Nihon vs Nippon : What is the difference between the 2 “Japan”?

If you have studied Japanese a little bit before, you may know that the Japanese word for Japan, “日本” can be pronounced either “Nihon” or “Nippon”. Then, have you ever heard about the reason why “日本” has the 2 Japanese readings, Nihon and Nippon, and about the difference in meaning between these 2 “Japan”?

The reason why “日本” has the 2 Japanese readings, Nihon and Nippon

It is considered that Japan was called “Nippon” or “Jippon” by foreigners in the late 7th century. After that, the reading, “Nihon” came to be used, though it is unknown as to the year. In ancient times, the Japanese also called their own country “Hinomoto” or “Yamato”.

The difference in meaning between Nihon and Nippon

In 2009, Japanese government decided that there is no need of unifying the Japanese reading for “日本 “, because both of the pronunciations, Nihon and Nippon are frequently used by Japanese people in daily life. As you know, Nihon and Nippon have the same meaning, “Japan”, and you can use both of these 2 Japanese words meaning Japan formally. For example, the Bank of Japan is referred to as “Nippon Ginko (日本銀行)” in Japanese, whereas the name of a place in Tokyo, “日本橋” has the reading of “Nihon-Bashi”. Furthermore, an area in the city of Osaka, “日本橋” is pronounced “Nippon-Bashi”. Actually, whether one use Nihon or Nippon depends on the situation and the preference.

(Reference page of this article : Wikipedia 日本 )


I'm Japanese living in Niigata Prefecture,Japan.I want to introduce things about Japan,especially unique Japanese products,sightseeing places,my daily life and Japanese culture.

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