Kano Jigoro Sensei, the founder of judo, taught the core ideas behind the practice of judo are jita kyoei 自他共栄 (calligraphy on left) and seiryoku zenyo 精力善用 (calligraphy on right). My previous discussion of seiryoku zenyo is
Typically I see the characters for jita kyoei 自他共栄 translated as "Mutual Benefit", "Mutual Benefit & Welfare", or "Mutual Prosperity". In my experience as a student of budo and language, often the translations are not literal, but poetic interpretations of the original language. So let's take a character by character breakdown and see what we discover.
I now have access to a Chinese calligraphy site. The images I am posting are in the kaisho 楷書 on the left, and the ancient seal script 篆書 style on the right. Here at The Dragon's Orb we aim to educate!
The above version of the character looks to be the simplified Chinese version. You can see from the image on the right it had more strokes till recently. For those with good vision the original looks like this 榮. The modern Japanese has also been simplified, but the angles of the lines of the top radical are slightly different 栄.
So let's construct the most literal translation.
1. Self and others together prosper
2. Me and others both prosper
Lowry Sensei uses the translation I like: "you,me together shine"
I feel like the common translations work pretty good for getting to the heart of the message, "Mutual Benefit", "Mutual Benefit & Welfare", or "Mutual Prosperity". However it is interesting to note that idea of benefit is implied and not literal in the Japanese. 'Flourish' and 'Prosperity' are the original ideas presented.