Mount Fuji Name - Variations

Fuji-san is sometimes referred to as Fuji Yama in some Western texts, because the third character of its name, 山 meaning mountain, can also be pronounced "yama". However, this name is obsolete in Japan. In fact, the Japanese phrase "Fujiyama, geisha" means the Japan that is misunderstood by the West. The suffix - san, meaning a mountain, has nothing to do with the Japanese title -san used for people.

Other Japanese names for Mt. Fuji, which have become obsolete or poetic, include Fuji-no-Yama (ふじの山, the Mountain of Fuji), Fuji-no-Takane (ふじの高嶺, the High Peak of Fuji), Fuyō-hō (芙蓉峰, the Lotus Peak), and Fu-gaku (富岳 or 富嶽, the first character of 富士, Fuji, and 岳, mountain).

Mount Fuji Etymology

The current kanji for Mt. Fuji, 富 and 士, mean wealth or abundant and warrior respectively, but it is likely these characters were applied to the already existent pronunciation.

The origin of the name Fuji is unclear, but it has been associated throughout history with various Chinese characters according to folk etymologies. One of the earlier folk etymologies claims that Fuji came from 不二 (not + two), meaning without equal or nonpareil. Another folk etymology claims that it came from 不尽 (not + exhaust), meaning neverending.

Perhaps the most popular folk etymology is the one that claims that the mountain's name means abounding with warriors, written with the Chinese characters 富士 (abundant or wealthy + warrior). See The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter.

Yet another folk etymology links the name to the Ainu huci, which has been proven wrong by linguists but still survives in non-academic sources.

Mt Fuji from Fujiyoshida
Mt Fuji from Fujiyoshida

(Article based on Wikipedia article and used under the GNU Free Documentation License)



Share This Page

Follow GoJapanGo for Daily Pictures and Tips