Friday, July 22, 2011

Today's Word

Let's learn some names for Japan

日本 Nihon/Nippon
This is the normal name for Japan

日出処 Hiiduru tokoro
Land of the rising sun (old, poetic)

御國 Mikuni
This is an old honourific name for "the country". It uses pre-war letters and feels very nationalistic.

The field rich with reeds. This is a poetic name for Japan, it implies great beauty.

侍の国 Samuraino Kuni
Land of Warriors(samurai) ... it is popular to think of Japan as a land of Samurai, like it is popular to think of England as a land of gentlemen or knights

神の国 Kami no kuni
God's country ... this is an old religious and nationalistic name for Japan, based on our local religion 神道 shintoh

日本国 Nipponkoku
This is an official nation name

日の本 Hi no moto
This is the Japanese rather than Chinese reading of Nippon, it means root of the sun

大和 Yamato
Yamato means the foot of the mountains, it originally referred to what is now Nara Prefecture where the ruling dynesty resided and was used to refer to Japan as a whole before there was a proper name for Japan.
It is still used in words like 大和魂 Yamatodamasii meaning the Japanese spirit.

倭国 Wakoku
This is the ancient Chinese name for what is now Japan

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