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Never Say Never in Chinese / Japanese...

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Never Give In / Never Succumb / Never Lose

kesshite akirameruna
Never Give In / Never Succumb / Never Lose Vertical Wall Scroll

決して諦めるな is a Japanese term that informally means "never give up."

It's also a Japanese way to say "never surrender."


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


See Also:  Tenacity | Perseverance | Hope

Better Late Than Never

It's Never Too Late Too Mend
wáng yáng bǔ láo yóu wèi wéi wǎn
Better Late Than Never Vertical Wall Scroll

Long ago in what is now China, there were many kingdoms throughout the land. This time period is known as "The Warring States Period" by historians because these kingdoms often did not get along with each other.

Some time around 279 B.C. the Kingdom of Chu was a large but not particularly powerful kingdom. Part of the reason it lacked power was the fact that the King was surrounded by "yes men" who told him only what he wanted to hear. Many of the King's court officials were corrupt and incompetent which did not help the situation.

The King was not blameless himself, as he started spending much of his time being entertained by his many concubines.

One of the King's ministers, Zhuang Xin, saw problems on the horizon for the Kingdom, and warned the King, "Your Majesty, you are surrounded by people who tell you what you want to hear. They tell you things to make you happy, and cause you to ignore important state affairs. If this is allowed to continue, the Kingdom of Chu will surely perish, and fall into ruins."

This enraged the King who scolded Zhuang Xin for insulting the country and accused him of trying to create resentment among the people. Zhuang Xin explained, "I dare not curse the Kingdom of Chu but I feel that we face great danger in the future because of the current situation." The King was simply not impressed with Zhuang Xin's words.
Seeing the King's displeasure with him and the King's fondness for his court of corrupt officials, Zhuang Xin asked permission of the King that he may take leave of the Kingdom of Chu, and travel to the State of Zhao to live. The King agreed, and Zhuang Xin left the Kingdom of Chu, perhaps forever.

Five months later, troops from the neighboring Kingdom of Qin invaded Chu, taking a huge tract of land. The King of Chu went into exile, and it appeared that soon, the Kingdom of Chu would no longer exist.

The King of Chu remembered the words of Zhuang Xin, and sent some of his men to find him. Immediately, Zhuang Xin returned to meet the King. The first question asked by the King was, "What can I do now?"

Zhuang Xin told the King this story:

A shepherd woke one morning to find a sheep missing. Looking at the pen saw a hole in the fence where a wolf had come through to steal one of his sheep. His friends told him that he had best fix the hole at once. But the Shepherd thought since the sheep is already gone, there is no use fixing the hole.
The next morning, another sheep was missing. And the Shepherd realized that he must mend the fence at once. Zhuang Xin then went on to make suggestions about what could be done to reclaim the land lost to the Kingdom of Qin, and reclaim the former glory and integrity in the Kingdom of Chu.

The Chinese idiom shown above came from this reply from Zhuang Xin to the King of Chu almost 2,300 years ago.
It translates roughly into English as...
"Even if you have lost some sheep, it's never too late to mend the fence."

This proverb is often used in modern China when suggesting in a hopeful way that someone change their ways, or fix something in their life. It might be used to suggest fixing a marriage, quit smoking, or getting back on track after taking an unfortunate path in life among other things one might fix in their life.

I suppose in the same way that we might say, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life" in our western cultures to suggest that you can always start anew.

Note: This does have Korean pronunciation but is not a well-known proverb in Korean (only Koreans familiar with ancient Chinese history would know it). Best if your audience is Chinese.

Death Before Surrender

Rather die than compromise
níng sǐ bù qū
Death Before Surrender Vertical Wall Scroll

寧死不屈 is often translated as "Death Before Dishonor."

The literal translation is more like, "Better die than compromise." The last two characters mean "not to bend" or "not to bow down." Some might even say that it means "not to surrender." Thus, you could say this proverb means, "Better to die than live on my knees" or simply "no surrender" (with the real idea being that you would rather die than surrender).

Guanxi

The Chinese Concept of Relationship and Exchange of Favors
guān xì
kankei
Guanxi Vertical Wall Scroll

The dictionary definition is:
relations / relationship / to concern / to affect / to have to do with / connection.

But there's more to it...

In China, your relationship that you have with certain people can open doors for you. Having guanxi with someone also means they would never defraud you but instead are honor-bound to treat you fairly (of course, this goes both ways). Sometimes it is suggested that guanxi is the exchange of favors. I would say this is more having a relationship that allows you to ask for, and expect favors without shame.

There is no concept in western culture that exactly matches guanxi but perhaps having a social or professional network is similar.

Note that there are some variations common within Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and Korean Hanja for this word...

関Japanese tend to use a Chinese alternate form as shown to the right for
the first character.

關There's also another alternate form of that first character (currently used as the official Simplified form in mainland China) which looks like the character shown to the right. It's basically the central radical of the alternate version shown above but without the "door radical" around it. In more free-flowing calligraphy styles, this version would be the likely choice for a calligrapher.

係In Modern Japanese, they use the character shown to the right.
They also tend to use this same form in Korean Hanja (I've only checked this word in my Korean dictionary but it has not been confirmed by a translator's review).

系If that was not confusing enough, there is another alternate form of that second character. See right.

An Asian calligrapher of any nationality may use any of these forms at their discretion. However, They would tend to stick to the most common form used in their respective languages.

If you have any preference on any of these issues, please give us a special note with your order, and we'll make sure it's done the way you want.




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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
Never Give In
Never Succumb
Never Lose
決して諦めるなkesshite akirameruna
kesshiteakirameruna
keshite akirameruna
keshiteakirameruna
Better Late Than Never亡羊補牢猶未為晚
亡羊补牢犹未为晚
wáng yáng bǔ láo yóu wèi wéi wǎn
wang2 yang2 bu3 lao2 you2 wei4 wei2 wan3
wang yang bu lao you wei wei wan
wang yang pu lao yu wei wei wan
wangyangpulaoyuweiweiwan
Death Before Surrender寧死不屈
宁死不屈
níng sǐ bù qū
ning2 si3 bu4 qu1
ning si bu qu
ningsibuqu
ning ssu pu ch`ü
ningssupuchü
ning ssu pu chü
Guanxi關繫 / 関繫 / 關係
关系 / 関係
kankeiguān xì / guan1 xi4 / guan xi / guanxikuan hsi / kuanhsi
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.


Not the results for never say never that you were looking for?

Below are some entries from our dictionary that may match your never say never search...

Characters

If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese

Pronunciation
Romanization
Simple Dictionary Definition

真逆

see styles
 masaka / まさか (interjection) (1) (kana only) by no means; never!; well, I never!; you don't say!; certainly (not); (noun - becomes adjective with の) (2) (kana only) (See まさかの時) something unexpected; emergency; (3) (kana only) (archaism) currently; for the time being; presently; for now; (adv,adj-no) (4) (kana only) (obscure) (See 本当に) indeed; really; truly; unexpectedly

天無絕人之路


天无绝人之路

see styles
tiān wú jué rén zhī lù / tian1 wu2 jue2 ren2 zhi1 lu4
t`ien wu chüeh jen chih lu / tien wu chüeh jen chih lu
Heaven never bars one's way (idiom); don't despair and you will find a way through.; Never give up hope.; Never say die.

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Guanxi Vertical Wall Scroll
Guanxi Vertical Wall Scroll
Guanxi Vertical Wall Scroll
Guanxi Vertical Wall Scroll


And formats...

Guanxi Vertical Portrait
Guanxi Horizontal Wall Scroll
Guanxi Vertical Portrait
Dictionary

Lookup Never Say Never 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"
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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