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In the Dark in Chinese / Japanese...

Buy an In the Dark calligraphy wall scroll here!

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


  1. Listen to Both Sides and be Enlightened, Listen to One Side and be in the Dark

  2. Dark Sister

  3. Darkness

  4. Dark Angel

  5. Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark

  6. Darkness

  7. Kurai

  8. Black

  9. Silence

10. Night / Evening

11. Ebony

12. Black Raven

13. Time and Tide Wait for No Man

14. Tranquil Midnight

15. Homosexual / Gay

16. The Night is Darkest Before the Dawn

17. Brown

18. Daoism / Taoism


Listen to Both Sides and be Enlightened, Listen to One Side and be in the Dark

jiān tīng zé míng, piān tīng zé àn
Listen to Both Sides and be Enlightened, Listen to One Side and be in the Dark Scroll

兼聽則明偏聽則暗 is an ancient Chinese proverb about getting all the information from all sides so that you truly understand a situation.

Wei Zheng

Wei Zheng

A man named Wei Zheng lived between 580-643 AD. He was a noble and wise historian and minister in the court of the early Tang Dynasty.The emperor once asked him, "What should an emperor do to understand the real-world situation and what makes an emperor out-of-touch with reality?"

Wei Zheng replied, "Listen to both sides and you will be enlightened; listen to only one side and you will be left in the dark".

Then Wei Zheng went on to cite examples of leaders in history that were victorious after heeding both sides of the story, and other leaders that met their doom because they believed one-sided stories which often came from flattering lips.

Please note that there is an unwritten rule when the same character appears twice in the same phrase, the calligrapher will alter the appearance so that no two characters are exactly alike in the same piece. This calligraphy has two repeating characters that will be written differently than they appear here.

hēi àn nǚ
koku an nyo
Dark Sister Scroll

This Buddhist title means "dark sister", "dark one", or "dark woman".

There are two sisters:
One is the deva, 功德女 ("merit" or "achieving"), who causes people to acquire wealth.
The other is the "dark one", 黑闇女, who causes people to spend and waste.

These sisters always accompany each other.

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.

àn tiān shǐ
Dark Angel Scroll

暗天使 is the shortest way to write, "Dark Angel", in Chinese.

This literally reads, "dark heaven's messenger".

天使 means "heaven's messenger" but is always understood as "angel".


This would be pronounced "kura tenshi" in Japanese. This has the same meaning in Japanese, but not a common title. If you manage to find dark angel written in Japan, it would probably be ダーク エンジェル (Dāku Enjeru), which is a transliteration of the English title into Japanese, or 暗い天使 (kurai tenshi) which is a specifically Japanese title.

kurai tenshi
Dark Angel Scroll

暗い天使 means, "Dark Angel", in Japanese.

The first character means dark, gloomy, hidden, or secret.

The second character is a connecting article.

The last two characters mean angel.

hēi àn tiān shǐ
Dark Angel Scroll

黑暗天使 means, "Dark Angel", in Chinese.

The first character means black, but the second means dark by itself, so this can also be written with the first character dropped.

The last two characters mean angel.

Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark

xìn niǎn shì zài lí míng qián de hēi àn zhōng néng gǎn dào guāng míng de niǎo
Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark Scroll

信唸是在黎明前的黑闇中能感到光明的鳥 is a philosophical poem/quote from Indian Poet and Philosopher, Rabindranath Tagore.

Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore, 1915

This quote is not sourced, and therefore several variations exist in English. Some suggest the original was in the Bengali language.

This, of course, is the Chinese translation which has the meaning of, "Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark".

More about Rabindranath Tagore

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.

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".

kurai
Kurai Scroll

This Japanese word means dark, gloomy, depressed, dispirited, sorrowful, unclear, and/or unknown.

hēi
kuro
Black Scroll

黑 is the color black in Chinese, Japanese, and old Korean Hanja.

In some context, this can mean "dark" or "evil".


黒There is an alternate form of this character which is commonly used in modern Japan (shown to the right). If you want this alternate/Japanese form, just click on the character to the right, instead of the button above.

moku
Silence Scroll

默 / 黙 means silent or silence and is often used in Buddhist context.

Other meanings include dark, secret, or profound.


The original form is , but you will sometimes see it written in the Japanese variant form. If you want it in the Japanese form, please choose a Japanese calligrapher and use this to start your order instead of the button above:

Night / Evening

yoru
Night / Evening Scroll

As simple as that, this is the character that means evening or night in Chinese, Korean and Japanese.

Sometimes can mean "in the dark".

wū mù
uboku
Ebony Scroll

烏木 means ebony (the dark - virtually black tropical wood) in Chinese and Japanese.

When pronounced as Karasugi instead of Uboku is the name of a town and sometimes a surname in Japan.

karasu
Black Raven Scroll

烏 can mean raven or crow but is also used as an alternate way to write the color black.

Therefore, this is a symbol of the black raven (with emphasis on black). This can also mean rook or dark.


Notes: This can be the Japanese surname Karasu, or Chinese surname Wu.

Time and Tide Wait for No Man

kouinya no goto shi
Time and Tide Wait for No Man Scroll

This Japanese proverb means, "time flies like an arrow". It's very similar to the English idiom, "time and tide wait for no man", or "life is short".

The Kanji breakdown:
光陰 = Time (the cycle of light and dark).
[and an]
矢 = Arrow
の = are
如し = Alike


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

Tranquil Midnight

yè shēn rén jìng
Tranquil Midnight Scroll

This literally means, "Night Deep/Dark People Quiet/Tranquil".

In more natural English, some translate this as "late night, all is quiet", "tranquil midnight", or "in the dead of night" (implying the dead quiet of midnight).

Homosexual / Gay

tóng xìng liàn
Homosexual / Gay Scroll

A great way to tell your Chinese friends about your lifestyle, while keeping your Anglo friends in the dark.

Kind of a huge bold sign to say "I'm Gay" without anybody knowing.

同性戀 literally mean "same sex feeling" or "same sex affection" in Chinese.

Homosexual / Gay

tóng xìng ài
douseiai
Homosexual / Gay Scroll

A great way to tell your Japanese friends about your lifestyle, while keeping your Anglo friends in the dark.

Kind of a huge bold sign to say "I'm Gay" without anybody knowing.

These Kanji characters literally mean "same sex love". This phrase would also be understood in Chinese but this combination would act to really emphasize the "love" component to a native Chinese person.

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]".

Brown

Single character for brown color
katsu
Brown Scroll

褐 is the most simple way to express brown in Chinese.

It also means brown in Japanese but this character is not often written alone in Japanese (they would tend to write 褐色 (brown color) to refer to brown, or the color of tanned skin.

In some context, this can refer to gray or a dark color, or coarse hemp cloth.

In the Buddhist context, it can refer to a coarse serge (cheaply sewn clothing) hence poverty.


Note: In Taiwanese Mandarin, this is spoken with the 2nd or rising tone instead of the 4th or falling tone used in the mainland.

Daoism / Taoism

Literally: The Way or Road
dào
michi / -do
Daoism / Taoism Scroll

道 is the character "dao" which is sometimes written as "tao" but pronounced like "dow" in Mandarin.

道 is the base of what is known as "Taoism". If you translate this literally, it can mean "the way" or "the path".

Dao is believed to be that which flows through all things, and keeps them in balance. It incorporates the ideas of yin and yang (e.g. there would be no love without hate, no light without dark, no male without female.)

The beginning of Taoism can be traced to a mystical man named
Lao Zi (604-531 BC), who followed, and added to the teachings of Confucius.

More about Taoism / Daoism here.

Note that this is pronounced "dou" and sometimes "michi" when written alone in Japanese but pronounced "do" in word compounds such as Karate-do and Bushido. It's also "do" in Korean.

Alternate translations and meanings: road, way, path; truth, principle province.

Important Japanese note: In Japanese, this will generally be read with the road, way, or path meaning. Taoism is not as popular or well-known in Japan, so that Daoist/Taoist philosophy is not the first thing a Japanese person will think of then they read this character.


See our Taoism Page




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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
Listen to Both Sides and be Enlightened, Listen to One Side and be in the Dark兼聽則明偏聽則暗
兼听则明偏听则暗
jiān tīng zé míng, piān tīng zé àn
jian1 ting1 ze2 ming2, pian1 ting1 ze2 an4
jian ting ze ming, pian ting ze an
chien t`ing tse ming, p`ien t`ing tse an
chien ting tse ming, pien ting tse an
Dark Sister黑闇女koku an nyo
kokuannyo
hēi àn nǚ
hei1 an4 nv3
hei an nv
heiannv
hei an nü
heiannü
Darkness
yamiàn / an4 / an
Dark Angel暗天使àn tiān shǐ
an4 tian1 shi3
an tian shi
antianshi
an t`ien shih
antienshih
an tien shih
Dark Angel暗い天使kurai tenshi
kuraitenshi
Dark Angel黑暗天使hēi àn tiān shǐ
hei1 an4 tian1 shi3
hei an tian shi
heiantianshi
hei an t`ien shih
heiantienshih
hei an tien shih
Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark信唸是在黎明前的黑闇中能感到光明的鳥
信念是在黎明前的黑暗中能感到光明的鸟
xìn niǎn shì zài lí míng qián de hēi àn zhōng néng gǎn dào guāng míng de niǎo
xin4 nian3 shi4 zai4 li2 ming2 qian2 de hei1 an4 zhong1 neng2 gan3 dao4 guang1 ming2 de niao3
xin nian shi zai li ming qian de hei an zhong neng gan dao guang ming de niao
hsin nien shih tsai li ming ch`ien te hei an chung neng kan tao kuang ming te niao
hsin nien shih tsai li ming chien te hei an chung neng kan tao kuang ming te niao
Darkness暗黒an koku / ankoku
Darkness黑闇
黑暗
hēi àn / hei1 an4 / hei an / heian
Kurai暗いkurai
Black
黑 / 黒
kurohēi / hei1 / hei
Silence默 / 黙
mokumò / mo4 / mo
Night
Evening
yoruyè / ye4 / yeyeh
Ebony烏木
乌木
ubokuwū mù / wu1 mu4 / wu mu / wumu
Black Raven
karasuwū / wu1 / wu
Time and Tide Wait for No Man光陰矢の如し
光阴矢の如し
kouinya no goto shi
kouinyanogotoshi
koinya no goto shi
koinyanogotoshi
Tranquil Midnight夜深人靜
夜深人静
yè shēn rén jìng
ye4 shen1 ren2 jing4
ye shen ren jing
yeshenrenjing
yeh shen jen ching
yehshenjenching
Homosexual
Gay
同性戀
同性恋
tóng xìng liàn
tong2 xing4 lian4
tong xing lian
tongxinglian
t`ung hsing lien
tunghsinglien
tung hsing lien
Homosexual
Gay
同性愛
同性爱
douseiai / doseiaitóng xìng ài
tong2 xing4 ai4
tong xing ai
tongxingai
t`ung hsing ai
tunghsingai
tung hsing ai
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
Brownkatsuhè / he4 / heho
Daoism
Taoism
michi / -dodào / dao4 / daotao
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...


Daoism / Taoism Scroll
Daoism / Taoism Scroll
Daoism / Taoism Scroll
Daoism / Taoism Scroll


And formats...

Daoism / Taoism Vertical Portrait
Daoism / Taoism Horizontal Wall Scroll
Daoism / Taoism Vertical Portrait
Dictionary

Lookup In the Dark 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.

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

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