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Who Named Japan - Japan?

Akira Le

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Just curious in doing research on Japan - if the country was/is officially Nippon/Niho - who decided to call them Japan - and what's the consenus on that name in Japan?
Any ideas? Thanks if you have the time.
 

Toritoribe

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I wonder how Chinese people feel about "China", how Sri Lanka people feel about "Ceylon", or how British people feel about "Igirisu", which is the Japanese name for the UK. Personally, I, a native Japanese, don't feel anything about "Japan". I've never thought it should be called Nihon or Nippon at all. It's just called so in English.
 

Kami Nana

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I wonder how Chinese people feel about "China", how Sri Lanka people feel about "Ceylon", or how British people feel about "Igirisu", which is the Japanese name for the UK. Personally, I, a native Japanese, don't feel anything about "Japan". I've never thought it should be called Nihon or Nippon at all. It's just called so in English.
Hey, I had even wondered how Germany was called as such...when isn't the real name for it "Deutchland"(I know this isn't right...) or something to that effect?

Thanks for the insight...though, I'm kinda surprised Japan had alternate names for other countries. Like that example with Germany I gave earlier, isn't it called something like what I had given by Japanese people rather than "Germany"? Or America is "Amerika"?
 

Toritoribe

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Germany is "Doitsu" (from Deutsch), Neitherlands is "Oranda" (from Holland), Korea is "Kankoku" (from Japanese pronunciation of the kanji name 韓国 for Korea) and so on. (And yes, the US is アメリカ "Amerika".)
 

Kami Nana

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Germany is "Doitsu" (from Deutsch), Neitherlands is "Oranda" (from Holland), Korea is "Kankoku" (from Japanese pronunciation of the kanji name 韓国 for Korea) and so on. (And yes, the US is アメリカ "Amerika".)
Ah, that's it. "Doitsu". Thank you. ^^ I've heard of Kankoku before, though.

It's interesting how both Japan and Germany call America, "Amerika". (that is, if Rammstein's song "Amerika" is anything to go by) Also, isn't there another designation for America in Japan...I can't remember it off the top of my head; but, I believe it uses a kanji meaning "rice"(which perplexes me...what does America have to do with rice? o_O).
 

Toritoribe

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That's 米国. It has nothing to do with "rice", though. 米 is just the abbreviation of the kani name 亜米利加. Similarly, Germany is also called 独/独国 (from 独逸), France is 仏/仏国 (from 仏蘭西), Russia is 露/露国 (from 露西亜), and UK is 英/英国 (from 英吉利) etc. (Now you can see why "English" is called 英語 in Japanese, right?) In these cases, kanji is used as a phonogram without any meaning, similar to transliterations of foreign (proper) names in Chinese language. (Incidentally, America is 美国 in Chinese, but this doen't mean America is beautiful, of course. It's just from the Chinese transliteration 美利堅.)
 

Julie.chan

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It's interesting how both Japan and Germany call America, "Amerika".
That's just a proper transliteration for the German language. German, unlike English, has consistent pronunciation for its letters, since Germans don't have a history of importing foreign words without adapting them to their own language (unlike English). That's something I like about that language; it means you can look at a word and know right away how to pronounce it. In this specific example, I'm not exactly sure what the the letter "C" is used for by itself, or if it even is (I only remember encountering it in the "ch" combination), but I know that "K" is the letter used for that hard "K" sound found in "America", hence the spelling. It also uses the native German pronunciation for the rest of the letters, hence why it sounds a little different. (Worth noting: it's different from the Japanese pronunciation because the German "R" sound is more like an English "R" with a gargle-type thing that I was never able to vocalize).

It also goes the other way; in the case of the word for Japan, it's, well, "Japan" in German, but it's pronounced in accordance to German spelling rules, so it sounds more like "yah pahn" (English-like spelling), or like ヤパン. And then the language is called "Japanisch", pronounced like "yah pahn ish".

By the way, "Deutschland" is the native German term for Germany. The English word "Germany" comes from Latin "Germania", coined by the Romans.
 
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