Note that the idea of "spiritual essence" is different than "Olympic spirit", yet we use the same word for both ideas in English. Both ideas are included below. You may also want to try Heart, Mind, or Soul if you don't find what you want here.
精神 is the kind of spirit that you have if you perform well in sports or competition. It is the idea of having a good attitude, and putting your all into something - so much so that others can see or feel your spirit. It is the essence of your being that can only be subjectively described because there are no words that can fully explain what "spirit" really is.
For your information:
My Japanese dictionary further tries to explain this word by comparing it to mind, soul, heart or intention.
My Chinese dictionary compares these characters to meanings like vigor, vitality, drive and mentality.
My Korean dictionary defines this as mind, spirit and soul.
神 is the simplest way to write spirit in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean.
This single character alone will conjure up ideas of the spiritual world. 神 can also be translated as "vital awareness" as in the fact that one must know they exist to exist (I think, therefore, I am).
Other translations include:
God, deity, mysterious, divine essence, lively, spiritual being, divinity, supernatural, soul, mind, nerves, and energy. In some extended context it can mean genius or unusual.
Japanese romanizations vary a lot when this character is combined into other words. However, shin is the original pronunciation taken from Chinese into Japanese. You'll also see it romanized as kami, gami, jin, and a few others, depending on context.
This title speaks of one's soul or spirit, and the capacity or strength that soul possesses.
The first two characters mean mind, heart, spirit, and/or soul.
The last two characters mean strength, capacity, or ability.
Note: Separately, these are two words in Japanese, and can be pronounced but this does not make a natural title in Japanese (best if your audience is Chinese).
This energy flow is a fundamental concept of traditional Asian culture.
氣 is romanized as "Qi" or "Chi" in Chinese, "Gi" in Korean, and "Ki" in Japanese.
Chi is believed to be part of everything that exists, as in "life force" or "spiritual energy". It is most often translated as "energy flow," or literally as "air" or "breath". Some people will simply translate this as "spirit" but you have to take into consideration the kind of spirit we're talking about. I think this is weighted more toward energy than spirit.
The character itself is a representation of steam (or breath) rising from rice. To clarify, the character for rice looks like this:
Steam was apparently seen as visual evidence of the release of "life energy" when this concept was first developed. The Qi / Chi / Ki character is still used in compound words to mean steam or vapor.
The etymology of this character is a bit complicated. It's suggested that the first form of this character from bronze script (about 2500 years ago) looked like these samples:
However, it was easy to confuse this with the character for the number three. So the rice radical was added by 221 B.C. (the exact time of this change is debated). This first version with the rice radical looks like this:
The idea of Qi / Chi / Ki is really a philosophical concept. It's often used to refer to the "flow" of metaphysical energy that sustains living beings. Yet there is much debate that has continued for thousands of years as to whether Qi / Chi / Ki is pure energy, or consists partially, or fully of matter.
You can also see the character for Qi / Chi / Ki in common compound words such as Tai Chi / Tai Qi, Aikido, Reiki and Qi Gong / Chi Kung.
In the modern Japanese Kanji, the rice radical has been changed into two strokes that form an X.
The original and traditional Chinese form is still understood in Japanese but we can also offer that modern Kanji form in our custom calligraphy. If you want this Japanese Kanji, please click on the character to the right, instead of the “Select and Customize” button above.
More language notes: This is pronounced like “chee” in Mandarin Chinese, and like “key” in Japanese.
This is also the same way to write this in Korean Hanja where it is Romanized as “gi” and pronounced like “gee” but with a real G-sound, not a J-sound.
Though Vietnamese no longer use Chinese characters in their daily language, this character is still widely known in Vietnam.
獨立心 means independent spirit or independent heart in Japanese.
The first two characters mean independent or independence. The third character means spirit, heart or mind.
獨立心 is a Japanese term, although Chinese people would be able to guess the meaning (the characters make sense individually in Chinese but are not often used this way). Also, the first character would be written 獨 in Traditional Chinese versus 独 which is the Simplified Chinese and modern Japanese version.
御影 is a Japanese word that means divine spirit, or honorific language for "spirit of the dead."
This can also refer to an image of a deity, buddha, royal, noble, etc.)
In Buddhist context, it can mean (wooden) images of saints or deities.
御影 is also a Japanese name, Mikage.
Note: This is also a word in Chinese but not used very often in China (except perhaps by certain Buddhists).
龍馬精神 is an old proverb that is used to wish someone good health and success combined as a great compliment.
The meaning is "The vigor and spirit of the legendary dragon-horse." These four characters are often accompanied by four more which mean, "...and the power and prestige of the tiger." Here we are just offering the first part which is considered the short version.
By giving a wall scroll like this to someone, you were either wishing or telling them that they have an amazing quality. There is also a suggestion of good health - at least anyone with the vigor of a dragon horse, would seem to also be in good health.
Note: In Japanese, this would be read as the spirit of 坂本龍馬 (Sakamoto_Ryōma), a beloved rebel who help abolish the old Japanese feudal system. This can be confusing, so I am declaring this proverb to be Chinese only.
This is an old proverb that is used to wish someone great health and success combined as a great compliment.
The meaning is "The vigor and spirit of the legendary dragon-horse, and the power and prestige of the tiger."
By giving a wall scroll like this to someone, you were either wishing or telling them that they have these qualities. There is also a suggestion of good health - at least anyone with the vigor of a dragon horse, would seem to also be in good health.
This Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja title can mean, "dragon god," "dragon king," or "dragon spirit."
In the context of Buddhism, this is one of eight kinds of spiritual beings found in Mahāyāna texts.
龍虎精神 means the spirit of the dragon and tiger. It speaks to the vitality and vigor that is the nature of these two creatures.
Beyond "spirit," the second two characters can also mean mind, soul, or heart. Therefore, you can also say this means "Heart of the Dragon and Tiger," etc.
龍虎精神 is often titled as "Ryukoseishin" in many Japanese martial arts.
This literally means fighting spirit. As in the spirit that a warrior, soldier, athlete or fighter must possess.
Note: There is more than one way to write the first character of this word. It is sometimes written like the version shown to the right (yes, it's completely different but has the same meaning & pronunciation). If you have a preference, please let us know in the special instructions about your order.
The first two characters mean freedom or liberty.
The middle character is a connecting Hiragana which is needed for Japanese grammar.
The last two characters mean spirit, heart, mind, or soul.
Together, this is a title that is very similar to the English term "free spirit."
魂魄 is a Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja term for ghost, soul, or spirit.
It's used in the context of Buddhism as:
Animus and anima; the spiritual nature or mind, and the animal soul; the two are defined as mind and body or mental and physical, the invisible soul inhabiting the visible body, the former being celestial, the latter terrestrial.
In Chinese, this means Goddess of Beauty.
The first character means beauty or beautiful.
The second character means spirit (can also mean god, goddess, or soul).
Some will use this as a short way to say, "Beautiful Spirit."
This has a similar meaning in Japanese but is used more often as a female given name in Japan. As a Japanese given name, it can be pronounced Mikami, Mikan, or Binasu.
心 would often be translated as "heart".
However, because it was believed in Chinese culture thousands of years that your consciousness and thoughts came from the big red organ in the middle of your chest, it also means "mind" or "spirit" and sometimes even "soul."
In Korean, beyond heart, mind, and spirit, this character can mean moral, nature, mind, affections, intentions, core, and center. In fact, it is used in Chinese to mean "center" as well but only with another character in front of it. For instance, "medical center" or even "shopping center." Separately and alone, it will not be read with that "center" meaning unless thought of as "the center of your soul."
豪氣 is heroic spirit or heroism in Chinese and old Korean Hanja.
This might come across as a bit arrogant to hang on your wall.
聖靈 / 聖霊 is the title for the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost as used by Jewish, Catholic and Protestant (and other Christian) Chinese people. And yes, Chinese Jews do exist, but there are not many of them.
The first character means Holy, Sacred, Saint or Sage. The second means ghost, spirit, efficacious or intelligence.
聖靈 / 聖霊 is valid in Chinese characters and old Korean Hanja. This will be recognized in Japan but see note below...
This Korean proverb means "indomitable spirit," at least, that is the way it is commonly translated in martial arts circles (Taekwondo, Hapkido, etc.).
The literal translation is "[one] hundred [times] broken [still] don't succumb."
Or more naturally translated, "Even if attacked/beaten one hundred times, still be undaunted/indomitable."
Some will say this is one long word rather than a proverb.
百折不屈 is also a proverb/word in Chinese though rarely used in modern times.
This is probably the best way to express the idea of "Body, Mind and Spirit" in Chinese and old Korean Hanja. We are actually using the word for "heart" here because for thousands of years, the heart was thought to be the place where your thoughts, feelings and emotions came from. We do something similar in the west when we say "warm-hearted" or "I love you with all of my heart." In this context, heart = mind in Asian language and culture.
The very literal translation of these three characters is "body, heart & spirit" which could also be interpreted as "body mind & soul."
We have arranged these characters in this order because it simply "feels" like the proper order in the Chinese language. Word lists like this are not so common for calligraphy artwork, so we have to be careful to put them in the most natural order. It should be noted that this is not a common title in Asia, nor is it considered an actual phrase (as it lacks a clear subject, verb, and object).
In Japanese Kanji, they use an alternate form of the character for soul or spirit. If you want this using the Japanese alternate, please click on the Kanji shown to the right instead of the button above.
Japanese disclaimer: This is not a natural phrase/list in Japanese. While not totally-natural in Chinese, this word list is best if your audience is Chinese.
The first Kanji alone means to wash, to bathe, primness, cleanse or purify.
The second Kanji means heart, mind, soul, or essence.
Together, these two Kanji create a word that is defined as "purified spirit" or "enlightened attitude" within the context of Japanese martial arts.
洗心 is one of the five spirits of the warrior (budo), and is often used as a Japanese martial arts tenet. Under that context it's often defined this way: A spirit that protects and harmonizes the universe. Senshin is a spirit of compassion that embraces and serves all humanity and whose function is to reconcile discord in the world. It holds all life to be sacred. It is the Buddha mind.
This title will only be familiar to Japanese who practice certain martial arts. Others may not recognize this word at all.
洗心 does not show up as a word in too many Chinese dictionaries but it can be read and has the same meaning in Chinese.
There is an issue with the first character. The original, and probably most correct version is shown above. However, many dojo documents and other sources have used a more simple first character. Arguments ensue about which version is correct. If you want to be correct in the Japanese language, use the "Select and Customize" button above. If you want to match the Kanji used by your dojo, click the Kanji shown to the right. There is a slightly different meaning with this first character which means before, ahead, previous, future, precedence.
精神伴侶 is title means "Spiritual Soul Mates." The first two characters mean "spiritual" or "soul." The second two characters mean "mates," "companions" or "partners."
精神伴侶 is more about the spiritual connection between partners rather than a "fate-brought-us-together" kind of soul mates.
Both halves of this title have meaning in Japanese but I've not yet confirmed that this is a commonly used title in Japan.
魂の伴侶 is a Japanese-only title for soulmates.
魂 means soul, spirit, immortal soul (the part of you that lives beyond your physical body), or the conscious mind. In the Buddhist context, this is vijñāna or viññāṇa (consciousness, life force, or mind).
の is a possessive article that connects everything together here.
伴侶 means mates, companions, partners, spouses.
靈 is spirit or soul in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
If you look in the dictionary, you'll also find definitions for this character like:
quick; alert; efficacious; effective; departed soul; coffin; spiritual; energy; effective; clever.
跆拳道精神 means, "Taekwondo Spirit" or "The Spirit of Taekwondo."
跆拳道精神 is the title of General Choi's calligraphy often referred to as "The Tenets of Taekwon-do."
These Japanese Kanji can be translated as "religious enlightenment" or "spiritual peace gained through faith."
Other dictionaries define as, "spiritual peace and enlightenment" or "keeping an unperturbed mind through faith."
My Buddhist dictionary defines it as, "spiritual peace and realization of enlightenment."
This is General Choi's writing that is often called "The Tenets of Taekwon-do." The actual title would be translated as, "Taekwondo Spirit" or "The Spirit of Taekwondo." It was originally written in Korean Hanja (Chinese characters used in Korea for about 1600 years).
General Choi's original calligraphy is shown to the right. Your custom calligraphy will be unique, and not an exact match, as each calligrapher has their own style.
In modern times, the common form of written Korean is Hangul (a phonetic character set). The table below shows the text in Hangul and Hanja along with a pronunciation guide and a brief English translation:
|Traditional Korean Hanja||Modern Korean Hangul||Pronunciation||English|
|跆拳道精神||태권도정신||tae gweon do jeong sin||Taekwondo Spirit|
|禮儀||예의||ye yi||Courtesy / Etiquette / Propriety / Decorum / Formality|
|廉耻||염치||yeom ci||Integrity / Sense of Honor|
|忍耐||인내||in nae||Patience / Perseverance / Endurance|
|克己||극기||geug gi||Self-Control / Self-Denial / Self-Abnegation|
|百折不屈||백절불굴||baeg jeor bur gur||Indomitable Spirit (Undaunted even after repeated attacks from the opponent)|
|Note that the pronunciation is the official version now used in South Korea. However, it is different than what you may be used to. For instance, "Taekwon-do" is "tae gweon do." This new romanization is supposed to be closer to actual Korean pronunciation.|
This can be translated as the warrior's spirit or warrior's soul. The first two characters can be translated as "warrior" or literally "brave soldier/man" although some will translate this word as "hero." Therefore, this is also how to say "heroic spirit."
The second two characters mean vigor, vitality, drive, spirit, mind, heart, mental essence and psychological component. Basically "your soul."
We have two versions of this phrase. The only difference is the first two and last two characters are swapped. The version here suggests that you admire or like the idea of the spirit of a warrior. The other version suggests that you are the warrior or hero.
武 is the essence or spirit of a warrior. 武 is part of the word "wu shu" which is sometimes translated as "martial arts" or "kung fu."
In more modern speech and other context, this can mean military, martial, warlike, fierce, and perhaps violent but usually as a prefix for a longer word or phrase.
獨立精神 means independent spirit in Chinese.
The first two characters mean independent, independence, or to stand alone.
The last two characters can mean spirit, spiritual, vigor, vitality, drive, mind, consciousness, thought, essence, heart or soul.
With this information, you can make your own translation combination such as "independent heart," "stand alone spirit," or more creatively, "the drive to stand alone" in English. There are a lot of ways to interpret 獨立精神.
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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji(Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Spirit||精神||sei shin / seishin||jīng shén|
|神||shin / kami||shén / shen2 / shen|
Strength of Spirit
|jīng shén lì liàng|
jing1 shen2 li4 liang4
jing shen li liang
|ching shen li liang
气 / 気
|ki||qì / qi4 / qi||ch`i / chi|
|勇往直前||yǒng wǎng zhí qián|
yong3 wang3 zhi2 qian2
yong wang zhi qian
|yung wang chih ch`ien
yung wang chih chien
|měi lì de xīn líng|
mei3 li4 de xin1 ling2
mei li de xin ling
|mei li te hsin ling
|Beautiful Spirit||美しい精神||utsukushi seishin|
|gǔ qì / gu3 qi4 / gu qi / guqi||ku ch`i / kuchi / ku chi|
|Divine Spirit||御影||goei||yù yǐng / yu4 ying3 / yu ying / yuying||yü ying / yüying|
|The Spirit of the Dragon Horse||龍馬精神|
|lóng mǎ jīng shén|
long2 ma3 jing1 shen2
long ma jing shen
|lung ma ching shen
|The Spirit of the Dragon Horse, the Power of a Tiger.||龍馬精神虎虎生威|
|lóng mǎ jīng shén hǔ hǔ shēng wēi|
long2 ma3 jing1 shen2 hu3 hu3 sheng1 wei1
long ma jing shen hu hu sheng wei
|lung ma ching shen hu hu sheng wei|
|lóng hún / long2 hun2 / long hun / longhun||lung hun / lunghun|
|ryuu jin / ryuujin / ryu jin / ryujin||lóng shén|
|The Spirit of Dragon and Tiger||龍虎精神|
|ryu ko sei shin|
|lóng hǔ jīng shén|
long2 hu3 jing1 shen2
long hu jing shen
|lung hu ching shen
|Fighting Spirit||斗志||dòu zhì / dou4 zhi4 / dou zhi / douzhi||tou chih / touchih|
|tou shi / toushi / to shi / toshi|
|Fighting Spirit||闘魂||tou kon / toukon / to kon / tokon|
|tou ki / touki / to ki / toki|
|Free Spirit||自由精神||zì yóu jīng shén|
zi4 you2 jing1 shen2
zi you jing shen
|tzu yu ching shen
|Free Spirit||自由な精神||ji yuu na sei shin|
ji yu na sei shin
|魂魄||kon paku / konpaku||hún pò / hun2 po4 / hun po / hunpo||hun p`o / hunpo / hun po|
|Goddess of Beauty|
|美神||mikami||měi shén / mei3 shen2 / mei shen / meishen|
|心||kokoro||xīn / xin1 / xin||hsin|
|yīng qì / ying1 qi4 / ying qi / yingqi||ying ch`i / yingchi / ying chi|
|雄心||yuushin / yushin||xióng xīn|
|háo qì / hao2 qi4 / hao qi / haoqi||hao ch`i / haochi / hao chi|
|聖靈 / 聖霊|
|sei rei / seirei||shèng líng|
|不屈の精神||fu kutsu no sei shin|
|Indomitable Spirit||負けじ魂||ma ke ji damashii|
ma ke ji damashi
|Indomitable Spirit||百折不屈||bǎi shé bù qū|
bai3 she2 bu4 qu1
bai she bu qu
|pai she pu ch`ü
pai she pu chü
Beauty of Spirit
|nèi zài měi|
nei4 zai4 mei3
nei zai mei
|nei tsai mei
Beauty of Spirit
|内面美||nai men bi / naimenbi|
|Mind, Body and Spirit||身心靈 / 身心霊|
|mi shin rei|
|shēn xīn líng|
shen1 xin1 ling2
shen xin ling
|shen hsin ling
|sen shin / senshin||xǐ xīn / xi3 xin1 / xi xin / xixin||hsi hsin / hsihsin|
|Spiritual Soul Mates||精神伴侶|
|sei shin han ryo|
|jīng shén bàn lǚ|
jing1 shen2 ban4 lv3
jing shen ban lv
|ching shen pan lü
|Spiritual Soul Mates||魂の伴侶||tamashii no han ryo|
tamashi no han ryo
|ryou / ryo||líng / ling2 / ling|
|Spirit of Taekwondo||跆拳道精神||te kon do sei shin|
|tái quán dào jīng shen|
tai2 quan2 dao4 jing1 shen2
tai quan dao jing shen
|t`ai ch`üan tao ching shen
tai chüan tao ching shen
|安心立命||an shin ritsu mei|
|Spiritual Warrior||霊戦士||rei sen shi|
|Spirituality||精神性||seishinsei / seshinse||jīng shén xìng|
jing1 shen2 xing4
jing shen xing
|ching shen hsing
Spirit of Taekwon-do
|tái quán dào jīng shén lǐ yì lián chǐ rěn nài kè jǐ bǎi zhé bù qū|
tai2 quan2 dao4 jing1 shen2 li3 yi4 lian2 chi3 ren3 nai4 ke4 ji3 bai3 zhe2 bu4 qu1
tai quan dao jing shen li yi lian chi ren nai ke ji bai zhe bu qu
|t`ai ch`üan tao ching shen li i lien ch`ih jen nai k`o chi pai che pu ch`ü
tai chüan tao ching shen li i lien chih jen nai ko chi pai che pu chü
|勇士精神||yǒng shì jīng shén|
yong3 shi4 jing1 shen2
yong shi jing shen
|yung shih ching shen
Spirit of a Fighter
|戦士魂||senshi damashii |
|武||bu||wǔ / wu3 / wu|
Soul of a Wolf
|狼魂||routama / ookami tamashii |
routama / ookamitamashii
rotama / okami tamashi
|láng hún / lang2 hun2 / lang hun / langhun|
|Esprit de Corps|
|tuán duì jīng shén|
tuan2 dui4 jing1 shen2
tuan dui jing shen
|t`uan tui ching shen
tuan tui ching shen
|dú lì jīng shén|
du2 li4 jing1 shen2
du li jing shen
|tu li ching shen
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.