Looking up the origin of pun, I came across this for the origin of Japan. I suspect jih pun must be Cantonese. Tang Ho, as resident Cantonese expert, is that so??


Japan: 1570s, via Portuguese Japao, Dutch Japan, acquired in Malacca from Malay Japang, from Chinese jih pun, literally "sunrise" (equivalent of Japanese Nippon), from jih "sun" + pun "origin." Japan lies to the east of China. Earliest form in Europe was Marco Polo's Chipangu.

  • What do you think?
    – Gangosa
    Nov 4, 2016 at 22:55

1 Answer 1


日 means "Sun"

本 means "origin"


日本 Japan

jat6 bun2 (jyutping)

ri4 ben3, lv4 ben3 (pinyin)

Japanese pronunciation of 日本 is /ni pon/ (Nippon),

Chinese use the Japanese Kanji 日本 and pronounce it as Chinese characters.

  • Cantonese pronounce it as /jat6 bun2/
  • Mandarin pronounce it as /ri4 ben3/ or / lv4 ben3/

The Cantonese pronunciation of 日本 is in deed more similar to /jih pun/ than the Mandarin pronunciation does.

  • Thanks, maybe the transliteration is very old, or from some other South China language. jat bun does come close to jih pun.
    – Gangosa
    Nov 4, 2016 at 6:21

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