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This is a Japanese Katakana word for mental toughness.
Katakana is a character set used in Japanese to approximate borrowed English or foreign words. So this is supposed to sound like mental toughness does in English.
Note: Because this title is entirely Japanese Katakana, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
These two characters mean intelligence or intelligent.
The first character means wisdom, intellect or knowledge.
The second means ability, talent, skill, capacity, capable, able, and can even mean competent.
Together, the compound word can mean "capacity for wisdom," "useful knowledge," or even "mental power." Obviously this translates more clearly into English as "intelligence."
Note: 智能 / 知能 is not the same word used to mean "military intelligence." See our other entry for that.
In modern Japan, they tend to use a version of the first character without the bottom radical. If your audience for this artwork is Japanese, please click on the Kanji to the right instead of the button above.
忍 contains the ideas of patience, equanimity, perseverance, forbearance, and endurance. Alone, this single character can be a bit ambiguous or flexible. It can also mean to endure, to bear, to put up with or to conceal. If you want to simply decide what this character means to you within the general meaning but keep it a mystery to others, this is a good choice.
If you want to be more direct, you may want to choose one of our other selections that mean perseverance or patience (you will see this character within those larger words/phrases).
There is a secondary meaning in Japanese, since this is the first character of the word ninja.
Note that when writing this as Kanji, Japanese will tend to write it in the form shown to the right. If you select our Japanese master calligrapher, please expect this Kanji form (yes, it's just one stroke that is slightly different in location, crossing another stroke in the Japanese Kanji form).
毅 is the simplest way to express perseverance in Chinese and Korean Hanja.
This single-character version leaves a bit of mystery about what kind of perseverance you might want to convey.
In Korean, this is usually associated with "strength of character."
In Japanese, this character can be pronounced about a dozen different ways (so we have left out the Japanese pronunciation guide that normally appears above). In Japanese this Kanji would usually be translated "strong" (perhaps strong-willed).
The first character means "strong," "solid," "firm," "unyielding" or "resolute."
The second character means "to beat," "to endure," or "to tolerate."
Together they speak of the strength from within yourself. Some may also translate this as "long-suffering" in a more Biblical sense.
堅忍 is a common term in Chinese and Korean Hanja but a little less commonly used in modern Japanese Kanji. For that reason, this selection is best if your audience is Chinese or Korean.
Note that when writing this as Kanji, Japanese will tend to write the second Kanji a little differently. If you select our Japanese master calligrapher, please expect the form where the little horizontal stroke crosses the vertical stroke. See differences in the images to the right. Technically, they are both the same character, and will be read the same in either language.
不屈 is the short form of a longer Chinese word, and also a word used in Korean and Japanese to express the idea of being indomitable. It literally means, "will not bend," "will not crouch," "will not yield," "will not flinch," or "will not submit."
Note: Some will translate this as "indomitable spirit"; however, technically, there is no character to suggest the idea of "spirit" in this word.
Patience is quiet hope and trust that things will turn out right. You wait without complaining. You are tolerant and accepting of difficulties and mistakes. You picture the end in the beginning and persevere to meet your goals.
忍耐 can also mean "to endure," "restrain oneself," "forbearance," and in some context it can mean "perseverance" or "endurance."
忍耐 is also used as a tenet of Taekwondo, Tang Soo Do, and other Korean martial arts where it's titled "Endurance" and romanized as "In Neh."
Note that when writing this as Kanji, Japanese will tend to write the first character in the form shown to the right. If you select our Japanese master calligrapher, please expect this Kanji form (yes, it's just one stroke that is slightly different in location, crossing another stroke in the Japanese Kanji form).
堅韌 is a simpler version that just holds the meaning of "fortitude," "steadfast" and "persistent."
These two characters are a way to express "perseverance" with the idea of "willpower" in Chinese and old Korean Hanja. It can also mean "strong willed."
The first character means "strong" and "persistent," while the second means "strength" and "power."
Perseverance is being steadfast and persistent. You commit to your goals and overcome obstacles, no matter how long it takes. When you persevere, you don't give up...you keep going. Like a strong ship in a storm, you don't become battered or blown off course. You just ride the waves.
The translation of this proverb literally means, "something so persistent or steadfast, that it is not uprootable / movable / surpassable."
This title speaks of one's soul or spirit, and the capacity or strength that soul possesses.
The first two characters mean mind, heart, spirit, and/or soul.
The last two characters mean strength, capacity, or ability.
Note: Separately, these are two words in Japanese, and can be pronounced but this does not make a natural title in Japanese (best if your audience is Chinese).
This means determined, steadfast, unswerving, or unshakable in Japanese.
This is the Japanese version of an old Chinese 4-character perseverance proverb.
This would be understood in Chinese but it's not commonly written this way in Chinese.
Note that when writing this as Kanji, Japanese calligraphers sometimes write the second Kanji in the form shown to the right. Yes, it's just one stroke that is slightly different in location, crossing another stroke in this alternate Japanese Kanji form. If you have a preference, let us know when you order.
Due to some odd computer coding conventions, these two character forms were combined/merged into the same code point - thus, you will not see Kanji images of more Japanese form as you select options for your scroll.
This literally translates as: Do not worry about not being able to master [a skill]; What [one should] be concerned about is lack of perseverance.
Figuratively, this means: One's skills cannot be perfected without perseverance in practice.
For me, I've learned that you can only get so much from school or studying. You've really got to do "on-the-job training" to perfect your ability and skill.
For martial arts students: You can read about a kick in a book, or someone can tell you about a certain kick but until you practice the kick, there's no way you'll master it.
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji (Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|智能 / 知能|
|chinou / chino||zhì néng / zhi4 neng2 / zhi neng / zhineng||chih neng / chihneng|
|忍||nin||rěn / ren3 / ren||jen|
|Perseverance||毅||see note / seenote / se note / senote||yì / yi4 / yi||i|
Strength of Character
|gouki / goki||gāng yì / gang1 yi4 / gang yi / gangyi||kang i / kangi|
|ken nin / kennin||jiǎn rěn / jian3 ren3 / jian ren / jianren||chien jen / chienjen|
|不屈||fukutsu||bù qū / bu4 qu1 / bu qu / buqu||pu ch`ü / puchü / pu chü|
|忍耐||nin tai / nintai||rěn nài / ren3 nai4 / ren nai / rennai||jen nai / jennai|
|jiān rèn / jian1 ren4 / jian ren / jianren||chien jen / chienjen|
|毅力||yì lì / yi4 li4 / yi li / yili||i li / ili|
|jiān rèn bù bá|
jian1 ren4 bu4 ba2
jian ren bu ba
|chien jen pu pa
Strength of Spirit
|jīng shén lì liàng|
jing1 shen2 li4 liang4
jing shen li liang
|ching shen li liang
|堅忍不抜 / 堅忍不拔|
|kenninfubatsu||jiān rěn bù bá|
jian1 ren3 bu4 ba2
jian ren bu ba
|chien jen pu pa
|Perseverance is the Key||不怕練不成就怕心不恆|
|bú pà liàn bù chéng jiù pà xīn bù héng|
bu2 pa4 lian4 bu4 cheng2 jiu4 pa4 xin1 bu4 heng2
bu pa lian bu cheng jiu pa xin bu heng
|pu p`a lien pu ch`eng chiu p`a hsin pu heng
pu pa lien pu cheng chiu pa hsin pu heng
|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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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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