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This proverb or idiom suggests that the pursuit self-improvement is eternal. It can also be a suggestion to strive unremittingly in life.
The first two characters mean inner-strength with the idea of self-improvement. The last two characters mean "never rest" or "striving without giving up."
Some will translate these four characters as, "Exert and strive hard without any let up."
內力 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."
內力 is kind of a Kung Fu way of talking about an inner power or strength from within. 內力 is sort of a way to express "inner-chi." 內力 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.
內在力量 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). 內在力量 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.
自強 is the kind of inner-strength that applies to a person who has will-power and can inspire themselves to do great things.
自強 can also be the creed of a person that always pursues self-improvement.
Other translations: self-strengthening, striving for improvement, self-improvement, strive to become stronger, and self-renewal.
This Japanese proverb literally translates as "inner/internal strength/power [versus] outward-appearance [the] merit/virtue/good quality [does] excel/surpass/exceed/outweigh."
More naturally in English, this would be "Inner Strength Outweighs Outward Appearance."
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
表壯不如里壯 literally translates as: [Better to be] strong inside than [to be] strong outside.
The ancient original meaning was:
[An] able [husband] outside [working to support a family is] not as good as [an] able [wife] inside [working and saving to take care of the family].
The current meaning is:
Inner strength is more important than outward appearance.
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.
堅忍 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.
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.
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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji(Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Always Striving for Inner Strength||自強不息|
|zì qiáng bú xī|
zi4 qiang2 bu2 xi1
zi qiang bu xi
|tzu ch`iang pu hsi
tzu chiang pu hsi
|nai ryoku / nairyoku||nèi lì / nei4 li4 / nei li / neili|
|nèi zài lì liàng|
nei4 zai4 li4 liang4
nei zai li liang
|nei tsai li liang
|zì qiáng / zi4 qiang2 / zi qiang / ziqiang||tzu ch`iang / tzuchiang / tzu chiang|
|Inner Strength is Better than|
|内面の強さは外見の良さに勝る||naimen no tsuyosa ha gaiken no yosa ni masaru|
|Inner Strength is Better than Outward Appearance||表壯不如里壯|
|biǎo zhuàng bù rú lǐ zhuàng|
biao3 zhuang4 bu4 ru2 li3 zhuang4
biao zhuang bu ru li zhuang
|piao chuang pu ju li chuang
Inner Well-Being and Health
|內健||nèi jiàn / nei4 jian4 / nei jian / neijian||nei chien / neichien|
|ken nin / kennin||jiǎn rěn / jian3 ren3 / jian ren / jianren||chien jen / chienjen|
|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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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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