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堅忍 means persistent, steadfast, fortitude, and/or perseverance.
The first character means strong, solid, firm, unyielding, or resolute.
The second character means to beat, endure, or tolerate.
Together they speak of the strength from within yourself. Some may also translate this as long-suffering in a more Biblical sense.
堅忍 is a common term in Chinese and Korean Hanja but a little less commonly used in modern Japanese Kanji. For that reason, this selection is best if your audience is Chinese or Korean.
Note that when writing this as Kanji, Japanese will tend to write the second Kanji a little differently. If you select our Japanese master calligrapher, please expect the form where the little horizontal stroke crosses the vertical stroke. See differences in the images to the right. Technically, they are both the same character, and will be read the same in either language.
不屈不撓 means “Indomitable” or “Unyielding.”
不屈不撓 is a long word by Chinese standards. At least, it is often translated as a single word into English. It's actually a proverb in Chinese.
If you want to break it down, you can see that the first and third characters are the same. Both mean “not” (they work as a suffix to make a negative or opposite meaning to whatever character follows).
The second character means “bendable.”
The last means “scratched” or “bothered.”
So this really means “Won't be bent, can't be bothered.” I have also seen it written as “Will not crouch, will not submit.” This comes from the fact that the second character can mean “to crouch” and the last can mean “to submit” (as in “to give in” such as “submitting to the rule of someone else”). This may explain better why these four characters mean “indomitable.”
Some will translate this as “indomitable spirit”; however, technically, there is no character to suggest the idea of “spirit” in this word.
Other translations include indefatigability, indomitableness, or unremitting tenacity.
The first two characters can be stand-alone words in Chinese.
In Japanese, this is considered two words (with very similar meanings). It's more common to see the word order flipped to 不撓不屈 in Japanese.
The same characters are used in old Korean Hanja. Just like in Japanese, the words are swapped to 不撓不屈 creating a word pronounced “불요불굴” in Korean.
堅韌 is a short word meaning “fortitude,” “steadfast,” and “persistent.”
毅 is the simplest way to express perseverance in Chinese and Korean Hanja.
This single-character version leaves a bit of mystery about what kind of perseverance you might want to convey.
In Korean, this is usually associated with “strength of character.”
In Japanese, this character can be pronounced in a dozen different ways (so we have left out the Japanese pronunciation guide that normally appears above). In Japanese, this Kanji would usually be translated as “strong” (perhaps strong-willed).
堅忍不抜 means determined, steadfast, unswerving, or unshakable in Japanese.
This is the Japanese version of an old Chinese 4-character perseverance proverb.
This would be understood in Chinese, but it's not commonly written this way in Chinese.
Note that when writing this as Kanji, Japanese calligraphers sometimes write the second Kanji in the form shown to the right. Yes,
just one stroke that is slightly different in location, crossing another stroke in this alternate Japanese Kanji form. If you have a preference, let us know when you order.
Due to some odd computer coding conventions, these two character forms were combined/merged into the same code point - thus, you will not see Kanji images of more Japanese form as you select options for your scroll.
固執 can also mean “opinionated” or “stubborn” in Chinese and Japanese, but in the nicest way possible (still bad).
This just means “stubborn” in Korean (not a good scroll if your audience is Korean, in fact, we don't recommend this word at all). There are better ways to express this idea, such as tenacity/tenacious or perseverance... ...see the links below...
Persistence to overcome all challenges
百折不撓 is a Chinese proverb that means “Be undaunted in the face of repeated setbacks.”
More directly translated, it reads, “[Overcome] a hundred setbacks, without flinching.” 百折不撓 is of Chinese origin but is commonly used in Japanese and somewhat in Korean (same characters, different pronunciation).
This proverb comes from a long, and occasionally tragic story of a man that lived sometime around 25-220 AD. His name was Qiao Xuan, and he never stooped to flattery but remained an upright person at all times. He fought to expose the corruption of higher-level government officials at great risk to himself.
Then when he was at a higher level in the Imperial Court, bandits were regularly capturing hostages and demanding ransoms. But when his own son was captured, he was so focused on his duty to the Emperor and the common good that he sent a platoon of soldiers to raid the bandits' hideout, and stop them once and for all even at the risk of his own son's life. While all of the bandits were arrested in the raid, they killed Qiao Xuan's son at first sight of the raiding soldiers.
Near the end of his career, a new Emperor came to power, and Qiao Xuan reported to him that one of his ministers was bullying the people and extorting money from them. The new Emperor refused to listen to Qiao Xuan and even promoted the corrupt Minister. Qiao Xuan was so disgusted that in protest, he resigned from his post as minister (something almost never done) and left for his home village.
His tombstone reads “Bai Zhe Bu Nao” which is now a proverb used in Chinese culture to describe a person of strong will who puts up stubborn resistance against great odds.
My Chinese-English dictionary defines these 4 characters as “keep on fighting despite all setbacks,” “be undaunted by repeated setbacks,” and “be indomitable.”
Our translator says it can mean “never give up” in modern Chinese.
Although the first two characters are translated correctly as “repeated setbacks,” the literal meaning is “100 setbacks” or “a rope that breaks 100 times.” The last two characters can mean “do not yield” or “do not give up.”
Most Chinese, Japanese, and Korean people will not take this absolutely literal meaning but will instead understand it as the title suggests above. If you want a single big word definition, it would be indefatigability, indomitableness, persistence, or unyielding.
自強不息 is a proverb or idiom that suggests that the pursuit of self-improvement is eternal. It can also be a suggestion to strive unremittingly in life.
The first two characters mean inner strength with the idea of self-improvement. The last two characters mean “never rest” or “striving without giving up.”
Some will translate these four characters as “Exert and strive hard without any let-up.”
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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Romaji (Romanized Japanese)
|Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Strength of Character
|gouki / goki
|gāng yì / gang1 yi4 / gang yi / gangyi
|kang i / kangi
|ken nin / kennin
|jiǎn rěn / jian3 ren3 / jian ren / jianren
|chien jen / chienjen
|fu kutsu fu tou
fu kutsu fu to
|bù qū bù náo
bu4 qu1 bu4 nao2
bu qu bu nao
|pu ch`ü pu nao
pu chü pu nao
|jiān rèn / jian1 ren4 / jian ren / jianren
|chien jen / chienjen
|see note / seenote / se note
|yì / yi4 / yi
|堅忍不抜 / 堅忍不拔
|jiān rěn bù bá
jian1 ren3 bu4 ba2
jian ren bu ba
|chien jen pu pa
|koshuu / koshu
|gù zhí / gu4 zhi2 / gu zhi / guzhi
|ku chih / kuchih
|Undaunted After Repeated Setbacks
|hyaku setsu su tou
hyaku setsu su to
|bǎi zhé bù náo
bai3 zhe2 bu4 nao2
bai zhe bu nao
|pai che pu nao
|Always Striving for Inner Strength
|zì qiáng bú xī
zi4 qiang2 bu2 xi1
zi qiang bu xi
|tzu ch`iang pu hsi
tzu chiang pu hsi
|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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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.
Check out my lists of Japanese Kanji Calligraphy Wall Scrolls and Old Korean Hanja Calligraphy Wall Scrolls.
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