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The name Without a Big Net How Can You Catch Fish in Chinese / Japanese...

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Without a big net, how can you catch fish?

 bù sā dà wǎng bù dé dà yú
Without a big net, how can you catch fish? Scroll

不撒大網不得大魚 is a Chinese proverb that literally translates as: [if one does] not cast a big net, [one can] not get big fish.

Figuratively, this means: One cannot make great accomplishments without making great efforts or taking great pains.

This is sort of the fishing version of, “No pain, no gain.”

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 win the impending battle, as they were drastically outnumbered.
Jiu Fan said, “All is fair in war,” and suggested a plan of dishonorable tactics (cheating).
The Duke was unsure 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 themselves 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.”




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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
Without a big net, how can you catch fish?不撒大網不得大魚
不撒大网不得大鱼
bù sā dà wǎng bù dé dà yú
bu4 sa1 da4 wang3 bu4 de2 da4 yu2
bu sa da wang bu de da yu
busadawangbudedayu
pu sa ta wang pu te ta yü
pusatawangputetayü
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
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.


Dictionary

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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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