East Asia or Eastern Asia (the latter form preferred solely by the United Nations) is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms. Geographically and geopolitically, it covers about 12,000,000 km2 (4,600,000 sq mi), or about 28% of the Asian continent, about 15% bigger than the area of Europe.
More than 1.5 billion people, about 38% of the population of Asia and 22% or over one fifth of all the people in the world, live in East Asia. The region is one of the world's most populated places, with a population density of 133 inhabitants per square kilometre (340 /sq mi), being about three times the world average of 45 /km2 (120 /sq mi), although Mongolia has the lowest population density of a sovereign state. Using the UN subregion definitions, it ranks second in population only to Southern Asia.
Historically, many societies in East Asia have been part of the Chinese cultural sphere, and East Asian vocabulary and scripts are often derived from Classical Chinese and Chinese script. Sometimes Northeast Asia is used to denote Japan and Korea. Major religions include Buddhism (mostly Mahayana), Confucianism or Neo-Confucianism, Taoism, Chinese folk religion in China, Shinto in Japan, Taoism in Taiwan, Shamanism in Korea, Mongolia and other indigenous populations of northern East Asia, and recently Christianity in South Korea. The Chinese Calendar is the root from which many other East Asian calendars are derived.
The Japanese people (日本人, Nihonjin, Nipponjin?) are a nationality originating in the Japanese archipelago and are the predominant ethnic group of Japan. Ethnic Japanese make up 98.5% of the total population. Worldwide, approximately 130 million people are of Japanese descent; of these, approximately 127 million are residents of Japan. People of Japanese ancestry who live in other countries are referred to as nikkeijin (日系人?). The term ethnic Japanese may also be used in some contexts to refer to a locus of ethnic groups including the Yamato, Ainu and Ryukyuan people.