France is Buddha Country, England is Hero Country
n Japanese and Chinese, the names of most countries are just rendered phonetically, like the Mandarin Chinese word for Kuwait: “Kuh-way-tuh” (科威特). Literally, the name means “science reputation special”, but it’s basically just nonsense words that sound like “Kuwait”. A few of the larger nations have their own special names in these languages — sort of abbreviated phonetic versions, ending with the character meaning “country”. For example, France’s name in Chinese is 法国 which reads as “Fah-gwo” in Mandarin. The “gwo” () part means country, while the “fah” () part is the beginning of a Chinese approximation of “France”. The meaning of “fah” is “law”, so the Chinese name for France is literally “Law Country”. In Japanese, France is sometimes called 仏国 (Foo-tsoo-ko-koo), meaning “Buddha Country”. (On the other hand, Japanese uses these special country names less than Chinese, and “France” is normally just spelled out phonetically in Japan’s phonetic Hiragana writing system as “Foo-ran-su” (フランス), with no special meaning.) Other examples used in both Japanese and Chinese include: England — “Hero Country” (英国) Germany — “Virtue Country” (德国) Thailand — “Peaceful Country” (泰国) The Chinese name for America is “May-gwo” (美国) or literally “Beautiful Country”. Japanese uses the more mundane “Bay-ko-koo” (米国), meaning “Rice Country”. Russia has a better Japanese name — “Dew Country” (露国 — Ro-ko-koo) — than in Chinese, where Russia is “Sudden Country” (俄国 — Uh-gwo). s for its own land, Japan calls itself 日本 (pronounced “Neep-pon” or “Nee-hon”, depending on the context). The name means “Sun Root”, chosen because Japan is east of the rest of Asia and therefore at the place where the sun rises. This of course is where we get the nickname for Japan, “Land of the Rising Sun”. China calls itself 中国 (pronounced “Jong-gwo” in Mandarin), which means “Center Country” because from China’s point of view, it’s in the center, and all the other nations are arrayed around it. The name is sometimes translated as “The Middle Kingdom”.
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France is Buddha Country, England is Hero Country
n Japanese and Chinese, the names of most countries are just rendered phonetically, like the Mandarin Chinese word for Kuwait: “Kuh-way-tuh” (科威特). Literally, the name means “science reputation special”, but it’s basically just nonsense words that sound like “Kuwait”. A few of the larger nations have their own special names in these languages — sort of abbreviated phonetic versions, ending with the character meaning “country”. For example, France’s name in Chinese is 法国 which reads as “Fah-gwo” in Mandarin. The “gwo” () part means country, while the “fah” () part is the beginning of a Chinese approximation of “France”. The meaning of “fah” is “law”, so the Chinese name for France is literally “Law Country”. In Japanese, France is sometimes called 仏国 (Foo-tsoo-ko-koo), meaning “Buddha Country”. (On the other hand, Japanese uses these special country names less than Chinese, and “France” is normally just spelled out phonetically in Japan’s phonetic Hiragana writing system as “Foo-ran-su” ( ランス), with no special meaning.) Other examples used in both Japanese and Chinese include: England — “Hero Country” (英国) Germany — “Virtue Country” (德国) Thailand — “Peaceful Country” (泰国) The Chinese name for America is “May- gwo” (美国) or literally “Beautiful Country”. Japanese uses the more mundane “Bay-ko- koo” (米国), meaning “Rice Country”. Russia has a better Japanese name — “Dew Country” (露国 — Ro-ko-koo) — than in Chinese, where Russia is “Sudden Country” (俄国 — Uh-gwo). s for its own land, Japan calls itself 日本 (pronounced “Neep-pon” or “Nee-hon”, depending on the context). The name means “Sun Root”, chosen because Japan is east of the rest of Asia and therefore at the place where the sun rises. This of course is where we get the nickname for Japan, “Land of the Rising Sun”. China calls itself 中国 (pronounced “Jong-gwo” in Mandarin), which means “Center Country” because from China’s point of view, it’s in the center, and all the other nations are arrayed around it. The name is sometimes translated as “The Middle Kingdom”.
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