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殺人剣 is a Japanese title for "Death Sword", "Life Taking Sword" or "satsujinken". 殺人剣 is the opposite of katsujinken, or the "life saving sword". This title is not as commonly used in Japanese but pairs well when hung with katsujinken.
The first two Kanji are a word that translates as homicide; to murder; to kill (a person). 殺人剣 is specifically to kill a person (as the second character means person or human) as opposed to an animal, etc.
The last Kanji is the Japanese variant of the originally-Chinese character for sword.
See Also: Katsujinken
In modern Japanese, this means to take something very seriously.
The literal and historic meaning is "real sword battle". In old times, a Samurai apprentice would practice with a wooden practice sword. Once they were trained and qualified, they would wield a real steal sword, made for battle and killing. They were ready for a "death match" or Shinken Shobu.
真剣 is an adjective that has come to mean serious or earnest. The literal translation being "real sword".
勝負 in the simplest terms means match, contest, game, or bout. Depending on the context, it could also mean victory or defeat, winning and losing, or the outcome of a battle.
There is a suggestion in Shinken Shobu that you train with serious and real intent, as we should train with the same fervor and dedication as if the battle was real. "Train as we fight".
Miyamoto Musashi is probably the most famous Samurai in all of Japanese history.
武蔵 is the short title for a man long in legend. While coming from a lower class, his new sword and fighting techniques put him on par with the best that feudal Japan had to offer. His long career started with his first duel was at age 13!
He is credited both with using two swords at once, and never losing a single battle in his career. After becoming a Buddhist, and getting older, like many old warriors, he took up a peaceful and solitary life until his death around 1645 A.D.
Note: Technically, Musashi is his given name, and Miyamoto is his surname. However, it's suggested that he assumed both of these names, and also had a few other names at childhood, as well as being given a Buddhist name. It's hard to know what to call him, as with most Kanji, there are multiple pronunciations. The characters for Musashi can also be pronounced "Takezō". But, everyone in modern times seems to know him by the name Musashi.
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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji (Romanized Japanese)|
|Sword of Death||殺人剣|
|satsu jin ken
|Shinken Shobu||真剣勝負||shinken shoubu
|Musashi||武蔵||mu sashi / musashi|
|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.
Below are some entries from our dictionary that may match your sword of death search...
If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese
|Simple Dictionary Definition|
| sǐ dāo
The (sharp) sword of death.
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When the calligrapher finishes creating your artwork, it is taken to my art mounting workshop in Beijing where a wall scroll is made by hand from a combination of silk, rice paper, and wood.
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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.
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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