What is the name of Japan

Embassy of Japan in Germany
在 ド イ ツ 日本国 大使館




Feature - Nihon or Nippon


The origin of today's country name is not clearly known.
The most likely theory, however, is that Shôtoku Taishi laid the foundation stone for this name for his country in a letter to China from the Tang period.
In the large, powerful and highly civilized Middle Kingdom, the small tributary country in the east was called "wa" or "wakoku" (land of the Wa), because the people were called somewhat condescendingly "wajin" (literally: little people).

Of course, after the Japanese introduced the Chinese script and realized the meaning of the characters used for them, they wanted a more positive name for their country.
Prince Shôtoku had already used the phrase "the land where the sun rises" ("hi izuru tokoro") in a document at the beginning of the 7th century.
From this "hi no moto" ("the origin of the sun") and thus the same characters were used as for their Sino-Japanese reading "nihon".
The reading "nippon" is parallel to "nihon". It is believed that Marco Polo's name for Japan "Zipangu" or "Jipangu" originated from the reading "jippon".

Also read our feature on the Chinese characters "kanji", as well as in the" Characters of the month "series of our online magazine on the characters for" sun "

Travel to Japan and get to know the country first hand!
Contact the Japanese Tourist Office in Frankfurt for information!

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