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Good question! 「米国」 According to Japanese Wikipedia, the pronunciation of American was メリケン during the Meiji period, and was rendered into kanji as 「米利堅」 Since the first character is 米 (べい、まい、めい) the abbreviation became 米国. This was despite the fact that the full kanji representation of アメリカ is 亜米利加. I suspect it was because 亜 is already used to represent ...


5

Most, if not all, of foreign country Kanji names (not including names with obvious different origins such as China and Korea) - and there are many more than 4 - are exactly this kind of abbreviation from a phonetic Kanji spelling of the country's name. 米 is an abbreviation of 亜米利加, 英 is 英吉利. Look in any Japanese dictionary and you'll find most prominent ...


3

What did these words mean? 才六, 贅六, 賽六 and 采六 are all the same word written in various kanji. There are several pronunciations: sairoku: most basic and original. zeiroku: Derives from above sairoku. This is how an easterner would pronounce the word. ai > eː is a common phonological change in eastern Japanese. Likely pronounced as zeːroku (zeeroku) ...


2

According to 大辞泉{だいじせん} the term came from 丁稚{でっち}, a term used particularly in the area around Kyōto for "shop boy"/apprentice (and also apparently sometimes used as a derogatory term itself). 小僧{こぞう} was the Edo equivalent of 丁稚. The suggested development is this: 丁稚 sounds like 重一, a term from sugoroku where both dice come up as ones. The opposite side ...



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