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Etymology There are numerous theories about this. Japanese: The theories restricted to Japanese origins all revolve around the ideas of some larger geographic area that was split into "upper" (-kami or -gami) and "lower" (-shimo) halves. The main theories listed at the JA Wikipedia article on 武蔵国 (Musashi no Kuni) and at the Nihon Jiten page here ...


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百足 is an ancient Chinese colloquial name for a sort of arthropod. It can be traced to the 6th century document Book of Wei, which includes the passage 百足之蟲,至死不僵,以扶之者眾也 -> "A worm with a hundred feet does not go stiff upon death, since it has many support". The phrase has since found its way into common Chinese idiom in a slightly altered form. The term 百足 ...


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Why did they choose exactly these kanji characters for spelling these countries' names? It's hard to tell exactly why, because these are mixture of various transliterations done by Japanese and Chinese (of course different between Mandarin or Cantonese or other dialects) speakers that happened to hear the sound for the first time. For example, there ...


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General phonetic "rules" For a lot of words that are now written using Katakana, there was a tiny amount of logic to it. 亜 transcribed ア virtually exclusively, 伊 is a very common kanji for transcribing イ, 加 for カ, 利 for リ, and generally the kanji from which Katakana come is a good rule, though far from perfect (as noted with ア, and in タ which is usually ...


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http://www.geocities.jp/holmyow/mukade.html This document seems saying the use of 百足 is at least as old as in the 10th century. So if this research is correct, it shouldn't be considered as a calque from the western languages. (But I'm not sure about the reliability of this document.)



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