One popular theory for the origin of “Japan” is that the English originally heard about the country from a European explorer who originally heard about the country from the Chinese. After a multilingual game of telephone like that it’s really no surprise that “Nippon” wound up a little warped by the time it made it into our dictionaries.
日本 = にほん = Japan
日本 = にっぽん = Japan
元気 言語 ガールズ #6
Made In Japan?
Yellow: Hey, what’s the Japanese symbol for Japan?
Blue: The symbol for Japan looks like this. It’s pronounced にほん.
Yellow: にほん?! That doesn’t sound like “Japan” at all!
Blue: It can be pronounced as にっぽん too.
Yellow: Still not “Japan”!
Yellow: It’s a country name so it should be the same everywhere, right? Why is it different in English?
Blue: I’m really not sure, but we could probably find the answer online.
Yellow: Never mind then. I’m not that curious.
Blue: It would only take a few minutes to research…
Yellow: Yeah, but I only had about thirty seconds worth of curiosity.