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Darkness in Chinese / Japanese...

Buy a Darkness calligraphy wall scroll here!

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


  1. Darkness

  2. The Night is Darkest Before the Dawn

  3. You must endure a harsh winter to appreciate the warmth of springtime

  4. Comparison Leads to Truth and Enlightenment


Darkness

an koku
Darkness Scroll

暗黒 is the two-character Japanese word for darkness.

The first Kanji can mean unilluminated, dark, gloomy, hidden, secret.
The second character means black or dark.

Together, these two Kanji will be understood as dark or darkness.

Darkness

hēi àn
Darkness Scroll

黑闇 is the two-character Chinese word for darkness.

The first character alone means black or dark.

The second character has several possible meanings, depending on context; They include: to shut the door, unilluminated, dark, gloomy, hidden, secret.

Together, these two characters will, in most cases, simply be translated as "dark" or "darkness".

Darkness

àn
yami
Darkness Scroll

闇 is the shortest and universal way (in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja) to write "darkness".

In Chinese this can mean: dark, gloomy, hidden, secret, to shut the door, unilluminated.

In Japanese this can mean: darkness, the dark, black-marketeering, dark, shady, illegal.

In old Korean Hanja this can mean: dark, obscure, hidden, secret.


暗 Note that there is an alternate form of this character. It is used as an alternate in all three languages (that rarely happens). You can see this alternate version to the right. If you want to order that version, please click on that character, instead of the button above.

The Night is Darkest Before the Dawn

lí míng qián de hēi àn
The Night is Darkest Before the Dawn Scroll

This is the most natural way to write, "The night is darkest before the dawn", in Chinese.

The words break down this way by meaning this way:
1.黎明 dawn / daybreak
2.前 before / in front / ago / former / previous / earlier / front
3.的 (possessive particle) / of
4.黑暗 dark / darkly / darkness

If you try to understand the Chinese word order and grammar, it's like, "Before dawn, is the darkest [time]".

You must endure a harsh winter to appreciate the warmth of springtime

You must know hardship to appreciate happiness
bù jīng dōng hán bù zhī chūn nuǎn
You must endure a harsh winter to appreciate the warmth of springtime Scroll

This literally translates as: Without having experienced the cold of winter, one cannot appreciate the warmth of spring.

Figuratively, this means: One cannot truly appreciate happiness without having gone through hardship.

There are many contrasts in life. One simply cannot fully know what joy is without having experienced misery, difficulty, and pain. How could you explain "light" if you did not have "darkness" to compare it to?

Embrace hardship, as it makes the good times seem even better.

Comparison Leads to Truth and Enlightenment

bù bǐ bù zhī dào yī bǐ xià yì tiào
Comparison Leads to Truth and Enlightenment Scroll

This Chinese proverb literally means: [If one not does] not make comparisons, [one will] not know [the truth] when [one] compares, [one will be] greatly surprised.

This goes to the idea that if you do not know bad times, you cannot know what good times are.
...And...
You can not know light without experiencing darkness.

Another way to translate this would be: If you wish to be enlightened, you need to make comparisons and analyze every aspect (of a situation, issue or problem).


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

Title CharactersRomaji (Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Darkness暗黒an koku / ankoku
Darkness黑闇
黑暗
hēi àn / hei1 an4 / hei an / heian
Darkness
yamiàn / an4 / an
The Night is Darkest Before the Dawn黎明前的黑暗lí míng qián de hēi àn
li2 ming2 qian2 de hei1 an4
li ming qian de hei an
limingqiandeheian
li ming ch`ien te hei an
limingchienteheian
li ming chien te hei an
You must endure a harsh winter to appreciate the warmth of springtime不經冬寒不知春暖
不经冬寒不知春暖
bù jīng dōng hán bù zhī chūn nuǎn
bu4 jing1 dong1 han2 bu4 zhi1 chun1 nuan3
bu jing dong han bu zhi chun nuan
pu ching tung han pu chih ch`un nuan
pu ching tung han pu chih chun nuan
Comparison Leads to Truth and Enlightenment不比不知道一比嚇一跳
不比不知道一比吓一跳
bù bǐ bù zhī dào yī bǐ xià yì tiào
bu4 bi3 bu4 zhi1 dao4 yi1 bi3 xia4 yi4 tiao4
bu bi bu zhi dao yi bi xia yi tiao
pu pi pu chih tao i pi hsia i t`iao
pu pi pu chih tao i pi hsia i tiao
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...


Comparison Leads to Truth and Enlightenment Scroll
Comparison Leads to Truth and Enlightenment Scroll
Comparison Leads to Truth and Enlightenment Scroll
Comparison Leads to Truth and Enlightenment Scroll


And formats...

Comparison Leads to Truth and Enlightenment Vertical Portrait
Comparison Leads to Truth and Enlightenment Horizontal Wall Scroll
Comparison Leads to Truth and Enlightenment Vertical Portrait
Dictionary

Lookup Darkness in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary


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A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

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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.

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

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