Where Does The Name Japan Come From?

An article written by: Lee Sonogan

Image result for the word japan nippon

The origin of the word Japan is mysterious. Would you like to know why we call Japan ‘Japan’ and not Nippon or Nihon? Not many people know that the Japanese names for Japan are Nippon or Nihon. Over centuries Japan has had many names while the word Japan is relatively new.

Originally Japan was known as Wa or Wakoku due to the origins of the Japanese that came from China. Later on, names were changed to Yamato, Nihonkoku, Woguo and many more with different meanings. It was not until the explorer Marco Polo visited China in the 13th century that translations of the word Japan became to arise. Marco Polo was told of the island beside China full of gold and named it Cipangu. Many other countries during that time also named Japan with closer sounding names as Jepang, Jipang, Jepun and Giapan.

I can not say this is accurate as the history of the word is a part of ancient history. From the 12th century until 1868 Japan was in isolation until the United States opened up a dialogue which was most likely the time you would expect the word Japan was spoken in an English translation. As Nippon and Nihon are still printed on their money and I assume much more, Japan has been accepted as the geological name of the country worldwide.


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