Many countries in Japanese sound like English, but some others don’t. Please give me the list of them.

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Question

Many countries in Japanese sound like English, but some others don’t. Please give me the list of them.

Answer

It is hard to guess what the countries below are, so let’s remember them.

South Korea: 韓国(かんこく)

South Korea has their country name written in Kanji, which is 大. They often shorten it to call themselves 韓国. Japanese people use it to call South Korea in Japanese as well. It is 韓国(かんこく) in Japanese.

China: 中国(ちゅうごく)

China has their country name written in Kanji, which is 華人民共和. They often shorten it to call themselves 中国. Japanese people use it to call China in Japanese as well. It is 中国(ちゅうごく) in Japanese.

North Korea: 北朝鮮(きたちょうせん)

North Korea has their country name written in Kanji, which is 朝鮮民主主義人民共和国. The first two Kanji symbols, 朝鮮, means ‘Korea’. North is 北. That is why Japanese people call them 北(きた)朝鮮(ちょうせん) in Japanese.

Germany: ドイツ

Japan started to learn various things over the world in 1600s through Netherlands, who was the only country who was allowed to trade with Japan at that time. Their language, Dutch, was used by Japanese people to learn countries’ name as well.

Germany is ‘Duitsland’ in Dutch. Japanese people just used ‘Duits’ to call Germany. That is why Germany in Japanese is ドイツ, which sounds very similar to Duits.

Netherlands: オランダ

Netherlands is ‘Olanda’ in Dutch. That is why Netherlands in Japanese is オランダ, which sounds very similar to Olanda.