Japan- is a shimaguni, also known as an island country. It consists of four main islands: Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu as well as thousands of smaller ones including Okinawa. The Sea of Japan separates the Japanese archipelago (island chains) from the Asian continent. The Japanese people call their country "Nihon" or "Nippon", which means "the origin of the Sun" in Japanese. Japan is a monarchy whose head of state is called the Emperor.