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Life is Short in Chinese / Japanese...

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Life is Short

jinsei ha mijikai
Life is Short Scroll

人生は短い is "life is short" in Japanese.

The character breakdown:
人生 (jinsei) life (i.e. conception to death); human life, living, lifetime.
は (ha/wa) particle (means "is" in this case).
短い (mijikai) short.


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

Life is Short

A 100-year-old is but a traveler passing through this life
bǎi suì guāng yīn rú guò kè
Life is Short Scroll

百歲光陰如過客 directly translates as: [Even a] hundred-year-old [person] is [just a] traveler passing by.

The simple message is, "Human life is short". Of course, there is an unspoken suggestion that you should make the best of the time you have here on earth.




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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 is Short人生は短いjinsei ha mijikai
jinseihamijikai
Life is Short百歲光陰如過客
百岁光阴如过客
bǎi suì guāng yīn rú guò kè
bai3 sui4 guang1 yin1 ru2 guo4 ke4
bai sui guang yin ru guo ke
baisuiguangyinruguoke
pai sui kuang yin ju kuo k`o
paisuikuangyinjukuoko
pai sui kuang yin ju kuo ko
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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Life is Short Scroll
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Dictionary

Lookup Life is Short in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary


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A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

The wall scroll that Sandy is holding in this picture is a "large size"
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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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