Sun-moon mountain-wood

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Boris Kootzenko was intrigued by this sign in China:

The sign advertises:

Shānmù péixùn 山木培训 ("Mountain Wood Training")

Their own English self-designation is "Sunmoon Education Group".

Boris was intrigued because, as he put it, "the sun turned into a mountain and the moon turned into wood."  Actually it was the other way around:  the mountain turned into a sun and wood turned into moon (the name of the founder is Song Shanmu 宋山木 — shān 山 ["mountain"] sounds a bit like "sun" and mù 木 ["wood"] sounds a bit like "moon").  The logo, which cleverly combines the characters for mountain and wood, is equally precious as their English name.

Founded in 1991, this is an outfit with grand aspirations.  They offer courses at locations throughout China, in London, Tokyo, and elsewhere.  They teach English, Japanese, Korean, German, French, Spanish, Shanghainese, Cantonese, accounting, computers, etiquette, makeup, certification, and formal schooling.  Who knows what will be added next?


  1. Coby Lubliner said,

    February 9, 2017 @ 1:38 pm

    Could there be a Sinitic language in which 山木 does in fact sound like "sunmoon"?

  2. Charles Antaki said,

    February 9, 2017 @ 5:18 pm

    The logo is (presumably entirely accidentally) a bit like what a far-right British Nationalist party would design – the Union Jack with a bit of swastika thrown in. If they display it at their London base they might attract the odd inappropriate visitor.

  3. flow said,

    February 9, 2017 @ 5:56 pm

    @Charles Antaki—if that should turn out to be the case, they could still rotate all public-facing signage 90 degrees clockwise, which will make the logo look like —>E, i.e. an arrow pointing to a letter E (for Education).

  4. Tim Taylor said,

    February 9, 2017 @ 6:20 pm

    The choosing of similar-sounding but totally different English words to render Chinese brand names is not all that uncommon. One example is 金蝶集团 (jīndié jítuán 'golden butterfly group'), which calls itself Kingdee in English.

  5. Marc said,

    February 9, 2017 @ 10:38 pm

    What is the last character on the right? It looks like a letter i followed by three letter l's. Did they combine Chinese and Roman scripts?

  6. Victor Mair said,

    February 10, 2017 @ 12:37 am


    That's a simplified character. The traditional form is this: 訓. It is pronounced xùn and means "train(ing); instruct(ion)".

  7. DEMAY François said,

    February 10, 2017 @ 2:48 am

    The logo is the vertical combination of 山 and 木with the middle vertical stroke of 山 being common with the upside part of the vertical stroke of 木.

  8. Craig said,

    February 11, 2017 @ 8:48 am

    @Marc, in another font, the simplified character looks like this: 训

  9. Pete said,

    February 20, 2017 @ 12:37 am

    Similarly, there is a forest area in Taiwan 杉林溪 (shān lín xī) which seems to be called "SunLinkSea" in English.

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