Japan (Japanese: 日本 Nippon or Nihon; formally 日本国 Nippon-koku or Nihon-koku, “State of Japan”) is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south. The Kanji that make up Japan’s name mean “sun origin”. Japanese people refer to themselves as Nihonjin and to their language as Nihongo. Both Nippon and Nihon mean “sun-origin” and are often translated as Land of the Rising Sun. The term comes from Japanese missions to Imperial China and refers to Japan’s eastward position relative to China. Before Nihon came into official use, Japan was known as Wa or Wakoku.