Foreigners are 外国人。Can a Japanese person, living in Japan, be referred to as a 内国人?

  • Could I use the term if referring to citizens of a country? – Jack Bosma Jul 9 '18 at 17:56

If you are asking whether the antonym of 外国人 is 内国人, technically I must say yes, except that this term is rarely used. (Generally, the term 内国 now only survives in a few words that were coined in 19th century e.g. 内国郵便 or 内国民待遇.)

A person living in the country of their nationality would be more likely called 自国民 or 自国人 (民 more like the government referring to their nations), or 国民, if there is no confusion from the context. You can also say 同国人, which is what someone calls whoever of the same nationality.

In actual Japanese sphere, which is mostly composed of Japanese nationals, who is not 外国人 is usually called 日本人 or (日本)国民. There is a word 邦人, which is practically only used for Japanese expats.


No, but people who live in Hokkaido and Okinawa call people who live in Japan except Hokkaido and Okinawa 内地の人 or 内地人. People who live in Okinawa call people who live in Japan except Okinawa 本土の人 as well.

  • is that because they feel in some way not-Japanese? Is it a derogatory expression, or exalting, or simply recognizing a difference without attaching any positive or negative nuance? – ericfromabeno Jul 9 '18 at 16:21
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    内地 was used for a word that meant Japan except Hokkaido and Okinawa during the era of Meiji Constitution. I am not sure about that because I have never lived in Okinawa. Some old people in Okinawa may use it as a derogatory term, but most of them just may distinguish between them and Japanese people except them, because Okinawa was an independent country about 400 years ago. – Yuuichi Tam Jul 9 '18 at 16:52

That word exists but they don't use it at all. Japanese sometimes refer to other Japanese as 邦人{ほうじん}, especially on the news, but when referring to themselves they just say 日本人.


No, you will always hear about a Japanese person specifically referred to as a 日本人{にほんじん}. Similarly, you'll hear about people of specific countries referred to as (country)人{じん}.



Chinese person

Note: While 内国人does exist in the dictionary, I doubt you will hear it very often (if ever).


the word 同国民{どうこくみん} exists, but I think it is used more often to refer to groups of people of other countries, for example in news stories connecting them to other people from the same country. If it is used in Japan, it seems like it'd be a very "political" form of speech.

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