Passports for passengers between Mainland Japan and Okinawa during 1952-1972.
|Ethnic groups||Japanese 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.
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:
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.
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.
MILT classification 6,852 islands(main islands: 5 islands, remote islands: 6,847 islands)