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道 is the character "dao" which is sometimes written as "tao" but pronounced like "dow" in Mandarin.
道 is the base of what is known as "Taoism." If you translate this literally, it can mean "the way" or "the path."
Dao is believed to be that which flows through all things, and keeps them in balance. It incorporates the ideas of yin and yang (e.g. there would be no love without hate, no light without dark, no male without female.)
The beginning of Taoism can be traced to a mystical man named
Lao Zi (604-531 BC), who followed, and added to the teachings of Confucius.
More about Taoism / Daoism here.
Note that this is pronounced "dou" and sometimes "michi" when written alone in Japanese but pronounced "do" in word compounds such as Karate-do and Bushido. It's also "do" in Korean.
Alternate translations and meanings: road, way, path; truth, principle province.
Important Japanese note: In Japanese, this will generally be read with the road, way, or path meaning. Taoism is not as popular or well-known in Japan, so that Daoist/Taoist philosophy is not the first thing a Japanese person will think of then they read this character.
See our Taoism Page
道教 is the title often used in both Chinese and Japanese to describe the beliefs or religion of Taoism / Daoism. The first character is simply "dao" and the second character can be translated as "teachings," "faith" or "doctrine."
茶道 means The Way of Tea (literally, "tea way") in Chinese and Japanese.
This may refer to a tea ceremony or a general lifestyle of tea preparing and drinking.
In Japanese, this can be pronounced sadō or chadō (seems that sadō refers more often to a tea ceremony, and chadō when it's the Way of Tea).
茶道 is also used in Buddhist context with the same meaning of the Way of Tea.
武士道 is the title for, "The Code of the Samurai."
Sometimes called "The Seven Virtues of the Samurai," "The Bushido Code," or "The Samurai Code of Chivalry."
This would be read in Chinese characters, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja as "The Way of the Warrior," "The Warrior's Way," or "The Warrior's Code."
It's a set of virtues that the Samurai of Japan and ancient warriors of China and Korea had to live and die by. However, while known throughout Asia, this title is mostly used in Japan, and thought of as being of Japanese origin.
The seven commonly-accepted tenets or virtues of Bushido are: Benevolence 仁, Courage 勇, Honesty 誠, Honour 名誉, Loyalty 忠実, Respect 礼(禮), and Rectitude 義. These tenets were part of an oral history for generations, thus, you will see variations in the list Bushido tenets depending on who you talk to.
Often associated with Kenjutsu, this word means "The way of the sword" in Japanese (and Korean with alternate form of the first character).
剱道 / 劍道 is also the term used for swordsmanship and even fencing in Japanese and Korean, depending on context.
Note: These same characters are also used separately in Chinese but this exact combination yields a common title in Japanese only (perhaps someone who is really into swords would use this in China).
Note: There is more than one way to write the "sword" character (shown above is the Japanese version - if you want the Korean version, please let me know when you place your order).
In Taoist and Buddhist context, this means to "Walk in the Way." In Buddhism, that further means to follow the Buddha truth. In some Buddhist sects, this can mean to make a procession around a statue of the Buddha (always with the right shoulder towards the Buddha).
Outside of that context, this can mean route (when going somewhere), the way to get somewhere, etc.
In Japanese, this can be the surname or given name Yukimichi.
龍之道 is how the way of the dragon is written in Chinese.
龍之道 is not the same as the Chinese movie that was titled in English as "The Way of the Dragon". 龍之道 is rather, the literal meaning, of the dragon's way. The first character is dragon, the second is a possessive article, and the third character means way or path.
波の道 is the simple way to write "The Way of the Wave" in Japanese.
I added this at the request of several customers. 波の道 is not a very common Japanese phrase.
波 = Wave
の = Of
道 = Way
The word order is the opposite of English. Most Japanese phrases that end in "の道" are translated to English as "The Way of..."
Technically, you could write "波道" as a shorter version of "The Way of the Wave". However, without context, 波道 can mean channel or suggest a path to redirect ocean flow.
唐手道 is the alternate title for Karate-do. This title uses a character which represents the Tang Dynasty of China. Thus, this is often translated as the "Tang Hand Way" or incorrectly, "Tang Fist Way." I have also seen some call it "China Hand Way."
There is not a lot of information on this title but some believe that a simplified form of Kung Fu that started in China, and ended up very popular in Japan used this title initially. It was later changed in Japan to a different Karate title which means "Empty Hand" (as in, without weapons).
In Korean, this title represents a certain style of martial arts. From Korean, this is often romanized as "Tang Soo Do," "Tangsudo," "Dang Su Do," or "Dangsudo." The last two romanizations on that list are the official Korean government romanization, though martial arts schools tend to use other non-standard versions.
In the most basic translation, this means road through the middle, or middle road.
The expanded meaning can be moderation, golden mean.
But if you are looking for this title, you are probably seeking the Buddhist definition, which is more complex.
中道 is the middle way or middle path of Buddhism. 中道 has various interpretations. In general, it denotes the mean between two extremes and has special reference to the mean between realism and nihilism, or eternal substantial existence and annihilation.
The Buddha teaches that one should not take things to extremes. Don't be extremely evil, and engage in debauchery and murder. But do not spend every waking out trying to be a perfect saint. Instead, take the middle path, try to help others, show loving kindness wherever you can, try not to do harm. If you do inadvertently harm another being, make amends if you can, and move on. Realize you are not perfect, but in time, a path of moderation lead toward proper living and enlightenment.
銀河 is the Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja name for the Milky Way (our galaxy).
This can also be the Japanese female given name, Ginga.
銀河系 is the long form of the Chinese, Japanese, and old Korean name for the Milky Way Galaxy (our galactic system).
愚公移山 is the Chinese proverb (also somewhat known in Japan and Korea) for, "the silly old man moves a mountain."
Figuratively, this means, "where there's a will, there's a way."
Based on a fable of Lord Yu (愚公). He moved the soil of the mountain in front of his house. After years of effort, he finally moved the entire mountain.
The moral of the story: Anything can be accomplished if one works at it ceaselessly.
The Japanese version of this is 愚公山を移す (gu kou yama wo utsu su). But better to get the Chinese version, since this is originally a Chinese proverb.
See Also: Nothing Is Impossible
乗り換える is the Japanese way to say, "move on." This can also be translated as, "to change one's mind," "to change methods," "to change one's way of thinking." For instance, if you changed your love interest, or political ideology, you might describe the act of that change with this title.
Colloquially in Japan, this is also used to describe the act of transferring trains or to change from one bus or train to another.
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
古道 is the Japanese word meaning "The Old Way." The first character literally means old or ancient. The second character means "the way" and is the same character as used in Taoism / Daoism (Taoism literally means "the way").
This second character can also be translated as "method," as in a way of doing things.
古道 is sometimes Romanized as "kodo" though officially, the Romaji should be "Kodou."
My Japanese-English dictionary further translates this word as old road, ancient methods, ancient moral teachings, the way of learning.
Note that this would be understood differently in Chinese. Most Chinese people would just read this as, "The old road" without the other meanings derived in Japanese.
This old Chinese proverb speaks to the act of giving up. This phrase suggests that no matter how close you are to finishing your task or journey, giving up just before you finish, is just as bad as giving up halfway.
50% finished or 90% finished, the result is the same: "You are not finished."
You can take what you want from this proverb but I think it suggests that you should finish what you start, and especially finish that last 10% of your journey or project so that you can honestly say "it's finished."
Some notes: The character, 里, that I am translating as "mile" is really an ancient "Chinese mile" which is actually about half a kilometer - it just doesn't sound right to say "When walking 100 half-kilometers..."
生活法 is a Japanese and Chinese title meaning, "art of living" or "way of life."
This can also be translated a few other ways, such as, "rule of life" and "the act of living."
The "art" title kind of comes from the fact that the last character is the same as the book, "The Art of War." So when you write your book, this is the title for, "The Art of Life," in Chinese and Japanese.
This Japanese expression means, "Where there is a will, there is a way. There are other Japanese phrases with similar meaning but this one is the most commonly used (according to number of results on Japanese Google).
This can also be romanized as, "seshinittonanigotokanarazaran."
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
This title is used in certain contexts but is not widely-known by the general population of China or Japan.
From Japanese, you will see this title romanized as "zendo," which is the brand name of a board game, and also a title used by some martial arts studios and karate dojos. Oddly, many translate this as "zen fist" although there is no "fist" in the title. If you literally translated this title, it would be "meditation way" or "meditation method."
In Chinese, this would be "chan dao" with the same literal meaning as the Japanese title. It's used in China by just a handful of martial arts styles/studios.
You should only order this title if you really understand the meaning, and it has some personal connection to you (such as practicing a martial art style that uses this title, or if you love the board game Zendo). Many who see your wall scroll will not be familiar with this title, and you'll have some explaining to do.
The first character can also be written in a more complex traditional way as shown to the right. Let us know in the special instructions for your calligraphy project if you want this style.
If you order this from the Japanese master calligrapher, the first character will automatically be written with an extra dot on top. This is the variant form of the original Chinese character which is commonly used in modern Japan Kanji. See sample to the right.
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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji(Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|道||michi / -do||dào / dao4 / dao||tao|
|道教||doukyou / dokyo||dào jiào / dao4 jiao4 / dao jiao / daojiao||tao chiao / taochiao|
|The Way of Tea||茶道||cha dou / chadou / cha do / chado||chá dào / cha2 dao4 / cha dao / chadao||ch`a tao / chatao / cha tao|
The Way of the Samurai
|武士道||bu shi do / bushido||wǔ shì dào|
wu3 shi4 dao4
wu shi dao
|wu shih tao
The Way of the Sword
|剱道 / 劍道|
|kendou / kendo||jiàn dào / jian4 dao4 / jian dao / jiandao||chien tao / chientao|
|Walk in the Way||行道||yukimichi||xíng dào / xing2 dao4 / xing dao / xingdao||hsing tao / hsingtao|
|The Way of Five Pecks of Rice||五斗米道||gotobeidou / gotobeido||wǔ dǒu mǐ dào|
wu3 dou3 mi3 dao4
wu dou mi dao
|wu tou mi tao
|The Way of the Wave||浪之道||làng zhī dào|
lang4 zhi1 dao4
lang zhi dao
|lang chih tao
|The Way of the Dragon||猛龍過江|
|měng lóng guò jiāng|
meng3 long2 guo4 jiang1
meng long guo jiang
|meng lung kuo chiang
|The Way of the Dragon||龍之道|
|lóng zhī dào|
long2 zhi1 dao4
long zhi dao
|lung chih tao
|The Way of the Wave||波の道||nami no michi|
Tang Hand Way
Tang Soo Do
|唐手道||kara te do / karatedo||táng shǒu dào|
tang2 shou3 dao4
tang shou dao
|t`ang shou tao
tang shou tao
|Love Will Find A Way||終成眷屬|
|zhōng chéng juàn shǔ|
zhong1 cheng2 juan4 shu3
zhong cheng juan shu
|chung ch`eng chüan shu
chung cheng chüan shu
|Love Will Find A Way||有情人終成眷屬|
|yǒu qíng rén zhōng chéng juàn shǔ|
you3 qing2 ren2 zhong1 cheng2 juan4 shu3
you qing ren zhong cheng juan shu
|yu ch`ing jen chung ch`eng chüan shu
yu ching jen chung cheng chüan shu
|The Middle Way||中道||chuu dou / chuudou / chu do / chudo||zhōng dào|
|Milky Way Galaxy||銀河|
|ginga||yín hé / yin2 he2 / yin he / yinhe||yin ho / yinho|
|Milky Way Galaxy||銀河系|
|gingakei||yín hé xì|
yin2 he2 xi4
yin he xi
|yin ho hsi
|Where There is a Will, There is a Way||愚公移山||yú gōng yí shān|
yu2 gong1 yi2 shan1
yu gong yi shan
|yü kung i shan
Change Way of Thinking
|The Old Way|
|古道||kodou / kodo|
|Walking 100 Miles: Stopping at 90 miles, is the same as stopping half-way.||行百里者半九十||xíng bǎi lǐ zhě bàn jiǔ shí|
xing2 bai3 li3 zhe3 ban4 jiu3 shi2
xing bai li zhe ban jiu shi
|hsing pai li che pan chiu shih
|Way of Life|
Art of Life
|shēng huó fǎ|
sheng1 huo2 fa3
sheng huo fa
|Where there’s a will there’s a way||有志竟成||yǒu zhì jìng chéng|
you3 zhi4 jing4 cheng2
you zhi jing cheng
|yu chih ching ch`eng
yu chih ching cheng
|Where There is a Will, There is a Way||精神一到何事か成らざらん||seishin ittou nanigoto ka nara zaran|
seishin itto nanigoto ka nara zaran
The Zen Way
|禅道 / 禪道|
|zen dou / zendou / zen do / zendo||chán dào / chan2 dao4 / chan dao / chandao||ch`an tao / chantao / chan tao|
|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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All of our calligraphy wall scrolls are handmade.
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.
After we create your wall scroll, it takes at least two weeks for air mail delivery from Beijing to you.
Allow a few weeks for delivery. Rush service speeds it up by a week or two for $10!
When you select your calligraphy, you'll be taken to another page where you can choose various custom options.
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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