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See also: Bushido - Code of the Samurai Warrior
4. Filial Piety
5. First Born
7. Hua Mulan
武士道 is the title for "The Code of the Samurai".
Sometimes called "The Seven Virtues of the Samurai", "The Bushido Code", or "The Samurai Code of Chivalry".
This would be read in Chinese characters, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja as "The Way of the Warrior", "The Warrior's Way", or "The Warrior's Code".
It's a set of virtues that the Samurai of Japan and ancient warriors of China and Korea had to live and die by. However, while known throughout Asia, this title is mostly used in Japan and thought of as being of Japanese origin.
The seven commonly-accepted tenets or virtues of Bushido are: Rectitude 義, Courage 勇, Benevolence 仁, Respect 礼(禮), Honour 名誉, Honesty 誠, and Loyalty 忠実. These tenets were part of an oral history for generations, thus, you will see variations in the list Bushido tenets depending on who you talk to.
This almost directly matches the military idea of "Death Before Dishonor", while also being an ancient Chinese proverb.
The direct meaning is, "[A] soldier/warrior can die/kill [but he/she] cannot [allow] dishonor/disgrace [upon himself/herself]". Chinese grammar, and especially ancient grammar, is a little different than English. Not nearly as many articles are needed, and a lot is implied.
There are a lot of ways to express ideas similar to "Death Before Dishonor" in Chinese, and I would rate this one in the top two.
This is the original form of this proverb with the character for "soldier/warrior" at the beginning. Most of the time, this character is dropped, and this becomes a five-character proverb (the soldier/warrior part is implied, even without the character being present in the proverb). We also offer the shorter version.
The first character means war, warfare, or battle.
The second character means soldier, officer, man or pawn.
戰士 is how to write "fighter" in Chinese, ancient Japanese Kanji and old Korean Hanja. 戰士 can also mean soldier or warrior but there are better terms for those two ideas. This one is more specifically "fighter" or "one who fights". 戰士 is an odd selection for a wall scroll, unless you are a boxer, ultimate fighter, or otherwise participate in combat sports.
Other translations include combatant or champion.
Note that after WWII, the first Kanji was reformed/simplified. This modern Japanese version is shown to the right. If you want this version, click on the Kanji to the right, instead of the button above.
孝 represents filial piety.
Some will define this in more common English as "respect for your parents and ancestors".
孝 is a subject deeply emphasized by the ancient philosophy and teachings of Confucius.
Some have included this in the list for the Bushido, although generally not considered part of the 7 core virtues of the warrior.
Note: 孝 is not the best of meanings when seen along as a single character. Some will read the single-character form to mean "missing my dead ancestors". However, when written at part of Confucian tenets, or in the two-character word that means filial piety, the meaning is better or read differently (context is important for this character).
We suggest one of our other two-character filial piety entries instead of this one.
This Chinese title, Guan Gong means, Lord Guan (The warrior saint of ancient China).
While his real name was Guan Yu / 關羽, he is commonly known by this title of Guan Gong / 關公.
Some Chinese soldiers still pray to Guan Gong for protection. They would especially do this before going into battle. Statues of Guan Gong are seen throughout China.
花木蘭 is the name of the famous Chinese woman warrior Hua Mulan.
She was made famous in the west by Disney's animated movie, "Mulan".
Most of the historical information about her comes from an ancient poem. It starts with a concerned Mulan, as she is told a man from each family is to serve conscription in the army. Her father is too old, and her brother is too young. Mulan decides to take the place of her father. After twelve years of war, the army returns and the best warriors are awarded great posts in the government and riches. Mulan turns down all offers, and asks only for a good horse for the long trip home. When Mulan greets visiting comrades wearing her old clothes, they are shocked to find the warrior they rode into battle with for years was actually a woman.
The idea of "morality of mind" goes along with "wu de" (martial morality or virtues of the warrior).
Here, the first character is a representation of your heart or mind.
The second character refers to morality or virtue.
This can also be translated as "morality of heart", "virtue of heart", or "virtue of the mind".
Note that since ancient times in Asia, the idea of your mind (the place where your soul resides, and your thought originate from) has been associated with the heart. Just as in western culture where we say "it comes from the heart", or "heartfelt emotions", there is a belief that your heart and mind are one and the same (medical science now begs to differ).
The Ronin have no master - The most famous are the 47 ronin created after their Lord committed suicide. This term was not exactly a positive title for the Samurai of ancient Japan. However, in recent years, movies and video games have glorified the term Ronin.
In Chinese, this term has the original meaning of a hobo, vagabond or ruffian.
In Korean Hanja, these characters would be read as adventurer, wanderer, someone without a steady job, or someone who is wasting away time.
In modern Japan, this term is used as a nickname for a high school student who has failed a college entry exam (and is trying again).
In Chinese and Korean, the Japanese definition of "Masterless Samurai" is known because of the historical context, even in Japanese, the literal translation is closer to the Chinese and Korean definitions shown above.
This will make a fine wall scroll if you are a fan of the Ronin, or see yourself as a Ronin of sorts. However, please think twice before getting a Ronin tattoo!
This Character is pronounced "jian" in Chinese. When you say it, imagine that you are making the sound of a sword as it clashes with a metal shield. This might get you closer to the correct pronunciation in Chinese.
I actually wonder if this word came from the metallic ringing sounds of a sword in battle - but such knowledge is lost in history.
The sword is a symbol of a warrior. The one thing that a soldier in ancient China lived and died by. A warrior with his skills and sword proves himself of great value. A warrior who losses his sword instantly becomes worthless.
劍 is an excellent scroll for someone in the military (especially officers of all services - as well as enlisted NCO Marines since they still carry swords even if mainly for ceremonial purposes). Or perhaps someone who practices variations of kung fu or tai chi that involve weapons.
Please note that while this character is understood with the sword meaning in Japanese, you might be looking for the word "katana" which also means sword in Japanese but means "knife" in Chinese.
There are other ways to write sword, and here are a few...
If you are particular about the version you receive, please let me know when you place your order (Note: Special styles are only available from one of our master calligraphers).
We have a forum entry that addresses the many ways to write sword. You can find that here: 100 Ways to Write Sword - Deciphering Ancient Seal Script
巾幗英雄 is a cool and somewhat ancient way to say woman hero in Chinese. 巾幗英雄 is used in modern times to refer to an outstanding woman or a woman with great accomplishments.
In the old days, it was a title for a woman warrior (oh, did I mention that there were great female generals who led huge armies into battle in ancient China?)
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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|
The Way of the Samurai
|武士道||bu shi do / bushido||wǔ shì dào|
wu3 shi4 dao4
wu shi dao
|wu shih tao
|Death Before Dishonor||士可殺不可辱|
|shì kě shā bù kě rǔ|
shi4 ke3 sha1 bu4 ke3 ru3
shi ke sha bu ke ru
|shih k`o sha pu k`o ju
shih ko sha pu ko ju
战士 / 戦士
|sen shi / senshi||zhàn shì / zhan4 shi4 / zhan shi / zhanshi||chan shih / chanshih|
|Filial Piety||孝||kou / ko||xiào / xiao4 / xiao||hsiao|
|First Born||惣領||souryou / soryo|
|huā mù lán|
hua1 mu4 lan2
hua mu lan
|Morality of Mind||心德||xīn dé / xin1 de2 / xin de / xinde||hsin te / hsinte|
|浪人||rou nin / rounin / ro nin / ronin||làng rén / lang4 ren2 / lang ren / langren||lang jen / langjen|
|ken / tsurugi||jiàn / jian4 / jian||chien|
|jīn guó yīng xióng|
jin1 guo2 ying1 xiong2
jin guo ying xiong
|chin kuo ying hsiung
|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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