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Point of interest: English pronunciation of 日本

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English pronunciation of 日本
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In Japanese, 日本 is read にっぽん, and more colloquially (and commonly) in modern times, にほん. Given that this is the Japanese pronunciation of their own word for their own country, why is Japan known as 'Japan' in English?
It turns out that the reason is that Japan was originally named by early traders and explorers. The most famous was Marco Polo, who never actually visited Japan, but heard about the islands when visiting China around the year 1300. The Chinese pronunciation for the two characters at the time was closer to 'Zi ... pun', and Marco Polo's transliteration of that was Cipangu. Other forms such as Jepang and Jipang were common amongst Malaysian and Indonesian traders and were picked up by the Portuguese. Eventually these forms combined and adapted, and the first recorded English form in 1577 was Giapan.

Kanji used in this point of interest

ニチ   ジツ   sun; day   ひ    -か    
ホン   book   もと origin   
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