Victory in Chinese / Japanese...

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  1. True Victory is Victory Over Oneself

  2. Bloodless Victory

  3. Win / Victory

  4. No arrogance in victory, No despair in defeat.

  5. You May Learn from Victory, You Will Learn from Failure

  6. Drain the pond to get all the fish

  7. Know Your Enemy, Know Yourself, and Win 100 Battles

  8. Venus / Gold Star

  9. Overcome

10. Know Your Enemy, Know Yourself, and You Cannot Lose

11. Shinken Shobu

12. Confucius


True Victory is Victory Over Oneself

masa katsu a gatsu
True Victory is Victory Over Oneself Scroll

This proverb is often translated as, "True victory is victory over oneself".

However, literally, Kanji by Kanji, it means, "True victory [is] my/self victory".

My Japanese friends rate this very highly for a wall scroll.


See Also:  Know Thy Enemy Know Thyself

Bloodless Victory

bīng bù xuè rèn
Bloodless Victory Scroll

Perhaps a pacifist view or perhaps the best kind of victory; these characters reflect this idea:
The edges of the swords not being stained with blood.

You could also translate it as: Win victory without firing a shot.

The first character means army or force. The second character means without or none. The last two characters mean bloodstained knives. So it represents a returning victorious army without bloodstained knives. 兵不血刃 is the very literal sense of this Chinese proverb. The title definition is more accurate to the way this proverb is understood.

Asking yourself why the direct or literal translation is different?
...Think of compound words in English such as "nevertheless" if we break it apart to "never the less" we will have trouble getting the real definition of "in spite of that". Similar things happen when multiple-characters are used to create a compounded word in Chinese.

Win / Victory

shèng
shou
Win / Victory Scroll

This single character means to win or be victorious.

This can also be translated: To overcome; success; to beat; to defeat; to surpass; superior to; to get the better of; better than; surpassing; superb.

In other context, this can mean: Beautiful (scenery); scenic spot; scenic beauty.

In Taiwanese Mandarin, this can be pronounced with the first tone (sheng1) and mean: Able to bear; equal to (a task).

In Japan, this can also be the name Masaru.

In Korea, this has the same meaning but can also be the surname Sŭng.

No arrogance in victory, No despair in defeat.

shèng bù jiāo bài bù něi
No arrogance in victory, No despair in defeat. Scroll

This is a Chinese proverb suggesting you should have no arrogance when you experience a victory and not to despair in failure or defeat.

You May Learn from Victory, You Will Learn from Failure

bǎi shèng nán lǜ dí sān zhé nǎi liáng yī
You May Learn from Victory, You Will Learn from Failure Scroll

This Chinese proverb literally translates as: [Even a general who has won a] hundred victories [may be] hard put to see through the enemy's [strategy], [but one who has] broken [his] arm three [times] [will] be a good doctor.

Figuratively, this means: One cannot always depend on past successes to guarantee future success but one can always learn from lessons drawn from failure.


See Also:  Failure - Mother of Success | Experience - Mother of Success | Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8 | Hard Knocks

You May Learn from Victory, You Will Learn from Failure

katte erumono mo areba makete erumono mo aru
You May Learn from Victory, You Will Learn from Failure Scroll

You may learn when everything goes right but the lessons learned when everything goes wrong are more vivid and lead to long-lasting wisdom.

Another way to look at this: One cannot always depend on past successes to guarantee future success but one can always learn from lessons drawn from failure.


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

Drain the pond to get all the fish

Kill the goose that lays the golden eggs
jié zé ér yú
Drain the pond to get all the fish Scroll

In 632 BC, Duke Wen of the Kingdom of Jin was about to lead an army against the forces of the Kingdom of Chu.
The Duke asked one of his advisers, Jiu Fan, how they could possibly win the impending battle, as they were drastically outnumbered.
Jiu Fan said, "All is fair in war", and went on to suggest a plan of dishonorable tactics (cheating).
The Duke was not sure of this advice, so he asked another adviser, Yong Ji, who replied, "If you catch fish by draining the pond, you can certainly get all the fish. But there will be no fish the following year. You can cheat this one time in battle but such tactics can only be used once, as the enemy will be wise in future encounters".

The Duke heard the words of his wiser adviser but cheated to gain victory in the battle. However, he rewarded Yong Ji more than Jiu Fan at the victory celebration, stating that while Jiu Fan's advice gained one victory, the wise words of Yong Ji would last forever.

This Chinese idiom/proverb is still used, over 2600 years later to remind people not to burn bridges, cheat, or dishonor oneself in exchange for a short term gain, while sacrificing the future.

竭澤而漁 is very similar to the meaning of the English phrase, "Kill the goose that lays the golden eggs".

Know Your Enemy, Know Yourself, and Win 100 Battles

teki o shi ri o no o shi re ba hya ku sen aya u ka ra zu
Know Your Enemy, Know Yourself, and Win 100 Battles Scroll

This is the longer/full Japanese version of this proverb. This means, "Know your enemy, know yourself, and you will not fear a hundred battles".

Others will translate this as, "Know thy enemy, know thyself, yields victory in one hundred battles".


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

Venus / Gold Star

jīn xīng
kinboshi / kinsei
Venus / Gold Star Scroll

This literally means gold star. Most of the time, in the context of the sky, this refers to the planet Venus.

Away from the sky, this can refer to a dazzling victory (e.g. win of a rank-and-file wrestler over the grand champion), or be the Japanese surname Kinboshi.

In Buddhist context, this is Śukra, from Sanskrit for the planet Venus.

Overcome

Overcoming Hardships
kè fú
koku fuku
Overcome Scroll

In Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja, this means "overcome" (as in overcome hardships, etc). It can also mean to conquer, to put up with, or to endure.
This can be a conquest over a problem, disease, handicap, poverty, or illness. Other definitions include overcoming, bringing under control, subjugation, or victory over something.

This can be used as an inspirational wall scroll to remind someone to try to overcome difficulties that may arise in life.

Know Your Enemy, Know Yourself, and You Cannot Lose

zhí bǐ zhí jī bǎi zhàn bú dài
Know Your Enemy, Know Yourself, and You Cannot Lose Scroll

This is from Sun Tzu's (Sunzi's) Art of War. It means that if you know and understand the enemy, you also know yourself, and thus with this complete understanding, you cannot lose.

This proverb is often somewhat-directly translated as, "Know the enemy and know yourself, and you can fight a hundred battles without defeat".

It can also be translated as, "If you know both yourself and your enemy, you can come out of hundreds of battles without danger", or "Know your enemy, know yourself, and your victory will not be threatened".

Shinken Shobu

Death Match
shinken shoubu
Shinken Shobu Scroll

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".


See Also:  The More We Sweat in Training the Less We Bleed in Battle | Cry in the Dojo - Laugh on the Battlefield

kǒng zǐ
koushi
Confucius Scroll

孔子 is how to write the name of the great sage, known in the West as Confucius.

His real name is Kongzi (The name Confucius is a westernized version of his name - his family name is Kong, and "zi" was added as a title of distinction).

He lived some 2500 years ago in Qufu, a town in modern-day Shandong Province of Northern China (about 6 hours south of Beijing by bus). He was a consort to Emperors, and after his death, the impact of his philosophies still served to advise emperors, officials, and common people for generations.

Also during these thousands of years, the Kong family remained powerful in China, and the Kong estate was much like the Vatican in Rome. The Kong estate existed as if on sovereign ground with its own small garrison of guards and privileges of a kingdom within an empire.

This was true up until the time the Kong family had to flee to Taiwan in 1949 when the Red Army took victory over the Nationalists during the Revolution. The home of Confucius was later razed and all statues defaced or stolen during the Cultural Revolution. Finally, after years of smearing his name and image, it is once again okay to celebrate the teachings of Confucius in mainland China.




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

Title CharactersRomaji (Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
True Victory is Victory Over Oneself正勝吾勝
正胜吾胜
masa katsu a gatsu
masakatsuagatsu
Bloodless Victory兵不血刃bīng bù xuè rèn
bing1 bu4 xue4 ren4
bing bu xue ren
bingbuxueren
ping pu hsüeh jen
pingpuhsüehjen
Win
Victory

shou / shoshèng / sheng4 / sheng
No arrogance in victory, No despair in defeat.勝不驕敗不餒
胜不骄败不馁
shèng bù jiāo bài bù něi
sheng4 bu4 jiao1 bai4 bu4 nei3
sheng bu jiao bai bu nei
shengbujiaobaibunei
sheng pu chiao pai pu nei
shengpuchiaopaipunei
You May Learn from Victory, You Will Learn from Failure百勝難慮敵三折乃良醫
百胜难虑敌三折乃良医
bǎi shèng nán lǜ dí sān zhé nǎi liáng yī
bai3 sheng4 nan2 lv4 di2 san1 zhe2 nai3 liang2 yi1
bai sheng nan lv di san zhe nai liang yi
pai sheng nan lü ti san che nai liang i
You May Learn from Victory, You Will Learn from Failure勝って得るものも有れば負けて得るものも有るkatte erumono mo areba makete erumono mo aru
Drain the pond to get all the fish竭澤而漁
竭泽而渔
jié zé ér yú
jie2 ze2 er2 yu2
jie ze er yu
jiezeeryu
chieh tse erh yü
chiehtseerhyü
Know Your Enemy, Know Yourself, and Win 100 Battles敵を知り己を知れば百戦危うからずteki o shi ri o no o shi re ba hya ku sen aya u ka ra zu
Venus
Gold Star
金星kinboshi / kinseijīn xīng / jin1 xing1 / jin xing / jinxingchin hsing / chinhsing
Overcome克服 / 剋服
克服
koku fuku / kokufukukè fú / ke4 fu2 / ke fu / kefuk`o fu / kofu / ko fu
Know Your Enemy, Know Yourself, and You Cannot Lose知彼知己百戰不殆
知彼知己百战不殆
zhí bǐ zhí jī bǎi zhàn bú dài
zhi2 bi3 zhi2 ji1 bai3 zhan4 bu2 dai4
zhi bi zhi ji bai zhan bu dai
zhibizhijibaizhanbudai
chih pi chih chi pai chan pu tai
Shinken Shobu真剣勝負shinken shoubu
shinkenshoubu
shinken shobu
shinkenshobu
Confucius孔子koushi / koshikǒng zǐ / kong3 zi3 / kong zi / kongzik`ung tzu / kungtzu / kung tzu
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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Confucius Scroll
Confucius Scroll
Confucius Scroll
Confucius Scroll


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Confucius Vertical Portrait
Confucius Horizontal Wall Scroll
Confucius Vertical Portrait
Dictionary

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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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Allow a few weeks for delivery. Rush service speeds it up by a week or two for $10!

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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.

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