Japan is the birthplace of the samurai.
Names of Japan Edit
Yamato (大和) is an ancient name of Japan. The term was symantically extended to mean “Japan” or “Japanese” in general.
Japan eventually become known as Wa ( 倭"japan, japanese" , from chinese 倭), and is the oldest recorded name name of Japan. The scribes from China, Korea, and Japan regularly wrote Wa Yamato "Japan" with the chinese character 倭 until the 8th century where the japanese found fault with it, replacing it with 和 "harmony, peace, balance".
Historically, Japanese /h/ has undergone a number of phonological changes. Originally *, this weakened into and eventually became the modern . Note that modern is still pronounced when followed by .
Middle Japanese nifon becomes Modern Japanese nihon via regular phonological changes.
Nihon and Nippon Edit
The name for Japan, 日本, can be pronounced either Nihon or Nippon. Both readings come from the .
日 (nichi) means "sun" or "day"; 本 (hon) means "base" or "root". The compound means "base of the sun" or "sunrise" (from a point of view, the sun rises from Japan); it is of course a source for the popular Western description of Japan as the "Land of the Rising Sun".
Nichi, in compounds, often loses the final chi and creates a slight pause between the first and second syllables of the compound. When romanised, this pause is represented by a doubling of the first consonant of the second syllable; thus nichi 日 plus kō 光 (light) is written and pronounced nikkō, meaning sunlight. Hon in compounds also often changes to bon or pon; h, b and p are closely related sounds in Japanese. There are therefore two possible pronunciations for 日本: Nihon or Nippon. While both pronunciations are correct