What is the meaning of this?

What does this mean? Does it even have a meaning or are they just random Kanji?


Anyone interested in the full image.


Edit : The full image is clearer, so you might just want to zoom in the image.


It’s Chinese. @Jonapedia might know. :slightly_smiling_face:


Given that there’s no hiragana in it, I’d have to guess that’s either Chinese, or a bunch of random Kanji.


That, and there’s a couple of character forms that don’t exist in Japanese. (Though I might be mistaken on that point. It’s a little teensy.)


Okay, waiting for you Jonapedia…

I’m not sure why “just random kanji” would be an option on the table.

Even if it wasn’t Chinese it could potentially be man’yougana, the style of using kanji for their pronunciation before other kana existed. That’s probably not the case here, but I would guess that before randomness.


I personally wouldn’t be shocked if some people simply selected some kanji to write down on a piece of artwork for artistic purposes. There would be a reason for the selection of kanji in that case, but there wouldn’t be any real meaning if you attempted to read it.

Then again, it most likely simply Chinese. Although I should learn about this man’yougana thing, never heard of it.


Yeah, this cost about one buck and I don’t see someone putting in effort for something so cheap.

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Guess I was just reacting to the idea that it’s one or the other. There are more possibilities, that’s all.


True… and now you’ve introduced me to a concept I’ve never heard of! Guess I got some time to spend on Google now :sweat_smile:

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Hi, from HK here. It’s a Chinese love poem. The lady was waiting for her husband who should have come back but not yet (the third sentence). She misses her husband and the birds song keeps her company (the last sentence). The first and second sentences were describing the flowers and leaves were only a few (to paint a picture of loneliness, however the painting on the fan was not the case). It’s in simplified Chinese character.


Sorry, I was asleep. @lkyvic0075 already explained things very nicely. I guess the best I can do is to add a line-by-line translation and perhaps explain the grammar:

Two or three branches of azaleas
The magnolia plant only has four or five leaves
At this time, you (old honorific for husband) are [still] not coming back
Flute and sparrow accompany me as I think about you

In Japanese kanji, I think it would look like


The first two lines use a sentence structure that’s quite similar to Japanese: 杜鹃 and 兰 are the topics or the subjects, and the numbers followed by a counter/noun at the end are sort of like adverbial phrases or simply descriptions.

In the third line, 是 is normally just a word that affirms something, but here, it’s the same as 此 and means ‘this’ (是 is one of the kanji for これ and ここ), which turns 是时 into a time marker. 不 is a negation particle, which you could think of as equivalent to ない in Japanese when it’s used with verbs.

In the final line, 笛 means ‘flute’ and 雀 means ‘sparrow’. It would be more natural to add determiners/articles like ‘my’, ‘a’ or ‘the’ in front of those words in English, but that would change the feel of the sentence. It’s almost as though 笛 and 雀 are just concepts, and you’re supposed to use them to paint a picture in your head. 伴 means ‘to accompany’. (You can find it in the Japanese verb 伴う=ともなう.) 相思 literally means ‘mutually thinking about each other’ and therefore refers to a two people missing each other, but it was hard to capture that in the translation without making it weird because the husband isn’t in the picture in the poem. 相思 is actually a verb, but when used this way, it’s a noun designating the process/act of 相思 – it’s just another example of how Chinese words are very grammatically flexible and can sometimes change classes without any help (or with perhaps just one extra particle).


I am really grateful for the detailed explanation. :slight_smile:


How can you be sleeping when the world is counting on you??? Heroes have no holidays!


Thanks for sharing this beautiful plate with us. It’s very delicate and beautiful, and even moreso when one understands the meaning of the text, thanks to @Jonapedia an @lkyvic0075 :white_flower:



Don’t mind me, I just want a badge. :slight_smile:

But still if anyone wants to read the book, I don’t mind


I bought a lighter simply cause it had Japanese on it when I studied in England.
One of the other students, a Brit who only knew English, asked what it meant.
I translated word for word, which to English sounds like “weird grammar”, so he thought it was just random words XD
He didn’t understand how languages work, that grammar and word placements change, so thought it wasn’t real Japanese then =P