How to write and say Japan in Japanese

This post will answer simple but common questions:

  • how do you write 'Japan' in Japanese?
  • how do you pronounce it?
  • and what does it mean?

Japanese language uses 'kanji' (characters) which, for most of them, represent ideas. Kanjis for 'Japan' are 日本.

The first one, 日, means 'sun' while the second one, 本, means 'origin' (and also 'book', but not in this case).

In Japanese, 日本 therefore means 'origin of sun', which explains why we refer to Japan as the land of the rising sun.

日本 is pronounced 'nihon' or sometimes 'nippon', which is the old pronunciation.

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