Japan is located in the east, so it rises before the sun in other countries. Also, people from ancient times thought of the east as a place where gods lived. There are many proverbs or sayings such as “facing Japan (rising sun)” or “the way of the rising sun,” too.

Japan is also sometimes referred to as The Land of the Setting Sun, which relates to sunset, not sunrise.

It’s also been called the Land of the Morning Calm, a reference to the traditional image of Japan as a peaceful place because it’s in Asia and not on the main continent.

The names for countries often reflect what their original travelers thought about them—which could be completely off base from what they are really like.

For example, the Romans used to call Britain “Britannica” and thought it was a land full of giants.

When does Japan start to be called The Land of the Rising Sun?

Osaka Castle

The name “The Land of the Rising Sun” was first used in an official document in 806, when the powerful Fujiwara clan tried to claim the right of succession for the Emperor.

How did a myth about Japan and the sun develop over time?

We know that the Chinese called Japan “Rising Sun Island.” But a myth developed over time about how Japan was permanently shadowed by an enormous black cloud—this led to the idea that it was so gloomy no one could live there, and they had to leave.

Legends from the Heian period (794-1185), for example, talk about how the “Land of the Rising Sun” is separated from Japan by a black cloud.

It was not until the Edo period (1600-1868) that this idea turned into a myth about how an enormous black cloud always shadowed Japan.

So it’s said that the Japanese people were so touched by the brilliance that they closed their eyes for a moment to hold back tears when they first saw the sun.

That led to the idea that an enormous black cloud always shadowed Japan, and it grew from there into something more like a myth about why people couldn’t live in the land of the rising sun—they had to leave because it was so gloomy.


What’s the origin of this idea?

The Country of Japan was changed from Wa to Nihon—Japan—during the Meiji revolution in 1868-1869, but before that, Japan was referred to as Wa, or “the land of harmony” (Chinese for Yin and Yang, or opposing forces in balance), or as Nihon, “the land of the origin of the sun.”

The name Wa was not used frequently by people who lived there, so they called themselves Nihonjin—Japanese people. But it seems that the word Wa never completely disappeared from common usage.

A big part of the myth about why Japan’s called a land of the rising sun is that there was actually a period when it wasn’t.

The Edo period (1600-1868) was known “era of the long peace” and sometimes referred to as “Nihon no your” or “the night of Japan.”

This is because the sunset at a good time—not too early or too late–and it was not necessary to battle for territory, nor was there any famine or epidemic.

It seems that Enlightenment thinkers from Western countries thought of Japan as the land of the setting sun when they heard that Japan didn’t have a king or Emperor.


I heard that the source of this name is the sun goddess Amaterasu in Japanese mythology?

Miyajima Torii

The word “Taiyou” refers to the sun, and it can be found even today in place names such as “Taiyo-no-Shirasu” (a village in Hiroshima Prefecture) or “Taiyo-no-Meguri” (a resort in Kanagawa Prefecture).

In the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki (historical chronicles), some passages say, “The sun can be seen even in Japan” or “The sun is said to have been born here” and so forth.

So it seems that, although Japan was called a land of the rising sun from ancient times, there was also a thought that it had been created by the sun goddess Amaterasu.

The Japanese patriot Motoori Norinaga (1730-1801) believed this myth and wrote, “Since time immemorial, our Country has been called the land of the Rising Sun.

The reason for this is that our Country was created by Amaterasu, the sun goddess.


What Does The Land of the Rising Sun Mean?

The Rising Sun is actually the flag of Japan. It’s also called Hinomaru in Japanese, which means “sun circle.”

The origin story is that when Emperor Jimmu founded the nation of Japan around 660 BC, he used a red sun and white background as his design for the flag.

But why did he use red and white in the first place? Some guess that it’s because those colors are traditional Japanese colors, or maybe because they’re the contrasting colors of Shinto. No one is really sure why he chose them specifically.


FAQ:


Why is The rising sun important to Japan?

The sun is a symbol of the Emperor and Japan. In ancient times people worshipped the Sun Goddess Amaterasu, who was said to be the ancestor of all Japanese emperors.

But more than anything else, it represents Japan’s aspirations for a peaceful country that works together with other nations – as opposed to militarism.

Are there other Countries called the land of the rising sun?

No, but there are a few places in Japan that have the same name. An area of Fukushima Prefecture called ‘Nihon-koku Taka-no Hana no Miyako’ translates as “the capital city of Japan under the banner of the rising sun.”

Does Japan See the Sun First?

Yes, Japan is the easternmost Country in the world. The rising of the sun is seen first here, before anywhere else on earth.

In-School Are Children Taught To Be Proud Of The Rising Sun Flag?

No, but it is fundamental to being Japanese to respect and be proud of their flag – along with respecting the Emperor, national anthem, and having pride in Japan’s culture.

Which Country sees the Sun First?

Japan, as Japan is the easternmost place on earth. Canada comes second (west of Japan) and Australia third (east of Japan but further south than Canada).

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