I think I'm turning Nipponese, I think I'm turning Nipponese, I really think so.

Why do I occasionally see Japan refered to as Nippon? Most notably in the book “Snow Crash”, but I have seen it elsewhere.

That’s what they call it in Japan.

You wanna know what the French call France? La France. You wanna know what the French call a Big Mac? Me neither.

No, but now I do.

If I had to guess, I’d say that it’s probably just a “Big Mac”, since a “Happy Meal” is still evidently a “Happy Meal”–


–and a McFlurry is evidently just a “McFlurry”.


I know, it sounds like Debbie thinks McFlurrys are a “French” thing. She says the brasseries are “cute”, and very kindly explains that “escargots” means “snails”.

But she’s not an adventurous eater, she admits it herself. She went to a “cute” brasserie and ordered a plate of fries.

And Germans call Germany Deutschland.

I believe the name Japan was originally a bad attempt to spell something that sounds somewhere between Nippon and Nihon.

As wishbone said Nippon (or Nihon - literally Sun Root/Origin - ie, Land of the Rising Sun) is the Japanese word for Japan.

I rarely hear it used in English conversation (and Nipponese I’ve never heard outside of anything set after WWII), though…

Was the character in Snow Crash Japanese himself?

Half Nipponese, half black.
It was an incredible book, considered one of the last great cyberpunk novels.

Hehe, I am going to go out of my way to say Nipponese now.

If only to sound superior when people ask me why I am doing it.

"Vincent Vega: And you know what they call a … a … a Quarter Pounder with cheese in Paris?

Jules: They don’t call it a Quarter Pounder with cheese?

Vincent Vega: No man, they got the metric system. They wouldn’t know what the f*ck a Quarter Pounder is.

Jules: Then what do they call it?

Vincent Vega: They call it a “Royale” with cheese.

Jules: A “Royale” with cheese! What do they call a Big Mac?

Vincent Vega: A Big Mac’s a Big Mac, but they call it “le Big-Mac”.

Jules: “Le Big-Mac”! Ha ha ha ha! What do they call a Whopper?

Vincent Vega: I dunno, I didn’t go into Burger King."

To quote the trusty American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language on the etymology of the word Japan:

And DDG: It’s “Le Big Mac”. But, a “Quarter Pounder with Cheese” is called a “Royale with Cheese.”

'Cause of the metric system.

[sub]Of course, my source for that is a character played by John Travolta, not a proper Google search.[/sub]

Actually it is more likely from the Chinese name for Japan, which in Pin Yin is “Ri Ben” …the R in Chinese sounds like a weird cross between a retroflex a and a retroflex J.

Ri means sun, and Ben means something too, but can’t remember right now (besides it being a measure word for books.)

Dammit, wishbone! By one minute!

Now I’m gonna have to get medieval on your ass.

Actually, you’re probably even closer than you thought, as the name Japan would certainly precede Pin Yin, and have been rendered in English using the older Wade-Giles system, wherein, I believe, it would have been a J. Also, I think the name Peking was merely the Wade-Giles rendering of what we now call (using Pin Yin) Beijing.

I can’t figure out how to cross a J with an R myself.

Nippon is a Japanese word written in Chinese characters. It’s a word that the Japanese refer to Japan as, that’s why you see it occaisionally. Just like you would see Germany referred to as Deutscheland.

While it may be based originally on Chinese (yes you have the correct characters, although a Japanese passport says “ri ben guo” on the cover and the extro “guo” means “country”) it has become a Japanese word. Yes, a lot of Japanese words have roots in Chinese but they are from at least hundreds of years ago and the seafaring Chinese probably didn’t speak standard Mandarin. Christ, the majority of people in China TODAY can’t speak anywhere close to textbook proper Mandarin. So, with all due respect to your Chinese language skills, Nippon is not from “ri ben” no matter what Chinese romanization system you want to use.

‘Japan’ however, might be, which MEBuckner’s cite agrees with.

I’m assuming, of course, that that’s what water2j and fandango are saying.

What, nobody’s pointed out that “Big Mac” was originally tranliterated as “Gros Mec”, and later renamed because it was “Gros Mec” was already low french slang for “Big Pimp”?

Oh, right… preview. Ideally, that should read:

What, nobody’s pointed out that “Big Mac” was originally tranliterated as “Gros Mec”, and later renamed because “Gros Mec” was already low french slang for “Big Pimp”?

Actually, the Kanji on a Japanese passport are read as “Nihon Goku*.”

*Can also be rendered in Romaji as “Nippon Koku.” The Japanese use many Chinese characters but assign them their own pronunciations, some of which are based on Chinese pronunciation & some of which are not.

Check out the big brain on wishbone!

Yes, exactly. The word “Japan” seems to have come from the Chinese word(s) “ri ben gu”. I was pointing out that if you use older methods of latinizing this phrase, it makes even more sense, as I believe that the R would become a J and the B a P (I think the G becomes a K, but that part is left off, so it doesn’t really matter).

When have we ever concerned ourselves with what the people in a country call it? Aside from those who pronounce Mexico “Mehico”. I remember a SNL skit a while back making fun of this trend among news reporters, extending it to “Los Angles” with a hard g and “burrito” with excessively rolled r’s. But that really has no bearing on the term Nipponese.

I don’t think that’s a good idea. The pronunciation “Nihon” is favoured now as “Nippon” is associated with 30s and 40s militarism. In addition many Japanese are sensitive to possible slurs and may assume you are trying to insult them in some way.

Which “brain” were you referring to?
…I’ll take that as a compliment. :smiley: