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 the Far East. 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 Hokkaidō.
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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, and Shikoku) and many minor ones. The term Mainland Japan is also sometimes used to translate Honshū, the largest island.
- Karafuto Prefecture (after 1943)
- Chishima Islands
- Izu Islands
- Ogasawara Islands
- Minor outlying islands around them
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 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.
- Japanese page about Mainland Japan (内地, Inland)
- Japanese page about Mainland Japan (内地, Inland) and page about Gaichi 外地
- Nakano Bunko 中野文庫. "Kyōtsūhō 共通法" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on December 23, 2014. Retrieved December 10, 2011.
- "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 November 13, 2007. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
MILT classification 6,852 islands（main islands: 5 islands, remote islands: 6,847 islands)