In Arabic citations his name is normally given as Yafet Ibn Nuh (Japhet son of Noah).
As Shem was Noah's first-born son, the Jewish people deemed themselves to be his descendants (hence 'Semitic'). Their enemies were said to have been descended from Ham, the outcast son (hence 'Hamitic'). With the adoption of of the Bible in Europe, Japheth was taken by European Christians to be the father of the Europeans. Hence the term 'Japhetic' was formerly used to refer to European peoples. The term was also applied by pre-Darwinian writers to what later became known as the Indo-European language group.