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8. No Fear
Single Character for Courage
勇 can be translated as bravery, courage, valor, or fearless in Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
勇 is the simplest form to express courage or bravery, as there is also a two character form which starts with this same character.
勇 can also be translated as brave, daring, fearless, plucky or heroic.
This is also a virtue of the Samurai Warrior
See our page with just Code of the Samurai / Bushido here
勇氣 is one of several ways to express bravery and courage in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
This version is the most spiritual. 勇氣 is the essence of bravery from deep within your being. 勇氣 is the mental state of being brave versus actual brave behavior. You'd more likely use this to say, "He is very courageous", rather than "He fought courageously in the battle".
The first character also means bravery or courage when it's seen alone. With the second character added, an element of energy or spirit is added. The second character is the same "chi" or "qi" energy that Kung Fu masters focus when they strike. For this reason, you could say this means "spirit of courage" or "brave spirit".
勇氣 is certainly a stronger word than just the first character alone.
Beyond bravery or courage, dictionaries also translate this word as valor/valour, nerve, audacity, daring, pluck, plucky, gallantry, guts, gutsy and boldness.
勇氣 is also one of the 8 key concepts of tang soo do.
While the version shown to the left is commonly used in Chinese and Korean Hanja (and ancient Japanese Kanji), please note that the second character is written with slightly fewer strokes in modern Japanese. If you want the modern Japanese version, please click on the character to the right. Both styles would be understood by native Chinese, Japanese, and many (but not all) Korean people. You should make your selection based on the intended audience for your calligraphy artwork. Or pick the single-character form of bravery/courage which is universal.
Courage in the face of Fear
勇敢 is about courage or bravery in the face of fear.
You do the right thing even when it is hard or scary. When you are courageous, you don't give up. You try new things. You admit mistakes. This kind of courage is the willingness to take action in the face of danger and peril.
勇敢 can also be translated as braveness, valor, heroic, fearless, boldness, prowess, gallantry, audacity, daring, dauntless and/or courage in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. This version of bravery/courage can be an adjective or a noun. The first character means bravery and courage by itself. The second character means "daring" by itself. The second character just emphasizes the meaning of the first but adds an idea that you are not afraid of taking a dare, and you are not afraid of danger.
勇敢 is more about brave behavior and not so much the mental state of being brave. You'd more likely use this to say, "He fought courageously in the battle", rather than "He is very courageous".
見義勇為 means courage to do what is right in Chinese.
This could also be translated as, "Never hesitate to do what is right".
This comes from Confucian thought:
It’s best for your courage to head in an honorable direction. For example, you should take to action when the goal is to attain a just result as without honorable intent, a person’s gutsy fervor can easily lead them astray.
One who flaunts courage but disregards justice is bound to do wrong; someone who possesses both courage and morality, is destined to become a hero.
Some text above paraphrased from The World of Chinese - The Character of 勇
破浪 can be translated from Chinese as "braving the waves" or "bravely setting sail".
It literally means: "break/cleave/cut [the] waves".
破浪 is a great title to encourage yourself or someone else not to be afraid of problems or troubles.
Because of the context, this is especially good for sailors or yachtsmen and surfers too.
Note: While this can be understood in Japanese, it's not commonly used in Japan. Therefore, please consider this to be primarily a Chinese proverb.
恐れず is probably the best way to express "No Fear" in Japanese.
The first Kanji and following Hiragana character create a word that means: to fear, to be afraid of, frightened, or terrified.
The last Hiragana character serves to modify and negate the first word (put it in negative form). Basically, they carry a meaning like "without" or "keeping away". 恐れず is almost like the English modifier "-less".
Altogether, you get something like, "Without Fear" or "Fearless".
Here's an example of using this in a sentence: 彼女かのじょは思い切ったことを恐れずにやる。
Translation: She is not scared of taking big risks.
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
This literally means "No Fear". But perhaps not the most natural Chinese phrase (see our other "No Fear" phrase for a more complete thought). However, this two-character version of "No Fear" seems to be a very popular way to translate this into Chinese, when we checked Chinese Google.
Note: This also means "No Fear" in Japanese and Korean but this character pair is not often used in Japan or Korea.
This term appears in various Chinese dictionaries with definitions like "without fear", intrepidity, fearless, dauntless, and bold.
In Buddhist context, this is a word derived from abhaya meaning: Fearless, dauntless, secure, nothing and nobody to fear. Also from vīra meaning: courageous, bold.
While difficult to translate, "No guts no glory", into Mandarin Chinese, 無勇不榮 is kind of close.
The first two characters mean, "without bravery", or "without courage". In this case, bravery/courage is a stand-in for "guts".
The last two characters mean, "no glory".
The idea that guts (internal organs) is somehow equal to courage, does not crossover to Chinese. However, translating the phrase back from Chinese to English, you get, "No Courage, No Glory", which is pretty close to the intended idea.
Can mean: Courage / Bravery
In Chinese, Japanese, and old Korean, this can often be confused or read as a short name for England (this character is the first syllable of the word for England, the English language, British Pound, and other titles from the British Isles).
In some context, this can mean "outstanding" or even "flower". But it will most often read as having something to do with the United Kingdom.
This is not the most common way to say hero, courage or bravery but you may see it used sometimes.
I strongly recommend that you choose another form of courage/bravery.
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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|
|勇||isamu / yu-||yǒng / yong3 / yong||yung|
勇气 / 勇気
|yuuki / yuki||yǒng qì / yong3 qi4 / yong qi / yongqi||yung ch`i / yungchi / yung chi|
|勇敢||yuu kan / yuukan / yu kan||yǒng gǎn / yong3 gan3 / yong gan / yonggan||yung kan / yungkan|
|Courage to do what is right||見義勇為|
|jiàn yì yǒng wéi|
jian4 yi4 yong3 wei2
jian yi yong wei
|chien i yung wei
|Brave the Waves||破浪||ha rou / harou / ha ro||pò làng / po4 lang4 / po lang / polang||p`o lang / polang / po lang|
|勇往直前||yǒng wǎng zhí qián|
yong3 wang3 zhi2 qian2
yong wang zhi qian
|yung wang chih ch`ien
yung wang chih chien
|Fortune favors the brave||勇者は幸運に恵まれる||yuusha ha kouun ni megumareru |
yusha ha koun ni megumareru
|Inspire with redoubled courage||勇気百倍||yuuki hyaku bai|
yuki hyaku bai
|Strength and Courage||力と勇氣|
|riki to yu ki|
|No Fear||恐れず||oso re zu / osorezu|
|mui||wú wèi / wu2 wei4 / wu wei / wuwei|
|No Guts, No Glory||無勇不榮|
|wú yǒng bù róng|
wu2 yong3 bu4 rong2
wu yong bu rong
|wu yung pu jung
|England||英||ei||yīng / ying1 / ying|
|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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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.
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