Why Is South Korea Called 'Kankoku' In Japanese

Why Is South Korea Called ‘Kankoku’ In Japanese | Important Japan-Korean Relations 2023

Why Is South Korea Called ‘Kankoku’ In Japanese, find out in my article below about Japanese-Korean history and relationships.

South Korea and Japan have a long and complicated shared history, connected through a web of culture, language and trade. From the vibrant K-pop to soju and interesting cuisine, South Korea has left a lasting impression on Japan. 

But why is South Korea referred to as “Kankoku” in Japanese? This article delves into South Korea’s long and varied relationship with Japan, as well as exploring what “Kankoku” means and why South Korea is referred to it.

Since the beginning of the 17th Century, South Korea has been known as “Kankoku” in the Japanese language; this centuries-old tradition has survived countless revisions of the vernacular and is still used to refer to South Korea, even today. 

The term “Kankoku”, which translates to “Kanai and Korean”, references the geographical position of South Korea between China and Japan; it has been used in Japan as a way to differentiate South Korea from North Korea, and as a symbol of their respectful neighborliness.

Why Is South Korea Called ‘Kankoku’ In Japanese

South Korea is a beautiful country situated in East Asia and is home to numerous cultures and distinct identities. 

But why is South Korea called ‘Kankoku’ in Japanese? Kankoku, is the Japanese name given to South Korea, and its interesting history is the answer to this question.

During and after World War II, the Western world, including the United States and the Soviet Union, divided Korea into two separate countries. 

The United States-administered territory was named South Korea, while the Soviet Union-administered territory was named North Korea. 

The words South and North were used in English, but there wasn’t a convenient equivalent in Japanese. 

To prevent confusion, the Japanese began to refer to South Korea as ‘Kankoku’. ‘Kan’ is an abbreviation for “Kansei”, which the Japanese imperialists used to refer to the whole of Korea, and the ‘Koku’ literally just means ‘country’.

The Japanese name for South Korea has stuck and is used by people around the world to differentiate between the two countries. 

Interestingly, South Koreans are reported to have used this name as well when referring to their country in Japanese, as there wasn’t an easily recognized Japanese translation for ‘South Korea’.

Overall, ‘Kankoku’ is a purely Japanese name, which was derived to create an easily recognizable and distinct reference to South Korea. 

It might sound strange at first, but it’s a great opportunity to learn a bit of linguistic history and understand the unique connection between Japan and Korea.

How Do You Write Korea In Japanese Hiragana

In Japanese, South Korea is known as ‘Kankoku,’ and is written in the hiragana script. To write the word ‘Kankoku’ in hiragana, one simply needs to take the two distinct components of the word, ‘kan’ and ‘koku,’ and convert them individually. To do this, kana symbols can be looked up from a table or chart.

The symbols for ‘kan’ are かん, and for ‘koku’ the symbols are こく. When written together, the word ‘Kankoku’ is written as かんこく. These kana symbols look different from the typical Latin letters we are used to seeing in English, and it is important to remember that they are read differently as well.

The meaing behind the characters of the word ‘Kankoku’ is also meaningful, as ‘kan’ translates to ‘Kanji’ in English, and ‘Koku’ translates to ‘country.’ 

By combining these two characters together, the literal translation of ‘Kankoku’ becomes ‘Kanji Country.’ Since the late 19th century, South Korea was often referred to as ‘Kankoku’, making this an accurate representation.

For those wishing to learn more about Hiragana, there are plenty of online resources one can use to master the symbols, including online tutorials, audio clips, and practice quizzes. 

The study of Hiragana can be a great way to gain a greater understanding of the Japanese language, and a fun way to express yourself when writing letters, stories, or conversations with friends.

What Is South Korea Called In Korean

In Korean, South Korea is referred to as ‘Hanguk’, or ‘Daehan Mingook’. The word Hanguk comes from the old Chinese characters for ‘Han’, meaning ‘great’ or ‘powerful’ and ‘guk’ which means ‘state’ or ‘country’. 

Taken together, the characters can mean ‘State of the Great Han’ and many historians agree that the term most likely originated from the traditional Chinese writing for the Joseon Dynasty.  

In addition, when written in Korean, the term ‘Hanguk’ is also sometimes written as ‘행운’. This literal translation also reads as ‘fortunate Korea’ and has been used in more informal settings.

Another term which is sometimes used to refer to South Korea is ‘Daehan Mingook’. The term is comprised of three distinct words – ‘Daehan’ meaning ‘the great Han’, ‘min’ meaning ‘people’, and ‘gook’ which means ‘country’. 

This phrase is often used to bring to mind the collective power of the people in a unified nation, and is considered one of the most common and enduring titles for South Korea. 

In contrast to these patriotic titles, the Japanese name for South Korea, ‘Kankoku’, is a truncated version of the term simply meaning ‘Korea’. 

This name functions to identify the country but does not serve as a direct translation of either ‘Hanguk’ or ‘Daehan Mingook’, the two official national titles for South Korea.

What Is The Korean Word For Japanese

In South Korea, the word “Kankoku” is used to refer to Japan, but why is this the case? To understand this, it’s important to first look at what the Korean word for Japanese is.

The word “Hanguk-mal,” or “han-mal” for short, is the accepted name for Japanese people in South Korea. 

This term came about during Japan’s colonial occupation of Korea and is derived from the Chinese characters 日本 and 韓國. The term “kankoku” was developed from this as an expression of the Korean frustration over the occupation.

To further illustrate this, it’s worth noting that “Hanguk-mal” can be broken down into two Korean words: “Hanguk” meaning ‘Korea’ and “mal” meaning ‘person’. Thus, “Hanguk-mal” translates as ‘Korea person’, which can be seen to symbolise Korea’s view of Japan’s occupation as one nation’s intrusive influence over another.

In contrast, the Japanese word “Kankoku” is made up of the Chinese characters 漢 (han) and 國 (koku), which translate as ‘Chinese Country’ or ‘Korea’. 

The origin of this phrase could be an alternate interpretation of the Chinese characters used in “Hanguk-mal”, which may have been adapted out of a sense of patriotism for their own nation, hence using their own language to refer to Korea.

Ultimately, the words “Hanguk-mal” and “Kankoku” both symbolise a period of tumultuous history and foreign intervention, but also the strong sense of national identity and pride within the Korean people.

What Is The Japanese Word For Korean People

The Japanese word for Korean people is “Kankokujin”. This term has been used to refer to Korean people in the country since the Edo period, which started in the 1603 and lasted until 1868. 

“Kankoku” is derived from the old Chinese phrase “kankokugun,” which means “land of the south,” which was used to refer to the Korean peninsula. 

This can still be seen today in the way the Chinese often call South Korea “Hanguo,” which is a slightly different version of “Kankoku”. 

In addition, Japanese people have historically referred to Korean people as “Gan-san,” which is a combination of two characters “Gan” which means “Korea” and “san” which means “Mr.” or “Ms.” 

This term was originally used by people who wanted to pay respect to those from the Korean peninsula, usually those from the royal family or of higher social class. However, it is sometimes used in modern-day Japan to refer to any person of Korean descent. 

The Japanese word for the language of Korea is “Kankokugo.” This term is also derived from the same Chinese phrase “Kankokugun” as the term “Kankokujin.” 2

The term “Kankokugo” has been used to refer to the language of Korea in Japan since the Edo period and is still seen in the words and phrases that are used in modern-day Japan, such as “Yoroshiku Kankokugo” (Please understand Korean). 

Overall, the use of the term “Kankoku” to refer to South Korea and “Kankokujin” to refer to Korean people has been a part of Japanese culture for centuries. 

The initial usage of the phrase dates back to the Edo period and has been used in both formal and informal contexts to this day. Moreover, “Kankokugo” is the Japanese word for the language of Korea, which shows how deeply ingrained this term is in Japanese culture.

How Do You Say “China” In Japanese

In Japanese, the country of China is called “Chūgoku” (中国). This phonetic translation is made up of two Kanji characters meaning “mid” or “center” and “country” or “state”. 

Since China is located in East Asia, and closer to the Japanese archipelago than most other Asian countries, it can be thought of as the “center of the countries” or the “center country”, in terms of its location on maps.

In addition to the phonetic translation, there is also a traditional Japanese name for China which is “Tennōki” (天皇期). This name is composed of the two Kanji Characters meaning “emperor” and “period”. 

This name has been in use since the Edo period to refer to China as there was trade between the countries and a respectful relationship between them. Therefore, in Japan, China is referred to as both “Chūgoku” (中国) and “Tennōki” (天皇期).

It is important to note that, while China is referred to with these two terms in Japanese, historically in China, Japan itself is known by many different names. 

Japan is sometimes referred to as “Yamatai-Koku” (ヤマタイ国), which is a phonetic translation of the Japanese word “Yamato”, which originally meant “land of the great people”. Japan is also sometimes referred to as “Nippon” (日本) in Chinese, which also comes from a Japanese word for “source of the sun”.

In conclusion, whilst the origin of Korea’s name can be traced back centuries, it is clear that the ‘Kankoku’ label is a result of the international influence of Japanese culture. 

This influence has stayed with us throughout the generations and is a reminder of the power of language and cultural exchange. 

Overall, the title of ‘Kankoku’ provides a lasting impression of the friendship between Japan and South Korea.

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