The difference between the names Nippon and Nihon in Japanese

In Japanese, when it comes to the name of the country Japan, we often encounter two different pronunciations: Nippon and Nihon. While both are true, they are used in different situations and contexts.

Jun 6, 2023 - 10:54
Jun 6, 2023 - 11:11
The difference between the names Nippon and Nihon in Japanese

"Japan" is known as "Nihon" in Japanese, and it is often used when we refer to Japanese or in relation to Japanese terms, for example "Nihongo" refers to the Japanese language. Ban or "Nihonkai" for the Sea of Japan. This is a common and common pronunciation in everyday language.

However, when we talk about Japan in the field of sports, the pronunciation "Nippon" is often used. This is a word known through slogans in sporting events, such as "Ganbare Nippon" (Let's go, Japan) or "Go Japan" (Let's fight, Japan), which we often heard in international matches. Nippon also has a strong association with sport, as shown through the use of the word on Japan's Olympic uniforms in the past.

Differences in pronunciation can be traced back to history. During the Edo period (1603 - 1868), the people of Edo (now Tokyo) started using the pronunciation "Nihon". This explains why the Osaka area is pronounced "Nipponbasshi", while the Tokyo area is pronounced "Nihonbashi".

Over the course of history, the name of Japan has undergone many changes. Originally, the earliest name of the country was "Wa". After that, Japan called itself "Yamato", even after the kanji 日本 (Nihon/Nippon) was used from the 8th century. Later, "Nippon" became more common, possibly derived from the way called by the Chinese "Nyet pan".

Although many efforts have been made to choose a correct pronunciation, these decisions have not received great attention and support from political authorities. According to a survey by the Japanese Language Institute in 2012, more than 98% of Japanese people prefer the pronunciation of "Nihon". Regardless of how the country's name was introduced during the Olympics, we can expect that the word "Nippon" will still ring out in sporting events.

It's an overview of the difference between the names Nippon and Nihon in Japanese. Aspects of the pronunciation and usage of these two words have been presented. This helps us to better understand the history and context of the use of the country's name Japan. While there isn't much other information to add, Injavi hope what has been presented has helped you better understand the difference between Nippon and Nihon.

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