Countries in Japanese – A complete list of nation names

Do you love traveling? If so, you’ll be interested in our new lesson on countries in Japanese.

Learning countries in Japanese can be helpful when you’re speaking with someone from Japan. You’ll be able to talk about the different countries in the Japanese language smoothly and widen your Japanese vocabulary.

Countries in Japanese

Many names for countries in Japanese sound similar to English, but at the same time, many are not. Before we start, the countries listed below are in hiragana/katakana, romaji, and kanji.

Note: The three Japanese alphabet: Hiragana is used to represent Japanese words. Katakana represents foreign or borrowed words in English. Romaji is the romanized spelling to transliterate Japanese. Kanji is a system of Japanese writing using Chinese characters. They didn’t have a writing system before, so they decided to borrow Chinese characters and called them Kanji.

“Country” in Japanese

Starting at the very beginning, the Japanese word for “country” is くに (kuni | 国)A very common way you’ll hear this, particularly if you are traveling in Japan, is when someone asks which country you are from. There are lots of ways of asking this, but one common way you’ll hear is:

EnglishHiraganaRomaji
Which country did you come from?あなた は どこ の くに から きました か。anata wa doko no kuni kara kimashita ka?
I came from [country of origin].わたし は [your country of origin] から きました。watashi wa [country of origin] kara kimashita.

“Japan” in Japanese

You’ll hear some locals call Japan as にほん (Nihon | 日本) or にっぽん (Nippon). Both are alternative readings of written characters that mean “Origin of the Sun” or “Land of the Rising Sun.”

Japan in Japanese

Foreign Country in Japanese

The term “foreign country” in Japanese is がいこく (gaikoku | 外国). When you hear someone say gaikoku, it relates to something foreign. Japanese just usually add another word at the end to refer to something specific. Here are words related to the word がいこく (gaikoku):

EnglishHiraganaRomaji
Foreignerがいこくじんgaikoku jin
Foreign languageがいこくごgaikoku go
Foreign studentがいこくじんりゅうがくせいgaikokujin ryuugakusei
Foreign movie/filmがいこくえいがgaikoku eiga
Foreign companyがいこくかいしゃgaikoku kaisha

Note: for foreign student, just りゅうがくせい (ryuugakusei) is fine.

“Nationality” in Japanese

The Japanese word for “nationality” is こくせき (kokuseki | 国籍), but this isn’t usually used in regular conversation.

Typically, when you’re talking to someone about which country they’re from, you would just add じん (jin | 人) to the end of their country name. So someone from America would be an アメリカじん (amerikajin), and someone from England would be an イギリスじん (igirisujin). If you’re from Canada:

EnglishHiraganaRomaji
Are you Canadian?あなたはカナダじんですか。anata wa kanadajin desu ka?
Yes, I am from Canada.はい、カナダじんです。hai, kanadajin desu.

When you’re talking about yourself and your home country, you can either add じん (jin | 人) to the end of the country name, or you could add しゅっしん (shusshin) to the end of the country name.

What’s your nationality? Let us know in the comment section!

What does しゅっしん (shusshin) mean?

The Japanese word しゅっしん (shusshin) refers to where you were born and can refer to your home country or even hometown. It’s very common for Japanese people to use this when talking about where they’re from. If you’re from England or Great Britain:

EnglishHiraganaRomaji
Where are you from? / Where is your hometown?しゅっしん は どこ です か。shusshin wa doko desu ka?
I'm from England.イギリス しゅっしん です。igirisu shusshin desu.

“Foreigner” in Japanese

As we mentioned above, when you refer to a foreigner in Japanese, simply add じん (jin) at the end of がいこく (gaikoku | 外国). It’s common for locals to ask foreigners about this, especially when they’re curious. For example:

EnglishHiraganaRomaji
Are you a foreigner?あなたはがいこくじんですか。anata wa gaikokujin desu ka?
Yes, I am a foreigner.はい、がいこくじんです。hai, gaikokujin desu.

“Language” in Japanese

The word “language” is げんご (gengo | 言語) in Japanese. If you’re talking about a language that belongs to a country, you simply add ご (go | 語 ) to the end of the country name. For example, Japanese is にほんご (nihongo | 日本語)English is えいご (eigo), and French would be フランスご (furansugo).

Languages in Japanese

List of Different Languages in Japanese

Here are some other examples of other languages:

Country - LanguageHiraganaRomaji
South Korea – Koreanかんこくごkankokugo
Spain/Mexico – Spanish スペインごsupeingo
China – Chineseちゅうごくごchuugokugo
Italy – Italianイタリアごitariago
New Zealandニュージーランドごnyu-ji-randogo
Germany – Germanドイツごdoitsugo
Portugal/Brazil – Portugueseポルトガルごporutogarugo
Malaysia – Malayマレーシアごmareshiago
India – Hindiヒンディごhindigo
Russia – Russianロシアごroshiago

Country Names in Japanese

Let’s go over some country names in Japanese now. That said, some country names are almost always written in kanji. Countries like:

CountryHiraganaKanjiRomaji
Japanにほん日本nihon
Chinaち ゅ うごく中国chuugoku
South Korea かんこく韓国kankoku
North Koreaきたちょうせん北朝鮮kitachousen
Taiwanたいわん台湾taiwan

Aside from these, there are a few countries that have these dual katakana/kanji names, but the kanji are rarely spoken to, to the point where they’re a little obscure.

CountryKatakana - RomajiKanji - Romaji
United States of Americaアメリカ - amerika米国 - beikoku
Englandイギリス - igirisu英国 - eikoku
Australiaオーストラリア - osutoraria豪州 - gosho
Franceフランス - furansu仏国 - fukkoku

You’ll often see their kanji names in newspapers or magazines where page space might be limited. While most sound very similar to their English counterpart, some are notably different. These are the countries:

CountryKatakana/HiraganaRomaji
Germanyドイツdoitsu
Turkeyトルコtoruko
United Arab Emiratesアラブ しゅちょうこくれんぽうarabu shuchoukokurenpou
Czech Republicチェコcheko
Belgiumベルギberugi

One good thing about learning country names in Japanese is that most are usually written in katakana. Here’s a trick: if it’s written in katakana, try to read it out loud, and you’ll often be able to recognize it as close to the English equivalent.

Complete list of countries in Japanese

Below, we’ve included a list of other country names and their Japanese name equivalent.

EnglishKatakana/HiraganaRomaji
Afghanistanアフガニスタンafuganisutan
Albaniaアルバニアarubania
Algeriaアルジェリアarujeria
Andorraアンドラandora
Angolaアンゴラangora
Antigua and Barbudaアンティグア | バーブーダantigua baabuuda
Argentinaアルゼンチンaruzenchin
Armeniaアルメニアarumenia
Australiaオーストラリアo-sutoraria
Austriaオーストリアo-sutoria
Bahamasバハマbahama
Bahrainバーレーンba-ren
Bangladeshバングラデシュbanguradeshu
Barbadosバルバドスbarubadosu
Belarusベラルーシberarushi
Belgiumベルギーberugi-
Belizeベリーズberi-zu
Beninベニンbenin
Bhutanブータンbu-tan
Boliviaボリビアboribia
Bosnia and Herzegovinaボスニア | ヘルツェゴビナbosuniya | herutsegobina
Botswanaボツワナbotsuwana
Brazilブラジルburajiru
Bruneiブルネイburunei
Burkina Fasoブルキナファソburukinafaso
Bulgariaブルガリアburugaria
Burundiブルンジburunji
Cambodiaカンボジアkanbojia
Cameroonカメルーンkameru-n
Canadaカナダkanada
Cape Verdeカーボベルデka-boberude
Central African Republicちゅうおうアフリカ きょう わ こくchuuou afurika kyou wa-koku
Chadチャドchado
Chileチリchiri
Chinaち ゅ うごくchuugoku
Colombiaコロンビアkoronbia
Comorosコモロkomoro
Congoコンゴ きょう わ こくkongo kyou wa-koku
Cook Islandsクックしょとうkukkushotou
Costa Ricaコスタリカkosutarika
Croatiaクロアチアkuroachia
Cubaキューバkyu-ba
Cyprusキプロスkipurosu
Czechチェコcheko
Denmarkデンマークdenma-ku
Dominican Republicドミニカ きょう わ こくdominika kyou wa-koku
Ecuadorエクアドルekuadoru
England / Great Britainイギリスigirisu
Egyptエジプトejiputo
El Salvadorエルサルバドルeru sarubadoru
Estoniaエストニアesutonia
Eithiopiaエチオピアechiopia
Fijiフィジーfiji-
Finlandフィンランドfinrando
Franceフランスfuransu
Gambiaガンビアganbia
Germanyドイツdoitsu
Ghanaガーナga-na
Greeceギリシャgirisha
Greenlandグリーンランドguri-nrando
Guatemalaグアテマラguatemara
Guineaギニアginia
Haitiハイチhaichi
Holland / The Netherlandsオランダoranda
Hondurasホンジェラスhonjerasu
Hong Kongホンコンhonkon
Hungaryハンガリーhangari-
Icelandアイスランドaisurando
Indiaインドindo
Indonesiaインドネシアindoneshia
Iranイランi-ran
Iraqイラクiraku
Irelandアイルランドairurando
Israelイスラエルisuraeru
Italyイタリアitaria
Jamaicaジャマイカjamaika
Jordanヨルダンyorudan
Kenyaケニアkenia
Kosovoコソボkosobo
Kuwaitクウェートkuwe-to
Laosラオスraosu
Latviaラトビアratobia
Lebanonレバノンrebanon
Liberiaリベリアriberia
Libyaリビアribia
Lithuaniaリトアニアritoania
Luxembourgルクセンブルクrukusenburuku
Madagascarマダガスカルmadagasukaru
Malawiマラウィmarawi
Malaysiaマレーシアmare-shia
Maltaマルタmaruta
Maldivesモルディブmorudibu
Mauritiusモーリシャスmo-rishasu
Mexicoメキシコmekishiko
Moldovaモルドバmorudoba
Monacoモナコmonako
Mongoliaモンゴルmongoru
Moroccoモロッコmorokko
Mozambiqueモザンビークmozanbi-ku
Myanmarミャンマーmyanma-
Nepalネパールnepa-ru
New Guineaニューギニアnyu-ginia
New Zealandニュージーランドnyu-ji-rando
Nicaraguaニカラグアnikaragua
Nigeriaナイジェリアnaijeria
North Koreaきたちょうせんkitachousen
Norwayノルウェーnoruwe-
Omanオーマンo-man
Pakistanパキスタンpakisutan
Palestineパレスチナparesuchina
Panamaパナマpanama
Papua New Guineaパプアニューギニアpapuanyu-ginia
Paraguayパラグアイparaguai
Peruペルーperu-
Philippinesフィリピンfiripin
Polandポーランドpo-rando
Portugalポルトガルporutogaru
Qatarカタールkata-ru
Romaniaルーマニアru-mania
Russiaロシアroshia
Rwandaルワンダruwanda
Saudi ArabiaサウジアラビアSaujiarabia
Scotlandスコットランドsukottorando
Senegalセネガルsenegaru
Serbiaセルビアserubia
Seychellesセイシェルseisheru
Singaporeシンガポールshingapo-ru
Slovakiaスロバキアsurobakia
Sloveniaスロベニアsurobenia
Solomon Islandsソロモンしょとうsoromon shotou
Somaliaソマリアsomaria
South Africaみなみアフリカminamiafurika
Spainスペインsupein
Sri Lankaスリランカsuri ranka
Sudanスーダンsu-dan
Swedenスウェーデンsuwe-den
Switzerlandスイスsuisu
Syriaシリアshiria
Tahitiタヒチtahichi
Taiwanたいわんtaiwan
Tanzaniaタンザニアtanzania
Thailandタイtai
Tunisiaチュニジアchunijia
Turkeyトルコtoruko
Ugandaウガンダuganda
Ukraineウクライナukuraina
United Arab Emiratesアラブしゅちょうこくarabu shuchou koku
United Sates of Americaアメリカamerika
Uruguayウルグアイuruguai
Vaticanバチカンbachikan
Venezuelaベネズエラbenezuera
Vietnamベトナムbetonamu
Walesウェールズwe-ruzu
Yemenイエメンiemen
Zambiaザンビアzanbia
Zimbabweジンバブエjinbabue

Extra things to know about countries in Japanese

Below is additional vocabulary related to “countries” in Japanese.

Extra things to know

“World” in Japanese

The word “world” in Japanese is せかい (sekai | 世界). The word せかい (sekai) originally came from Buddhism. Today, it just refers to the world we live in. If you want to greet your group of friends in a fun way, you can say:

せかいのみなさん、こんにちは! (sekai no minasan, konnichiwa!)

Meaning: Hello, people of the world!

“Continent” in Japanese

The word for “continent” in Japanese is (tairiku | 大陸). Also, you may not need them as often, but it’s good to know the names of continents in Japanese. Plus, you can add these to your Japanese vocabulary. These are:

ContinentHiragana/KatakanaRomaji
North Americaきたアメリカkita amerika
South Americaみなみアメリカminami amerika
Europeヨーロッパyo-roppa
Africaアフリカafurika
Asiaアジアajia
Antarcticaなんきょくnankyoku
Australiaオーストラリアo-sutoraria

While these are not an actual continent but more of a geographical region, “Oceania” in Japanese is called oseania (オセアニア), while the Arctic circle or North pole is called hokkyoku (北極).

Why is America called beikoku?

The Japanese name for the U.S.A is べ い こく(beikoku | 米国), but it’s also commonly called アメリカ (amerika). Interestingly, the literal translation of the kanji used for beikoku is “rice country,” but the name is not actually related to rice at all. The kanji is actually a shortened version of a very old way of phonetically writing amerika.

At some point, the pronunciation of the kanji changed so that it’s now pronounced beikoku. In everyday life, though, beikoku is hardly ever used, and it is much more common to use amerika. Why do you think they gave this particular country a name that means rice? Comment down below!

“Prefecture” in Japan

The word “prefecture” in Japanese is けん (ken | 県). Japan doesn’t have states or provinces similar to other countries. Instead, they have prefectures.

The word “state” or “province” in Japanese is シュウ (shuu | 州).

Prefectures are Japan’s administrative districts. The 47 prefectures were created in the early Meiji Period to replace the old feudal kingdoms, which had been ruled by feudal lords known as daimyo. The prefecture with the highest population density is Tokyo, while Tottori has the smallest.

Wrap Up

And that’s it for the country names in Japanese! If we missed your country, leave a comment, and we’ll gladly add it. Now that you’ve reached this part, we want to ask: where are you from? Answer using the Japanese language! We know you can do it.

If you’d like to know more Japanese words, how about learning the Japanese nouns next?

がんばってください! (Ganbatte kudasai!) ^^

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