Mainland Japan (内地, 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 Okinawa or Hokkaidō.

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

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 (Hokkaidō, Honshū, Kyūshū, Shikoku) and many minor ones. The term mainland Japan is also sometimes used to translate Honshū, the largest island.

Historical usageEdit

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 (外地, lit. "outer lands").

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

NaichiEdit

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

GaichiEdit

These territories were called gaichi (外地, 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 usageEdit

The residents of Hokkaidō 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 Hokkaidō, the official term that refers to Japan except Hokkaidō is Dōgai (lit. outside of Hokkaidō). With Dōgai 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 alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Japanese page about Mainland Japan (内地, Inland)
  2. ^ Japanese page about Mainland Japan (内地, Inland) and page about Gaichi 外地
  3. ^ Nakano Bunko 中野文庫. "Kyōtsūhō 共通法" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on December 23, 2014. Retrieved December 10, 2011.
  4. ^ "離島とは(島の基礎知識) (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 July 13, 2007. Retrieved August 9, 2019. MILT classification 6,852 islands(main islands: 5 islands, remote islands: 6,847 islands)