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日本

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日本

Postby ika_squid » Tue 07.05.2005 11:18 am

'日本' means Japan. I have read that this may be pronounced either as 'Nihon' or as 'Nippon', and that it literally means 'source of the sun'. However, I noticed that '本' means 'book' or is "a counter for long slender objects", and may be pronounced as 'hon', 'ppon', or 'bon'. This should mean that '日本' may be pronouced as 'Nihon', Nippon' or 'Nibon'. '日' means 'sun' or 'day'. How can this mean 'source of the sun'?
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RE: 日本

Postby randomerror » Tue 07.05.2005 11:56 am

How can this mean 'source of the sun'?

"Hon" 本 also means origin, so it's like origin or scource of the sun..
I've never heard Nibon, and I don't think it is correct. Just because some Kanji have different readings doesn't mean you can choose whatever readings for the kanji...

For example...
愛鳥 - Ai chou, meaning pet bird...
Another reading of 鳥 is tori, but your not supposed to use that reading...

It's just in some Kanji compounds they have one or two readings, but, you can't just choose any possible Kanji reading for the Kanji in the compund, and be correct.


I may be incorrect...
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RE: 日本

Postby ika_squid » Tue 07.05.2005 12:12 pm

I thought that '本' was pronounced as 'moto' when meaning 'origin'.
Last edited by ika_squid on Tue 07.05.2005 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: 日本

Postby Spaztick » Wed 07.06.2005 12:07 pm

It's just historical trnalsations, the Japanese language wasn't invented to fit the Kanji, the Kanji we're adopted from China and and so the Kanji was made to fit to the Japanese language, so naturally you have some readings that were changes slightly from what the kanji are "supposed" to be read like.
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RE: 日本

Postby ika_squid » Wed 07.06.2005 12:40 pm

Okay, thank you.
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RE: 日本

Postby pippa » Tue 07.12.2005 9:16 am

Vaguely, "hon" in this case also means origin, as in Japan being the origin of the sun, or as some nostalgically refer to Japan: Land of the Rising Sun. The name came from China of course, where the sun appears to rise from Japan's direction.

I completely made that up, but there's basis to my fabrication;)
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RE: 日本

Postby jinksys » Tue 07.12.2005 9:35 am

The name comes from the fact that in the early 1900's when the first sun died, japanese scientists, with the help of godzilla, crafted the new sun. Thus japan is the origin of the sun.
Last edited by jinksys on Tue 07.12.2005 9:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: 日本

Postby mithrila » Tue 07.12.2005 5:35 pm

The story my teacher told me (I don't know if it's true, but it's funny) was: when Japan was sending its first emissary to China, but didn't know what to call it. So they went by directions, namely saying that the sun rose in the east and set in the west. So, since China was east of Japan, they said they were the land of the origin of the sun, and that China was essentially the land of the setting sun. That naturally didn't go over very well with the Chinese Emperor (after all, he thought the insolent Yamato were implying thier country was in a decline:o). The jester attempted to aliviate the situation by using the characters, in his dialect read "Sher Peng", in a joke. When westerners first heard of Japan, they heard Japan instead of Sher Peng.

No idea if that's a true story, but it does make a good story to tell a naive, first year Japanese class.:)
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RE: 日本

Postby Akutabai_Gamma » Wed 07.13.2005 6:03 pm

Why is their two ways to read "Japan"(Nihon and Nippon) which is the "right" one to use or which do Japanese use most often or is it like it like this>> America is to USA as Nihon is to Nippon*i know very bad example......don't hit me >_<*
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RE: 日本

Postby Harisenbon » Wed 07.13.2005 6:20 pm

Nippon has a very Japanese flavor, and is usually said by those who want to invoke the Japanses-ness of Japan when they say it.

Nihon is just saying Japan.

Sorry, that wasn't much more helpful than Akutabai.

But think I about this.

I live in America.

I LIVE IN THE USA! BOOYAH! USA USA USA!!

Kinda like that?
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RE: 日本

Postby mithrila » Wed 07.13.2005 11:27 pm

I looked in one of my Japanese published Q&A book (probably for gaijin living in Japan) and I found an entry about where Nihon came from (this is from the Japanese perspective):
「日本書紀」や「古事記」によると、古い時代の日本のことを「農葦原瑞穂国」とか、「葦原中国」と呼んでいます。しかし、中国や韓国では古代日本を「倭」と称していました。日本ではこれを「ヤマト」と言っていました。
とこらが、しばらく中国との交渉が途絶えていた後、7世紀の初め、中国の「旧唐書」という書物に、次の文句が登場します。「日本国は倭国の別種なり。その国、日の辺に在るを以っての故に日本を以て名と為す…倭国自らその名の雅ならざるを悪み、改めて日本と為す」

「日本」の登場です。『日本書記』は8世紀の編集ですので、それまでの資料に使われていた「倭国」が「日本」に書き換えられていったに違いありません。

Basically, Japan used to be known as 倭 (wa) to the Chinese, but they called themselves the Yamato. But, if I'm translating it right, it says that after Japan broke off thier relationship with China it became known in the Chinese records as Nihon, and that the Japanese themselves had changed it (that may be a little rough, but that's what I'm getting out of it. If anyone else want's to take a shot...).

Guess what the next question was? Nihon vs. Nippon
1934年、文部集の臨時国語審議会が「ニッポン」を正式の呼び方としています。それまでもバラバラだったわけです。しかし、この決定は法律として制定されたわけせはなく、今でもどちらの言い方も通用しています。
切手にはNipponと印刷されていますし、日本が海外に派遣するスポーツ団のユニホームなどもNipponが多いので公式には「ニッポン」が認められているといっていいでしょう。

In 1934, the Ministry of Education's Provisional Deliberation Council on the Japanese Language designated that Nippon was the official reading. It's not decreed by law, but postage stamps and Olympic athelete's uniforms say Nippon.

Thank you Japanese Q&A books:D
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