Meet the Teams: Nippon

Nob Akimoto

Nob Akimoto is a policy analyst and part-time dungeon master. When not talking endlessly about matters of public policy, he is a dungeon master on the NWN World of Avlis

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24 Responses

  1. James Hanley says:

    Wow, I knew Japanese firms were doing a lot with robots, but I didn’t realize Honda was making soccer players now. I thought only the Germans did that.

    On a serious note, thanks for this. I didn’t know much about the team. I look forward to watching them.Report

  2. Burt Likko says:

    I will look forward to seeing photographs of you with lightened hair, Nob.Report

  3. Brandon Berg says:

    I was under the impression that “Nippon” was kind of a right-wingy term used primarily by the kind of people whom you’re not record as not being particularly fond of. I’m not trying to tell you how to speak your own language or anything, but just for my own edification, am I wrong about that?Report

    • Chris in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      Dude, it’s a transliteration of the Japanese name for Japan. “Japan” is an exonym. Ugh.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Chris says:

        Can I ask a general question about exonyms (great term, BTW, never heard it used before)?

        I understand why an exonym would be used in another language, if the native language’s noun contains sounds not easily-reproducible (or readily-representable in writing) in the other language. But why do they get used in other cases?

        IOW, why don’t we always use transliterations like “Nippon”, if that’s (pretty close to) what Japanese people say?

        (This has bugged me ever since that time I almost missed a train to Prague, because I wasn’t going to “Praha”.)Report

      • Kim in reply to Chris says:

        Cultural superiority, methinks. Munchen, Mumbai — it pays to know the actual, real name for places. (also, the Peking transliteration of Chinese was awful beyond repair).Report

      • Glyph in reply to Chris says:

        I dunno, things like Bombay/Mumbai are similar enough (when spoken) that I can see them as simple mishearings by English-speakers that stuck.

        But “Praha” has no “g” in it.

        And in the case of Nippon-Japan, ‘n’ sounds nothing like ‘j’ in English.

        Why make these sorts of changes, it just makes things unnecessarily confusing?Report

      • Chris in reply to Chris says:

        I imagine it’s mostly inertia. I know that’s not much of an explanation, but it’s really hard to get rid of terms that are well-entrenched in a language and culture, particularly when there’s no immediate practical reason to do so. I mean, most of us aren’t missing trains to Praha very often.

        Football, on the other hand, has made me say “Napoli.” So contra that silly study, it really does bring people together.Report

      • Chris in reply to Chris says:

        Differences in names come about in a variety of ways. Sometimes it’s just mishearing, sometimes it gets corrupted because there’s little spoken contact between the two languages, sometimes it’s because or rivalries for places or areas (as in the case of a lot of German or Russian-named cities in much of Central and Eastern Europe), sometimes it’s because the name used by the speakers of an outside language were derived from older names. This last one appears to be the case with Prague, which in Old Czech was Praga, which presumably got shortened and Frenchified (as the Frenchies are wont to do).Report

      • Glyph in reply to Chris says:

        I understand that once they are there, it’s hard to change them. I’m just not sure how they got there to begin with in some cases, although I guess it’s possible they are artifacts of the written and spoken languages of both cultures drifting in the intervening time (maybe “Prague” and “Praha” were closer equivalents in the past due to the way one or both languages were written or spoken at that time).Report

      • Chris in reply to Chris says:

        Too slow!Report

      • Chris in reply to Chris says:

        Looking up the origin of “Japan,” it appears to be the Portuguese fault, and a corruption of the medieval Mandarin name for Japan, and “China” to be a late-middle age Italian (Marco Polo) loose transliteration of the old Sanskrit name for at least part of what’s now China. And we’re stuck with both ’cause some Portuguese and Italian guys were hard of hearing or lazy 500-600 years ago.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Chris says:

        Though to be fair, it is an older transliteration (but the one normally used for the country name itself by the people living in the same country). (the transliteration they’ve been teaching in American school for the last few decades is ‘Nihon’.)Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Chris says:

        I’m aware that “Japan” is an exonym. As Kolohe says, modern Japanese people overwhelmingly refer to their country as “Nihon.” “Nippon” is some combination of old-fashioned, formal, and/or nationalistic, but I’m not sure of the specifics, hence the question.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Chris says:

        Chris, that’s a pretty churlish response to a guy who’s explicit about his own need for edification.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Chris says:

        Damon, Nob is a secret samurai.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Chris says:

        Whoops. I misread Kolohe’s comment. He’s wrong, though (unless I’m actually misreading it now)—I am absolutely certain that “Nihon” is in fact preferred overwhelmingly in daily use. Some additional research suggests that “Nippon” is more formal/old-fashioned than nationalistic.

        Now that you mention it, the modern Mandarin pronunciation is not all that far from “Japan”: “Riben,” which is pronounced kind of like ZHIH-buhn. Nihon/Riben actually comes from Chinese, from the fact that Japan is east of China and thus appears to be the source of the rising sun.Report

      • Kim in reply to Chris says:

        now that I can believe. And it’s Japan’s own Isolationist Tendencies that caused us to be using the Chinese name, I’d wager. 😉Report

      • Chris in reply to Chris says:

        James, the political part of the comment made me churlish.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Chris says:


        Not any more he isn’t.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Chris says:

        No politics, except in the descriptive sense. I’m just surprised to see Nob using the term due to my impressions of how the term is typically used. Which may in fact be totally wrong.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      Okay, looking it up on Wikipedia, I see that that is in fact the team’s official name. Still curious about the politics and usage of the term “Nippon,” though.Report