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Duty and Loyalty in Chinese / Japanese...

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Loyalty to Duty or Master

zhōng
chuu
Loyalty to Duty or Master Scroll

忠 is the simplest way to write the word loyalty in Chinese and Japanese.

A single character like this leaves the meaning open. But alone, a Chinese or Japanese person would think of loyalty to duty or loyalty to one's master (in ancient times). I suppose that it could be loyalty to your boss or company in this day in age.

忠 can also mean fidelity or faithfulness.

This can also be romanized as "chung".

Ultimate Loyalty to Your Country

The most famous tattoo in Chinese history
jìn zhōng bào guó
Ultimate Loyalty to Your Country Scroll

This proverb is the tattoo worn on the back of Yue Fei, a famous Chinese warrior who lived until 1142 A.D.

The tattoo can be translated as "Serve the country with the utmost loyalty". More literally, it means, "[The] Ultimate Loyalty [is too] Duty [of] Country".

Legend has it that this tattoo once saved his life when he was accused of treason.

The first two characters have come to create a word that means "serve the country faithfully" or "die for the country". Note: It's more a willingness to die for one's country than the actual act of dying.

The last two characters have come to mean, "Dedicate oneself to the service of one's country".

Both of these words are probably only in the Chinese lexicon because of this famous tattoo.

If you break it down, character-by-character, here is what you get:
1. To the utmost, to the limit of something, the ultimate.
2. Loyalty or duty (a sense of duty to one's master, lord, country, job).
3. Report, recompense, give back to (in this case, you are giving yourself to your country as payback).
4. Country, state, nation, kingdom.


More about the famous warrior and army general, Yue Fei

Giri

(obligation or duty in Japanese)
yì lǐ
giri
Giri Scroll

This term means an obligation or a sense of duty that one may have to their employer, country or culture.

義理 is a specifically Japanese term, as in Chinese, these two characters form a word that means "religious doctrine" or refers to the argument presented in an essay.

This term has a similar meaning in Korean where is can be translated as justice, sense of duty, loyalty, integrity or obligation.

義理 is kind of a weird selection for a wall scroll. So this entry is intended more for educational purposes.


More information about Giri




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

Title CharactersRomaji (Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Loyalty to Duty or Masterchuu / chuzhōng / zhong1 / zhongchung
Ultimate Loyalty to Your Country盡忠報國
尽忠报国
jìn zhōng bào guó
jin4 zhong1 bao4 guo2
jin zhong bao guo
jinzhongbaoguo
chin chung pao kuo
chinchungpaokuo
Giri義理
义理
giriyì lǐ / yi4 li3 / yi li / yilii li / ili
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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Giri Scroll
Giri Scroll
Giri Scroll
Giri Scroll


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Giri Vertical Portrait
Giri Horizontal Wall Scroll
Giri Vertical Portrait
Dictionary

Lookup Duty and Loyalty in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary


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A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

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single-character 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.

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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