This study concerns the definition of carcinoma of the gastric cardia. The topography of the esophagogastric mucosal junction (mucosal EGJ) was investigated with an endoscope in 182 patients who were free of hiatal hernias, ulcers, and neoplasms in the esophagus and stomach. The relationship between the EGJ and the cardiac gland area was then examined histologically in 56 resected specimens containing intact EGJs and cardia gland areas. Furthermore the cancerous center was determined; the shortest distance between the cancerous center and the EGJ and the amount of esophageal invasion were measured in 102 resected carcinomas located close to the junction; the carcinomas contained the EGJ and were good enough for pathohistological examination. The EGJ was located 0.5 - 1.0 cm proximal to the His angle (the gastric cardia) in radiological and endoscopic examinations. Histologically the cardiac gland area was found to straddle the EGJ at a range of about 1 cm proximal and 2 cm distal to the junction. Among the upper stomach carcinomas, most of the tumors (87.5%) whose center was located within 2 cm from the EGJ invaded the esophagus. In conclusion, carcinoma of the gastric cardia is defined as a lesion with its center located within 1 cm proximal and 2 cm distal to the EGJ.