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Fish in Chinese / Japanese...

Buy a Fish calligraphy wall scroll here!

Start your custom “Fish” project by clicking the button next to your favorite “Fish” title below...

  1. Fish

  2. Goldfish

  3. Koi Fish

  4. Carp / Koi Fish

  5. Trigger Fish

  6. Teach A Man To Fish

  7. Koi Fish / Nishiki Goi

  8. Drain the pond to get all the fish

  9. Without a big net, how can you catch fish?


Fish

China
Japan sakana / gyo / uo
Fish Vertical Wall Scroll

魚 is the character that means fish in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

Goldfish

China jīn yú
Japan kin gyo
Goldfish Vertical Wall Scroll

金魚 is the title for goldfish in Chinese and Japanese.

There was a time in ancient China when only the Emperor could possess the true yellow-gold colored fish. 金魚 is why alternate coloration such as orange, black, red, and white were bred. Many believe this is why colors other than yellow-gold are more common for "goldfish" found in pet shops today.

Koi Fish

China
Japan koi
Koi Fish Vertical Wall Scroll

鯉 is the Japanese Kanji which created the title "koi fish." 鯉 is pronounced "koi" in Japanese.

Here is the reality: 鯉 actually means "carp" in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja. Koi fish really are carp (by species) and were breed to obtain colorful variations in ancient China. Some generations later, some of these colorful fish were transported to Japan, where they also became vastly popular.

Note: Please see our other entry for koi fish (Nishiki Goi) which is a more normal selection for a Japanese koi fish enthusiast to have on their wall.

Carp / Koi Fish

China lǐ yú
Carp / Koi Fish Vertical Wall Scroll

鯉魚 is one Chinese title for what westerners call "koi fish."

This literally means "carp fish" (which is what koi fish really are).

You probably want the other title, which is more specific to the colorful fish that you are thinking of. Look for "Nishiki Goi" on our website.

Trigger Fish

China bān jī yú
Trigger Fish Vertical Wall Scroll

扳機魚 is the Chinese title for the Trigger Fish.

Teach A Man To Fish

China shòu rén yǐ yú bù rú shòu rén yǐ yú
Teach A Man To Fish Vertical Wall Scroll

This is the Chinese version of the proverb, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

This implies that knowledge is the best charity.

Koi Fish / Nishiki Goi

China jǐn lǐ
Japan nishiki goi
Koi Fish / Nishiki Goi Vertical Wall Scroll

If you like or collect and maintain koi fish, this is the wall scroll for you.

Technically, this is a certain and revered species of "koi fish" in Japan but it is the most normal selection for a wall scroll (more normal than the actual Kanji for "koi" or "fish" alone.

This literally means "brocade carp" or "embroidered carp." This term is also used to mean the same thing in China (which is the origin of koi fish breeding and cultivation, several generations before they became popular in Japan).

For those of you that don't know, the Kanji for "koi" (which is pronounced "goi" in this entry) really means "carp." If you want the word that means "koi fish," it would just be the generic word for "carp fish." That would include both colorful carp, and the more mundane gray carp (the ones people eat, if they don't mind lots of bones).

Drain the pond to get all the fish

Kill the goose that lays the golden eggs
China jié zé ér yú
Drain the pond to get all the fish Vertical Wall Scroll

In 632 BC, Duke Wen of the Kingdom of Jin was about to lead an army against the forces of the Kingdom of Chu.
The Duke asked one of his advisers, Jiu Fan, how they could possibly win the impending battle, as they were drastically outnumbered.
Jiu Fan said, "All is fair in war," and went on to suggest a plan of dishonorable tactics (cheating).
The Duke was not sure of this advice, so he asked another adviser, Yong Ji, who replied, "If you catch fish by draining the pond, you can certainly get all the fish. But there will be no fish the following year. You can cheat this one time in battle but such tactics can only be used once, as the enemy will be wise in future encounters."

The Duke heard the words of his wiser adviser but cheated to gain victory in the battle. However, he rewarded Yong Ji more than Jiu Fan at the victory celebration, stating that while Jiu Fan's advice gained one victory, the wise words of Yong Ji would last forever.

This Chinese idiom/proverb is still used, over 2600 years later to remind people not to burn bridges, cheat, or dishonor oneself in exchange for a short term gain, while sacrificing the future.

竭澤而漁 is very similar to the meaning of the English phrase, "Kill the goose that lays the golden eggs."

Without a big net, how can you catch fish?

China bù sā dà wǎng bù dé dà yú
Without a big net, how can you catch fish? Vertical Wall Scroll

This Chinese proverb literally translates as: [if one does] not cast a big net, [one can] not get big fish.

Figuratively, this means: One cannot make great accomplishments without making great efforts or taking great pains.

This is sort of the fishing version of, "No pain, no gain."

Many custom options...


Without a big net, how can you catch fish? Vertical Wall Scroll
Without a big net, how can you catch fish? Vertical Wall Scroll
Without a big net, how can you catch fish? Vertical Wall Scroll
Without a big net, how can you catch fish? Vertical Wall Scroll


And formats...

Without a big net, how can you catch fish? Vertical Portrait
Without a big net, how can you catch fish? Horizontal Wall Scroll
Without a big net, how can you catch fish? Vertical Portrait
Dictionary

Lookup Fish in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary




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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
Fish
sakana / gyo / uoyú / yu2 / yu
Goldfish金魚
金鱼
kin gyo / kingyojīn yú / jin1 yu2 / jin yu / jinyuchin yü / chinyü
Koi Fish
koilǐ / li3 / li
Carp
Koi Fish
鯉魚
鲤鱼
lǐ yú / li3 yu2 / li yu / liyuli yü / liyü
Trigger Fish扳機魚
扳机鱼
bān jī yú
ban1 ji1 yu2
ban ji yu
banjiyu
pan chi yü
panchiyü
Teach A Man To Fish授人以魚不如授人以漁
授人以鱼不如授人以渔
shòu rén yǐ yú bù rú shòu rén yǐ yú
shou4 ren2 yi3 yu2 bu4 ru2 shou4 ren2 yi3 yu2
shou ren yi yu bu ru shou ren yi yu
shou jen i yü pu ju shou jen i yü
Koi Fish
Nishiki Goi
錦鯉
锦鲤
nishiki goi
nishikigoi
jǐn lǐ / jin3 li3 / jin li / jinlichin li / chinli
Drain the pond to get all the fish竭澤而漁
竭泽而渔
jié zé ér yú
jie2 ze2 er2 yu2
jie ze er yu
jiezeeryu
chieh tse erh yü
chiehtseerhyü
Without a big net, how can you catch fish?不撒大網不得大魚
不撒大网不得大鱼
bù sā dà wǎng bù dé dà yú
bu4 sa1 da4 wang3 bu4 de2 da4 yu2
bu sa da wang bu de da yu
busadawangbudedayu
pu sa ta wang pu te ta yü
pusatawangputetayü
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.


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.

Some people may refer to this entry as Fish Kanji, Fish Characters, Fish in Mandarin Chinese, Fish Characters, Fish in Chinese Writing, Fish in Japanese Writing, Fish in Asian Writing, Fish Ideograms, Chinese Fish symbols, Fish Hieroglyphics, Fish Glyphs, Fish in Chinese Letters, Fish Hanzi, Fish in Japanese Kanji, Fish Pictograms, Fish in the Chinese Written-Language, or Fish in the Japanese Written-Language.

224 people have searched for Fish in Chinese or Japanese in the past year.
Fish was last searched for by someone else on Dec 14th, 2018