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Life Goes On in Chinese / Japanese...

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Life Goes On

shēng huó zài jì xù
Life Goes On Scroll

No matter what happens, life goes on.

For better or worse, life goes one. 生活在繼續 is the basic idea behind this modern Chinese proverb which literally says "Life goes on" in these five characters.


A further explanation of this phrase can now be found on our forum here: Life Goes On in Chinese, explained.

Life Goes On

jin sei ha tsudu ku
Life Goes On Scroll

人生は続く is a Japanese phrase that expresses, "Life Goes On".

The first two characters mean "life" (literally "human life").
The third character is a particle which connects the ideas in this phrase.
The last two characters mean "to continue", "to last", "to go on", "to occur again and again".


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

Rise and Fall / Ups and Downs

Eiko-Seisui
ei ko sei sui
Rise and Fall / Ups and Downs Scroll

This Japanese proverb can be translated as, "flourish and wither, prosper and perish", "life is full of fortune and misfortune", or simply "vicissitudes of life".

This is about the rise and fall of human affairs or the ups and downs of life. Prosperity comes and goes, everything is fleeting and temporary but like waves, another swell of prosperity may come.

Here's how the Kanji break down in this proverb:

栄 = prosper; thrive; flourish; boom.
枯 = wither; die.
盛 = prosperous; flourishing; thriving; successful; energetic; vigorous; enthusiastic.
衰 = become weaker; decline; get weak; die down; subside; abate; fail.


榮 Notes: The original version of the first character looks like the image to the right. In modern Japan, they simplified that Kanji a bit into the version shown above. If you have a preference for which style is used for your calligraphy, please let me know when you place your order.

Apparently, with that original version of the first character, this is also used in Korean Hanja. However, I have not confirmed that it’s used in the same way or is widely-known in Korean.

Great Aspirations / Ambition

hóng hú zhī zhì
Great Aspirations / Ambition Scroll

This Chinese proverb implies that having great ambitions also means that others will not understand your great expectations and ideas.

Though the actual words come from a longer saying of Confucius which goes, "The little swallows living under the eaves wouldn't understand the lofty ambitions of a swan (who flies far and wide)".

This Confucius quote has led to this idiomatic expression in China that means "think big". What you'd really be saying is "The lofty ambitions of a swan".

Note that Chinese people sometimes refer to the little swallow, as one who does not "think big" but is, instead, stuck in a rut, or just leading a mundane life. Therefore, it's a compliment to be called a swan but not a good thing to be called a swallow.

Year-In Year-Out Have Abundance

nián nián yǒu yú
Year-In Year-Out Have Abundance Scroll

年年有餘 is a common proverb or wish of prosperity you'll hear around the time of Chinese New Years.

Directly translated character by character it means, "Year Year Have Surplus". A more natural English translation including the deeper meaning would be "Every Year may you Have Abundance in your life".

On a side note, this phrase often goes with a gift of something related to fish. 年年有餘 is because the last character "yu" which means surplus or abundance has exactly the same pronunciation in Mandarin as the word for "fish".

年年有餘 is also one of the most common titles for traditional paintings that feature koi fish.

In China, this phrase might make an odd wall scroll - a customer asked especially for this common phrase which is why it appears here. See my other abundance-related words if you want a wall scroll that will seem more comfortable in Chinese culture.

Note: This can be pronounced in Korean, but it's not a commonly used term.


See Also:  Prosperity | Good Fortune




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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
Life Goes On生活在繼續
生活在继续
shēng huó zài jì xù
sheng1 huo2 zai4 ji4 xu4
sheng huo zai ji xu
shenghuozaijixu
sheng huo tsai chi hsü
shenghuotsaichihsü
Life Goes On人生は続くjin sei ha tsudu ku
jinseihatsuduku
Rise and Fall
Ups and Downs
栄枯盛衰 / 榮枯盛衰
荣枯盛衰
ei ko sei sui
eikoseisui
Great Aspirations
Ambition
鴻鵠之誌
鸿鹄之志
hóng hú zhī zhì
hong2 hu2 zhi1 zhi4
hong hu zhi zhi
honghuzhizhi
hung hu chih chih
hunghuchihchih
Year-In Year-Out Have Abundance年年有餘
年年有馀
nián nián yǒu yú
nian2 nian2 you3 yu2
nian nian you yu
niannianyouyu
nien nien yu yü
niennienyuyü
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...


Year-In Year-Out Have Abundance Scroll
Year-In Year-Out Have Abundance Scroll
Year-In Year-Out Have Abundance Scroll
Year-In Year-Out Have Abundance Scroll


And formats...

Year-In Year-Out Have Abundance Vertical Portrait
Year-In Year-Out Have Abundance Horizontal Wall Scroll
Year-In Year-Out Have Abundance Vertical Portrait
Dictionary

Lookup Life Goes On in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary


Successful Chinese Character and Japanese Kanji calligraphy searches within the last few hours...

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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.

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