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Turtle in Chinese / Japanese...

Buy a Turtle calligraphy wall scroll here!

Start your custom "Turtle" project by clicking the button next to your favorite "Turtle" title below...

  1. Turtle
  2. Japanese Snapping Turtle / Chinese Soft Shell Turtle
  3. Japanese Snapping Turtle
  4. Sea Turtle
  5. Legendary Turtle
  6. Sea Turtle
  7. Legendary Turtle
  8. Pigeon / Turtle-Dove

Turtle

...also means tortoise
China guī
Japan kame
Turtle

龜 is the generic term for turtle in Chinese, and old Korean Hanja. It's like saying "turtle" (or "tortoise") without being specific about species of turtle.

Please note that there are many special characters in Chinese and a few in Japanese that denote specific species of turtle, and do not include this character. We can't possibly cover all of these species but if you want a certain one, such as "loggerhead" or a "leatherback," just post your request for a special Chinese / Japanese Kanji / Korean Hanja calligraphy word and we'll do our best to research your special species.

If you noticed, I said species names that do not include this character. 龜 is because, in much the same way we can do it in English by just saying, "loggerhead," instead of "loggerhead turtle," the same can be done in Chinese and Japanese.

亀This may be hard to believe but the image shown to the right is an alternate version of this character, which is currently used in Japan. This was originally an alternate form in ancient China for turtle - but it's so obscure now, that most Chinese people would just think this is the Japanese version of turtle (I did a lot of research on this). The version shown in the upper left is traditional Chinese (also used in Korea, prior to 100 years ago). It will generally not be recognized by the new generation of Japanese people. If your audience is Japanese, please click on the Kanji image shown to the right to have the calligrapher write that version (instead of clicking the button above).


Note: In Japanese, this Kanji is also a representation of long life. This is related to the fact that a tortoise can live for hundreds of years.

Japanese Snapping Turtle / Chinese Soft Shell Turtle

China biē
Japan suppon
Japanese Snapping Turtle / Chinese Soft Shell Turtle

鼈 refers to a species of turtle.

Sinensis Turtle

鼈 is Trionyx Sinensis.

鼈 refers to different turtles in different languages. See individual language notes below:

Japanese: 鼈 means "snapping turtle" or "mud turtle." But rarely used as a single Kanji like this in Japanese.

Chinese: 鼈 means soft-shelled turtle. A specific species, Trionyx Sinensis which is native to Asia.
In China, this species is related to the "wang ba," a soft-shelled turtle sometimes known in English as a banjo turtle (due to its long neck, and general shape). Unfortunately, there is a word, "wang ba dan" which means the egg of this species of turtle. That term has come to mean "bastard" in Chinese (a turtle hatches from an abandoned egg, and does not know who his mother or father is). 鼈 is not a good selection for a wall scroll if your audience is Chinese.

In Korean, this character can be pronounced (though most Koreans would have to look it up in a dictionary). It has not been in common use in Korea for at least a few hundred years.

General notes: You may notice that the bottom half of this character is the same as some other turtle-related titles. That bottom half is actually an ancient character that means "toad." 黽 Though not see in this way today, most turtle-related characters hold the meaning of "a toad with a shell" in their ancient origin. That toad character is rarely used alone anymore but you can see what it looks like in the image to the right.

Japanese Snapping Turtle

Japan ka mi tsu ki game
Japanese Snapping Turtle

噛み付き亀 is the verbose Japanese title for a Japanese snapping turtle.


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

Sea Turtle

China yuán
Sea Turtle

黿 is the Chinese and Korean title for sea turtle.

黿 may also be used to refer to a loggerhead turtle or hawksbill turtle.

Legendary Turtle

China áo
Legendary Turtle

鼇 means "legendary turtle" in Chinese. 鼇 is a great mythological turtle that travels the seas. The creature is comparable to the dragon of China, however, it so happens that dragons became a bit more famous as history progressed. In modern Chinese, this character can just refer to a large sea turtle.

Note: 鼇 can be pronounced in Korean but this is a very rare Korean Hanja form - it hasn't been used in Korea for at least a few hundred years (even before they switched to Hangul characters).

Sea Turtle

Japan umigame
Sea Turtle

海亀 is the Japanese title for sea turtle.

海 literally means sea or ocean.

亀 means turtle or tortoise.

Legendary Turtle

Japan densetsu no kame
Legendary Turtle

伝説の亀 means "legendary turtle" in Japanese.

Pigeon / Turtle-Dove

China jiū
Japan hato
Pigeon / Turtle-Dove

鳩 means turtle-dove (Turtur orientalis), pigeon, or dove.

Note: There are a few other characters that can represent pigeons or doves.

Search for Turtle in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary


The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...

Title CharactersRomaji(Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Turtle
龟 / 亀
kameguī / gui1 / guikuei
Japanese Snapping Turtle
Chinese Soft Shell Turtle
suppon / suponbiē / bie1 / biepieh
Japanese Snapping Turtle噛み付き亀ka mi tsu ki game
kamitsukigame
Sea Turtle黿
yuán / yuan2 / yuanyüan
Legendary Turtleáo / ao2 / ao
Sea Turtle海亀umigame
Legendary Turtle伝説の亀densetsu no kame
densetsunokame
Pigeon
Turtle-Dove

hatojiū / jiu1 / jiuchiu
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.


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.

Some people may refer to this entry as Turtle Kanji, Turtle Characters, Turtle in Mandarin Chinese, Turtle Characters, Turtle in Chinese Writing, Turtle in Japanese Writing, Turtle in Asian Writing, Turtle Ideograms, Chinese Turtle symbols, Turtle Hieroglyphics, Turtle Glyphs, Turtle in Chinese Letters, Turtle Hanzi, Turtle in Japanese Kanji, Turtle Pictograms, Turtle in the Chinese Written-Language, or Turtle in the Japanese Written-Language.