The origin of the term “Land of the Rising Sun”

Where did the term come from Land of the Rising Sun? In the past, China developed most of the marks and symbols of advanced civilization, in areas as diverse as writing, city architecture and bronze factories - all of this 2,000 years before Japan.

As a result of this domain, the China it had a huge influence on Asian culture, sharing its philosophies, its political structures, its architecture, its religion, its styles of dress and its written language.

With such a powerful influence, when Japan was described at the beginning of its development, it was done from a Chinese perspective.

So when the Chinese looked east, at the location of Japan, they looked towards the dawn. That is how they came to call the country as the country of the rising sun. But other stories are also told about the origin of that title.

The origin of the term "land of the rising sun" - prayer halls and corridor in nishi hongwanji in kyoto japan

Japanese history of the Land of the Rising Sun

At the time when the first Japanese ambassador was sent to the eastern Chinese capital of the Han dynasty in 57 AD, Japan was called “Wa” (和), a name that also designated the Japanese people.

According to contemporary Chinese accounts, these early Japanese “ate raw vegetables, rice and fish. They had vassal-master relations, had taxes collected, provincial granaries and markets. They also had violent succession struggles. ”

In the first century after Christ, a clan, the Yamato, began to dominate its neighbors, and in the 5th century AD, it became synonymous with leadership for Japan. As a single central government emerged, Japan followed each time plus Chinese culture, including its methods of administration.

Around 600 AD, the Prince Regent of Japan, Shotoku (574-622 AD), who was a big fan of Chinese culture, introduced a wide variety of influences from China to Japan. He adopted the models of Confucius of classes and etiquette.

The origin of the term "land of the rising sun" - view of nishi hongwanji temple walls from sidewalk in kyoto japan

Choosing the term Land of the Rising Sun

Shotoku also adopted the Chinese calendar, developed a similar road system, built numerous Buddhist temples, a similar judicial system, and sent Japanese students to China to study Buddhism and Confucianism, establishing diplomatic relations with that country.

In addition, Shotoku is widely credited in Japan for creating the name Nippon (“Origin of the Sun”) for the country. The reports say that the Prince, in the year 607 AD, at the time of the first embassy of the Sui dynasty, sent a letter to the Chinese emperor, Yangdi, which said: “from the Son of Heaven, in the land where the sun rises for the Son of Heaven on earth where the sun sets ”.

Apparently, the Chinese were offended that Shotoku tried to name himself "Son of Heaven" at the same level as the Chinese emperor, also named in that way. However, the part that says "in the land where the sun rises" was also marked as an identification of Japan.

The origin of the term "land of the rising sun" - flickr yeowatzup aoi matsuri imperial palace kyoto japan 7

Regardless, in 645 AD, according to the japan history, a coup led to the introduction of the Taika reform. With the intention of further centralizing the government, the reform eliminated private ownership of land, placing it under its control. As part of this reform, Nippon, Nihon (both mean “origin of the sun”) and Dai Nippon (Greater Japan) were used in diplomatic and chronicle documents in place of Wa (Wo).

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