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Kirin in Chinese / Japanese...

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Kirin / Giraffe / Mythical Creature

China qí lǐn
HK keilun
Japan kirin
Kirin / Giraffe / Mythical Creature Vertical Wall Scroll

麒麟 is the title of a mythical beast of Asia.

The animal is thought to be related to the giraffe, and in some ways, it is a giraffe. However, it is often depicted with the horns of a dragon or deer and sometimes with the body like a horse but many variations exist.

In Japanese it is pronounced "Kirin" as in "Kirin Ichiban" beer.

Kirin - Mythical Beast and Great Japanese Beer!

1. 麒麟 is sometimes spelled as "kylin".

2. In Japanese, this is the only Kanji word for giraffe. Therefore in Japan, this word needs context to know whether you are talking about the mythical creature or the long-necked giraffe of Africa.

3. Apparently, this was the first word used for regular giraffes in China (some were brought from Africa to China during the Ming Dynasty - probably around the year 1400). Though the mythical creature may have existed before, the name "qilin" was given to the "new giraffe". 麒麟 is because, more than 600 years ago, giraffes somewhat matched the mythical creature's description when Chinese people saw them for the first time. Later, to avoid such an ambiguous title, a three-character word was devised to mean a "giraffe of Africa". The characters for "qilin" shown here are only for the mythological version in modern Chinese.

4. More information about the qilin / kirin from Wikipedia.

5. This creature is sometimes translated as the "Chinese Unicorn", even though it is generally portrayed with two horns. I think this is done more for the fantasy aspect of the unicorn and because most westerners don't know what a qilin or kirin is (this avoids a long explanation by the translator).

6. In Korean, this can mean kirin or simply giraffe (usually the mythological creature is what they would think of when seeing these characters alone on a wall scroll).


China zhǎng jǐng lù
Giraffe Vertical Wall Scroll

長頸鹿 is the Chinese word for Giraffe (the animal).

Not to be confused with the mythical "kirin" or "qilin" beast.


China dú jiǎo shòu
Unicorn Vertical Wall Scroll

獨角獸 is the Chinese name for the western unicorn (a horse with a spiral horn emerging from the head).

獨角獸 is an unusual title for a Chinese wall scroll but it's OK if you really love unicorns.

Chinese have their own ancient unicorn-like creature called a "qilin" (or kirin in Japanese).


Japan ikkakujuu
Unicorn Vertical Wall Scroll

一角獣 is the Japanese name for the western unicorn (a horse with a spiral horn emerging from the head). This can also refer to a narwhal depending on context.

一角獣 is an unusual title for a Japanese wall scroll but it's OK if you really love unicorns.

Japanese have their own ancient unicorn-like creature called a "kirin" (or qilin in the original Chinese).

Not the results for kirin that you were looking for?

Below are some entries from our dictionary that may match your kirin search...


If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese

Simple Dictionary Definition


see styles
Mandarin qí lín / qi2 lin2
Taiwan ch`i lin / chi lin
Japanese kirin / きりん
Unicorn Vertical Wall Scroll
Chinese qilin (mythical Chinese animal); kylin; Chinese unicorn; commonly mistranslated as giraffe
Japanese (1) (kana only) giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis); (2) qilin (Chinese unicorn); (3) Kirin (brand of beer); (surname, female given name) Kirin
Male and female unicorns; the qilin in general.


see styles
Mandarin jí lín / ji2 lin2
Taiwan chi lin
Japanese yoshibayashi / よしばやし    kitsurin / きつりん    kiirin / kirin / きーりん
Chinese Jilin province (Kirin) in northeast China, abbr. 吉, capital 長春|长春; also Jilin prefecture-level city, Jilin province
Japanese (surname) Yoshibayashi; (place-name) Jilin (China); Kirin



see styles
Mandarin shù lín / shu4 lin2
Taiwan shu lin
Japanese jurin / じゅりん
Chinese woods; grove; forest; Shulin city in New Taipei City 新北市[Xin1 bei3 shi4], Taiwan
Japanese forest; (female given name) Jurin; (surname, female given name) Kirin; (surname) Kibayashi
A grove, a forest; tree groves



see styles
Mandarin jī lún / ji1 lun2
Taiwan chi lun
Japanese kirin
wheels of the [mental activities]


see styles
Japanese kirin / きりん Japanese {sumo} (See 貴輪時代) era at the end of 1970s dominated by grand champion Wajima and ozeki Takanohana; (female given name) Kiwa


see styles
Japanese kirin / きりん Japanese (female given name) Kirin


see styles
Japanese kirin / キリン Japanese (1) (kana only) giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis); (2) qilin (Chinese unicorn); (female given name) Kirin; (c) Kirin


see styles
Mandarin jí lín shěng / ji2 lin2 sheng3
Taiwan chi lin sheng
Chinese Jilin Province (Kirin) in northeast China, abbr. 吉, capital Changchun 長春|长春[Chang2 chun1]


see styles
Mandarin xǐ lín yuàn / xi3 lin2 yuan4
Taiwan hsi lin yüan
Japanese Kirin on
Joy-grove garden, a name for Indra's garden or paradise.



see styles
Mandarin xī lín yīn yì / xi1 lin2 yin1 yi4
Taiwan hsi lin yin i
Japanese Kirin ongi
The dictionary compiled by Hsi-lin of the Tang dynasty, supplementing the 慧琳音義 Hui-lin-yin-i. Sound and meaning accord with Hui-lin, and terms used in translations made subsequent to that work are added; Xilin yinyi



see styles
Mandarin bō zhuǎn jī lún / bo1 zhuan3 ji1 lun2
Taiwan po chuan chi lun
Japanese hatten kirin
clearing it all away and awakening to reality


see styles
Japanese kirin(p);kirin / きりん(P);キリン Japanese (1) (kana only) giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis); (2) qilin (Chinese unicorn); (3) (麒麟 only) Kirin (brand of beer); (4) (騏驎 only) (archaism) horse that can ride 1000 ri in a day

Search for Kirin 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
Mythical Creature
麒麟kirinqí lǐn / qi2 lin3 / qi lin / qilinch`i lin / chilin / chi lin
zhǎng jǐng lù
zhang3 jing3 lu4
zhang jing lu
chang ching lu
dú jiǎo shòu
du2 jiao3 shou4
du jiao shou
tu chiao shou
Unicorn一角獣ikkakujuu / ikakuju
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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A professional Chinese Calligrapher

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Trying to learn Chinese calligrapher - a futile effort

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A high-ranked Chinese master calligrapher that I met in Zhongwei

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

35 people have searched for Kirin in Chinese or Japanese in the past year.
Kirin was last searched for by someone else on Dec 1st, 2016