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Shifu in Chinese / Japanese...

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Fatherly Master / Sifu / Shi Fu / Shifu

Martial Arts Teacher
China shī fu
HK si fu
Japan shi fu
Fatherly Master / Sifu / Shi Fu / Shifu Vertical Wall Scroll

師父 means master in Chinese (occasionally used in Korean Hanja and Japanese as well). In the context of Martial Arts, this is the master and teacher who instructs students.

The second character by itself means father. Thus, you get the "Fatherly Master" translation. There's an old Chinese saying that goes something like, "One who is your teacher for one day, is your father for life."

Language notes: I've often seen this romanized as "sifu," this is actually the Cantonese romanization. In Mandarin Chinese, it's "shifu." The pronunciation in Mandarin is actually like "sure foo" (using typical English pronunciation). There's an "R-sound" in there, which is not obvious from the romanization. Many martial arts studios incorrectly pronounce this like "she foo" (which is actually the Japanese pronunciation). In Cantonese, it sounds like "Sea foo" (almost like "sea food," minus the "d" on the end).

師父 is kind of a weird selection for a calligraphy wall scroll, this entry is more for educational purposes. But you are welcome to buy it if you feel it's appropriate for your circumstances.

Master / Skilled Worker

Secondary version of Sifu
China shī fu
HK si fu
Master / Skilled Worker Vertical Wall Scroll

師傅 is "sifu" as in the "master" in the context of martial arts.

But there are two sifu titles floating around. This one can simply mean "skilled worker."

Historically, this term has been used for a lot of things, such as, "The tutor of a king or emperor." But now it's more commonly used to mean, master worker, or qualified worker.

Currently, within the field of skilled labor, a master (shifu) is higher than a journeyman, and is considered to be one worthy to teach others.

Note: In the 1970's and 1980's this term was used as a common form of polite address between people. You might say, "master, do you know were Tian'anmen Square is?" to just a person on the street at that time. This usage has almost passed, however, for some reason, people still often refer to taxi cab drivers as "master" in China (though I think/hope this is fading).

In Mandarin Chinese, this is pronounced like "Sure Foo," and in Cantonese like, "See Foo."

The second character is the difference between this sifu and the other. In this case, the second character by itself means tutor, instructor, or teacher.

Not the results for shifu that you were looking for?

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


If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese

Simple Dictionary Definition



see styles
Mandarin shī fu / shi1 fu5
Taiwan shih fu
Japanese shifu / しふ
Chinese master; qualified worker; respectful form of address for older men; CL:個|个[ge4],位[wei4],名[ming2]
Japanese guardian and tutor of a nobleman's child



see styles
Mandarin shī fu / shi1 fu5
Taiwan shih fu
Japanese shifu / しふ
Chinese used for 師傅|师傅 (in Taiwan); master; qualified worker
Japanese fatherly master
a master



see styles
Mandarin sǐ fēng / si3 feng1
Taiwan ssu feng
Japanese shifu
The destroying wind in the final destruction of the world; wind of death


see styles
Japanese shifu / しふ Japanese (See 声符・せいふ・1) hand signal; visual signal (in dog training)


see styles
Japanese shifu / しふ Japanese Chinese poetry


see styles
Japanese shifu / しふ Japanese (See 賦,詩・し) songs and poems; Chinese poetry


see styles
Japanese shiifu / shifu / シーフ Japanese thief (particularly in RPG games); (personal name) Sieff


see styles
Mandarin shì fū yòng / shi4 fu1 yong4
Taiwan shih fu yung
Japanese shifu
heroic performance



see styles
Mandarin shì fū jiàn / shi4 fu1 jian4
Taiwan shih fu chien
Japanese shifu ken
One of the eight heterodox views, i.e. the pride arising from belief in a puruṣa, 補慮沙 q.v; view of a spiritual soul



see styles
Mandarin wáng shí fǔ / wang2 shi2 fu3
Taiwan wang shih fu
Chinese Wang Shifu (fl. 1295-1307), author of Romance of the West Chamber 西廂記|西厢记



see styles
Mandarin xī xiāng jì / xi1 xiang1 ji4
Taiwan hsi hsiang chi
Chinese Romance of the West Chamber by Wang Shifu 王實甫|王实甫[Wang2 Shi2 fu3]


see styles
Mandarin shì fū zuò yòng / shi4 fu1 zuo4 yong4
Taiwan shih fu tso yung
Japanese shifu sayō
heroic performance



see styles
Mandarin shì fū gōng yè / shi4 fu1 gong1 ye4
Taiwan shih fu kung yeh
Japanese shifu kugō
heroic performance



see styles
Mandarin shì fū bǔ tè qié luó / shi4 fu1 bu3 te4 qie2 luo2
Taiwan shih fu pu t`e ch`ieh lo / shih fu pu te chieh lo
Japanese shifu futogara



see styles
Mandarin dùn huì shì fū bǔ tè qié luó / dun4 hui4 shi4 fu1 bu3 te4 qie2 luo2
Taiwan tun hui shih fu pu t`e ch`ieh lo / tun hui shih fu pu te chieh lo
Japanese don'e shifu futogara
persons of dull intelligence

Search for Shifu 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
Fatherly Master
Shi Fu
shi fu / shifushī fu / shi1 fu / shi fu / shifushih fu / shihfu
Skilled Worker
shī fu / shi1 fu / shi fu / shifushih fu / shihfu
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...

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A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

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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 Shifu Kanji, Shifu Characters, Shifu in Mandarin Chinese, Shifu Characters, Shifu in Chinese Writing, Shifu in Japanese Writing, Shifu in Asian Writing, Shifu Ideograms, Chinese Shifu symbols, Shifu Hieroglyphics, Shifu Glyphs, Shifu in Chinese Letters, Shifu Hanzi, Shifu in Japanese Kanji, Shifu Pictograms, Shifu in the Chinese Written-Language, or Shifu in the Japanese Written-Language.

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Shifu was last searched for by someone else on May 18th, 2018