The Real Reason Japan is Called the “Land of the Rising Sun”?

The Real Reason Japan is Called the “Land of the Rising Sun”?


Ancient, China developed all of the hallmarks
of advanced civilization, including written language, advanced cities, specialized labor
and bronze technology, as much as 2000 years before Japan. As a result, China and its culture had an
enormously large influence on the younger culture, sharing its philosophies, political
structures, architecture, Buddhism, clothing styles and even its written language. In fact, the earliest known written account
of Japan was found in a Chinese book. With such a powerful influence, it is perhaps
not surprising that when Japan was described early in its development (both by themselves
and from the Chinese), it was from a Chinese perspective. And when the Chinese looked east to Japan,
they looked in the direction of the dawn. By the time the first Japanese ambassador
was sent to the Chinese Han eastern capital in 57 AD, the Japanese were called Wa (Wo),
a name of uncertain origin, but appears to be referencing squatting or kneeling, so essentially
the people were being called submissive and eventually the country itself was known as
wakoku or the “country of the wa”. According to contemporary Chinese accounts,
these early Japanese had countless violent succession struggles. However, in the first century AD, one clan,
the Yamato, began to dominate its neighbors, and by the 5th century AD, Yamato became a
synonym for Japan. As a single, central government emerged, Japan
increasingly followed Chinese culture, including its methods of administration. Specifically, by about 600 AD, the Prince
Regent of Japan, Shotoku (574-622 AD), who was a big fan of Chinese culture, introduced
a wide array of Chinese influences to Japan. This included models of etiquette and rank
after Confucianism, using the Chinese calendar, building Buddhist temples, and even sending
students to China to study Confucianism and Buddhism. In addition to all this, Shotoku is widely
credited in Japan with coining the name Nippon (“Sun Origin”) for Japan. This supposedly occurred around 607 when Shotoku
sent a letter to emperor Yangdi “from the Son of Heaven in the land where the sun rises
to the Son of Heaven in the land where the sun sets.” Moving on to more popular usage, in 645 AD,
according to Japanese history, a palace coup led to the introduction of the Taika (meaning
“great change”) Reform. Intended to further centralize the government,
the reform eliminated private ownership of lands and put them under the control of the
centralized government – with the “people direct subjects of the throne.” As part of this reform, Nippon, Nihon (both
meaning “origin of the sun”) and Dai Nippon (Great Japan) were used “in diplomatic documents
and chronicles” in place of Wa (Wo). On the other side, the Chinese claim in the
Old Book of Tang that it was a Japanese envoy who didn’t like the Wonguo name and changed
it to “Origin of the Sun” (Nippon). In yet another Chinese account from the 8th
century, it is claimed that it was the Chinese Empress Wu Zetian who was the one who told
the envoy to change the name to Nippon. Finally, in yet another Chinese account of
the transformation, found in the official history of the Tang dynasty, the Xin Tang
Shu, reported: “In . . . 670, an embassy came to the Court
[from Japan] to offer congratulations on the conquest of Koguryo. Around this time, the Japanese who had studied
Chinese came to dislike the name Wa and changed it to Nippon. According to the words of the Japanese envoy
himself, that name was chosen because the country was so close to where the sun rises.” Whatever the exact version of the story, it
would seem around the late 7th century the name change occurred officially and stuck. And so it is that for the last 1400 years
or so, pretty much just because Japan is east of China, the world has referred to Japan
as Nippon, the land of the rising sun.

100 thoughts on “The Real Reason Japan is Called the “Land of the Rising Sun”?

  1. Love these little titbits.

  2. I think the point of this story was missed. It was basically a political move where Japan gave China the middle finger. Thus the lines.."from the land of the rising (Japan), to the land of the setting sun (China, your time is over B*tch)

  3. That mispronunciation of 日本(nippon) had me reeling

  4. "That's why the world calls Japan, Nippon." Then why are we calling it Japan 🙁

  5. It all makes perfect sense.

  6. Anyone notice this video is 4:20 long?

  7. Be careful with that font. lol. Some people might get offended.

  8. Nice thumbnail pic of Miyajima Island. One of the most wondrous and beautiful places in the entire world. I’ve stood in the same place that picture was taken.

  9. Just finds out what I took for granted most people that went to Primary School knew.
    45 years ago @ least.

  10. so japan has always been china bitch….

  11. 1:14 you're bound to mis-pronounce everything here. Tonal languages are impossible for Westerners.

  12. Dunno about you guys but having your country called the land of the rising sun sounds pretty cool to me.

  13. But then where does "Japan" come from?

  14. Back in the 1930's Enrico Fermi attempted to synthesize element 94, what we now call Plutonium. He failed, because what he was actually doing was splitting uranium rather than transforming it into another element. He did not understand this at the time. Fermi's plan was to name element 94 "Hesperium", after the ancient Greek word "Hesperia" which was their name for Italy. It means "Evening Star Place".

    Lise Meitner heard about Fermi's failed efforts and thought she could succeed with the help of Otto Hahn where Fermi failed. Meitner and Hahn also failed, but they discovered that the reason they failed was that they were initiating nuclear fission.

  15. Just to clarify, the English Term 'Japan' came from a Portuguese transliteration of 'Nippon' (I think spelled as Japon?) which itself came from the Chinese characters 日本 and the pronunciation of such characters was more or less Japan-ized a bit, according to Japanese language conventions back then. Hope it helps………I hold a PhD in Chinese and Japanese.

  16. Simon: * pronounces things terribly *

  17. Pronunciations are close enough.

  18. I live in the land of The midnight sun and Japan is south west of here

  19. In the name of Sui Emperor Yang Di (煬帝), Di (帝) already means "Emperor";

    So no need to say Emperor Yang Di. Just "Emperor Yang of Sui"

  20. In comparison, China is written as 中国 ("Middle Kingdom"), since they were the center of the world; everybody else was peripheral to them and hence inferior. Thus Nihon (日本) raised itself to a higher status by being the source of the sun.

  21. simon very good explination of tue subject! I know asian pronounciations arent your forte so im not mad or butt hurt about it but nihhon is still in use so i thought id just clearify for future references. Try saying nihon like knee-hone

  22. Did y’all stop doing the podcast? I really miss it 🙁

  23. jesus that makes me realize just how old martial arts are considering i studied Nippon Kempo or Nippon kempo Jitsu.

  24. It's a lot more obvious why my country is the land of the midnight sun.

  25. From the kurils (Russia) is the land of the Dawn

  26. I didn't "know" this was the reason, but it certainly was the reason I surmised.

  27. Is it true, Ancient Greece is full of Gay greeks?

  28. I find it a little peculiar that the way you say Nippon sounds like "nipple"…

  29. “Can you call us something other than dipshit?”
    “Like what?”
    “How about sunrise land”

  30. Hey quick question. How does Duchess get their name? Like Sussex?

  31. When was icecream invented?
    What were the first flavors?
    When did Vanilla become the standard icecream flavor?

  32. How did bossa nova become stereotypical elevator music?

  33. You mean Swastika with rising sun?

  34. You are better than the history channel .in ten minutes you can tell us more information that it would take someone thirty minutes to do so . Sometimes I watch your videos twice sometimes that much detail if you get distracted you will miss something

  35. So you have Japanese and Chinese sources alike claiming The Chinese Emperor chose the name "Nihon," and then you have Japanese and Chinese sources alike claiming the Japanese Emperor chose the name "Nihon" and you have Japanese and Chinese sources alike claiming the envoy himself came up with the name "Nihon." And They're not in argument so much as they are unsure. But to have been that envoy on the return trip. "Oh your excellency and Son of Heaven, I accidentally got our country renamed on the Chinese court documents and maps…" And so China goes on thinking the Japanese chose their new name and Japan goes on thinking the Chinese Emperor chose their new name… When the player is an bumbling fool but scores a natural 20 on the Charisma check to keep his head.

  36. I can't believe this is actually a question. Do people seriously not know that the sun rises in the East? O_o

  37. Also, that letter you mentioned angered the then Emperor of China because it referred both countries' rulers as equal.

  38. Well…today I DID find out! Very interesting! Thank you! 👍❤️

  39. Are there people who were born in Antarctica, and what is the nationality of such people?

  40. Somehow, it seemed appropriate to watch this at sunrise!

  41. Apologies for possibly butchering Japanese pronunciation, but not for saying things like din-asty instead of dine-asty. Silly Brits need to learn proper English 🙂

  42. Taiga alive in 645.

  43. Expected comments to be full of 4:20 references, due to duration… was disappointed 😉

  44. China's name also reveals their view of their position in the world. 中国 their name means "Middle Kingdom".

  45. Why is there a house in New Orleans they call "The Rising Sun"?

  46. Japan : the sun rises
    Britain : the sun never sets
    USA : makes the sun set

  47. TLDR version: technicaly he is kinda right, but there are some slight mistakes

    well well, you should have consulted this topic with somebody who knows better. as a japanese philologist i am cringing a little bit. your explanation is not terribly wrong, but origin of the name "Wa – 倭" remains unclear, but most commonly it is understood as a reference to the area of japan. it was small in comparison with china and the original meaning of that symbol is "dwarf". First time it was used on a golden seal sent by chinese emperor Guangwu who claimed former japanese state (called "Na" in china) as his teritory. the seal says "Han no Na no Wa no kokuou" and we can understand it as "Han (chinese dynasty) emperor of the kingdom of Na (japanese state) of Wa (japanese archipelago)" or some people claims that the "Na" was a name of the people and "Wa" was a name given to former japanese state by chinese and in that case the seal would mean "Han emperor of the people Na of the Wa"… yeah… it gets confusing 😀
    anyway, japanese did not like being called "dwarf", so they tried to change 倭 (Wa – dwarf ) to 和
    (reading is the same – Wa, but it means harmony, peace…) and since 8th century this symbol was used to refer japan and it is still used today a lot (washoku – japanese cuisine, wafuku – japanese clothing, wagyuu – japanese beef,……). the "dwarf" symbol is sometimes used as a reference of some of the eldest japanese kingdoms, mostly Yamato, but 大和 is nowadays more usual way to write it…
    later another name became more common – 日本 (original reading was Nippon, but now it is mostly read Nihon) and that means something like "origin of the sun", so yeah, kinda "land of the rising sun". of course it was from the viewpoint of China because well, there was not much anywhere else around… 😀
    Hope you won't be mad, Simon. I love your channel but those errors and simple answers to complex problems hit me like a truck. Take care and be awesome as you always are!

  48. Simon, good job on a lot of those Japanese pronunciations. You just kept saying Nippon as nipon instead of how it's pronounced in Japanese. The "I" makes a hard "e" sound. So written out phonetically, it would look like Neeppon. But you nailed just about all the other pronunciations, which surprised me. The simple one is hardest and the complex ones are easier?

  49. Boring..

  50. Today I found out that Japan is called the land of the rising sun haha. I didn’t know that before watching 😳

  51. What about the house in New Orleans they called the rising sun?

  52. Eurocentric lies

  53. because they are on the east and it is in the East where the sun raises

  54. Why "Japan" instead of Nippon?

  55. Japan adopted Buddhism from China, but Buddhism is not Chinese. It is from India.

  56. Hearing Nippon, first thought is an ant killer. Never knew it was Japanese until I was much older

  57. 💚

  58. 残念ながらほぼ誤りです。

  59. Canada is called The True North Strong and Free

    The United States Of America is called The Land Of The Free and The Home Of The Brave

  60. I've to where the thumbnail was taken. It's the Floating Torii, on a beautiful little island called Miyajima, an hour south of Hiroshima.

  61. Nippon=Japan.
    Wakatta.

  62. Did you really need to use a racist font for this?

  63. I didnt even know that Japan was called the land of the rising sun.

  64. I learnt that in high Japanese lessons, but why do WE call it Japan?

    Edit: but great video, thanks ☺

  65. Speaking of which, if you go far enough, at what point on the earth do you stop going east, and start heading West?

  66. How about ♪ s u n r i s e l a n d ♪

  67. So are Japanese people just Chinese people that migrated to the island centuries ago 🤔

  68. Simon, here’s a quick Japanese vowel pronunciation rundown; these rules apply 100% of the time, no exceptions:
    a = ah (sock, pot)
    i = ee (shriek, feed)
    u = oo (rude, fool)
    e = eh (pet, bed)
    o = oh (go, toe)

    If you wanna be even more accurate, keep this in mind: for “o” in English, we purse our lips in a kissing motion and form a changing sound o-u, but in Japanese it’s a pure “o” sound with no lip movement.

  69. https://youtu.be/MJkr0DWbhTk

    because of this song😏

  70. Why in Nippon called Japan in most of Europe?

  71. Japan should have been an American colony because of its crimes against humanity. And their women rounded up and sent to Korean brothels.

  72. What is the origin of the phrase "hey batta batt swing batta" at baseball games?

  73. Most all Asian Culture originates from India or China, so this is also why in Asian Art Chinese/Korean Dragons have 4 toes and Japanese have 3, Chan Buddhism (China) became Zen in Japan, etc.

  74. why do we call some countries by a different name than what it's called by the people who live there? I understand giving places a roman spelling for pronunciation, but (forgive my ignorance) didn't Germany used to be Deutschland or are they two different things?

  75. I always thought "rising sun" seemed rather dependent on perspective. I guess I was right, and now I know from what perspective it was.

  76. When was the date line made?
    How about quitting the idea that Europe is the center of the world?
    If you go east, it's your West side

    The reason why China became angry is that it is Emperor Yang Guang of Sui at that time. Emperor Yang of Sui
    It is said to be a tyrant who represents the history of China. The surrounding countries obeyed him. At that time, Japan was trying to create the same relationship without being subordinate to China.

  77. During WW2 American servicemen referred to Japanese as "Nips" or "Japs" in a derogatory manner. They were the enemy, after all.

  78. Land of the rising mushroom clouds. I shouldn't say that, those innocent people probably didn't support the Nanking massacres and human experimentation at the biological research units. Human filth is you, Tojo. And all you bastard soldiers.

  79. don't tell that to the ultra-nationalists and militarists on both sides

  80. 0:54 Japan is East of China. The rest of the video is filler, but I'll watch it anyway.

  81. This is spooky.
    Just this morning I looked up "why Japan and not Nippon"
    And now I find Simon answered this very question a couple videos ago.
    What wizardry is this?

  82. Stupid question, but why is Japan called "Japan" instead of "Nippon" in English?

  83. Thumbs up
    Wow AD 57 was the first official contact? For some reason I always pictured ancient China/Japan as far older cultures. It’s mind blowing that we have full books from circa 2000BC

  84. In Chinese the word for Japan is 日本 (rìběn) which is more like root (or origin) of the sun. But it's similar. I think it's the same characters in Japanese but I'm not sure.

  85. Glorious Nippon steel, folded over a thousand times!

  86. Because it was a… "Shamefur dispray!!" 😂

  87. 中国の記述(唐書)でも日本は自分で日本と名乗っていたことが明記されている。

    隋書でも日出国と書いたことで煬帝が激怒したことが書かれており、少なからずこの命名に良い印象は持ってなかったはず

    中国側が命名したと言うのは何の記述から来ているのだろう?

    China's description (Tang book) also clearly states that Japan had named itself as Japan.

    It is written that even if the scriptures wrote that he had left the country, the Roh emperor was furious and it should not have had a good impression on this naming at least

    What does it mean that the Chinese side has been named?

  88. ガバガバすぎるだろ
    もっと勉強してから動画作れよ

  89. Bonus fact: The sun in the photo, over the The Great Torii Gate (near Hiroshima), is a SETTING SUN.

  90. America is called the Land of the Rising Slum… California in particular.

  91. i like your vedios with subtitles

  92. Do the Californian 1849 Gold rush! The impact it had on Native American life!

  93. It's interesting that they actually had to come up with a name. I guess being on an island they wouldn't have had neighbors to distinguish themselves from until the Chinese arrived by boat.
    I once saw this map that showed the literal translations of various country names' etymologies and most of the cooler ones were all in asia.

  94. In case anyone was interested in how to say Nippon and some other Japanese words:
    Ni: nee (like in "knee")
    p: – (double consonants are still two separate syllables, the first p requires the same pronunciation time as all other syllable. For example Kita and Kitta are not the same! The first is the past tense of Kuru, "to come", and the second is the past tense of Kiru, to cut. Nippon has 4 syllables and each one has the same spoken length.)
    po: poh (like Poe the Kung Fu panda.)
    n: mn (this is a hard one to explain, and for English speakers to even hear, it's like you're saying 'mmm…' with your tongue in an 'nnnn…' position.)
    'ni' – 'p' – 'po' – 'n' (polite)
    'ni' – 'ho' – 'n' (conversational)
    'ni' – 'ho' – 'n' – 'go': "Language of Japan/Japanese" (go is said like 'go to the store' except it has what English speakers would normally think of as a "harsh" or "sudden" stop, often taken as a sign of anger in English, it can cause the syllable to sound more like "goh" than "go" to an English speaker, as if a silent consonant was hit.)
    chuugoku: "China" (two of the same vowel are not the same as two of the same consonant, instead double vowel means to elongate the sound. chu, "kiss/small kiss sound", is one syllable. chuu, "middle", is two syllables. 'Chu' – 'u' – 'goh' – 'ku' means "middle country" and is the Japanese word for the country of China.)
    eigo: "Language of England/Language of English/English" (this word is not pronounced as 'eh' – 'ee' – 'goh', but instead as 'e' – 'e' – 'goh'. This is because 'i' is the continuation character for the 'e' vowel. The 'o' vowel also has a different vowel as its continuation character, which is 'u', like in "Toukyou", the proper romanji representation, "romanization", of Japan's capital Tokyo. Yep, y'all been saying it wrong. 🙂 This is why you'll sometimes see the city name romanized with long vowel marks above the o's, Tōkyō, a truncated way to represent the 4 syllables. 'To' – 'oh' – 'kyo' – 'oh')

  95. More videos on China and Japan please

  96. 'Land of the rising sun'? Shhhhh, dont tell the flat earthers.

  97. Yeah, that's just about the coolest name a country could have.

  98. Simon's pronunciations are impressively accurate

  99. And the clan Yamato(Emperor of Japan) insists their origin ancestor is the sun god Amaterasu. This was a hint for Shotoku got an idea Nippon.

  100. You are totally brainwashed by propaganda. If you want to talk about history, study the REAL history, not the fabricated stuff.
    The Japanese history is much older than that of "China."

    The oldest polished stone ware, earthenware and lacqurware are found in Japan. And Japan is older than Chinese oldest unified country, Qing, which is not even a Han Chinese country.

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