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1. The World
6. World Peace
11. Shit Happens
14. Live Love Die
17. Eye for an eye
20. Luohan / Lohan
22. John 3:16
32. John 3:16
36. Love and Hate
39. Five Elements
44. Bonsai / Penzai
世界 is the Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja for world.
Beyond the world, this can refer to society, the universe, space, a sphere or circle.
In Buddhism, this would mean the realm governed by one Buddha.
This literally reads, "Four Seas Serve-As [my/one's] Home".
Together, 四海 which literally means "four seas" is understood to mean, "the whole world" or "the seven seas". It's presumed to be an ancient word, from back when only four seas were known - so it equates to the modern English term, "seven seas".
This can be translated or understood a few different ways:
To regard the four corners of the world all as home.
To feel at home anywhere.
To roam about unconstrained.
To consider the entire country, or the world, to be one's own.
一視同仁 is how to write "universal benevolence". 一視同仁 is also how to express the idea that you see all people the same.
If you are kind and charitable to all people, this is the best way to state that virtue. It is the essence of being impartial to all mankind, regardless of social standing, background, race, sex, etc. You do not judge others but rather you see them eye to eye on the same level with you.
This Japanese proverb means, "If you love your children, send them out on a journey into the world".
This is kind of similar to the western phrase, "Spare the rod and spoil the child".
More literally, this reads, "Cute child, a journey granted".
That "granted" could also be understood as "should be initiated".
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
刻舟求劍 is an originally-Chinese proverb which serves as a warning to people that things are always in a state of change.
Thus, you must take that into account, and not depend on the old ways, or a way that may have worked in the past but is no longer valid.
This idiom/proverb comes from the following story:
A man was traveling in a ferry boat across a river. With him, he carried a valuable and treasured sword. Along the way, the man became overwhelmed and intoxicated by the beautiful view, and accidentally dropped his prized sword into the river. Thinking quickly, he pulled out a knife and marked on the rail of the boat where exactly he has lost his sword.
When the boat arrived on the other side of the river, the man jumped out of the boat and searched for his sword right under where he'd made the mark. Of course, the boat had moved a great distance since he made the mark, and thus, he could not find the sword.
While this man may seem foolhardy, we have to take a great lesson from this parable: Circumstances change, so one should use methods that can handle the change. In modern China, this is used in business to mean that one should not depend on old business models for a changing market.
This proverb dates back to the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC) of the territory now known as China. It has spread and is somewhat known in Japan and Korea.
This means "To bring flourishing peace and security to the world (our current era)".
It's really a wish that a new door leading to peace and prosperity could be opened to mankind.
Character and word breakdown:
啟 to open; to start; to initiate; to enlighten or awaken.
盛世 a flourishing period; period of prosperity; a golden age.
開 to open; to start; to turn on.
太平 peace and security; peace and tranquility; peace; tranquility.
I don't really like to do breakdowns like this, as the words altogether create their own unique meaning (encompassed in the main title above). Please take that into consideration.
啟蒙 is the Chinese word for enlightenment.
The first character means to open, to start, to begin, to commence or to explain. The second character means deception or ignorance. Basically, it suggests that enlightenment is the opening or cutting through what deceives you in the world or the ignorance of the world. This title can also mean "to educate".
The Japanese and Korean version of the first character of this title varies slightly from the Chinese. Please click on the Kanji to the right, instead of the button above, if you want the Japanese/Korean version.
This the word for football or soccer in Chinese. As with most of the world, football is very popular in China. During the World Cup, the whole country seems to shut down to watch (regardless of whether Team China is playing or not).
Soccer is probably the 3rd most popular participation sport in China (after ping pong and badminton).
As you might expect, the first character means "foot" and the second character means "ball".
FYI: This game would never be confused with American Football in Chinese. As with the rest of the world, there is a vague awareness of what American Football is (often described as "that game kind of like rugby").
For those familiar with American Football, there is some disgust regarding the fact that winners of the Superbowl call themselves "world champions" of a game that is only played in the USA. This is one of the reasons that jokes abound about how Americans are unaware that there is a world outside of their borders.
海為龍世界雲是鶴家鄉 is a somewhat poetic way to say that everyone and everything has its place in the world.
The first line (which is the column on the right) says, "The Ocean is the World of the Dragon". The next column says, "The Clouds are the Domain of the Cranes".
The image to the right is what this calligraphy can look like in xing-kaishu style by a Master Calligrapher.
世事難料 is a polite Chinese version of, "shit happens". This phrase just suggests that things happen (for no reason, and for which we have no control).
The first two characters mean: the affairs of life; things of the world; worldly affairs; ways of the world.
The third character means: disaster; distress; problem; difficulty; difficult; hardships; troubles; defect.
The last character in this context means: to expect; to anticipate; to guess.
If you put this back together, you have something like, "In life, troubles (should be) expected".
This proverb can also be translated as "The whole world is one family".
It is used to mean that all humans are related under heaven.
The first two characters can be translated as "the world", "whole country", "descended from heaven", "earth under heaven", "the public" or "the ruling power".
The second two characters can mean "one family", "a household", "one's folks", "a house" or "a home". Usually this is read as "a family".
Note: This proverb can be understood in Japanese, though not commonly used.
This Japanese proverb simply reads, "[In] Flowers it's Cherry Blossoms, [In] Men it's Warriors".
This is meant to say that of all the flowers in the world, the cherry blossom is the best. And of all men in the world, the Samurai or Warrior is the best
This proverb has been around for a long time. It's believed to have been composed sometime before the Edo Period in Japan (which started in 1603).
Some will drop one syllable and pronounce this, "hana wa sakura hito wa bushi". That's "sakura" instead of "sakuragi", which is like saying "cherry blossom" instead of "cherry tree".
The third character was traditionally written as 櫻. But in modern Japan, that became 桜. You may still see 櫻 used from time to time on older pieces of calligraphy. We can do either one, so just make a special request if you want 櫻.
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
This came from a customer's request but it's not too bad.
These three simple characters suggest that you are born, you learn to love, and then exit the world.
Part of life in this universe is suffering.
All living things experience some form of suffering according to Buddhist teaching. This title is about accepting and understanding that the world is full of suffering.
This term is exclusively used by devout Buddhists. It is not a common term, and is remains an unknown concept to most Chinese, Japanese and Korean people.
ルシール is the most common way to write Lucille in Katakana (phonetic Japanese).
This version is famously used for B.B. King's guitar named "Lucille" along with the thousands of people named Lucille in the world.
Note: Because this title is entirely Japanese Katakana, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
羅漢 is the title Lohan, achiever of Nirvana.
This can also be a place name and surname Rakan in Japanese.
In the Buddhist context, this can be arhan, arhat, saint, or perfect man of Hīnayāna. It can refer to the 16, 18, or 500 disciples appointed to witness to Buddha-truth and save the world.
神愛世人甚至將他的獨生子賜給他們叫一切信他的不至滅亡反得永生 is the full translation of John 3:16 into Chinese.
This is from the Chinese Union Bible which comes from a revised version of the King James. This Chinese Bible was originally translated and printed in 1919 (several revisions since then).
Because of the origin being the KJV, I'll say that in English, this would be, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life".
As with any translation, there are interesting cultural and linguistic issues. For instance, the word used for "world" in Chinese can also mean "common people". So you could say that it means "For God so loved the common people..".
This does not take away from the text, as it will be understood with the same meaning and connotation.
There is no direct Greek to Chinese translation in print (that I know of), so this is the best available. Of course, you can ask any Greek person of faith, and they will claim that a bit is lost from the original Greek of the New Testament to any of the English versions of the Bible in print.
This Chinese proverb reads, "river of literacy, sea of learning"
This suggests that there is a lot to learn in the world, with an eternal amount of reading and things to study.
文江學海 is one way to translate the quote from Hippocrates, "ars longa, vita brevis", meaning, "it takes a long time to acquire and perfect one's expertise".
See Also: Learning is Eternal
This title speaks of reaching an understanding (of Zen or the world). It also means "to practice meditation". The two concepts lead you to the idea that meditation leads to understanding. 參禪 is pretty deep, so you can do your own research, or decide what this means for you.
This can also be defined in a more complex way as "thoroughly penetrating with meditative insight".
This Japanese proverb means, "Bright Future". It suggests a lot of possibility and potential awaits in your future. A great gift for a graduate.
The first part of this proverb literally means bright or light. The second part means future but can also be translated as, "the world to come".
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
正見 is one of the Noble Eightfold Paths of Buddhism. Right View, along with Right Thought constitutes the path to Wisdom.
To get to the right view of the world, you must first understand and follow Four Noble Truths.
Note: This term is exclusively used by devout Buddhists. It is not a common term, and is remains an unknown concept to most Japanese and Chinese people.
悟性 means the power of understanding and insight in Chinese.
It is often associated with Neo-Confucianism. In that regard, it means to realize, perceive, or have the perception of man's true nature. It can also mean to find your soul, the soul of others, or the soul of the world. Some will translate this simply as the state of being "savvy".
In Japanese, this is often translated as wisdom and understanding.
自尊 means self-respect or self-esteem in Chinese, Korean and Japanese. It can also mean "pride in oneself".
Note: Japanese sometimes put the character for heart after these two. However, this two-character word is universal between all three languages (which is often better since more than a third of the world's population can read this version as a native word).
神は實にそのひとり子をお與えになったほどに世を愛されたそれは御子を信じる者がひとりとして滅びることなく永遠のいのちを持つためである is the full translation of John 3:16 into Japanese.
This translation comes from the Shinkaiyaku Bible (a preferred translation by many Japanese Christians).
Just for reference, from the KJV, this reads, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life".
陰司 is the ancient way to say "Hell" or "Netherworld" in Chinese.
This title can also refer to the officials of Hell or the judges of Hades or the Netherworld.
Please note that this is a somewhat terrible selection for a wall scroll. Hanging this in your home is like telling the world that your home is hell. Oddly, a lot of people search for this on my website, so I added it for reference.
This Chinese philosophy tells of how we continue to learn throughout our lives. This proverb can be translated in a few ways such as "Study has no end", "Knowledge is infinite", "No end to learning", "There's always something new to study", or "You live and learn".
The deeper meaning: Even when we finish school we are still students of the world gaining more knowledge from our surroundings with each passing day.
This Chinese word is the form of intense that describes a person who is deep, serious, and a true thinker.
If you find yourself contemplating the world and coming up with profound ideas, this might we the word for you. In some context (especially Korean), it can mean seriousness, gravity, or acuteness.
In Japanese, this can mean "serious problem", or can be a rare given name, Misa. You should not use this if your audience is Japanese.
Whether you want to make a joke about what marriage really is, or just feel that the world in full of love and hate, this selection is for you.
愛與恨 happen to literally translate. So the first character is love. The middle character is a connecting particle like "and" in English. The last character is hate.
Upon request, we can omit the "and" character and just put a dot to separate love and hate if you prefer.
Creativity is the power of imagination. It is discovering your own special talents. Daring to see things in new ways and find different ways to solve problems. With your creativity, you can bring something new into the world.
The first character means "to create" the second means "to make or build". Together they mean "creative". The third character means "strength". So altogether, these three characters are a word that means "strength of creativity" or sort of "creativity (is your) strength". This can also be translated as "ingenuity".
This is a lifelong suggestion for expanding your horizons by gaining knowledge, experience, and seeing the world.
Of course, this was written long ago when it was hard to travel 10,000 miles (at least 1000 years before the invention of the airplane).
With air travel and the business I'm in, I often achieve that lifetime goal on a monthly basis.
However, I am a little behind in the book count.
Note: An ancient Chinese mile (里 or lǐ) referred to in this proverb is about a third of a British/American mile. However, at that time, this was a great distance to travel.
五行 is the title of the five elements which are: wood, fire, water, earth, and metal.
The first character means "5" and the second character is simply "elements".
According to ancient Chinese science, all matter in the world is made up of these elements. One idea presented with the five elements is that when energy is added, matter is believed to expand. When energy is removed, matter contracts. Oddly, this concept is not far from Einstein's theories, and modern science. Just a few thousand years before Einstein.
More info: Wikipedia - Five Elements (Wu Xing).
This Chinese character means to read. It can also refer to observing (the world, and learning from it), or gaining life experiences. 閱 is a good character to relay the idea of being "well read", which can include reading books, studying, and learning through experience.
The dictionary definition also includes: to inspect; to review; to peruse; to go through; to experience.
Technically, this is also a Japanese Kanji but it only used by some Japanese Buddhists (most of the population will not recognize it).
In both Chinese and Japanese Buddhism, this means: Examine, inspect, look over.
地獄 is the way that hell is written in modern Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
There's more than one way to express hell but this is the one that has stood the test of time.
The first character refers to the ground or the earth.
The second character means jail or prison.
You can also translate this word as infernal, inferno, Hades, or underworld.
It should be noted that this is a somewhat terrible selection for a wall scroll. Hanging this in your home is like telling the world that your home is hell. Oddly, a lot of people search for this on our website, so I added it for reference.
關心 means caring in Chinese.
Caring is giving love and attention to people and things that matter to you and anyone who is in need of help. When you care about people, you help them. You do a careful job, giving your very best effort. You treat people and things gently and respectfully. Caring makes the world a safer place.
Note: 關心 is also a word in Korean Hanja but in Korean, it means taking interest or concern. In Korean it's still a good word but it doesn't quite have the "caring for a person" meaning that it does in Chinese.
This old Chinese proverb has been translated many different ways into English. As you read the translations below, keep in mind that in Chinese, heart=mind.
Nothing is impossible to a willing heart.
Nothing is impossible to a willing mind.
Nothing is difficult to a willing heart.
Where there is a will, there is a way.
Nothing in the world is impossible if you set your mind to do it.
A willful man will have his way.
If you wish it, you will do it.
A determined heart can accomplish anything.
All things are possible to a strong mind.
盆栽 is the word that refers to the culture, hobby and to the miniature trees themselves that have become popular around the world.
Like many things, this art migrated from China to Japan some time ago but we tend to associate it with Japanese culture and even use the Japanese word in English.
Granted, in present day, this hobby seems to be more popular in Japan but still has a great following in China and even a little in Korea as well.
Note: Many people confuse the title of the bonsai tree with "banzai" which is a form of "hooray" in Japanese. I have also seen it misspelled as "bansai". The correct Romanization (Romaji) is "bonsai".
Besides the title above, 慈悲 can also be defined as clemency or lenience and sometimes the act of giving charity.
In Buddhist context, it can be defined as, "benevolence", "loving kindness and compassion", or "mercy and compassion".
This Buddhist virtue is perhaps the most important to employ in your life. All sentient beings that you encounter should be given your loving kindness. And trust me, however much you can give, it comes back. Make your life and the world a better place!
This Chinese/Japanese Buddhist term is the equivalent of Metta Karuna from Pali or Maitri Karuna from Sanskrit.
慈 can mean loving-kindness by itself.
悲 adds a component of sorrow, empathy, compassion, and sympathy for others.
See Also: Benevolence
寧靜而致遠 is five characters from a longer ten-character proverb composed by Zhuge Liang about 1800 years ago.
诸葛亮 Zhuge Liang
The proverb means, "Your inner peace / tranquility / serenity will help you see or reach far (into the world)".
The last word means "far" but the deeper meaning is that you will surpass what you can currently see or understand. Perhaps even the idea of opening up vast knowledge and understanding of complex ideas.
狼 is the character used to represent the elusive animal known as the wolf in both Chinese and Japanese.
If you are a fan of the wolf or the wolf means something special to you, this could make a great addition to your wall.
Do keep in mind, that much like our perception of wolves in the history of western culture, eastern cultures do not have a very positive view of wolves (save the scientific community and animal lovers). The wolf is clearly an animal that is misunderstood or feared the world over.
狼 is seldom used alone in Korean Hanja, but is used in a compound word that means utter failure (as in a wolf getting into your chicken pen - or an otherwise ferocious failure). Not a good choice if your audience is Korean.
This is an except from the 67th Chapter of Lao Tzu's (Lao Zi's) Te-Tao Ching (Dao De Jing). This is the part where the three treasures are discussed. In English, we'd say these three treasures are compassion, frugality, and humility. Some may translate these as love, moderation, and lack of arrogance. I have also seen them translated as benevolence, modesty, and "Not presuming to be at the forefront in the world". You can mix them up the way you want, as translation is not really a science but rather an art.
I should also explain that the first two treasures are single-character ideas, yet the third treasure was written out in six characters (there are also some auxiliary characters to number the treasures).
If Lao Tzu's words are important to you, then a wall scroll with this passage might make a great addition to your home.
靈感 is the Chinese word that is the closest to hitting the mark for the English word inspiration.
In a more extended context, I have even seen this translated as "brain wave".
The first character means alert, departed soul, efficacious, quick, effective or intelligence.
The second character means to feel, to move, to touch or to affect.
The combined meaning of these two characters changes a bit but I think it's nice to know the individual meanings to give you a better understanding of where a word comes from.
You could describe this word as, "the thought that pops into your head just before you patent the greatest widget ever invented, that everyone in the world will want".
At least, that's the idea.
This term can also mean "intelligent thought" if you were to translate it directly from each of these characters. If you are looking for inspiration or otherwise need to be inspired, this is the word for you.
When the first character was absorbed into Japanese from Chinese, an alternate form became the standard in Japan. The Kanji shown to the right is the form currently used in Japan. This is still considered an alternate form in China to this day. it’s readable by both Chinese and Japanese people but if your audience is Japanese, I recommend the Kanji shown to the right - just click on that Kanji to order that version.
Even if you are poor, you should still feel satisfied in your life...
...Satisfaction, happiness, and the meaning of your life come from within yourself and not from money or riches of the world.
In Chinese, there are a lot of four-character proverbs which express some very old philosophies.
Though there are only four characters on this scroll, in Chinese the meanings often surpass the dictionary definition of each character.
In this case, you should not set your expectations too high for the amount to money or riches you wish to have. One who sets their expectations too high is almost always disappointed. Instead, you should cherish what you have, and seek to improve yourself from within, and not measure your personal worth by the size of your bank account.
The first Kanji alone means to wash, to bathe, primness, cleanse or purify.
The second Kanji means heart, mind, soul, or essence.
Together, these two Kanji create a word that is defined as "purified spirit" or "enlightened attitude" within the context of Japanese martial arts.
洗心 is one of the five spirits of the warrior (budo), and is often used as a Japanese martial arts tenet. Under that context it's often defined this way: A spirit that protects and harmonizes the universe. Senshin is a spirit of compassion that embraces and serves all humanity and whose function is to reconcile discord in the world. It holds all life to be sacred. It is the Buddha mind.
This title will only be familiar to Japanese who practice certain martial arts. Others may not recognize this word at all.
洗心 does not show up as a word in too many Chinese dictionaries but it can be read and has the same meaning in Chinese.
There is an issue with the first character. The original, and probably most correct version is shown above. However, many dojo documents and other sources have used a more simple first character. Arguments ensue about which version is correct. If you want to be correct in the Japanese language, use the "Select and Customize" button above. If you want to match the Kanji used by your dojo, click the Kanji shown to the right. There is a slightly different meaning with this first character which means before, ahead, previous, future, precedence.
This is a kind of complex ten-character proverb composed by Zhuge Liang about 1800 years ago.
This Chinese proverb means "Leading a simple life will yield a clear mind, and having inner peace will help you see far (into the world)".
What I have translated as "simple life" means NOT being materialistic and NOT competing in the rat race.
The last word means "far" but the deeper meaning is that you will surpass what you can currently see or understand. Perhaps even the idea of opening up vast knowledge and understanding of complex ideas.
The whole phrase has a theme that suggests if you are NOT an aggressive cut-throat person who fights his way to the top no matter how many people he crushes on the way, and instead seek inner peace, you will have a happier existence and be more likely to understand the meaning of life.
See Also: Serenity
空無 is "nothingness" in a Buddhist context.
The first character means empty but can also mean air or sky (air and sky have no form).
The second character means have not, no, none, not or to lack.
Together these characters reinforce each other into a word that means "absolute nothingness".
I know this is a term used in Buddhism but I have not yet figured out the context in which it is used. I suppose it can be the fact that Buddhists believe that the world in a non-real illusion, or perhaps it's about visualizing yourself as "nothing" and therefore leaving behind your desire and worldliness.
Buddhist concepts and titles often have this element of ambiguity or rather "mystery". Therefore, such ideas can have different meanings to different people, and that's okay. If you don't get it right in this lifetime, as there will be plenty more lifetimes to master it (whatever "it" is, and if "it" really exists at all).
Soothill defines this as "Unreality, or immateriality, of things, which is defined as nothing existing of independent or self-contained nature".
This Japanese proverb relays the vicissitudes of life, with the meaning "seven times down eight times up".
Some would more naturally translate it into English as "Always rising after a fall or repeated failures" or compare it to the English, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again".
The first Kanji is literally "7". The second means "fall down" (sometimes this Kanji means "turn around", "revolve" or "turn over" but in this case, it holds the meaning of "fall"). The third is "8". And the last is "get up", "rouse", or "rise".
Basically, if you fail 7 times, you should recover from those events and be prepared to rise an 8th time. This also applies if it is the world or circumstances that knock you down seven times...
...just remember that you have the ability to bounce back from any kind of adversity.
Note: This can be pronounced two ways. One is "shichi ten hakki" or "shichitenhakki". The other is "nana korobi ya oki" also written, "nanakorobi-yaoki".
Special Note: The second character is a Kanji that is not used in China. Therefore, please only select our Japanese master calligrapher for this selection.
This is the last line of a famous poem. It is perceived as a tribute or ode to your parent's or mother from a child or children that have left home.
The poem was written by Meng Jiao during the Tang Dynasty (about 1200 years ago). The Chinese title is "You Zi Yin" which means "The Traveler's Recite".
The last line as shown here speaks of the generous and warm spring sun light which gives the grass far beyond what the little grass can could ever give back (except perhaps by showing its lovely green leaves and flourishing). The metaphor is that the sun is your mother or parents, and you are the grass. Your parents raise you and give you all the love and care you need to prepare you for the world. A debt which you can never repay, nor is repayment expected.
The first part of the poem (not written in the characters to the left) suggests that the thread in a loving mother's hands is the shirt of her traveling offspring. Vigorously sewing while wishing them to come back sooner than they left.
...This part is really hard to translate into English that makes any sense but maybe you get the idea. We are talking about a poem that is so old that many Chinese people would have trouble reading it (as if it was the King James Version of Chinese).
Taidō (The Way of the Body) is a style of Karate practiced in Japan and popular around the world.
Taidō or 躰道 traces a lineage from Genseiryū (玄制流) which came from Shuri-te (首里手), one of the original martial arts schools of ancient Okinawa.
The first character 躰 is a variant of the original Chinese character 體. In modern Japan, they tend to use 体, a more simple form of the character. 体 is also the modern Simplified Chinese form of 體.
The 躰 character is correct for this 躰道 martial arts title. But it can be confusing with so many variants out there, not to mention other homophonic Japanese words that also romanize as Taidō or Taidou.
To have a bit more fun with this 躰 character, it has a 身 radical on the left, which sets it apart. The meaning doubles up on the "body" as 身 (shin) is a character that also means body in Japanese and Chinese. On the right is 本 which often means root, stem, origin, source, or fundamental (but can also mean "book" in some contexts). This has deviated from the original 體 which was 骨 (bone) + 豊 (vessel). Hence, body was your "bone vessel" in ancient Asia.
The meaning of 躰, as well as 體 and 体, is usually translated as body. When related to the physical body, it can also refer to the torso, trunk, build, physique, or constitution of a person. As an extension of this, it can also refer to someone's health (good body = good health).
However, depending on context, it can encompass other meanings such as: form; style; system; to experience; aspect; corpus, corporeal; the substance, the essentials.
The second character, 道, is recognized and well-known as the "Way" and is the same "do" as in Karate-do or Aikido.
跆拳道 is one of the most widespread types of martial arts in the world as well as being an Olympic sport. Taekwondo was born in Korea with influences of Chinese and Japanese styles, combined with traditional Korean combat skills. Some will define it as the "Korean art of empty-handed self-defense".
In the simplest translation, the first character means "kick", the second character can mean either "fist" or "punching" the third means "way" or "method". Altogether, you could say this is "Kick Punch Method". When heard or read in various Asian languages, all will automatically think of this famous Korean martial art. It is written the same in Japanese Kanji, Chinese, and Korean Hanja characters - so the appearance of the characters are rather universal. However, you should note that there is another way to write this in modern Korean Hangul characters which looks like the image to the right.
We suggest the original Korean Hanja (Chinese characters) for a wall scroll but if you really need the Hangul version, you must use master calligrapher Xing An-Ping: Order Taekwondo in Korean Hangul
Note: Taekwondo is sometimes Romanized as Tae-Kwondo, Tae Kwon Do, Taekwon-do, Taegwondo, Tae Gweon Do, Tai Kwon Do, Taikwondo, Taekwando, Tae Kwan Do and in Chinese Taiquandao, Tai Quan Dao, Taichuando, or Tai Chuan Tao.
One of the most famous types of martial arts in the world - and not just because of Bruce Lee.
Some translate the meaning as "Accomplishment by Great Effort". I think this is partially true but directly translated it literally means "Merit/Achievement/Accomplishment Man". The word "fu" can sometimes mean "husband" or "porter" but in this case, it can only mean "man". However, few in China will think "man" when they hear the word "Gong Fu" spoken.
This term is also used for things other than martial arts. In fact, it's used to refer to a person with excellent skills in crafts that require a great deal of effort such as cooking, tea ceremonies, and calligraphy.
What a lot of people don't know is that the spelling of "Kung Fu" was actually taken from the old Wade Giles form of Romanization. Using this method, the sounds of the English "G" and "K" were both written as "K" and an apostrophe after the "K" told you it was supposed to sound like a "G". Nobody in the west knew this rule, so most people pronounce it with a "K-sound". And so Gong Fu will always be Kung Fu for most westerners.
Also, just to educate you a little more, the "O" in "Gong" has a sound like the English word "oh".
The popular Chinese dish "Kung Pao Chicken" suffers from the same problem. It should actually be "Gong Bao Chicken".
Historical note: Many will claim that Kung Fu was invented by the monks of the Shaolin monastery. This fact is argued in both directions by scholars of Chinese history. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that the Shaolin Monks brought the original fame to Kung Fu many generations ago.
Japanese note: While most Japanese martial artists will recognize these characters, Katakana is more often used to approximate the pronunciation of "Kung Fu" with "カンフー." Some will argue as to whether this should be considered a Japanese word at all.
See Also: Bruce Lee
靈氣 is the title of a healing practice that is now found throughout the world but with origins in Japan.
Special note: Outside of the context of the healing practice of Reiki, this means "aura" or "spiritual essence that surrounds all living things". A Japanese person not familiar with the practice will take the "aura" meaning.
Reiki is a technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also heals. It can be compared to massage but is based on the idea that an unseen "life force energy" flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If your life force energy is low, you'll be more likely to get sick or feel stress. If your life force energy is abundant and flowing well, you become more capable of being happy and healthy.
There is a lot of information available if you want to Google this term - my job is to offer the calligraphy, while you can decide if it is right for you.
Note: We are showing the ancient (traditional) form of the Reiki Kanji. I have seen Reiki written with both the slightly simplified version and this more classic form. If you want the form of Reiki with the two strokes in the shape of an X on the second character and the modern first character, simply click on the Kanji characters to the right.
Note: 靈氣 is also a Chinese word but in Chinese, these characters create a word that refers to a smart person or someone with high aspirations. It is not read as a healing method in Chinese.
In Korean Hanja, this can be read as "mysterious atmosphere" by a Korean who is not familiar with the practice of Reiki (still has a cool meaning in Korean).
Hapkido or 合氣道 is a mostly-defensive martial art of Korea.
Hapkido has some connection to Aikido of Japan. In fact, they are written with the same characters in both languages. However, it should be noted that the Korean Hanja characters shown here are the traditional Chinese form - but in modern Japan, the middle character was slightly simplified.
Note: You can consider this to be the older Japanese written form of Aikido. Titles on older books and signs about Aikido use this form.
The connection between Japanese Aikido and Korean Hapkido is a bit muddled in history. The issue is probably due to the difficult relationship between the two countries around the time of WWII. Many Koreans became virtual slaves for the Japanese during that period. After WWII, many things in Korea were disassociated from having any Japanese origin. The relationship has greatly mellowed out now.
Looking at the characters, the first means "union" or "harmony".
The second character means "universal energy" or "spirit".
The third means "way" or "method".
One way to translate this into English is "Harmonizing Energy Method". This makes since, as Hapkido has more to do with redirecting energy, rather that fighting with strength against strength.
More Hapkido info
1. Sometimes Hapkido is Romanized as "hap ki do", "hapki-do" "hab gi do" or "hapgido".
2. Korean Hanja characters are actually Chinese characters that usually hold the same meaning in both languages. There was a time when these characters were the standard and only written form of Korean. The development of modern Korean Hangul characters is a somewhat recent event in the greater scope of history. There was a time when Chinese characters were the written form of many languages in places known in modern times as North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mainland China, and a significant portion of Malaysia. Even today, more people in the world can read Chinese characters than English.
3. While these Korean Hanja characters can be pronounced in Chinese, this word is not well-known in China and is not considered part of the Chinese lexicon.
This form of martial arts can be translated in several ways. Some will call it "fist principles" or "the way of the fist", or even "law of the fist". The first character literally means fist. The second can mean law, method, way, principle or Buddhist teaching.
Kempo is really a potluck of martial arts. Often a combination of Chinese martial arts such as Shaolin Kung Fu with Japanese martial arts such as Karate, Jujutsu (Jujitsu), Aikido, and others. You may see the term "Kempo Karate" which basically means Karate with other disciplines added. In this way, Kempo becomes an adjective rather than a title or school of martial arts.
These facts will long be argued by various masters and students of Kempo. Even the argument as to whether it should be spelled "kenpo" or "Kempo" ensues at dojos around the world (the correct Romaji should actually be "kenpou" if you precisely follow the rules).
The benefit of Kempo is that the techniques are easier to learn and master compared to pure Kung Fu (wu shu). Students are often taught basic Karate moves, kicks, and punches before augmenting the basic skills with complex Kung Fu techniques. This allows students of Kempo achieve a level where they can defend themselves or fight in a relatively short amount of time (a few years rather than a decade or more).
Because the definition of this word is so fluid, I should make some notes here:
1. Purists in Okinawa will claim that "Okinawa Kenpo" or "Ryukyu Hon Kenpo" is the original and true version of this martial art from the old kingdom. There is actually little or no connection between Okinawa Kenpo and the way the word is used elsewhere.
2. In Chinese, where these characters are pronounced "quan fa" (sometimes Romanized as "chuan fa" because the Chinese-pinyin "q" actually sounds like an English "ch" sound), these characters do not hold the connotation of being a mixed martial art. It is simply defined as "the law of the fist".
3. In my Japanese dictionary, it oddly defines Kenpo as "Chinese art of self-defense". I personally don't feel this is the most common way that people perceive the word but just something you should know.
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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|
|The World||世界||sei kai / seikai||shì jiè / shi4 jie4 / shi jie / shijie||shih chieh / shihchieh|
|Feel at Ease Anywhere|
The World is My Home
|sì hǎi wéi jiā|
si4 hai3 wei2 jia1
si hai wei jia
|ssu hai wei chia
|Impartial and Fair to the Brotherhood and Sisterhood of the World||一視同仁|
|yí shì tóng rén|
yi2 shi4 tong2 ren2
yi shi tong ren
|i shih t`ung jen
i shih tung jen
|If you love your child, send them out into the world||可愛い子には旅をさせよ||kawaii ko ni wa tabi o sa seyo|
kawai ko ni wa tabi o sa seyo
|Mark the boat to find the lost sword|
Ignoring the changing circumstances of the world
|kè zhōu qiú jiàn|
ke4 zhou1 qiu2 jian4
ke zhou qiu jian
|k`o chou ch`iu chien
ko chou chiu chien
|Worldwide Wish for Peace and Prosperity||啟盛世開太平|
|qǐ shèng shì kāi tài píng|
qi3 sheng4 shi4 kai1 tai4 ping2
qi sheng shi kai tai ping
|ch`i sheng shih k`ai t`ai p`ing
chi sheng shih kai tai ping
|keimou / keimo||qǐ méng / qi3 meng2 / qi meng / qimeng||ch`i meng / chimeng / chi meng|
|足球||zú qiú / zu2 qiu2 / zu qiu / zuqiu||tsu ch`iu / tsuchiu / tsu chiu|
|Every Creature Has A Domain||海為龍世界雲是鶴家鄉|
|hǎi wéi lóng shì jiè yún shì hè jiā xiāng|
hai3 wei2 long2 shi4 jie4 yun2 shi4 he4 jia1 xiang1
hai wei long shi jie yun shi he jia xiang
|hai wei lung shih chieh yün shih ho chia hsiang|
|shì shì nán liào|
shi4 shi4 nan2 liao4
shi shi nan liao
|shih shih nan liao
|One Family Under Heaven||天下一家||tenka ikka / tenkaikka / tenka ika / tenkaika||tiān xià yī jiā|
tian1 xia4 yi1 jia1
tian xia yi jia
|t`ien hsia i chia
tien hsia i chia
|In Flowers the Cherry Blossom, In Men the Samurai||花は櫻木人は武士|
|hana wa sakuragi hito wa bushi|
|Live Love Die||生愛死|
|sei ai shi / seiaishi||shēng ài sǐ|
sheng1 ai4 si3
sheng ai si
|sheng ai ssu
|Life Is But A Dream||人生如夢|
|rén shēng rú mèng|
ren2 sheng1 ru2 meng4
ren sheng ru meng
|jen sheng ju meng
|Four Noble Truths: Suffering||苦諦|
|kutai||kǔ dì / ku3 di4 / ku di / kudi||k`u ti / kuti / ku ti|
|Eye for an eye||以眼還眼|
|yǐ yǎn huán yǎn|
yi3 yan3 huan2 yan3
yi yan huan yan
|i yen huan yen
|Budokan||武道館||budoukan / budokan|
|Lucille||ルシール||rushiiru / rushiru|
|wēn róu / wen1 rou2 / wen rou / wenrou||wen jou / wenjou|
|John 3:16 (first half)||神愛世人甚至將他的獨生子賜給他們|
|shén ài shì rén shèn zhì jiāng tā de dú shēng zǐ cì gè tā mén|
shen2 ai4 shi4 ren2 shen4 zhi4 jiang1 ta1 de du2 sheng1 zi3 ci4 gei3 ta1 men2
shen ai shi ren shen zhi jiang ta de du sheng zi ci gei ta men
|shen ai shih jen shen chih chiang t`a te tu sheng tzu tz`u kei t`a men
shen ai shih jen shen chih chiang ta te tu sheng tzu tzu kei ta men
|shén ài shì rén shèn zhì jiāng tā de dú shēng zǐ cì gè tā mén jiào yí qiè xìn tā de bú zhì miè wáng fǎn dé yǒng shēng|
shen2 ai4 shi4 ren2 shen4 zhi4 jiang1 ta1 de du2 sheng1 zi3 ci4 gei3 ta1 men2 jiao4 yi2 qie4 xin4 ta1 de bu2 zhi4 mie4 wang2 fan3 de2 yong3 sheng1
shen ai shi ren shen zhi jiang ta de du sheng zi ci gei ta men jiao yi qie xin ta de bu zhi mie wang fan de yong sheng
|shen ai shih jen shen chih chiang t`a te tu sheng tzu tz`u kei t`a men chiao i ch`ieh hsin t`a te pu chih mieh wang fan te yung sheng
shen ai shih jen shen chih chiang ta te tu sheng tzu tzu kei ta men chiao i chieh hsin ta te pu chih mieh wang fan te yung sheng
|Ultimate Goodness of Water||上善若水||shàng shàn ruò shuǐ|
shang4 shan4 ruo4 shui3
shang shan ruo shui
|shang shan jo shui
|River of Literacy, Sea of Learning||文江學海|
|wén jiāng xué hǎi|
wen2 jiang1 xue2 hai3
wen jiang xue hai
|wen chiang hsüeh hai
|Hardships and Joys||辛酸甘苦||shinsankanku|
|Judo||柔道||juu dou / juudou / ju do / judo||róu dào / rou2 dao4 / rou dao / roudao||jou tao / joutao|
|cān chán / can1 chan2 / can chan / canchan||ts`an ch`an / tsanchan / tsan chan|
|Bright and Promising Future||明るい未来||akarui mirai|
|1. Right Understanding|
|sei ken / seiken||zhèng jiàn|
|Power of Understanding and Wisdom||悟性||gosei||wù xìng / wu4 xing4 / wu xing / wuxing||wu hsing / wuhsing|
|自尊||jison||zì zūn / zi4 zun1 / zi zun / zizun||tzu tsun / tzutsun|
|John 3:16||神は， 實に， そのひとり 子をお 與えになったほどに， 世を 愛された． それは 御子を 信じる 者が， ひとりとして 滅びることなく， 永遠のいのちを 持つためである．||kami wa, minoru ni, sono hitori ko o o atae ni natta hodo ni, yo o aisare ta. Sore wa miko o shinjiru mono ga, hitori toshite horobiru koto naku, eien no inochi o motsu tame de aru.|
Judges of Hell
|yīn sī / yin1 si1 / yin si / yinsi||yin ssu / yinssu|
|Learning is Eternal||學無止境|
|xué wú zhǐ jìng|
xue2 wu2 zhi3 jing4
xue wu zhi jing
|hsüeh wu chih ching
|深刻||shinkoku / misa||shēn kè / shen1 ke4 / shen ke / shenke||shen k`o / shenko / shen ko|
|Love and Hate||愛與恨|
|ài yǔ hèn|
ai4 yu3 hen4
ai yu hen
|ai yü hen
|chuàng zào lì|
chuang4 zao4 li4
chuang zao li
|ch`uang tsao li
chuang tsao li
|Read 10,000 Books, Travel 10,000 Miles||讀萬卷書行萬里路|
|dú wàn juǎn shū, xíng wàn lǐ lù|
du2 wan4 juan3 shu1 xing2 wan4 li3 lu4
du wan juan shu xing wan li lu
|tu wan chüan shu hsing wan li lu|
|Five Elements||五行||gogyou / gogyo||wǔ xíng / wu3 xing2 / wu xing / wuxing||wu hsing / wuhsing|
|yuè / yue4 / yue||yüeh|
|jigoku||dì yù / di4 yu4 / di yu / diyu||ti yü / tiyü|
|guān xīn / guan1 xin1 / guan xin / guanxin||kuan hsin / kuanhsin|
|To a Willing Heart, All Things Are Possible||有志者事竟成 / 有誌者事竟成|
|yǒu zhì zhě shì jìng chéng|
you3 zhi4 zhe3 shi4 jing4 cheng2
you zhi zhe shi jing cheng
|yu chih che shih ching ch`eng
yu chih che shih ching cheng
|盆栽||bon sai / bonsai||pén zāi / pen2 zai1 / pen zai / penzai||p`en tsai / pentsai / pen tsai|
Buddhist Loving Kindness
|慈悲||ji hi / jihi||cí bēi / ci2 bei1 / ci bei / cibei||tz`u pei / tzupei / tzu pei|
|Achieve Inner Peace; Find Deep Understanding||寧靜而致遠|
|níng jìng ér zhì yuǎn|
ning2 jing4 er2 zhi4 yuan3
ning jing er zhi yuan
|ning ching erh chih yüan
|Wolf||狼||okami||láng / lang2 / lang|
Tao Te Ching - Excerpt
|yī yuē cí èr yuē jiǎn sān yuē bù gǎn wéi tiān xià xiān|
yi1 yue1 ci2 er4 yue1 jian3 san1 yue1 bu4 gan3 wei2 tian1 xia4 xian1
yi yue ci er yue jian san yue bu gan wei tian xia xian
|i yüeh tz`u erh yüeh chien san yüeh pu kan wei t`ien hsia hsien
i yüeh tzu erh yüeh chien san yüeh pu kan wei tien hsia hsien
|reikan||líng gǎn / ling2 gan3 / ling gan / linggan||ling kan / lingkan|
|Better to be Happy than Rich||安貧樂道|
|ān pín lè dào|
an1 pin2 le4 dao4
an pin le dao
|an p`in le tao
an pin le tao
|sen shin / senshin||xǐ xīn / xi3 xin1 / xi xin / xixin||hsi hsin / hsihsin|
|A Life of Serenity Yields Understanding||淡泊以明志寧靜而致遠|
|dàn bó yǐ míng zhì, níng jìng ér zhì yuǎn|
dan4 bo2 yi3 ming2 zhi4, ning2 jing4 er2 zhi4 yuan3
dan bo yi ming zhi, ning jing er zhi yuan
|tan po i ming chih, ning ching erh chih yüan|
|kuu mu / kuumu / ku mu / kumu||kōng wú / kong1 wu2 / kong wu / kongwu||k`ung wu / kungwu / kung wu|
|Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight||七転八起||shichi ten hakki / nana korobi ya oki|
shichi ten haki / nana korobi ya oki
shichitenhaki / nanakorobiyaoki
|Appreciation and Love for Your Parents||誰言寸草心報得三春暉|
|shuí yán cùn cǎo xīn bào dé sān chūn huī|
shui2 yan2 cun4 cao3 xin1 bao4 de2 san1 chun1 hui1
shui yan cun cao xin bao de san chun hui
|shui yen ts`un ts`ao hsin pao te san ch`un hui
shui yen tsun tsao hsin pao te san chun hui
|Taidō||躰道||tai dou / taidou / tai do / taido|
|Taekwondo||跆拳道||te kon do / tekondo||tái quán dào|
tai2 quan2 dao4
tai quan dao
|t`ai ch`üan tao
tai chüan tao
|功夫||kan fu / ku fu|
kanfu / kufu
|gōng fu / gong1 fu / gong fu / gongfu||kung fu / kungfu|
|reiki||líng qì / ling2 qi4 / ling qi / lingqi||ling ch`i / lingchi / ling chi|
|ai ki do / aikido||hé qì dào|
he2 qi4 dao4
he qi dao
|ho ch`i tao
ho chi tao
|拳法||kenpou / kenpo||quán fǎ / quan2 fa3 / quan fa / quanfa||ch`üan fa / chüanfa / chüan fa|
|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.
Successful Chinese Character and Japanese Kanji calligraphy searches within the last few hours...
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.
Some people may refer to this entry as The World Kanji, The World Characters, The World in Mandarin Chinese, The World Characters, The World in Chinese Writing, The World in Japanese Writing, The World in Asian Writing, The World Ideograms, Chinese The World symbols, The World Hieroglyphics, The World Glyphs, The World in Chinese Letters, The World Hanzi, The World in Japanese Kanji, The World Pictograms, The World in the Chinese Written-Language, or The World in the Japanese Written-Language.
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