Why is Nissin pronounced ‘nisshin’?
There is no distinction between the pronunciation of ’si’ and ’shi’ in Japanese- it could be anywhere between the two but usually sounds like ’shi’ to an English speaker. Which spelling is used to spell that Japanese sound in English depends on which spelling system is used.
Atari — named from the board game Go. “Atari” is a Japanese word to describe a position where an opponent’s stones are in danger of being captured. It is similar, though not identical, to “check” in chess. The original games company was American but wanted a Japanese-sounding name.
Bridgestone — named after founder Shojiro Ishibashi. The surname Ishibashi (ﾎｴ) means “stone bridge”, or “bridge of stone”.
Canon — Originally (1933) Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory the new name (1935) derived from the name of the company’s first camera, the Kwanon, in turn named after the Japanese name of the Buddhist bodhisattva of mercy. (In Japanese it is still always pronounced with the first sounds as kya- kyanon)
Casio — from the name of its founder, Kashio Tadao, who had set up the company Kashio Seisakujo as a subcontractor factory. (In Japanese it is usually pronounced with sh sound- Cashio- as the sounds si and shi are indistinguishable in Japanese).
Daihatsu — from Japanese Kanji, where Dai means “car” and Hatsu means “first”.
Datsun — first called DAT, from the initials of its financiers Den, Aoyama and Takeuchi. Soon changed to DATSON to imply a smaller version of their original car, then (as SON can means “loss” in Japanese) again to DATSUN when they were acquired by Nissan.
Epson — Epson Seiko Corporation, the Japanese printer and peripheral manufacturer, was named from “Son of Electronic Printer”
Hitachi — old place name, literally “sunrise”
JAL — from Japan Airlines
JVC — Japan Victor Company
Kawasaki — from the name of its founder, Shozo Kawasaki (Kawasaki is a very common family name that comes from the kanji “Kawa” meaning river and “saki” meaning cape, which explains why Kawasaki the company has no connection to Kawasaki the much ignored city between Yokohama and Tokyo).
Komatsu — Japanese construction vehicle manufacturer named from the city of Komatsu, Ishikawa, where it was founded in 1917. Konica — it was earlier known as Konishiroku Kogaku. Konishiroku in turn is the short for Konishiya Rokubeiten which was the first name of the company established by Rokusaburo Sugiura in the 1850s
Korg — named from the surnames of the founders, Tsutomu Katoh and Tadashi Osanai, combined with the letters “rg” from the word organ.
Kyocera — from Kyoto Ceramics, after Kyoto in Japan.
Mazda Motor Corporation — the company was founded as Toyo Kogyo, started manufacturing Mazda brand cars in 1931, and changed its name to Mazda in 1984. The cars were supposedly named after Ahura Mazda, the chief deity of the Zoroastrians, though many think this explanation was created after the fact, to cover up what is simply a poor anglicized version of the founders name, Jujiro Matsuda. This theory is supported by the fact that the company is referred to only as “Matsuda” in Japan.
Mitsubishi — the name Mitsubishi (OH) has two parts: mitsu means three and hishi (changing to bishi in the middle of the word) means diamond (the shape). Hence, the three diamond logo. (Note that “diamond” in this context refers only to the rhombus shape, not to the precious gem.)
Nikon — the original name was Nippon Kogaku, meaning “Japanese Optical”.
Nintendo — Nintendo is the transliteration of the company’s Japanese name, nintendou (CVｰ). The first two (nin-ten) can be translated to “entrusted to heaven”; dou is a common ending meaning “hall” or “store”.
Nissan — the company was earlier known by the name Nippon Sangyo which means “Japanese industry”.
Sanyo — meaning three oceans in Japanese.
SEGA — Service Games of Japan was founded by Marty Bromley (an American) to import pinball games to Japan for use on American military bases.
Seiko — Seiko, now referred to in katakana as ZCR[(“seiko”), was originally named in kanji as ｸH(also “seiko”). The two characters were taken from the phrase uｸIﾅｸｧﾈvﾌｶYﾉｬｷHv, the company’s vision which roughly translates to “a factoryiH:kojyojthat successfullyiｬ:seikojproducesiｶY:seisanjexquisitiｸI:seikojand preciseiｸｧ:seimitsujwatches”.
Sharp — Japanese consumer electronics company named from its first product, an ever-sharp pencil.
Sony — from the Latin word ‘sonus’ meaning sound, and ‘sonny’ a slang word used by Americans to refer to a bright youngster, “since we were sonny boys working in sound and vision”, said Akio Morita. The company was founded as Tokyo Tsoshiu Kogyo KK (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation) in 1946, and changed its name to Sony in 1958. Sony was chosen as it could be pronounced easily in many languages.
Subaru — from the Japanese name for the constellation known to Westerners as Pleiades or the Seven Sisters. Subaru was formed from a merger of seven other companies, and the constellation is featured on the company’s logo.
Suzuki — from the name of its founder, Michio Suzuki.
Toyota — from the name of the founder, Sakichi Toyoda. Initially called Toyeda, it was changed after a contest for a better-sounding name. The new name was written in katakana with eight strokes, a number that is considered lucky in Japan.
Almost all from this Wikipedia page at the mo’, but will be working on it