Where does the name "Japan" come from?

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Nov 2, 2020, 6:24:47 PM11/2/20
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Mr. Bullock,

Your explanation of the origin of “Japan” is incorrect, I don’t know where you copied it from but that is not the truth.

Marco Polo was probably the biggest liar the world has ever know. He never travelled to Japan, to China or to any other Asian country except Turkey. He never passed Constantinople/Istanbul. He only reported stories he was told by other real silk road travellers who arrived in Istanbul.

 The name Japan comes from the Malaccan people (Malaysia) who travelled with the Portuguese to Japan. Malaysians called it Japang from their Chinese influence of Jih Pun, which literally means “sunrise” written with the same characters as in Japanese but pronounced Nihon or Nippon in Japan.

 By the way, Portuguese were the first westerners to ever establish contact and live among Japanese people. Portuguese priests wrote the first Japanese dictionary to Portuguese and the first the Japanese had to any other language. The influence of Portuguese culture in Japan has been so great that Japanese language includes many Portuguese words: pan, arrigato, etc...., as well as many dishes: tempura, etc.

 Dutch, English and other "pirates" that followed only took advantage of the Portuguese knowledge, hard work and good will, as they did and do in many other countries, and took and take credit for it too.

 Please get your facts right


Nov 3, 2020, 1:30:40 AM11/3/20
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I haven't checked what the good Dr Bullock actually says about Marco Polo, but I don't think anyone doubts that his book, co- or ghost-written by Rustichello da Pisa, is the source of the term "Japan" in European languages. The book, written in literary Franco-Italian, refers to it as "Cipangu". The source of the term is unknown, with many doubting that it's from Chinese. As the correspondent confidently asserts, there are sound-alikes in some Malay languages as well.

Recent scholarship fairly comprehensively debunks the theory that Marco never got past Constantinople. The inevitable Wikipedia page has a reasonable summary:

A recent discussion on the UPenn Language Log series is of interest too:



Nov 3, 2020, 6:59:54 AM11/3/20
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Dear Jim,

Thank you for your reply, 

Marco Polo?, some liars are so credible and creditable that even today most of us fall for their convincing lies, but nothing can beat reason and logic to unmask them. Among many of his flawed story issues are these: If he did indeed travel to China why he never mentioned the Chinese Great Wall?? If he did work in China as a government official for so many years why there is not a single record of him is China? actually there is not a single record of him in any country he pretended he visited. Also the chopsticks, the noodles, visiting Indonesia, etc, etc. What a laughable story that is. He even fail to mention the famous Chinese Tea 茶 (Cha) word that is and was part of everyday Chinese life. That word "Cha" was brought and introduced into Europe and particularly in England by the Portuguese (English people did not know what tea was until the Portuguese Princess Caterina de Braganca married King Charles II and requested to have tea instead of beer which was the popular beverage in England. By the way, the word "Cha" is still today used to describe tea in Portuguese language.... and in Japanese too お茶

Here are some literature, but I have used more reliable sources of information, including his own book

As for JAPAN, I don't think "Cipangu" sounds anything like Japan, but then again he just repeated what he heard from others ;-) , talking about Chinese Whispers ... Hehehe  :-)) 
Sunrise 日出 Jap Shot or literally Sun Born in Cantonese sounds more like it. Cantonese was the language that Portuguese used most frequently during their trips to the south of China including Shanghai, Guandong, HongKong, Macao (Por. Macau) Taiwan (Por. Formosa), etc. But don't forget they also travelled and lived in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia (particularly in Malacca where they still speak Portuguese today), Myanmar, India and of course in Japan. In their interaction with people the would exchange and leave words, costumes and their names too since they did "marry" the women they had children with, not like some other merchants and colonisers I know. Some of these names and words were already modified by the cultures they visited...  For example: Typhoon  or Dai Fung 強風 Strong Wing in Cantonese was another of these words introduced to Europe and all over Asia by the Portuguese. Catana or  刀 Katana which is machete or bush knife in Japanese was also introduced to Europe and South America and as far as Massachusetts in the USA and Labrador In Canada (which they called Terra Nova, and some people later changed to Newfoundland, etc.) That word Katana 刀 is still used today in Portuguese language.

Finally, last but not least, The word JAPAN was and is still today 日本 pronounced "Jap Ong" in Cantonese language and 日本 Nippon in Japanese

I think this sounds more like the word we use in the western world today, wouldn't you agree?

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