu
pujuhuhsüehyentehutzu
How can you catch tiger cubs without entering the lair of the tiger?虎穴に入らずんば虎子を得ずkoketsu ni haira zun ba tora ko o e zu
Fire Tiger火虎hi tora / hitorahuǒ hǔ / huo3 hu3 / huo hu / huohu
Fierce Tiger猛虎mou ko / mouko / mo koměng hǔ / meng3 hu3 / meng hu / menghu
Water Tiger水虎sui ko / suikoshuǐ hǔ / shui3 hu3 / shui hu / shuihu
The Spirit of Dragon and Tiger龍虎精神
龙虎精神
ryu ko sei shin
ryukoseishin
lóng hǔ jīng shén
long2 hu3 jing1 shen2
long hu jing shen
longhujingshen
lung hu ching shen
lunghuchingshen
Tiger Heart虎心tora kokoro
torakokoro
hǔ xīn / hu3 xin1 / hu xin / huxinhu hsin / huhsin
Dragon Crane Tiger龍鶴虎
龙鹤虎
lóng hè hǔ
long2 he4 hu3
long he hu
longhehu
lung ho hu
lunghohu
Black Tiger Fist黑虎拳hēi hǔ quán
hei1 hu3 quan2
hei hu quan
heihuquan
hei hu ch`üan
heihuchüan
hei hu chüan
Tiger Rumor三人成虎sān rén chéng hǔ
san1 ren2 cheng2 hu3
san ren cheng hu
sanrenchenghu
san jen ch`eng hu
sanjenchenghu
san jen cheng hu
Hidden Dragon Crouching Tiger藏龍臥虎
藏龙卧虎
cáng lóng wò hǔ
cang2 long2 wo4 hu3
cang long wo hu
canglongwohu
ts`ang lung wo hu
tsanglungwohu
tsang lung wo hu
The Spirit of the Dragon Horse and Power of a Tiger龍馬精神虎虎生威
龙马精神虎虎生威
lóng mǎ jīng shén hǔ hǔ shēng wēi
long2 ma3 jing1 shen2 hu3 hu3 sheng1 wei1
long ma jing shen hu hu sheng wei
lung ma ching shen hu hu sheng wei
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon臥虎藏龍
卧虎藏龙
wò hǔ cáng lóng
wo4 hu3 cang2 long2
wo hu cang long
wohucanglong
wo hu ts`ang lung
wohutsanglung
wo hu tsang lung
The Five Animals龍蛇虎豹鶴
龙蛇虎豹鹤
ryuu hebi tora hyou tsuru
ryuuhebitorahyoutsuru
ryu hebi tora hyo tsuru
lóng shé hǔ bào hè
long2 she2 hu3 bao4 he4
long she hu bao he
longshehubaohe
lung she hu pao ho
lungshehupaoho
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...


The Five Animals Scroll
The Five Animals Scroll
The Five Animals Scroll
The Five Animals Scroll


And formats...

The Five Animals Vertical Portrait
The Five Animals Horizontal Wall Scroll
The Five Animals Vertical Portrait
Dictionary

Lookup Tiger in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary


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

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