Why is Japan known as Japan?
By Yasu Shimizu (Japan Baggage Categorical)
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Why Japan is known as “Japan” in English when the Japanese name it “Nippon”.
Japan in Japanese is “Nippon” or “Nihon” whereas in English it’s known as “Japan”. In most languages world wide, it’s known as a reputation just like “Japan” (for instance, “Japon” in French or “Giappon” in Italian). “Japan” and “Nippon” don’t sound related. Then, what’s the etymology of “Japan” i.e. the place does the identify “Japan” come from?
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Truly, there’s a good cause why it’s known as “Nippon” (or “Nihon”) in Japanese and “Japan” (or related phrases) in English and different languages of the world.
In case you are in any respect conversant in the Japanese language, you maybe know that the Japanese use just a few varieties of letters – hiragana, katakana, and kanji (Chinese language characters). Chinese language characters are a form of *ideogram*. “Ideogram” refers to letters that signify the meanings, whereas alphabets signify the sound.
It’s well-known that Marco Polo launched Japan to the Western World, and he known as Japan “Zipangu”. He wrote that in Japan there was gold in all places, however he truly by no means traveled there. He went solely to the southern half China.
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In Japanese, “Nippon” is written as 日本. 日 means “Solar” or “Day” and 本 on this case represents “origin”. Chinese language individuals known as it so as a result of Japan is situated within the East and actually is within the route the place the solar rises (in different phrases, the place the solar originates). That’s the reason Japan is usually known as “the nation of the rising solar”. In trendy Chinese language, 日本 is pronounced Ribén (Mandarin Chinese language pronunciation). Nonetheless, and really apparently, within the days of Marco Polo and even these days, within the southern a part of China, 日本 was pronounced as Ji-pang or Zu-pang. He known as Japan “Zipang” as a result of individuals within the south a part of China instructed him in regards to the nation of the rising solar and the time period they used to consult with it. That is how Marco Polo introduced the identify “Japan” to the Western World.
Extra apparently, the Japanese usually have quite a lot of methods of announcing one kanji, which is an ideogram. 日 can be pronounced “Jitsu” as you see within the phrase 本日(honjitsu), which means “at the moment”. 本 is pronounced “hon” or “pon”, so in case you mix the 2 different pronunciations of those phrases, it is going to grow to be “Jitsu Pon”, which sounds very very similar to “Japan”, “Zipang”, or “Japon”.
So, each Japan and Nippon which means the place the solar rises have the identical etymology and they’re totally different pronunciation of the identical kanji.
That is how Japan received its identify. The reality is sort of easy.