["The name Nihon (’Japan’) seems
to have been first officially employed by the Japanese
Government in A.D. 670. Before that time, the
usual native designation of the country was Yamato,
properly the name of one of the central provinces.
Yamato and O-mi-kuni, that is, ’the Great
August Country,’ are the names still preferred
in poetry and belles-lettres. Japan has
other ancient names, some of which are of learned length
and thundering sound, for instance, Toyo-ashi-wara-no-chi
-aki-no-naga-i-ho-aki-no-mizu-ho-no-kuni, that is ’the Luxuriant-Reed-Plains-the-Land-of-Fresh-R
ice-Ears-of-a-Thousand-Autumns-of-Long-Five-Hundred-Autumns.’” (B.H. Chamberlain, Things Japanese, 3rd ed. p. 222.)—H.C.]
It is remarkable that the name Nipon occurs, in the form of Al-Nafun, in the Ikhwan-al-Safa, supposed to date from the 10th century. (See J.A.S.B. XVII. Pt. I. 502.)
[I shall merely mention the strange theory of Mr. George Collingridge that Zipangu is Java and not Japan in his paper on The Early Cartography of Japan. (Geog. Jour. May, 1894, pp. 403-409.) Mr. F.G. Kramp (Japan or Java?), in the Tijdschrift v. het K. Nederl. Aardrijkskundig Genootschap, 1894, and Mr. H. Yule Oldham (Geog. Jour., September, 1894, pp. 276-279), have fully replied to this paper.—H.C.]
NOTE 2.—The causes briefly mentioned in the text maintained the abundance and low price of gold in Japan till the recent opening of the trade. (See Bk. II. ch. 1. note 5.) Edrisi had heard that gold in the isles of Sila (or Japan) was so abundant that dog-collars were made of it.
NOTE 3.—This was doubtless an old “yarn,” repeated from generation to generation. We find in a Chinese work quoted by Amyot: “The palace of the king (of Japan) is remarkable for its singular construction. It is a vast edifice, of extraordinary height; it has nine stories, and presents on all sides an exterior shining with the purest gold.” (Mem. conc. les Chinois, XIV. 55.) See also a like story in Kaempfer. (H. du Japon, I. 139.)
[Illustration: Ancient Japanese Archer. (From a Native Drawing.)]
NOTE 4.—Kaempfer speaks of pearls being found in considerable numbers, chiefly about Satsuma, and in the Gulf of Omura, in Kiusiu. From what Alcock says they do not seem now to be abundant. (Ib. I. 95; Alcock, I. 200.) No precious stones are mentioned by Kaempfer.
Rose-tinted pearls are frequent among the Scotch pearls, and, according to Mr. King, those of this tint are of late the most highly esteemed in Paris. Such pearls were perhaps also most highly esteemed in old India; for red pearls (Lohitamukti) form one of the seven precious objects which it was incumbent to use in the adornment of Buddhistic reliquaries, and to distribute at the building of a Dagoba. (Nat. Hist. of Prec. Stones, etc., 263; Koeppen, I. 541.)