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Writing in the World of Avatar

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Characters
Writing in the World of Avatar
General information
Type

Writing and literature

Examples
  • Writing materials
  • Calligraphy
  • Chinese translations
  • Books
Writing and literature form an integral part in societies all across the World of Avatar. All four nations use a common system of characters borrowed from the Chinese system for daily purposes. The four nations primarily use writing for communication and literary purposes, but there are some who practice calligraphy as an art, such as Piandao.

Writing

Writing materials

Writing

Piandao had a complete set of writing implements at his castle.

Writing in the Avatar World is achieved through several means. This is primarily through the use of brush, ink and paper; however, there are also engravings. The actual written language is Chinese, with thousands of characters made up of different kinds of strokes, and is usually written top down or right to left, though this is not always the case.

Brush

The brush is the traditional writing implement in the World of Avatar. The body of the brush can be made from bamboo, wood, or other rarer materials. On the other hand, the head of the brush can be made from the hair of a wide variety of animals.

Paper

Paper is used for scrolls, books, letters, and memos. Paperweights are typically used to smooth out the paper for writing; these are, basically, just two plain rectangular blocks of wood.

Characters

Traditional Chinese characters are used for most writing in the Avatar World. There are tens of thousands of characters, but only a few thousand are required for day-to-day communication. There are several types of characters used in order to complete a sentence and thus be able to make text readable.

  • Pictograms - These characters are derived from stylized, simplified drawings of an object. This type of character is used to represent that object. Examples include for "sun", for "moon".
  • Ideograms - Although not a direct derivative of pictures like pictograms, ideograms are related to them in that they are a stylized abstract representation of an idea. Direct examples include "up" and "down". Notice that the character for up literally points up and the other literally points down.
  • Ideogrammic compounds - These are created through combining elements of pictograms and ideograms to form another abstract representation of an idea or object. An example is that doubling the pictogram "tree" produces "forest". There are literally more trees. The existence of this category as an independent category is disputed in the real world.
  • Phono-semantic compounds - The name is complex, but most characters fall under this category. It is impossible to be able to draw absolutely everything into a character, hence the existence and size of this category. These characters are usually made of two parts. One part is a small pictograph that gives a representation of the idea of the character, called the radical, and the other, larger part is another character that gives an idea to the pronunciation of the character. For example, one of the characters for river is . The three strokes to the left make up the radical representing anything to do with water or liquids, and the right part is the character .
  • There are a few more categories, but the above are enough to summarize the types of existing characters.

Calligraphy

Piandao teaches Sokka

Piandao taught Sokka calligraphy during the latter's swordsmanship training.

Calligraphy is a form of art where one writes, or rather, draws or paints characters in a particularly artistic way to emphasize its beauty and shape. The paper, ink, brush, and inkstone are essential implements in calligraphy. A paperweight is also used to keep the paper straight and flat on the table, negating the need for one's hand to touch the clean paper. Only the highest quality types are used. Piandao taught Sokka its basics.

Chinese character translations

For an in-depth list of translations for proper names and words used in the series, see here.

All Chinese characters below are written in the form in which they appeared in the show. Therefore, most are in the traditional form, with few exceptions.

Avatar: The Last Airbender episode translations

Opening sequence

  • At the top and bottom of the Avatar map are two separate rows of four Chinese characters in classical form. They form a couplet that can be translated as:
群雄四分 - Powers are divided into Four
天下一匡 - The world [all under heaven] is guided by one
  • The four inscriptions on the corners are referred to each element (nation), and can be translated to:
水善 - Water is Benevolent
土強 - Earth is Strong
火烈 - Fire is Fierce
气和 - Air is Peaceful
  • Above the Avatar title slide, the characters can be translated to:
降卋神通 - the divine medium who has descended upon the world (i.e. the Avatar).

Book One: Water

"The Warriors of Kyoshi"
Main article: The Warriors of Kyoshi
  • The fan the statue of Kyoshi holds to her dress is inscribed with the character (kyō in Japanese), which means "capital". This character also appears on the sleeves of the Kyoshi Warriors' uniform. The fan in Kyoshi's outstretched hand carries the character , pronounced "shi", meaning "warrior". These two characters together make up Kyoshi's name.
"Winter Solstice, Part 1: The Spirit World"
Main article: Winter Solstice, Part 1: The Spirit World
  • The circles on the floor of Roku's Sanctuary contain the characters for various celestial events: 春分, the Spring Equinox; 夏至, the summer solstice; 秋分, the Autumn Equinox; and 冬至, the winter solstice. These are all part of the traditional East Asian calendar.
"The Waterbending Scroll"
Main article: The Waterbending Scroll
  • The left side of the scroll says 截水神功練習第一式, which can be translated as "Waterbending drill first form". The right side says 水單鞭, which translates as "water single whip". Since the term "waterbending" is not a real word in Chinese, the phrase (截水神功) that the creators of the series use literally translates as "cut off water divine ability".
"The Blue Spirit"
Main article: The Blue Spirit
Wanted poster of Aang

Aang's wanted poster is seen in "The Deserter".

  • Aang's wanted poster reads as follows:
緝拿 - 降卋神通
該逃犯身懷截氣神功
能制起旋風飛遁如風
捕者慎之慎之
烈火君令
Wanted — The Avatar. This fugitive knows airbending, can create whirlwinds, and flee like the wind. Hunters, be extremely cautious! By decree of the Fire Lord.
"The Fortuneteller"
Main article: The Fortuneteller
  • The calligraphy on the screen in Aunt Wu's parlor is written in Cao Shu (grass script style), a freehand form which is notoriously difficult to read.
  • The sign against which Sokka kicks a rock has the character on it, which means "good fortune and happiness".
"Bato of the Water Tribe"
Main article: Bato of the Water Tribe
Main article: Rendezvous map
  • The map to the rendezvous point is covered with characters indicating locations and notes, but most are not legible. On the top left corner are the characters 海月護佑, which roughly translates as "The Blessing and Protection of the Sea and Moon". The smaller characters in the center of the bay are 首長 and 戰士, meaning "senior official" and "warrior". In the bottom left corner, a mountain is marked with 東山, meaning "east mountain".
"The Deserter"
Main article: The Deserter
Fire Days Festival poster

The Fire Days Festival poster depicts a dragon.

  • Fire Days Festival poster
庆祝烈火節
傳統烈火國美味食品
烈火國文化展雜技魔術
運火師木偶戲烟火
使你如置身於烈火國
Celebrate the Fire Day Festival. Featuring traditional Fire Nation food, Fire Nation cultural exhibits, jugglers, magicians, firebending masters, puppet shows, and plenty of fire to make you feel like you are back home in the Fire Nation![1]
Jeong Jeong wanted poster

This is Jeong Jeong's wanted poster.

  • Jeong Jeong's wanted poster
緝拿 - 琤琤
前烈火國艦長
年六十.白髮.
貌似柔順實長制火術
捕者慎之
Wanted — Jeong Jeong. Was a Fire Nation Admiral. He is sixty years old and white-haired. Appears weak; is actually a master in fire bending. Hunters be cautious.[1]
Wanted poster of Chey

This wanted poster depicts Chey.

  • Chey's wanted poster
緝拿 - 済.
前烈火軍隊長懦夫逃兵叛賊.
年三十善火功爆破.
精神不稳.
捕者慎之
Wanted — Chey. Was a captain in the Fire Nation Army, is a coward, a deserter and a traitor. He is 30 years old and skilled with explosives. Mentally unstable. Hunters be cautious.[1]
Wanted poster of Blue Spirit

This is a wanted poster for the Blue Spirit.

  • Blue Spirit wanted poster
緝拿 - 蓝神.
劫持降卋神通
頭戴蓝色土國面具
身份不明外傳為鬼之說不足信
如探得行踪須全力以赴
Wanted: The Blue Spirit. Stole the Avatar. He wears a blue Earth Kingdom opera mask. His true identity is unknown, but disregard the rumors that he is a ghost. If you discover his whereabouts, spare no effort in apprehending him.[1]
  • The Fire Lord's Seal found on all the wanted posters reads 烈火國王敖載之寶, meaning "The Royal Seal of the King of the Fire Nation, Ozai".
"The Siege of the North, Part 2"
Main article: The Siege of the North, Part 2
  • The scroll which Zhao finds in Wan Shi Tong's Library reads, in ancient Chinese calligraphy, 月神海神 and 北方水族, meaning "Moon Spirit and Ocean Spirit" and "Northern Water Tribe".

Book Two: Earth

"The Avatar State"
Main article: The Avatar State
Wanted poster of Zuko and Iroh

This is Iroh and Zuko's wanted poster.

  • Iroh and Zuko's wanted poster reads as follows:
承烈火君命緝捕艾洛祖寇二叛賊.
艾洛将軍曾為平西巨龍.
祖寇王子曾為火帝儲君.
二賊違反國令.
拒絕征剿水族蛮子及捉拿降卋神通.
格殺勿論.
The Fire Lord orders the arrest of Iroh and Zuko, the two rebellious traitors. General Iroh was once the Dragon of the West. Prince Zuko was Crown Prince to the Fire Lord. Both traitors violated imperial orders. They refused to exterminate the Water Tribe barbarians as well as capture the Avatar. Permission is granted to kill them on sight.
  • The writing on Zuko's knife reads 非戰不屈, which means "Never give up without a fight."
"The Cave of Two Lovers"
Main article: The Cave of Two Lovers
Cave of Two Lovers writing

The sign over the entrance to the Cave of Two Lovers reads 情人洞, meaning "Cave of the Lovers".

  • The sign over the entrance to the cave reads, in ancient Chinese script, 情人洞, meaning "Cave of the Lovers".
  • The sign over the door in Song's clinic is , meaning "doctor" or "medicine".
  • The first panel of the Lover's story reads, in ancient Chinese script, 男女相隔二地 會于此峰, which means approximately "The man and woman (Oma and Shu) were separated by two areas; they will meet at this peak."
  • The character that appears when Katara reads about the war between the Lover's villages is , meaning "war".
  • The final panel of the Lover's story reads, in ancient Chinese script, 奧瑪舒城 永志恋情, which means approximately "Omashu City, to forever remember their love."
  • The writing on the relief of the two lovers seems to read 愛在黑暗X光明, which means something along the lines of "Love is brightest in the dark".
"Return to Omashu"
Main article: Return to Omashu
  • The governor's ransom letter reads as follows:
懦弱之拐人
我愿以你卑賤的布米王換取我兒子湯湯安全
正午會於城巔石像下交換
Cowardly kidnapper, I agree to exchange your lowly King Bumi for my son Tom Tom's safety. The exchange will take place precisely at noon tomorrow at the base of the city's summit rock statue.
"The Swamp"
Main article: The Swamp
  • The sign on the cart which passes Iroh and Zuko reads 快樂浪人歌劇團, meaning "Happy Traveler's Opera Troupe".
"Avatar Day"
Main article: Avatar Day
  • A lantern during the parade scene has the character painted on it, meaning "alcohol" and indicating a tavern.
  • The ancient Chinese scripts carved on the lower part of the statue reads 秦帝, meaning "Emperor Chin". He is named after Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, from whose name the English name for China is derived.
  • The writing on the "Birth of Kyoshi" painting reads 降卋神通虛子今日拓創虛子島 愿吾民文化永絕於卋界暴政, which translates as "On this day, Avatar Kyoshi split and created Kyoshi Island, in the hope that our citizens' culture will forever be isolated from the tyranny of the world."[1]
"The Blind Bandit"
Main article: The Blind Bandit
余師傅運土術武館全國最佳
包教會
持此傳單第一課免費僅須購買髙級制服
Master Yu's Earthbending Academy is the best school in the entire country. Guaranteed everything taught will be learned. Special promotion – first lesson is free. You only need to purchase a high-quality uniform.
  • The sign over the entrance to Master Yu's school reads 余師傅著名運土術武館, meaning "Master Yu's Famous Earthbending Academy".
Ransom letter

A ransom letter was sent to Toph's parents after she and Aang were taken by Xin Fu and the Earth Rumble VI fighters.

  • Toph's ransom note reads as follows:
欲見你女兒有生一X
五百金條至競技場
大塊石辛富
If you wish to see your daughter alive, (bring) five hundred gold bars to the arena. (Signed) The Boulder & Xin Fu.
"The Library"
Main article: The Library
  • The writing on Professor Zei's map reads 萬知堂神祕图書館, meaning "Wan Shi Tong's Mysterious Library".
  • The book Sokka pulls off the shelf while Aang is looking at the lion turtle painting has on its cover the characters 子白, meaning "child" or "master" and "white", respectively; however, these are likely just random characters chosen for looks.
  • The parchment documenting the Fire Nation's Darkest Day reads 培治龍年七月九日烈火國最黑暗的一天, which means "The 9th day of the 7th month of the Cultivate Rule Dragon Year was the darkest day in Fire Nation history".
  • The Chinese characters around the calendar wheel form the era names used for dating events in the Avatar World.[1]
1. 氜武 - Superior military
2. 淳泰 - Honest and exalted
3. 坧元 - Foundation and origin
4. 烱裕 - Bright abundance
5. 氜隆 - Great prosperity
6. 溢文 - Overflowing culture
7. 培治 - Cultivate rule
8. 焜德 - Shining virtue
9. 氲貞 - Virtuous harmony
10. 渪明 - Immersed in brightness
11. 堯平 - Peace of Emperor Yao
12. 煬崇 - Burning honor
13. 氛安 - Peaceful atmosphere
14. 漳順 - As smoothly as the Zhang River
15. 垣正 - City of righteousness
16. 焯光 - Burning light
The first character in these two-character words has a radical (one of the 214 ideographic elements in Chinese writing used in combination with phonetics to form thousands of different characters) that represents one of the four elements, and rotates in the order of air - water - earth - fire.
  • 气 - the "air" radical, used in characters related to gas
  • 氵 - the "three drops of water" radical, used in characters related to liquid
  • 土 - the "earth" radical, used in characters related to dirt, earth, mineral, etc.
  • 火 - the "fire" radical, used in characters related to fire, heat, etc.
Note: These definitions are very loosely based on the characters, as many of the combinations are difficult to understand. Some of the characters are no longer used in modern Chinese.
  • The date of the Day of Black Sun is set on the dial as "The 1st day of the 8th month of the Superior Military Monkey Year" (氜武猴年八月一日). This could translate to August 1 in the Gregorian Calendar. However, if the World of Avatar uses the Chinese lunar calendar, the date would fall sometime in mid to late August or September.
"The Serpent's Pass"
Main article: The Serpent's Pass
Serpent's Pass entrance

The entrance of the Serpent's Pass reads 盤蛇關, meaning "Coiling Serpent Pass".

  • Toph's passport reads 土國頭等護照 北方拓芙, meaning "Earth Kingdom first class passport – Toph Beifong".
  • The ferry tickets read 滿月湾渡輪票, meaning "Full Moon Bay Ferry Ticket".
  • The gate at the entrance of the Serpent's Pass reads 盤蛇關, meaning "Coiling Serpent Pass". The graffiti reads 絕望, meaning "despair" (literally "sever hope").
  • Iroh's forged passport reads 土國護照 洪慕士, meaning "Earth Kingdom passport – Hong Mushi".[1]
  • Zuko's forged passport reads 土國護照 洪禮, meaning "Earth Kingdom passport – Hong Li".
  • The stamp the official lady puts on Aang's forehead says 不准, meaning "denied".
"The Drill"
Main article: The Drill
  • The banner in the Ba Sing Se customs office reads 歡迎光臨永固城, meaning "Welcome to Ba Sing Se".
  • The plaque on the slurry pipeline reads 泥漿管道, meaning "slurry pipeline".
"City of Walls and Secrets"
Main article: City of Walls and Secrets
  • The invitations to the Earth King's party have 南大門 written on them, meaning "South Gate".
  • The name of the tea shop is 包氏茶館, meaning "Mr. Pao's Tea House".
"The Tales of Ba Sing Se"
Main article: The Tales of Ba Sing Se
  • The characters before each story read, in order, 卡塔拉與托夫的故事 (Katara and Toph's tale), 安昂的故事 (Aang's tale), 索卡的故事 (Sokka's tale), 艾洛的故事 (Iroh's tale), 蘇科的故事 (Zuko's tale), and 模模的故事 (Momo's tale). In the title card for "The Tale of Toph and Katara", the Chinese translation puts Katara's name before Toph's. Toph's name is also written differently in the titlecard than on her passport from "The Serpent's Pass" and the letter from her mother in "The Earth King". Zuko's name is also different; in "The Desert", Zuko's name was listed on a Fire Nation wanted poster in Chinese as "祖寇" (zǔkòu), while here his name is written as "蘇科" (sūkē). The character 蘇 (sū) is also used in Fire Lord Sozin's name.
  • The sign on the spa which Katara and Toph visit reads 貴婦美容院, which translates as "Noble Lady's Beauty Parlor".
  • The Chinese characters on Lu Ten's picture 艾洛将軍 得勝再見 忠心的兒子路騰, when read in the traditional right and vertical way, roughly translate as "General Iroh, I will see you again when victory is obtained. Your loyal son, Lu Ten."
  • The sign in front of the zoo Aang visits reads 快樂動物園, which translates as "Happy Zoo".
  • The sign outside of the hall in "The Tale of Sokka" reads 五七五會社, which translates as "Five-Seven-Five Society".
"Lake Laogai"
Main article: Lake Laogai
Lost Appa flyer

Appa's lost pet poster features a head-on view of the sky bison.

  • Appa's wanted poster reads as follows:
尋飛天野牛
名阿柏有六足重十噸
如有消息請聯絡
降世神通安昂
上環九十六區第二百一十七棟
"Searching for a flying sky bison. His name is Appa, he has six legs and weighs ten tons. If you have any information, please contact Avatar Aang in the Upper Ring, 96th District, house #217."
"The Guru"
Main article: The Guru
  • The signboard over the door of the Jasmine Dragon reads 茉莉龍, its name in Chinese.
  • The characters on the sign inside the teashop 寧三天不食莫一日無茶 display a traditional Chinese proverb: "It is better to go for three days without food than one day without tea".

Book Three: Fire

"The Avatar and the Fire Lord"
Main article: The Avatar and the Fire Lord
  • The characters on the scroll Zuko receives read 你須知道曾祖死後它會顯示你的命運, and mean approximately "You need to know what's happened after your great-grandfather's demise, it will reveal your own destiny"; the hidden message, 烈火國諸賢秘史藏於龍骨墓窟中 means approximately "The secret history of the sages of Fire Nation is hidden in the Dragonbone Catacombs".
  • The characters on the first box containing Sozin's history read 烈火君蘇進遺書完稿, which means "The Last Testament of Fire Lord Sozin". The second box reads 烈火君蘇進遺書稿之, which means approximately "Draft of the Last Testament of Fire Lord Sozin".
  • The characters that can be seen at the end of Sozin's testament are 威脅, which means "threat", and 功師, which is presumably the end of the word "airbender".
"The Runaway"
Main article: The Runaway
Posters panshot

Posters are seen at the post office in the Fire Fountain City.

  • Toph's wanted poster reads as follows:
緝拿逃犯
當局懸賞一千金幣緝捕十二歲女童
她喬裝盲人個子雖小極之危險
報訊即賞
Wanted — The Runaway. Authorities are offering a reward of thousand gold coins for the arrest of this twelve year old girl. She disguises herself as a blind person, and although she is small, she is extremely dangerous. Any information will be promptly rewarded.
傳訊鳥訓練班
日出時於郵政局集合
每課三銅板
Messenger bird training class. Meets at sunrise at the post office. Each lesson is three copper pieces.
  • The poster before Toph's wanted poster reads 火 - 緝拿, meaning "Fire - Arrests". It probably signals the start of the wanted posters section.
  • The poster on the far right of the billboard reads 今晚街坊會議主題 : 空氣質量 街頭聚賭, meaning "Topics for this evening's street conference: air quality and street gambling".
  • The poster with two dragons entwined in a heart reads 餘烬島劇院, meaning "Ember Island Theater". It is a reference to the Ember Island Players, and is most likely a poster for "Love amongst the Dragons" (which Zuko says he used to see every year with his mother).
"The Day of Black Sun, Part 1: The Invasion"
Main article: The Day of Black Sun, Part 1: The Invasion
  • Sokka's maps read as follows:[1]
第壹國皇家地圖 - The Greatest Nation (eg. Fire Nation) Royal Atlas
世界地圖- Map of the World
全國領土領海圖 - Chart of the Entire Nation's Land and Sea Territories
首都島地圖 - Map of Capital Island
皇家首都地圖 - Map of the Royal Capital City
"The Ember Island Players"
Main article: The Ember Island Players
冰山上的男孩
土國著名劇作家浦安添新作搜集全球有関降卋神通資料由南極冰山至土國首都.
資料来自牧民歌手海盜戰犯和菜販.
由餘烬島演員主演
The Boy in the Iceberg: The famous Earth Kingdom playwright Pu-on Tim's new work has collected information about the Avatar from around the globe, from the icebergs of the Southern Water Tribe to the Earth Kingdom capital. Information came from nomad singers, pirates, prisoners of war and a knowledgeable merchant of cabbage. Starring the Ember Island Players.
  • The sign over the stage reads 餘烬島劇院, meaning "Ember Island Theater".
"Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang"
Main article: Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang
  • The ending card reads 劇終, meaning simply "The End".

Other translations

  • The Chinese calligraphy featured on the cover of the Season Three boxed set (as well as on a T-shirt given away at Comic-con) can be seen below; however, much of it is either blocked by Aang or hidden by the poor contrast.
彗煞凶焰破長空
奧載暴君欲焚窮
安昂英立泰如月
干戈自此鳴不終
Translated as:
The comet's evil floods the vast sky,
The tyrant, Ozai, longs to burn all things.
Heroic Aang ... peace ...
The sound of arms does not cease.
  • Zuko, in the Gym Time comic, firebends the characters 選接我, meaning "Pick me."
  • The message Aang leaves Katara in School Time Shipping reads 卡塔拉 你可以跟我去跳舞嗎? 昂, and means "Katara, will you go to the dance with me? Aang."

Avatar comic translations

Book Three: Fire

"Private Fire"
  • The poster Sokka holds up in part 1 of the Private Fire comic reads as follows:
加人優勝者隊伍
到附近招募站報名.
Join the winning team! Sign up at your local recruitment center today!

Ember Island Arcade

Main article: Ember Island Arcade
  • For some reason, the sign above the entrance to the Ember Island Arcade reads 近义词, meaning "near-synonym". It is strangely also written entirely in Simplified Chinese.

Rebound

Main article: Rebound
  • The sign outside Mura's flower shop reads 花店, meaning "florist".
  • The poster of Ozai and the New Ozai Society's headbands all read 敖載, meaning "Ozai".

The Promise translations

The Promise Part 1

Main article: The Promise Part 1
  • The signs the mob outside Yu Dao are holding read 滾回去, meaning "Get out!" or "Go back!"; 還我和平, meaning "Give us back peace!"; and 還我平安, meaning "Give us back security!"
  • During the scene where Zuko tours Aang through Yu Dao, several signs can be seen. The one farthest to the back reads 綠炎旅館, meaning "Green Flame Inn". The red sign reads 玉島雜貨店, meaning "Yu Dao Grocery Store", and the closest two yellow signs read 美味火鍋食堂, meaning "Tasty Hotpot Restaurant".
  • The sign in front of the blacksmith's shop reads 老陳鐵匠鋪, meaning "Old Chen's Blacksmith Shop".
  • In the scene where the Mayor Morishita's family appears for the second time, two signs can be seen: one reading 芬芳茶館, meaning "Sweet Aroma Teahouse" and one reading 綠焰客棧, meaning "Green Blaze Inn".

The Promise Part 2

Main article: The Promise Part 2
  • The signboard over the door of the Beifong Metalbending Academy reads 北方, meaning "Beifong".
  • The hanging scroll inside the dojo reads 欠揍嗎, meaning "Do you need a beating?"
  • The two visible foods on the menu in the ramen shop are 大包 (Dabao) and 小籠包 (Xiaolongbao), traditional Chinese steamed buns resembling dumplings.
  • Sokka's headband has the characters 加油 on it, meaning "Come on!" or "You can do it!"
  • The calligraphy in the headquarters of the Official Avatar Aang Fan Club, Ba Sing Se Chapter reads 气和, meaning "Air is Peaceful." It is the same calligraphy from the opening titles.
  • The hanging scroll in the side room of the dojo has the character , meaning "smelt metals", written on it.
  • The right flag on Master Kunyo's head is emblazoned with the character , meaning "fiery", "ferocious", or "ardent".

The Search translations

The Search Part 1

Main article: The Search Part 1
Zuko reading Ursa's letter

Zuko reading Ursa's letter.

  • Ursa's letter reads:
我最親愛的毅勤
我過了很久才承認
但是你是對的
我是屬於你的
沒有什麼值得受這痛苦的
我唯一的安慰是我們的兒子豎髙
我注視他的眼睛時
就像注視你的眼睛一樣
我時刻都想念著你
愛你的
爾姝
My dearest Ikem, it's taken me a long time to admit it, but you were right. I belong with you, and nothing is worth this pain. My one consolation is our son Zuko. When I look into his eyes, it's as if I'm looking into yours. My thoughts are with you always. Love, Ursa
  • On the stone tablet under the Fire Nation emblem, there is the character which means strong.

The Search Part 2

Main article: The Search Part 2
  • The sign at the entrance to the Forgetful Valley reads 忘憂谷 - literally, "Forget Sadness Valley".

The Rift translations

The Rift Part 1

Main article: The Rift Part 1
  • The name above the refinery reads 泥土火公司, which literally translates as "dirt-fire company".

The Rift Part 2

Main article: The Rift Part 2
  • The sign outside the cabbage merchant's restaurant reads 包心美食小館, or "Cabbage Delicacies Bistro".[nb 1]

The Legend of Korra episode translations

Book One: Air

"Welcome to Republic City"
Main article: Welcome to Republic City
  • The poster behind the Equalist protester is emblazoned with the character 平 (píng), meaning "equal". The two side banners read 参加革命, meaning "Join the revolution!"
  • In the scene where Korra fights the triads, and the subsequent chase scene, many signs can be seen, most of which are repeated throughout the scene. They are 餃子, meaning "dumplings"; 新鲜蔬果, meaning "fresh vegetables and fruits"; 珠寶, meaning "jewelery"; 雜貨店, meaning "general store"; 古董, meaning "antiques; 書店 meaning "bookstore"; 理髮店, meaning "barbershop"; 药材店, meaning "herbal medicine store"; 裁縫, meaning "tailor"; 粉麵, meaning "noodles"; 服裝店, meaning "clothing store"; 針灸, meaning "acupuncture".
  • The shop sign above the phonograph store being held up by the Triple Threat Triad says 留声機, meaning "phonographs", and the sign on the clock store opposite reads 鐘表店, meaning "clock and watch store".
  • The police blimp has the word for police, 警察, painted on the front and side.
"A Leaf in the Wind"
Main article: A Leaf in the Wind
  • The newspaper Korra is reading at the table has the characters 元訊 written at the top. Typical of many Chinese names and titles, this may have multiple meanings; here, the title at the top may be translated as "First Dispatch", "Basic Dispatch", or in a looser sense, "Breaking News". It may also mean "Yuan News" (in the sense of "Penny News").
  • The newspaper with Chief Lin Beifong and Tarrlok's pictures that Korra uses when attempting airbending is called Republic News (共和國新聞).
  • The scoring tubes read 第一囬合, meaning "Round 1"; 第二囬合, meaning "Round 2"; 擊倒, meaning "Knockout"; and 優勝者, meaning "Winner".
"The Revelation"
Main article: The Revelation
Revelation flyer

A flyer for The Revelation depicted Amon.

  • The front of the 25-yuan bills seen throughout the episode have 廿五, meaning "25", written on the sides, and 共和城, meaning "Republic City", written across the top. The back has again 25 written on the sides, and 世界之家, meaning "The Home of the World", written across the top.
  • When Korra and Mako first encounter the chi blockers, the shop signs in the background read 药材店, meaning "herbal medicine store", and 理髮店, meaning "barbershop".
  • The flyers the Equalist protester is handing out read 見證 今晚九時, meaning "Witness - Tonight at 9."
  • The poster behind Amon reads 見證 参加革命, meaning "Witness! Join the Revolution!" The banners are again emblazoned with the character , meaning "equal".
"The Voice in the Night"
Main article: The Voice in the Night
Clock

Avatar Aang Memorial Museum clock has the Chinese numerals 1-12 arranged around the outside.

  • The signboard over the entrance to Kwong's Cuisine reads 鄺氏美食, its name in Chinese (literally "Mr. Kwong's Delicacies").
  • The banners for Korra's party in front of Republic City Hall read 降世神通, meaning "Avatar".
  • The sign in front of the bookstore reads 書店 meaning simply "bookstore".
  • The poster in the hidden Equalist training room reads 阿蒙就是答案, meaning "Amon is the solution!"
  • The clock face has the Chinese numerals 1-12 arranged around the outside. The characters on the two inner wheels are written in the archaic Seal Script form.
"The Aftermath"
Main article: The Aftermath
  • The police tape reads 共和城警察, meaning "Republic City Police".
  • The poster in the underground Equalist factory reads 阿蒙就是答案, meaning "Amon is the solution!", and 跟着阿蒙, meaning "Follow Amon!"
"When Extremes Meet"
Main article: When Extremes Meet
  • The dial on the dashboard of Asami's car has the numbers 1-14 written around the edge.
  • The signs on the police vans read 共和城警隊, meaning "Republic City Police Force".
"Turning the Tides"
Main article: Turning the Tides
"Skeletons in the Closet"/"Endgame"
Main article: Skeletons in the Closet
Main article: Endgame
  • The large poster on Amon's de-bending platform at Air Temple Island and the banner in the Pro-bending Arena read 阿蒙的時代開始了, meaning "Amon's era has begun!"

Book Two: Spirits

"Peacekeepers"
Main article: Peacekeepers
  • The Southern Water Tribe protester's signs read 和平, meaning "peace"; 南方自主, meaning "Autonomy for the South"; and 自由, meaning "freedom".
  • The police tape reads 共和城警察, meaning "Republic City Police".
  • The poster in Mako and Bolin's apartment reads 火焰貂, meaning "Fire Ferrets".
  • The book in Lu and Gang's drawer is called 做人之道, meaning "How To Be a Righteous Man".
"The Sting"
Main article: The Sting
  • The end title card of "Nuktuk, Hero of the South" reads 努篤 南方英雄, its name in Chinese.
"A New Spiritual Age"
Main article: A New Spiritual Age
  • The first page of the book Jinora finds reads:
南北神靈鏖戰
由精神卋界
進入物質卋界
雙方能量對流
産生南北門户
In the north and south spirits engage in a fierce battle from the Spirit World to enter the material world. The energy conveyed from both sides produces the Northern and Southern portals.
  • The picture on the second page is captioned 時間之樹, meaning "Tree of Time".
"Night of a Thousand Stars"
Main article: Night of a Thousand Stars
  • Bolin's autographed poster reads 親爱的馬髙 努篤笑着说, meaning "Dear Mako, Nuktuk says "keep smiling!".
  • All the posters on the Pro-bending Arena say "Nuktuk, Hero of the South".

Book Three: Change

"The Earth Queen"
Main article: The Earth Queen
  • The signs in the Lower Ring of Ba Sing Se contain the characters , meaning dragon, and , meaning noodles.
  • San's letter to Yin reads:
已经结婚, 有了两個兒子名...
愽林. 他们带来不少歡楽也...
許多麻烦. 相信您们是体會...
希望有一天您们會和他们相...
上我们的照片.
... already married, and have two sons named {Mako and} Bolin. They bring us no small amount of joy and ... much trouble. I am sure you understand ... hope that one day you and them can ... a photograph of us.
"The Metal Clan"
Main article: The Metal Clan
  • The couplet by Guru Laghima engraved on the locket reads 出塵卋羈絆 入虛無如風, meaning "Let go your earthly tether; Enter the void, empty, and become wind."
  • The main headline on the newspaper Lin Beifong is reading says 保安隊, meaning "Security Force."
"Old Wounds"
Main article: Old Wounds
  • The acupuncturists's business card reads 郭大夫 針灸師. 皂阜市大街二十三號, meaning "Dr. Guo, Acupuncture Specialist. 23rd Street, Zaofu City.
  • The shop signs when Lin confronts Suyin in her memory read from left to right 服裝店, meaning "clothing store"; 珠寶, meaning "jewelry"; and 药材店, meaning "herbal medicine store".
"The Terror Within"
Main article: The Terror Within
  • The letter Mako finds in Hong Li's home reads 隊伍斉集 待命行事, meaning "Team assembled, ready to rendezvous."
  • The cover of the book Mako gives to Aiwei is emblazoned with the words 皂阜保安隊, meaning "Zaofu Security Force".
"The Stakeout"
Main article: The Stakeout
  • The body of the wanted posters reads:
土國皇后諭旨
緝拿下列人犯
通風報訊者重賞
Attention - the Earth Queen's Imperial Decree. The below-listed accused is to be seized and arrested. Any person with information is to report it for a handsome reward.
Each poster is marked with the name of the person pictured: Bolin's says 共和城愽林, "Bolin from Republic City", and Korra's 神通寇柆, "Avatar Korra". The queen's seal reads 土國皇后之璽, meaning "The Imperial Seal of the Earth Queen."
Asami's map

Asami's map shows a detailed aerial shot of the south-western Si Wong Desert.

  • The map has a number of locations marked on it. From left to right: Seven Day (or Sun) Temple (七日寺), Wen Wilderness (文荒漠), Chaoyang Market (朝陽市集), Golden Phoenix Mountain (金鳳山), Misty Palms Oasis (霧櫚綠洲), Si Wong Desert (死亡沙漠), Du'an Village (杜安村), and, at the bottom and partly obscured, a place that seems to be marked 睡鷄江, literally "Sleeping Chicken River".
  • The sign over the inn at which Aiwei is staying marks it as the "Misty Palms Inn" (霧櫚客栈).
  • The two books in the hotel's drawers are "How To Be a Righteous Man" (做人之道) and "Handbook of the Rules of Pai Sho" (牌數規則手册).

Book Four: Balance

"After All These Years"
Main article: After All These Years
  • The sign at the entrance to the Yi State Capital reads 夷國京師 meaning, predictably, "Yi State Capital".
  • The caption on the map on Kuvira's train reads 土國一統全輿圖 大總統古維拉辖下, meaning "Complete Map of the Unified Earth Kingdom Under President Kuvira's Administration".
  • The name of the hotel at which Prince Wu stays is 四元賓館, meaning "Four Elements Hotel".
  • The contract Kuvira gives the village leader to sign reads:
謹依本條約,解體夷國。
根據前述條款,由國際任命
土國臨時大總統金族古維拉
保護及管轄。
夷國總統
土國臨時大總統古維拉
Pursuant to the present treaty, the State of Yi is abolished. On the basis of the aforementioned clause, the Earth Kingdom's interim president, Kuvira of the Metal Clan, is entrusted with the protection and administration of the region.
President of the State of Yi
Interim President of the Earth Kingdom, Kuvira
  • Kuvira's banner reads 古維拉總統 一統夷國, "President Kuvira, Unify the State of Yi!"
"The Coronation"
Main article: The Coronation
  • The banners flying in Little Ba Sing Se Fashion Mall read 小永固, which translates as "Little Ba Sing Se". The characters used for Ba Sing Se, and , mean "perpetually strong".
  • A sign in the background while Wu and Mako drink smoothies reads 快樂, meaning "happy".
  • The shops behind King Wu as he confronts the vendors selling t-shirts with an image of Kuvira read 海鲜, 水果, and 地毯, meaning "seafood", "fruit", and "carpets", respectively.

San Diego Comic-Con panel

  • In the Comic-Con presentation where Korra is seen battling multiple Equalists, several signs and advertisements can be seen, though not all are legible: , meaning "come" or "return", , meaning "wind", and 火人街, meaning "Fire People Street".

Literature

Book of Clouds

The Book of Clouds was owned by Wu.

There are many books and scrolls in the Avatar World. Many of these are located, or have a copy at Wan Shi Tong's Library.

List of known works

  • A History of Team Avatar - a historical saga recounting the many adventures of Avatar Aang and his friends.
  • Book of Clouds - a book belonging to the fortuneteller Aunt Wu used in divining the meanings and portents of various cloud shapes.
  • The Boy in the Iceberg by Pu-on Tim - a play recounting the actions of Team Avatar during the last year of the war, but with a pro-Fire Nation ending.
  • Encyclopedia - a collection of information that Earth King Kuei used to teach Bosco how to live in the wild.[2]
  • The Greatest Nation's Royal-Issue Atlas - a large printed atlas of the Fire Nation, its territories and cities. A copy was used by Hakoda to plan the failed invasion of the Fire Nation on the Day of Black Sun.[3]
  • How To Be a Righteous Man - a book found in a policeman's drawer. It has a drawing of a shirtless man in a kung-fu pose on the cover.[4]
  • Katara's diary - Katara's record of the events following the fall of Ba Sing Se.[5]
  • The Last Will and Testament of Fire Lord Sozin by Fire Lord Sozin - a secret autobiography of the Fire Lord's life, kept in the Dragonbone Catacombs.[6]
  • Scroll - given to Prince Zuko by a mysterious cloaked figure.[6]
  • Star chart - a chart of the stars in the sky. It can be used to guide people across unknown lands by showing them how to follow the path of stars.
  • Unknown historical romance - a love story telling the history of a doomed love between a princess and the son of an enemy general. Because they could not be together, she rode a dragon into battle and burned down the entire country before throwing herself into a volcano.[7]
  • Waterbending scroll - a rare and valuable teaching scroll stolen from the Northern Water Tribe by pirates, later recovered by Katara and was donated to Wan Shi Tong and his collection of knowledge.

Newspapers

Fire Nation councilwoman's husband

The United Daily News is read by the Fire Nation councilwoman's husband.

A newspaper is a type of inexpensive daily publication found in Republic City that communicates news stories, current events, and informational articles about the goings on in and around the city. At least three different newspapers operate in the city: the Yuan News (元訊), the Republic News (共和國新聞), and the United Daily News (聯合日報).

Notes

The set of Chinese characters used in Avatar is predominantly traditional, used regularly in modern Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, as well as overseas Chinese communities. It is used when creating formal documents in China and many other Asian countries. Many characters were simplified in the 20th century as part of a literacy campaign by the Chinese Communist party,[8] and the simplified set of characters is mostly used for everyday reading and writing in Mainland China. Readers should note that contrary to popular belief, most Chinese characters are not stylized representations of pictures, that is, most characters are not pictograms. Though many of the characters once were pictograms, centuries of change has rendered the resemblance almost non-existent.

Trivia

  • The written Chinese content in Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra was provided by cultural consultant Dr. Siu-Leung Lee. He handled all of the translation and calligraphy for both shows, including the calligraphy for the logo of the former. His vast knowledge of various styles of calligraphy throughout China's history added a culturally grounding component to the show. While most of the Chinese used was classical Chinese, Lee used his deep knowledge of archaic Chinese for ancient texts about spirits or elements.
  • The writing in the movie adaptation The Last Airbender uses a made-up language influenced by Chinese calligraphy, rather than using written Chinese as done in the original animated series.

Notes

  1. The word used here for "cabbage" is a shortened version of one used in some dialects and is not standard across China. It is created by combining three different characters; , , and . The "包心" on its own refers only to a "wrapped heart", with the "菜" meaning "vegetable".

References

See also

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