Mainland Japan
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Mainland Japan

Mainland Japan
Native name:
Passports for passengers between Mainland Japan and Okinawa during 1952-1972.jpg
Passports for passengers between Mainland Japan and Okinawa during 1952-1972.
Ethnic groupsJapanese people

Mainland Japan (, naichi, lit. "inner lands") is a term to distinguish the area of Japan from its outlying territories. It was an official term in the pre-war period, distinguishing Japan and the colonies in East Asia. After the end of World War II, the term became uncommon, but still is used as an unofficial term to distinguish the area of Japan from the Ryukyu Islands or Hokkaid?.

The literal Japanese meaning might best be translated as inner Japan or inner lands. The term "mainland" is an inaccurate translation because mainland is usually the continental part of a region, as opposed to the islands.

It is also somewhat confusing as Mainland Japan is defined to consist of several major islands (Hokkaid?, Honsh?, Ky?sh?, Shikoku) and many minor ones. The term mainland Japan is also sometimes used to translate Honsh?, the largest island.

Historical usage

In the Japanese Empire of the pre-war period, naichi referred to the mainland of the empire. The other territories of the empire was called gaichi (, lit. "outer lands").

The Meiji Constitution's Article 1 of the Common Law () enumerates the territories with legal jurisdictions namely:


Naichi (, mainland) were the territories under direct control of the government. It consisted of the following:[1][]


These territories were called gaichi (, lit. "outer lands"). They were part of the Empire of Japan, but not under direct control by the central government.[2]

Although it has never been abolished, the Common Law lost effect from enforcement after Japan lost all the former colonies, or gaichi as a result of World War II.

Modern usage

The residents of Hokkaid? and Okinawa occasionally use naichi to refer to the "mainland", excluding these areas. The colloquial usage is officially "incorrect", as both areas are legally within naichi. In Hokkaid?, the official term that refers to Japan except Hokkaid? is D?gai (lit. outside of Hokkaid?). With D?gai becoming common even in colloquial use, naichi ceases to be used.

The term "main islands" is used for Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku and Okinawa. The other estimated 6,847 smaller islands are called 'remote islands'.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Japanese page about Mainland Japan (, Inland)
  2. ^ Japanese page about Mainland Japan (, Inland) and page about Gaichi
  3. ^ Nakano Bunko ?. "Ky?ts?h? " (in Japanese). Archived from the original on December 23, 2014. Retrieved 2011.
  4. ^ "?() (what is a remote island?)". MLIT (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism) (in Japanese). Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. August 22, 2015. Archived from the original (website) on November 13, 2007. Retrieved 2019. MILT classification 6,852 islands(main islands: 5 islands, remote islands: 6,847 islands)

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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