Word Origin & History
1577, via Port. Japao, Du. Japan, acquired in Malacca from Malay Japang, from Chinese jih pun "sunrise" (equivalent of Japanese Nippon), from jih "sun" + pun "origin." Earliest form in Europe was Marco Polo's Chipangu. Colloquial abbreviation Jap is from 1880, not originally pejorative but became so
during World War II. Cultural contact led to japaning "coat with laquer or varnish" (1688), along with japonaiserie (1896, from Fr.), japonica (1819, from variant Japon), etc. Japanese beetle attested from 1919, accidentally introduced in U.S. 1916 in larval stage in a shipment of Japanese iris. Japlish "Japanese with many Eng. words" is from 1960.