Nihon or Nippon?

Which is correct - Nihon [にほん] or Nippon [にっぽん] ?

How to read 日本 [Japan]

As you probably know, the word "Japanese language" is "にほんご [Nihongo] " in Japanese. But you also may have heard people yelling "ニッポン! [Nippon!]" at sports matches.

So which is correct? The answer is both are correct and there is no clear rule.

The following is the suevey done by TV Asahi (*1).

words にほん にっぽん
日本 [Japan] 69% 31%
日本人 [ _ jin | Japanese (person)] 90% 10%
日本語 [ _ go | Japanese language] 97% 3%
日本代表 [ _ daihyō | Japanese representative] 45% 55%
日本一 [ _ ichi | the best in Japan] 51% 49%
日本大使館 [ _ taishikan | Japanese Embassy] 88% 12%
日本銀行 [ _ ginkō | Bank of Japan] 79% 21%

from: テレビ朝日・アナウンサーズ・日本語研究室 - 「日本」の読みは「にほん」? 「にっぽん」?

にほん is used more in general but many people use にっぽん for some words.

Young generation tend to use にほん for all or most words.

Elderly people tend to use にっぽん.

As a foreign student, you can use にほん for most cases.

You should note that official name of some companies use にっぽん.

For example, although most people call にほんぎんこう, its official name is にっぽんぎんこう.


*1 テレビ朝日・アナウンサーズ・日本語研究室 - 「日本」の読みは「にほん」? 「にっぽん」?

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