Broken in Chinese / Japanese...

Buy a Broken calligraphy wall scroll here!

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


  1. Broken Hearted

  2. Broken Mirror Rejoined

  3. Lost Soul

  4. Unbreakable

  5. Death Before Dishonor

  6. Bond

  7. You May Learn from Victory, You Will Learn from Failure

  8. Indomitable Spirit

  9. Iron Palm

10. Death Before Dishonor

11. Lingering Mind


Broken Hearted

shī liàn
shitsuren
Broken Hearted Scroll

In Chinese, this can mean to lose one's love; to break up (in a romantic relationship); to feel jilted.

In Japanese Kanji, this means disappointed love, broken heart, unrequited love, or being lovelorn.

失戀 is also valid in old Korean Hanja, where is means unrequited love, unreturned love, a disappointment in love, or a broken heart.

Note: In modern Japan, they will tend to write the more simple 失恋 form instead of 失戀. If you order this from the Japanese master calligrapher, expect the more simple modern version to be written (unless you give us instructions to use the older or more traditional version).

Broken Mirror Rejoined

Used in modern times for divorced couples that come back together

pò jìng chóng yuán
Broken Mirror Rejoined Scroll

A husband and wife separated and reunited.

About 1500 years ago in China, there lived a beautiful princess named Le Chang. She and her husband Xu De Yan loved each other very much. But when the army of the Sui Dynasty was about to attack their kingdom, disposed of all of their worldly possessions and prepared to flee into exile.

They knew that in the chaos, they might lose track of each other, so the one possession they kept was a bronze mirror which is a symbol of unity for a husband and wife. They broke the mirror into two pieces, and each of them kept half of the mirror. They decided that if separated, they would try to meet in the fair during the 15th day of the first lunar month (which is the lantern festival). Unfortunately, the occupation was brutal, and the princess was forced to become the mistress of the new commissioner of the territory, Yang Su.

At the Lantern Festival the next year, the husband came to the fair to search for his wife. He carried with him, his half of the mirror. As he walked through the fair, he saw the other half of the mirror for sale at a junk market by a servant of the commissioner. The husband recognized his wife's half of the mirror immediately, and tears rolled down his face as he was told by the servant about the bitter and loveless life that the princess had endured.

As his tears dripped onto the mirror, the husband scratched a poem into his wife's half of the mirror:


You left me with the severed mirror,
The mirror has returned but absent are you,
As I gaze in the mirror I seek your face,
I see the moon but as for you, I see not a trace.


The servant brought the inscribed half of the mirror back to the princess. For many days, the princess could not stop crying when she found that her husband was alive and still loved her.

Commissioner Yang Su, becoming aware of this saga realized that he could never obtain the love of the princess. He sent for the husband and allowed them to reunite.

This proverb, 破鏡重圓, is now used to describe a couple who has been torn apart for some reason (usually divorce) but have come back together (or remarried).
It seems to be more common these days in America for divorced couples to reconcile and get married to each other again. This would be a great gift if you know someone who is about to remarry their ex.

sàng hún shī pò
Lost Soul Scroll

This Chinese idiom means, "lost soul, vanished spirit".

It relays a feeling of being distraught, at a loss, or heart-broken.

kowa re na i
Unbreakable Scroll

壊れない means unbreakable in Japanese.

The first two characters mean to be broken; to break; to fall through; to come to nothing. But the last two characters create a negative meaning (like adding "un-" to "breakable").


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


See Also:  Indomitable Spirit

Death Before Dishonor

Better to be broken jade than unbroken pottery

níng wéi yù suì
Death Before Dishonor Scroll

寧為玉碎 is the short version of a longer Chinese proverb which means, "rather be shattered piece of jade than an unbroken piece of pottery".

寧為玉碎 just say the "rather be a broken piece of jade" part (the second half is implied - everyone in China knows this idiom).

A little more explanation:
Death is implied with the "broken" meaning. Jade is one of the most precious materials in Chinese history, and in this case is compared with one's honor and self-worth. Pottery is just something you eat off of, it has no deep value, just as a person who has lost their honor, or had none to begin with.
Thus, this means, "better to die with honor than to live in shame" or words to that effect.

寧為玉碎 is often translated in English as "Death Before Dishonor", the famous military slogan.

I would also compare this to the English proverb, "Better to die on your feet than live on your knees".

bàn
kizuna
Bond Scroll

This Kanji represents a bond, as in the bond between mother and daughter, father and son, family ties, or a family bond.

絆 is the kind of character that says, no matter what happens (difficult times), we have this bond that cannot be broken.

If you go to the Japanese dictionary, the definition is: bonds (between people); (emotional) ties; relationship; connection; link; tether; fetters.



Read this before ordering...
This Kanji is best if your audience is Japanese. While this is also a Chinese character, it has a completely different meaning in Chinese (it means to hinder or stumble in Chinese). it’s a very rare character in Korean Hanja but does mean bond in Korean (used in Korean words for certain kinds of glue and sticking plaster).

You May Learn from Victory, You Will Learn from Failure

bǎi shèng nán lǜ dí sān zhé nǎi liáng yī
You May Learn from Victory, You Will Learn from Failure Scroll

This Chinese proverb literally translates as: [Even a general who has won a] hundred victories [may be] hard put to see through the enemy's [strategy], [but one who has] broken [his] arm three [times] [will] be a good doctor.

Figuratively, this means: One cannot always depend on past successes to guarantee future success but one can always learn from lessons drawn from failure.


See Also:  Failure - Mother of Success | Experience - Mother of Success | Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8 | Hard Knocks

Indomitable Spirit

Korean Only

bǎi shé bù qū
Indomitable Spirit Scroll

This Korean proverb means "indomitable spirit", at least, that is the way it is commonly translated in martial arts circles (Taekwondo, Hapkido, etc.).

The literal translation is "[one] hundred [times] broken [still] don't succumb".
Or more naturally translated, "Even if attacked/beaten one hundred times, still be undaunted/indomitable".

Notes:
Some will say this is one long word rather than a proverb.
百折不屈 is also a proverb/word in Chinese though rarely used in modern times.

tiě zhǎng
tetsu-tenohira
Iron Palm Scroll

These two characters mean "iron palm", the martial arts technique taught by Brian Gray and others.

This term can mean different things to different people. The consensus is that rather than a type or style of martial arts, this is a technique for refining hand position and strengthening of hands to strike blows for with maximum force and effect.

The regime may include herbal treatments and special exercises to fortify the hands.

In more extreme versions, the carpals and metacarpal bones in the hand are systematically broken, so that when they heal, they will become stronger.

Japanese note: This does make sense in Japanese (though the version shown above is the ancient form of the first Kanji) this is far from a commonly-known term.

Death Before Dishonor

Better to be broken jade than unbroken pottery

níng wéi yù suì bù wéi wǎ quán
Death Before Dishonor Scroll

寧為玉碎不為瓦全 is the long version of a Chinese proverb which means, "rather be shattered piece of jade than an unbroken piece of pottery".

A little more explanation:
Death is implied with the "broken" meaning. Jade is one of the most precious materials in Chinese history, and in this case is compared with one's honor and self-worth. Pottery is just something you eat off of, it has no deep value, just as a person who has lost their honor, or had none to begin with.
Thus, this means, "better to die with honor than to live in shame" or words to that effect.

寧為玉碎不為瓦全 is often translated in English as "Death Before Dishonor", the famous military slogan.

I would also compare this to the English proverb, "Better to die on your feet than live on your knees".


This is an idiom. It therefore doesn’t directly say exactly what it means. If you think about the English idiom, "The grass is always greener," it does not directly say "jealousy" or "envy" but everyone knows that it is implied.

Lingering Mind

Zanshin

cán xīn
zan shin
Lingering Mind Scroll

First off, this should only be used in context of Japanese martial arts. In Chinese, it's a rather sad title (like a broken heart). In Chinese, the first character alone means destroyed, spoiled, ruined, injured, cruel, oppressive, savage, incomplete, disabled. However, in Japanese, it's remainder, leftover, balance, or lingering.
The second character means heart, mind, soul, or essence in both languages.

殘心 is one of the five spirits of the warrior (budo), and is often used as a Japanese martial arts tenet. Under that context, places such as the Budo Dojo define it this way: The spirit of zanshin is the state of the remaining or lingering spirit. It is often described as a sustained and heightened state of awareness and mental follow-through. However, true zanshin is a state of focus or concentration before, during, and after the execution of a technique, where a link or connection between uke and nage is preserved. Zanshin is the state of mind that allows us to stay spiritually connected, not only to a single attacker but to multiple attackers and even an entire context; a space, a time, an event.


残In modern Japan (and Simplified Chinese), they use a different version of the first character, as seen to the right. Click on this character to the right instead of the button above if you want this modern Japanese version of lingering mind / zanshin.


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

Title CharactersRomaji (Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Broken Hearted失戀
失恋
shitsurenshī liàn / shi1 lian4 / shi lian / shilianshih lien / shihlien
Broken Mirror Rejoined破鏡重圓
破镜重圆
pò jìng chóng yuán
po4 jing4 chong2 yuan2
po jing chong yuan
pojingchongyuan
p`o ching ch`ung yüan
pochingchungyüan
po ching chung yüan
Lost Soul喪魂失魄
丧魂失魄
sàng hún shī pò
sang4 hun2 shi1 po4
sang hun shi po
sanghunshipo
sang hun shih p`o
sanghunshihpo
sang hun shih po
Unbreakable壊れないkowa re na i
kowarenai
Death Before Dishonor寧為玉碎
宁为玉碎
níng wéi yù suì
ning2 wei2 yu4 sui4
ning wei yu sui
ningweiyusui
ning wei yü sui
ningweiyüsui
Bond
kizunabàn / ban4 / banpan
You May Learn from Victory, You Will Learn from Failure百勝難慮敵三折乃良醫
百胜难虑敌三折乃良医
bǎi shèng nán lǜ dí sān zhé nǎi liáng yī
bai3 sheng4 nan2 lv4 di2 san1 zhe2 nai3 liang2 yi1
bai sheng nan lv di san zhe nai liang yi
pai sheng nan lü ti san che nai liang i
Indomitable Spirit百折不屈bǎi shé bù qū
bai3 she2 bu4 qu1
bai she bu qu
baishebuqu
pai she pu ch`ü
paishepuchü
pai she pu chü
Iron Palm鐵掌
铁掌
tetsu-tenohiratiě zhǎng
tie3 zhang3
tie zhang
tiezhang
t`ieh chang
tiehchang
tieh chang
Death Before Dishonor寧為玉碎不為瓦全
宁为玉碎不为瓦全
níng wéi yù suì bù wéi wǎ quán
ning2 wei2 yu4 sui4 bu4 wei2 wa3 quan2
ning wei yu sui bu wei wa quan
ningweiyusuibuweiwaquan
ning wei yü sui pu wei wa ch`üan
ning wei yü sui pu wei wa chüan
Lingering Mind殘心
残心
zan shin / zanshincán xīn / can2 xin1 / can xin / canxints`an hsin / tsanhsin / tsan hsin
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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Lingering Mind Scroll
Lingering Mind Scroll
Lingering Mind Scroll
Lingering Mind Scroll


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Lingering Mind Vertical Portrait
Lingering Mind Horizontal Wall Scroll
Lingering Mind Vertical Portrait
Dictionary

Lookup Broken in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary


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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.


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.

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