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自由 is a common word to express the idea of freedom in both Chinese and Japanese.
自由 is the essence of "being free" but also acts as the suffix to create words like freestyle swimming, free trade, civil liberties, free will, freedom fighter, religious freedom, and liberal.
The first two characters mean freedom or liberty.
The middle character is a connecting Hiragana which is needed for Japanese grammar.
The last two characters mean spirit, heart, mind, or soul.
Together, this is a title that is very similar to the English term "free spirit".
This concept has existed for thousands of years that humans have the ability to understand right and wrong, then make a decision one way or the other (thus affecting their own fate).
Sources such as Confucius, Buddhist scriptures, the Qur'an and the Bible all address this idea.
As for the characters shown here, the first two mean free, freedom, or liberty. The last two simply mean "will".
不自由毋寧死 means, "Give me liberty or give me death", in Chinese.
This is also the best way to say, "Live free or die".
The characters break down this way:
不 = Not; none; without.
自由 = Freedom; liberty; freewill; self-determination.
毋寧 = Rather; would rather; rather be.
死 = Dead; death.
This will go nicely next to your, "Don't tread on me", flag. This phrase is known well enough in China that it's listed in a few dictionaries. Though I doubt you will find too many Chinese citizens willing to yell this on the steps of the capital in Beijing.
See Also: Death Before Dishonor
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji (Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|自由||jiyuu / jiyu||zì yóu / zi4 you2 / zi you / ziyou||tzu yu / tzuyu|
|Free Spirit||自由精神||zì yóu jīng shén|
zi4 you2 jing1 shen2
zi you jing shen
|tzu yu ching shen
|Free Spirit||自由な精神||ji yuu na sei shin|
ji yu na sei shin
|Free Will||自由意志||jiyuu ishi / jiyuuishi / jiyu ishi / jiyuishi||zì yóu yì zhì|
zi4 you2 yi4 zhi4
zi you yi zhi
|tzu yu i chih
|Live Free or Die||不自由毋寧死|
|bú zì yóu wú nìng sǐ|
bu2 zi4 you2 wu2 ning4 si3
bu zi you wu ning si
|pu tzu yu wu ning ssu
|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.
Below are some entries from our dictionary that may match your freedom liberty search...
If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese
|Simple Dictionary Definition|
| zì yóu / zi4 you2
jiyuu / jiyu / じゆう
freedom; free; liberty; CL:個|个[ge4]
(noun or adjectival noun) freedom; liberty; (male given name) Yoriyoshi
|fuki / ふき||
freedom; liberty; independence
| bù jī / bu4 ji1
fuki / ふき
freedom; liberty; independence
|fuki / ふき||freedom; liberty; independence|
|jinshinnojiyuu / jinshinnojiyu / じんしんのじゆう||
(exp,n) (See 身体の自由) freedom of the person; personal freedom; personal liberty
|shintainojiyuu / shintainojiyu / しんたいのじゆう||
(exp,n) freedom of the person; personal freedom; personal liberty
|kirisutoshanojiyuu / kirisutoshanojiyu / キリストしゃのじゆう||
(wk) On the Freedom of a Christian (1520 treatise by Martin Luther); A Treatise on Christian Liberty
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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.
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.
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.
Check out my lists of Japanese Kanji Calligraphy Wall Scrolls and Old Korean Hanja Calligraphy Wall Scrolls.
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