Graham technique is a modern dance movement style and pedagogy created by American dancer and choreographer Martha Graham. Graham technique has been called the "cornerstone" of American modern dance, has been taught worldwide, it is regarded as the first codified modern dance technique, influenced the techniques of Merce Cunningham, Lester Horton, Paul Taylor. Graham technique is based on the opposition between contraction and release, a concept based on the breathing cycle which has become a "trademark" of modern dance forms, its other dominant principle is the "spiraling" of the torso around the axis of the spine. Graham technique is known for its unique dramatic and expressive qualities and distinctive floorwork. Graham technique is based on "contraction and release", uses different parts of the body in opposition to one another to create spirals for dramatic tension, it incorporates formal exaggerations of "natural" movements. The fundamental movement of Graham technique is the cycle between "contraction" and subsequent "release", which developed as a stylized representation of breathing.
Along with the "fall and recovery" dualism of Doris Humphrey's technique, it is one of the most important concepts in early modern dance. A classic Graham contraction is a movement originating from the deep pelvic muscles; these muscles, along with the abdominal muscles, pull the spine into a concave arc from the coccyx to the nape of the neck, with the pelvis tucked and shoulders forward. The spine grows longer, not shorter, in a contraction; the force of the contraction can be used to change its trajectory. The release may be considered a passive return to a "normal" state, or alternatively an active outward propulsion of energy; the contraction is associated with the exhale, the release with the inhale, although this connection may be conceptual. The indexical meaning of the contraction in Graham's choreography is that the dancer is overcome with emotion, although the details depend on the specific context. Graham's decision to make movement originate from the core rather than distally echoes the style of Isadora Duncan, but Duncan wrote in her autobiography that movement originates in the solar plexus rather than the low abdomen.
The second fundamental concept in Graham technique is the spiral. The basic "spiraling" position consists of rotating the spine 45° around its vertical axis, so that a dancer facing the front of the stage would have their shoulders aligned with the "Via Triumphalis", an imaginary line parallel to a corner-to-corner diagonal of the stage. In a "hip spiral", the movement initiates subtly from the hip and builds to maximum tension by pulling the opposing shoulder blade away from the initiating hip. Like other early modern choreographers, Graham used floorwork to explore the themes of weight and gravity in new ways. Graham falls use contractions and manipulate the body's center of gravity, in order to control the timing and direction of a fall. There are a wide range of codified Graham falls, including sitting and traveling falls. In all falls, the dancer exerts a strong upward force to counteract the force of gravity and suspend the body in space for artistic effect. Graham falls can be used for dramatic effect, taking meaning in a choreographic context from manipulating the balance between suspending the body and surrendering to gravity.
Graham technique uses the hands in distinctive ways. They are meant to be active and purposeful, not decorative, they are held in a stylized, cupped position, with the fingers held straight and pulled towards the palm. Arms move in response to impetus from the back or shoulders. Arm movements were left unspecified in Graham's early work, there is variation between Graham teachers' use of port de bras. Graham technique is designed to make its dancers dramatic, its movement vocabulary draws connections between the physical and emotional meanings of "power", "control", "vulnerability". Movement initiates from the core, dancing on the floor; the technique highlights effort. In a "vehement" 1934 review, Lincoln Kirstein wrote: "Her jumps are jolts. In contrast, Graham was promoted by dance critic John Martin, who helped her to win a popular following. Graham was exceptionally flexible, many of her technique's exaggerated movements can be difficult or painful to execute. Graham is considered a "codified technique", like the several schools of classical ballet.
There are major differences between ballet techniques. Graham dancers are trained to highlight their effort and use weight as a dramatic tool, while ballet dancers strive to appear weightless and effortless. Graham technique's use of large torso movements and floorwork represent further breaks from the balletic tradition. Graham
Nagoya is the largest city in the Chūbu region of Japan. It is the third-most-populous urban area, it is located on the Pacific coast on central Honshu. It is the capital of Aichi Prefecture and is one of Japan's major ports along with those of Tokyo, Kobe, Yokohama and Kitakyushu, it is the center of Japan's third-largest metropolitan region, known as the Chūkyō metropolitan area. As of 2015, 2.28 million people lived in the city, part of Chūkyō Metropolitan Area's 10.11 million people. It is one of the 50 largest urban areas in the world; the city's name was written as 那古野 or 名護屋. One possible origin is the adjective nagoyaka, meaning'peaceful'; the name Chūkyō, consisting of chū + kyō is used to refer to Nagoya. Notable examples of the use of the name Chūkyō include the Chūkyō Industrial Area, Chūkyō Metropolitan Area, Chūkyō Television Broadcasting, Chukyo University and the Chukyo Racecourse. Oda Nobunaga and his protégés Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu were powerful warlords based in the Nagoya area who succeeded in unifying Japan.
In 1610, Tokugawa Ieyasu moved the capital of Owari Province from Kiyosu, about seven kilometers away, to a more strategic location in present-day Nagoya. During this period Nagoya Castle was constructed, built from materials taken from Kiyosu Castle. During the construction, the entire town around Kiyosu Castle, consisting of around 60,000 people, moved from Kiyosu to the newly planned town around Nagoya Castle. Around the same time, the nearby ancient Atsuta Shrine was designated as a waystation, called Miya, on the important Tōkaidō road, which linked the two capitals of Kyoto and Edo. A town developed around the temple to support travelers; the castle and shrine towns formed the city. During the Meiji Restoration Japan's provinces were restructured into prefectures and the government changed from family to bureaucratic rule. Nagoya was proclaimed a city on October 1, 1889, designated a city on September 1, 1956, by government ordinance. Nagoya became an industrial hub for the region, its economic sphere included the famous pottery towns of Tokoname and Seto, as well as Okazaki, one of the only places where gunpowder was produced under the shogunate.
Other industries included cotton and complex mechanical dolls called karakuri ningyō. Mitsubishi Aircraft Company was established in 1920 in Nagoya and became one of the largest aircraft manufacturers in Japan; the availability of space and the central location of the region and the well-established connectivity were some of the major factors that lead to the establishment of the aviation industry there. Nagoya was the target of US air raids during World War II; the population of Nagoya at this time was estimated to be 1.5 million, fourth among Japanese cities and one of the three largest centers of the Japanese aircraft industry. It was estimated. Important Japanese aircraft targets were within the city itself, while others were to the north of Kagamigahara, it was estimated that they produced between 40% and 50% of Japanese combat aircraft and engines, such as the vital Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter. The Nagoya area produced machine tools, railway equipment, metal alloys, motor vehicles and processed foods during World War II.
Air raids began on April 18, 1942, with an attack on a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries aircraft works, the Matsuhigecho oil warehouse, the Nagoya Castle military barracks and the Nagoya war industries plant. The bombing continued through the spring of 1945, included large-scale firebombing. Nagoya was the target of two of Bomber Command’s attacks; these incendiary attacks, one by day and one by night, devastated 15.3 square kilometres. The XXI Bomber Command established a new U. S. Army Air Force record with the greatest tonnage released on a single target in one mission—3,162 tons of incendiaries, it destroyed or damaged twenty-eight of the numbered targets and raised the area burned to one-fourth of the entire city. Nagoya Castle, being used as a military command post, was hit and destroyed on May 14, 1945. Reconstruction of the main building was completed in 1959. In 1959, the city was flooded and damaged by the Ise-wan Typhoon. Nagoya lies north of Ise Bay on the Nōbi Plain; the city was built on low-level plateaus to ward off floodwaters.
The plain is one of the nation's most fertile areas. The Kiso River flows to the west along the city border, the Shōnai River comes from the northeast and turns south towards the bay at Nishi Ward; the man-made Hori River was constructed as a canal in 1610. It flows as part of the Shōnai River system; the rivers allowed for trade with the hinterland. The Tempaku River feeds from a number of smaller river in the east, flows south at Nonami and west at Ōdaka into the bay; the city's location and its position in the centre of Japan allowed it to develop economically and politically. Nagoya has 16 wards: Nagoya has a humid subtropical climate with hot summers and cool winters; the summer is noticeably wetter than the winter. One of the earliest censuses, carried out in 1889, counted 157,496 residents; the population reached the 1 million mark in 1934 and as of December 2010 had an estimated population of 2,259,993 with a population density of 6,923 persons per km2. As of December 2010 an estimated 1,019,859 households resided there—a significant increase from 153,370 at the end of World War II in 1945.
The area i
Martha Graham was an American modern dancer and choreographer. Her style, the Graham technique, is still taught worldwide, she taught for over seventy years. Graham was the first dancer to perform at the White House, travel abroad as a cultural ambassador, receive the highest civilian award of the US: the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction. In her lifetime she received honors ranging from the Key to the City of Paris to Japan's Imperial Order of the Precious Crown, she said, in the 1994 documentary The Dancer Revealed, "I have spent all my life with dance and being a dancer. It's permitting life to use you in a intense way. Sometimes it is not pleasant. Sometimes it is fearful, but it is inevitable." Graham was born in Allegheny City – to become part of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – in 1894. Her father, George Graham, practiced as what in the Victorian era was known as an "alienist", a practitioner of an early form of psychiatry; the Grahams were strict Presbyterians. Dr. Graham was a third-generation American of Irish descent.
Her mother, Jane Beers, was a second-generation American of Irish, Scots-Irish, English ancestry, claimed descent from Myles Standish. While her parents provided a comfortable environment in her youth, it was not one that encouraged dancing; the Graham family moved to California when Martha was fourteen years old. In 1911, she attended the first dance performance of her life, watching Ruth St. Denis perform at the Mason Opera House in Los Angeles. In the mid-1910s, Martha Graham began her studies at the newly created Denishawn School of Dancing and Related Arts, founded by Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, at which she would stay until 1923. In 1922, Graham performed one of Shawn's Egyptian dances with Lillian Powell in a short silent film by Hugo Riesenfeld that attempted to synchronize a dance routine on film with a live orchestra and an onscreen conductor; when she left the Denishawn establishment in 1923, Graham did so with an urge to make dance an art form, more grounded in the rawness of the human experience as opposed to just a mere form of entertainment.
This motivated Graham to strip away the more decorative movements of ballet and of her training at the Denishawn school and focus more on the foundational aspects of movement. In 1925, Graham was employed at the Eastman School of Music where Rouben Mamoulian was head of the School of Drama. Among other performances, together Mamoulian and Graham produced a short two-color film called The Flute of Krishna, featuring Eastman students. Mamoulian left Eastman shortly thereafter and Graham chose to leave even though she was asked to stay on. In 1926, the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance was established. On April 18 of the same year Graham debuted her first independent concert, consisting of 18 short solos and trios that she had choreographed; this performance took place at the 48th Street Theatre in Manhattan. She would say of the concert: "Everything I did was influenced by Denishawn." On November 28, 1926 Martha Graham and others in her company gave a dance recital at the Klaw Theatre in New York City.
Around the same time she entered an extended collaboration with Japanese-American pictorialist photographer Soichi Sunami, over the next five years they together created some of the most iconic images of early modern dance. One of Graham's students was heiress Bethsabée de Rothschild with; when Rothschild moved to Israel and established the Batsheva Dance Company in 1965, Graham became the company's first director. Graham's technique pioneered a principle known as "Contraction and Release" in modern dance, derived from a stylized conception of breathing. Contraction and Release: The desire to highlight a more base aspect of human movement led Graham to create the "contraction and release", for which she would become known for; each movement could separately be used to express either positive or negative, freeing or constricting emotions depending on the placement of the head. The contraction and release were both the basis for Graham's weighted and grounded style, in direct opposition to classical ballet techniques that aim to create an illusion of weightlessness.
To counter the more percussive and staccato movements, Graham added the spiral shape to the vocabulary of her technique to incorporate a sense of fluidity. Following her first concert made up of solos, Graham created Heretic, the first group piece of many that showcased a clear diversion from her days with Denishawn, served as an insight to her work that would follow in the future. Made up of constricted and sharp movement with the dancers clothed unglamorously, the piece centered around the theme of rejection—one that would reoccur in other Graham works down the line; as time went on Graham moved away from the more stark design aesthetic she embraced, began incorporating more elaborate sets and scenery to her work. To do this, she collaborated with Isamu Noguchi—a Japanese American designer—whose eye for set design was a complimentary match to Graham's choreography. Within the many themes which Graham incorporated into her work, there were two that she seemed to adhere to the most—Americana and Greek Mythology.
One of Graham's most known pieces that incorporates the American life theme is Appalachian Spring. She collaborated with the composer Aaron Copland—who won a Pulitzer Prize for his work on the piece—and Noguchi, who created the nonliteral set; as she did Graham placed herself in her own piece as the bride of a newly married couple whose optimism for starting a new life together is countered by a grounded pioneer woman and a sermon giving revivalist. Two of Graham's pieces—Cave
Ohad Naharin is an Israeli contemporary dancer and choreographer. He served as artistic director of Batsheva Dance Company from 1990. Ohad Naharin was born in 1952 in Kibbutz Mizra. Raised in an artistic home, he wrote stories, composed music, painted as a child, his father was a psychologist specializing in psychodrama and an actor who performed with Habima and the Haifa Theater. His mother was a Feldenkrais instructor and dancer. Naharin did not start dancing until age 22. During his first year with the Batsheva Dance Company, Martha Graham visited Israel and invited Naharin to join her dance company in New York. After dancing for Martha Graham, he attended the School of American Ballet. In 1978, he married a native New Yorker and an Alvin Ailey dancer. In 2001, she died of cancer at age 50, he is now married to a Batsheva dancer with whom he has a daughter. Naharin is the House Choreographer of Batsheva Dance Company, he served as Artistic Director as well until 2018. In 1990, Naharin was appointed Artistic Director.
The company is international in nature, made up of individually unique dancers from Israel and other countries. Dancers are encouraged to affirm their distinct creative gifts, as creators on their own. Naharin’s signature style and technique has developed during his time with Batsheva, his style is “distinguished by stunningly flexible limbs and spines grounded movement, explosive bursts and a vitality that grabs a viewer by the collar.” His dancers do not rehearse in front of a mirror as this enables them to move away from self-critique and allows them to feel the movement from within. Naharin is known to be a reserved and private person, this is apparent in the studio as well, he comments constructively and calmly. Since he has been musically trained, Naharin sometimes collaborates on the compositions used in his pieces. During his time directing and teaching the Batsheva Company, Naharin developed Gaga, a movement language and pedagogy that has defined the company's training and continues to characterize Israeli contemporary dance.
A practice that resists codification and emphasizes the practitioner's somatic experience, Gaga is labeled a movement language rather than a movement "technique". Gaga classes consist of a teacher leading dancers through an improvisational practice based on a series of images described by the teacher. Naharin explains that such a practice is meant to provide a framework or a "safety net" for the dancers to use to "move beyond familiar limits"; the descriptions that are used to guide the dancers through the improvisation are intended to help the dancer initiate and express movement in unique ways from parts of the body that tend to be ignored in other dance techniques. One example is the image of "Luna", which refers to the fleshy, semi-circular regions between fingers and toes; as part of the ideological insistence on moving through sensing and imagining, mirrors are discouraged in a Gaga rehearsal space. Naharin's works have been commissioned by the Frankfurt Ballet, Opéra National de Paris, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Sydney Dance Company, Lyon Opera Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Rambert Dance Company, Compañia Nacional de Danza, Cullberg Ballet, Finnish National Ballet, Ballet Gulbenkian, Balé da Cidade de São Paulo, Bavarian State Ballet, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Royal Danish Ballet.
He seeks to create movement, universal yet personal. He always has a clear social and political conscience in his works, but his dances are not meant to be political, he finds storytelling of suffering and the world’s problems boring in comparison to a person’s ability to use texture and multi-layered movement. He contrasts physical explosiveness with stillness, taking an interest in contrasts and extremes, which creates vital distance and space in dances, his philosophy, shared with many who devote their lives to choreography, is that everyone should dance. Deca Dance highlights many excerpts from his previous works. Naharin says himself, “Deca Dance is not a new work, it is more about reconstruction: I like to take pieces or sections of existing works and rework it, reorganize it and create the possibility to look at it from a new angle. It always teaches me something new about my composition. In Deca Dance I took sections from different works, it was like I was telling only either the beginning, middle or ending of many stories but when I organized it the result become as coherent as the original if not more.”In Max, "Mr. Naharin’s theatrical ingredients are space and light."
A critic comments, "In this tremendously potent work, there are few obvious displays of emotion, yet Max is full of imagery that slips between real life and dance in fleeting flashes."Anaphase, a work for 22 dancers and two musicians, combines elements of theater, opera and rock music as well as dance. According to Naharin, it "deals with small sculptures in a big space" and explores the abilities of the human body. Other pieces he has choreographed include Three, Tabula Rasa, Pas de Pepsi, Haru No Umi, In Common, Sixty a Minute, Black Milk, Mamootot, yag, sabotage baby, Passo Mezzo, plastelina, Naharin's Virus, Sadeh21, The Hole. In 2015, a documentary about Naharin called; this documentary's title is a reference to the movement language created by Gaga. The documentary explores how Naharin and his movement style have influenced Batsheva Dance Company and the modern dance world. Gaga mov
José Arcadio Limón was a dancer and choreographer who developed what is now known as'Limón technique'. In the 1940s he founded the José Limón Dance Company, in 1968 he created the José Limón Foundation to carry on his work. In his choreography, Limón spoke to the complexities of human life as experienced through the body, his dances feature large, visceral gestures — reaching, pulling, grasping — to communicate emotion. Inspired in part by his teacher Doris Humphrey's theories about the importance of body weight and dynamics, his own Limón technique emphasizes the rhythms of falling and recovering balance and the importance of good breathing to maintaining flow in a dance, he utilized the dance vocabulary developed by both Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman, which aimed at demonstrating emotion through dance in a way, much less strict and stylized than ballet as well as used movements of the body that felt most natural and went along with gravity. Limón's most well-known work is The Moor's Pavane, based on Shakespeare's Othello, which won a major award.
Other works were inspired by subjects as diverse as the McCarthy hearings and the life of La Malinche, who served as interpreter for Hernán Cortés. Limón sets his dances to music, choosing composers ranging from Ludwig van Beethoven and Frederic Chopin to Arnold Schoenberg and Heitor Villa-Lobos. José Arcadio Limón was born January 12, 1908 in Culiacán, the eldest of twelve children. In 1915, his family moved to California. After graduating from Lincoln High School, Limón attended UCLA as an art major, he moved to New York City in 1928 to study at the New York School of Design. In 1929, he was inspired to dance after attending one of Harald Kreutzberg and Yvonne Georgi's performances and enrolled in the Humphrey-Weidman school. In 1930, Limón first performed on Broadway, that same year he choreographed his first dance, "Etude in D Minor", a duet with Letitia Ide. Limón recruited Ide and schoolmates Eleanor King and Ernestine Stodelle to form "The Little Group". From 1932 to 1933, Limón made two more Broadway appearances, in the musical revue Americana and in Irving Berlin's As Thousands Cheer, choreographed by Charles Weidman.
Limón tried his hand at choreography at Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre. Limón made several more appearances throughout the next few years in shows such as Humphrey's New Dance, Theatre Piece, With my Red Fires, Weidman's Quest. In 1937, Limón was selected as one of the first Bennington Fellows. At the Bennington Festival at Mills College in 1939, Limón created his first major choreographic work, titled Danzas Mexicanas. After five years, Limón would return to Broadway to star as a featured dancer in Keep Off the Grass under the choreographer George Balanchine. In 1941, Limón left the Humphrey-Weidman company to work with May O'Donnell, they co-choreographed several pieces together, such as Curtain Riser. On October 3, 1942 Limón married Pauline Lawrence, a founding member and the manager of the Humphrey-Weidman company; the partnership with O'Donnell dissolved the following year, Limón created work for a program at Humphrey-Weidman. In 1943, Limón's made his final appearance on Broadway in Balanchine's Rosalinda, a piece he performed with Mary Ellen Moylan.
He spent the rest of that year creating dances on American and folk themes at the Studio Theatre before being drafted into the Army in April 1943. During this time, he collaborated with composers Frank Loesser and Alex North, choreographing several works for the U. S. Army Special Services; the most well known among these is Concerto Grosso. Attaining American citizenship in 1946, Limón formed the Limón Dance Company; when Limón began his company, he asked Humphrey to be the artistic director, making it the first modern dance company to have an artistic director, not the founder. The company had its formal debut at Bennington College, playing such pieces as Doris Humphrey's Lament and The Story of Mankind. Among the first company members were Pauline Koner, Lucas Hoving, Betty Jones, Ruth Currier, Limón himself. Dancer and choreographer Louis Falco danced with the José Limón Dance Company from 1960–70, Falco starred opposite to Rudolph Nureyev in Limon's Moor's Pavane on Broadway from 1974-75.
While working with Humphrey, Limón developed his repertory and established the principles of the style that he was to become the Limón technique. By 1947, the company had reached New York, debuting at the Belasco Theatre with Humphrey's Day on Earth. In 1948, the company first appeared at the Connecticut College American Dance Festival and would return each summer for many years. Limón choreographed The Moor's Pavane in 1949, it received the Dance Magazine Award for the year's most outstanding choreography. In the spring of 1950, Limón and his group appeared in Paris with Ruth Page, becoming the first American modern dance company to appear in Europe. In 1951, Limón joined the faculty of The Juilliard School, where a new dance division had been developed, he accepted an invitation to Mexico City's Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, where he created six works. Between 1953 and 1956, he choreographed a number of shows and created roles in Humphrey's Ruins and Visions and Ritmo Jondo. In 1954, the Limón Company was one of the first to take advantage of the U.
S. State Department's International Exchange Program with a company tour to South America; the company embarked on a five-month tour of Europe and the Near East and, again, to South America and Central America. It was during this time. In 1958, Doris Humphrey, the artistic director for the Limón Company and Limón to
Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south; the kanji that make up Japan's name mean "sun origin", it is called the "Land of the Rising Sun". Japan is a stratovolcanic archipelago consisting of about 6,852 islands; the four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido and Shikoku, which make up about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area and are referred to as home islands. The country is divided into 47 prefectures in eight regions, with Hokkaido being the northernmost prefecture and Okinawa being the southernmost one; the population of 127 million is the world's tenth largest. 90.7 % of people live in cities. About 13.8 million people live in the capital of Japan. The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world with over 38 million people. Archaeological research indicates; the first written mention of Japan is in Chinese history texts from the 1st century AD.
Influence from other regions China, followed by periods of isolation from Western Europe, has characterized Japan's history. From the 12th century until 1868, Japan was ruled by successive feudal military shōguns who ruled in the name of the Emperor. Japan entered into a long period of isolation in the early 17th century, ended in 1853 when a United States fleet pressured Japan to open to the West. After nearly two decades of internal conflict and insurrection, the Imperial Court regained its political power in 1868 through the help of several clans from Chōshū and Satsuma – and the Empire of Japan was established. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, victories in the First Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War and World War I allowed Japan to expand its empire during a period of increasing militarism; the Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937 expanded into part of World War II in 1941, which came to an end in 1945 following the Japanese surrender. Since adopting its revised constitution on May 3, 1947, during the occupation led by SCAP, the sovereign state of Japan has maintained a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with an Emperor and an elected legislature called the National Diet.
Japan is a member of the ASEAN Plus mechanism, UN, the OECD, the G7, the G8, the G20, is considered a great power. Its economy is the world's third-largest by nominal GDP and the fourth-largest by purchasing power parity, it is the world's fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer. Japan benefits from a skilled and educated workforce. Although it has renounced its right to declare war, Japan maintains a modern military with the world's eighth-largest military budget, used for self-defense and peacekeeping roles. Japan is a developed country with a high standard of living and Human Development Index, its population enjoys the highest life expectancy and third lowest infant mortality rate in the world, but is experiencing issues due to an aging population and low birthrate. Japan is renowned for its historical and extensive cinema, influential music industry, video gaming, rich cuisine and its major contributions to science and modern technology; the Japanese word for Japan is 日本, pronounced Nihon or Nippon and means "the origin of the sun".
The character nichi means "sun" or "day". The compound therefore means "origin of the sun" and is the source of the popular Western epithet "Land of the Rising Sun"; the earliest record of the name Nihon appears in the Chinese historical records of the Tang dynasty, the Old Book of Tang. At the end of the seventh century, a delegation from Japan requested that Nihon be used as the name of their country; this name may have its origin in a letter sent in 607 and recorded in the official history of the Sui dynasty. Prince Shōtoku, the Regent of Japan, sent a mission to China with a letter in which he called himself "the Emperor of the Land where the Sun rises"; the message said: "Here, I, the emperor of the country where the sun rises, send a letter to the emperor of the country where the sun sets. How are you". Prior to the adoption of Nihon, other terms such as Yamato and Wakoku were used; the term Wa is a homophone of Wo 倭, used by the Chinese as a designation for the Japanese as early as the third century Three Kingdoms period.
Another form of Wa, Wei in Chinese) was used for an early state in Japan called Nakoku during the Han dynasty. However, the Japanese disliked some connotation of Wa 倭, it was therefore replaced with the substitute character Wa, meaning "togetherness, harmony"; the English word Japan derives from the historical Chinese pronunciation of 日本. The Old Mandarin or early Wu Chinese pronunciation of Japan was recorded by Marco Polo as Cipangu. In modern Shanghainese, a Wu dialect, the pronunciation of characters 日本; the old Malay word for Japan, Japun or Japang, was borrowed from a southern coastal Chinese dialect Fukienese or Ningpo – and this Malay word was encountered by Portuguese traders in Southeast Asia in the 16th century. These Early Portuguese traders brought the word