The four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku, which make up about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area and often are referred to as home islands.
Countries like Japan whose long form does not contain a descriptive designation are generally given a name appended by the character koku A Paleolithic culture around 30,000 BC constitutes the first known habitation of the Japanese archipelago.
This was followed from around 14,000 BC (the start of the Jōmon period) by a Mesolithic to Neolithic semi-sedentary hunter-gatherer culture characterized by pit dwelling and rudimentary agriculture, Decorated clay vessels from this period are some of the oldest surviving examples of pottery in the world.
This name may have its origin in a letter sent in 607 and recorded in the official history of the Sui dynasty.
Prince Shōtoku, the Regent of Japan, sent a mission to China with a letter in which he called himself "the Emperor of the Land where the Sun rises" (日出處天子). is a homophone of Wo 倭 (pronounced "Wa" by the Japanese), which has been used by the Chinese as a designation for the Japanese as early as the third century Three Kingdoms period.
Buddhism was introduced to Japan from Baekje, Korea and was promoted by Prince Shōtoku, but the subsequent development of Japanese Buddhism was primarily influenced by China.
The Nara period (710–784) marked an emergence of the centralized Japanese state centered on the Imperial Court in Heijō-kyō (modern Nara).
or Nihon-koku, meaning "State of Japan") is a sovereign island nation in East Asia.
Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian mainland and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and China in the southwest.
The earliest record of the name Nihon appears in the Chinese historical records of the Tang dynasty, the Old Book of Tang.