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王后 is another way to write queen in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
王后 is sometimes used for the title of empress.
The first character means "king" and the second means "wife," or a short form to say "wife of the king / emperor." So this is literally, "king's wife" or "emperor's wife." Some will translate this as "queen consort."
皇后 is the title of empress or emperess, the female form of emperor. 皇后 is used in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
While the emperor's reign was for life, if he died, his wife would hold his power. In this case, a woman was the ultimate ruler of the greater part of East Asia (what is now China) until her death and the succession of the emperor's first born son to lead the empire. Numerous times in various Chinese dynasties, an empress took power in this way.
The first character means emperor by itself.
The second character alone can mean "wife of an emperor or king" (the first character clarifies that we are talking about an empress, and not a queen). It can also mean sovereign or last offspring, depending on context.
Note: In some books, this word is translated as queen. While only incorrect if you get technical (because an empress is theoretically a higher level than a queen), the meaning is very similar.
皇后 is sometimes used for the title of queen but more technically, this is the wife of the emperor (a higher level than a queen).
From times of old, the emperors of Asia ruled under the authority of God himself. In fact, one definition of an emperor is a ruler put in power by God. This definition separates emperors from the various kings in Chinese history (although defining who is a king versus an emperor gets vague sometimes).
Occasionally, the emperor's wife was widowed, and she took the role of empress until her death (see our entry for empress if that is what you are looking for).
Below are some entries from our dictionary that may match your queen empress search...
If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese
|Simple Dictionary Definition|
| huáng hòu / huang2 hou4
kougou / kogo / こうごう
empress; imperial consort
(noun - becomes adjective with の) (Japanese) empress; queen; (surname) Kougou
| hòu / hou4
kisaki / きさき
empress; queen; surname Hou
(out-dated kanji) (suffix) after; (out-dated or obsolete kana usage) empress; queen; (female given name) Kisaki
|kouguu / kogu / こうぐう||
(1) empress's palace; queen's palace; (2) empress; queen
|tenkou / tenko / てんこう||
Tin Hau, Empress of Heaven, another name for the goddess Matsu 媽祖|妈祖[Ma1 zu3]; Tin Hau (Hong Kong area around the MTR station with same name)
queen of heaven
Queen of Heaven, v. 摩利支.
|taikou / taiko / たいこう||
empress dowager; queen mother
|jokou / joko / じょこう||
(See 女帝) empress; queen
|nyannyan / ニャンニャン||
queen; empress; imperial concubine; Goddess, esp. Xi Wangmu 王母娘娘 or 西王母, Queen Mother of the West; mother; aunt
Niangniang (chi:); Chinese goddess
|kouhi / kohi / こうひ||
|kisaki;kisai(后)(ok) / きさき;きさい(后)(ok)||empress; queen|
|koutaigou(p);koutaikou / kotaigo(p);kotaiko / こうたいごう(P);こうたいこう||
Queen Mother; Empress Dowager; (surname) Koutaigou
| lǎo fó yé / lao3 fo2 ye2
lao fo yeh
title of respect for the queen mother or the emperor's father; nickname for Empress Dowager Cixi 慈禧太后[Ci2 xi3 tai4 hou4]
|kouhi / kohi / こうひ||empress; queen|
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji(Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|王后||ou kou / oukou / o ko / oko||wáng hòu / wang2 hou4 / wang hou / wanghou|
|Queen||女王||jo ou / joou / jo o / joo||nǚ wáng / nv3 wang2 / nv wang / nvwang||nü wang / nüwang|
|Empress||皇后||kou gou / kougou / ko go / kogo||huáng hòu|
|Emperor||皇帝||koutei / kotei||huáng dì / huang2 di4 / huang di / huangdi||huang ti / huangti|
|Emperor||皇||kou / ko||huáng / huang2 / huang|
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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.
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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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