A Brief History of Who Named Japan

Unearth the past of Japan and uncover who bestowed it its moniker! Delve into the annals of time to find out who conferred upon this nation its title. Uncover the mystery that shrouds the source of this country’s name! Investigate who was responsible for christening it with such a distinguished appellation. Trace back through antiquity to identify who dubbed this land with its renowned designation.

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For ages, Japan has been referred to by its distinct moniker. But who gave it that name? To answer this question, we must delve into the past.

The earliest recorded use of the term “Nippon” (or “Nihon”) was in 8th century poetry. This word was used in relation to Japan and is thought to have come from Chinese characters meaning “sun-origin” or “origin of the sun”. As time went on, this word gradually changed into what we now know as “Japan”.

Apart from this poetic reference, there are other ideas about where Japan’s name came from. One idea suggests that it originated from an old Japanese word signifying “source”. Another theory claims it is derived from a phrase which translates to “land of the rising sun”. In any case, it is clear that numerous names have been used for Japan over the years and its current title has been carried on through generations.

It is undeniable: Japan’s enduring title has been around since antiquity and will remain part of its identity for years to come!



The records of the 3rd century BC indicate a mysterious reference to Japan. Nippon or Nihon, a name with an enigmatic origin, was utilized by the 8th-century Japanese court. Speculation on its derivation is boundless, but the most accepted theory is that it is derived from the Chinese characters signifying “sun” and “origin”, conjoined to symbolize “land of the rising sun”.

– Historical Records of Who Named Japan

For ages, the source of Japan’s title has been a matter of much contemplation. The oldest written record of its origin is from the Nihon Shoki, which dates back to the 8th century. According to this text, Emperor Jimmu is said to have descended from deities and bestowed upon Japan its name. It is suggested that in 660 BCE, he established his kingdom and named it “Nippon” or “Nihon”, which translates to “origin of the sun”.

The Nihon Shoki isn’t the only ancient document that mentions Japan’s naming; other such as the Kojiki and Man’yōshū also speak of it. These texts describe how prior to being called Nippon or Nihon by Emperor Jimmu, Japan was referred to as Yamato. Some scholars also think China may have had something to do with Japan’s naming process as well; they point out that Chinese characters used for “Nippon” are similar to those used for China’s own name at that time.

Regardless of its source, it is evident that Japan has had its current name for centuries now. Its definition – “origin of the sun” – serves as an emblem of how far back in time this nation goes, and all it has accomplished since then.

– The Influence of Chinese and Korean History on Naming Japan

An intricate and mysterious relationship between China and Korea has had a profound effect on the nomenclature of Japan. Since antiquity, the two countries have been in close communion, their cultures intertwined. This is especially apparent when it comes to the naming of places, people, and things in Japan.

In the 5th century CE, scholars from the Korean kingdom of Baekje brought with them the Chinese writing system to Japan. Characters utilized for writing were adapted from both Chinese and Korean sources; many place names in modern-day Japan can be attributed to these characters. For instance, Tokyo was first known as Edo, which translates to “door” or “gateway” in Chinese characters. Likewise, Kyoto was formerly Heian-kyo, meaning “peaceful capital” in Chinese characters.

Furthermore, numerous Japanese personal names are derived from China and Korea. An example being “Hiroshi” – stemming from the character representing “great” or “prosperous” – while “Yamato” is taken from an ancient Korean kingdom called Yamatai.

The influence of China and Korea on Japanese naming conventions can be traced through history right up until present day; many Japanese names continue to be based on characters or words that were adopted centuries ago. By understanding this past we can gain insight into how these two countries still shape Japanese culture today.

– Examining Ancient Japanese Mythology for Clues to the Origin of Japan’s Name

Mysteriously, the origin of Japan’s name has been shrouded in antiquity and mythology. One of the most accepted hypotheses is that it was derived from two Chinese characters, “Ji” (sun) and “pun” (origin), first appearing in records from the 7th century when Japan began trading with China, as “Cipun” or “Jipun”, meaning “sun origin”.

Alternately, Japanese mythology tells tales of two gods, Izanagi and Izanami, sent by their father – the creator god – to bring order to chaos. After completing their mission they returned to him who then named them “Nippon” or “Land of the Rising Sun”. Furthermore, a goddess named Amaterasu sent her grandson Ninigi-no-Mikoto down from heaven on a rainbow bridge to rule over Japan and gave him three sacred treasures: a mirror symbolizing wisdom; a sword representing valor and strength; and a jewel signifying benevolence. These three symbols remain part of Japan’s national flag and coat of arms today.

It is impossible to know for certain what inspired its name but one thing is sure: images of power, strength and wisdom have been associated with it since ancient times – making it an enduring symbol for all who call Japan home today.

– Investigating the Role of Foreign Explorers in Naming Japan

The land of Japan has been visited by foreign explorers since ancient times, leaving their mark on the culture and language. It is believed that the earliest known record of the name “Japan” comes from a 3rd century Chinese text known as The History of Wei, which states that Japanese people were referred to as “Wa.” In the 5th century, a Korean envoy named Paekche recorded the name “Nippon,” which is thought to be one of the earliest records of the modern-day name for Japan.

Throughout history, foreign explorers have had an immense influence on Japan’s place names. During the 8th century, an envoy from China named Ganjin gave many places their current names including Nara, Kyoto and Osaka. Around this same time, a Korean envoy named Kim Ch’ang-chun visited Japan and bestowed various locations with their current names such as Nagasaki and Fukuoka.

It can be said with no uncertainty that without these foreign travelers, our comprehension of Japanese history would be much poorer than it is today.

– Analyzing the Impact of Geography on Japan’s Name throughout History

Perched on the edge of the world, Japan has been shaped by its geographical location throughout history. From Wa, to Nippon and then Nihon, this small nation has managed to make a name for itself through its unique culture and political relationships with other countries. Isolated from much of Asia and Europe, Japan’s culture is distinct in many aspects such as art, architecture, cuisine and language. Additionally, its policy of Pan-Asianism during World War II was an attempt to unite all Asian nations against Western imperialism and further solidified its identity as part of Asia rather than Europe or America. Even today the geography of Japan continues to have a great impact on how it is perceived by others.


The source of the term “Japan” is enigmatic, yet it is hypothesized to have been derived from the Chinese characters for “sun origin” (日本). This might allude to its central location in East Asia and its place as the rising sun on the skyline. The oldest document of the name Nihon appears in Chinese records from the Tang dynasty, which refers to Japan as 日本. This appellation could have been bestowed by the Chinese imperial court.


Some questions with answers

Q1. Who named Japan?
A1. According to historical records, Japan was named by Emperor Jimmu in the 7th century BC.

Q2. What is the origin of the name Japan?
A2. The origin of the name Japan is believed to be from the Chinese characters “日本”, which can be translated as “the sun’s origin”.

Q3. When did Japan get its current name?
A3. The current name of Japan was officially adopted in the 7th century AD during the reign of Emperor Jimmu.

Q4. How has the name changed over time?
A4. Over time, different pronunciations and spellings have been used for the country’s name including Jippon, Zipangu, and Nihon-koku.

Q5. What other names has Japan been called?
A5. Other names that have been used for Japan include Yamato, Wa, and Nippon.

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