Sawako Agawa Photo: YouTube
entertainment

Japanese essayist, TV newscaster Sawako Agawa announces first marriage at 63

26 Comments

Prominent Japanese essayist and TV caster Sawako Agawa, 63, announced Wednesday that she has married a former university professor in early May. This is Agawa’s first marriage.

Agawa made the announcement in a fax message sent to the media, saying that although she doesn’t believe her “advanced age marriage is newsworthy,” she wanted to announce it to the media, because as a TV personality and an essayist, she is always in the position of interviewing people and “it isn’t fair not to say anything about (herself).”

Agawa, who is the daughter of the prominent Japanese novelist Hiroyuki Agawa, is well known in Japan for her long and successful TV career as a newscaster and commentator, as well as her numerous books and essays, including the 2012 megaseller “Kiku Chikara” (The Skill To Listen). She is currently on six regular TV programs, including Takeshi Kitano’s “Beat Takeshi’s TV Tackle” and “Sawako no Asa,” her own Saturday morning talk show, and is a regular writer for the weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun, for which she has conducted over 1,000 interviews with a number of high-profile individuals.

In her message to the media, Agawa revealed that her husband is 69, six years her senior, and is a former university professor, who though, now retired, is still partially involved with academic work. “We laugh at weird things and at times we confront each other, but we hope that we will enjoy peaceful post-retirement years together,” Agawa wrote in her message.

“As we are both taking care of our elderly parents and are preoccupied with work, we have no plans for a wedding party or a ceremony, but we submitted the marriage documents to the city hall and (I’m starting) to get used to married life,” she wrote. “Changing your surname is very complicated — I didn’t know that until now,” she added referring to completing all procedures of changing her surname on official documents following the marriage, including bank accounts, health insurance and driver's license. In Japan, married couples are required by law to share the same surname, with women being the ones to predominantly take their husbands’ names upon marriage.

The fax ended with a paragraph on her expectations of the marriage, saying, “I hope we will take good care of each other’s health, play golf as long as our legs and backs allow, eat delicious food, continue laughing at odd things, and spend the rest of our lives peacefully.”

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26 Comments
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 In Japan, women are required by law to take their husband’s name upon marriage.

This is inaccurate.

In Japan, married couples are required to share the same family name. (The man can take the woman's name.)

Congratulations to the couple. I hope that know that this essayist / TV personality with plenty of opportunities to express thoughts and articulate opinions will further spread the message of how inconvenient it is, especially for someone who has built a name for herself (or himself) in her/his career, to have to change names to comply with some ridiculously out-dated rules.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

"In Japan, women are required by law to take their husband’s name upon marriage."

Hiw is it a writer for this site can get such a fundrmental thing wrong? In the case of two Japanese people marrying they are required to choose and use one or the other surname for all legal/official purposes. It can be the surname of either the husband or wife. This law does not apply to cases of a Japanese married to a non-Japanese.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Looking very good for 63. Congratulations Sawako.

No middle names in Japan.

My bank insists on having my full name, middle name included, on all my accounts. It means there are too many characters for the computer to handle and all the bank books etc., have to be handled at the counter - I can't just send them through the ATM to get a new one issued when they're full.

Same with my tax returns - too long for the computer, I have to print out the forms and then add my name by hand.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

In Japan, married couples are required to share the same family name. (The man can take the woman's name.)

Unless the spouse is a foreigner. In that case it is not a requirement

4 ( +4 / -0 )

wishing them both happiness and bliss. congratulations.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

My J-Wife kept her surname after we married, we met & married overseas during our travels.

No problems, know a few J-Ladies who still use their maiden name.

Anyway best of luck to the couple.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

My J-Wife kept her surname after we married, we met & married overseas during our travels.

No problems, know a few J-Ladies who still use their maiden name.

Women who marry foreigners are allowed to keep their maiden name. It's an exception written into the law.

Women who are using their maiden names while married to a Japanese man are doing so informally, it's not a legal name.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

My wife just used her last name for her middle name when we got married. So that way she kep her family name.

Are you overseas? No middle names in Japan.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Cleo, you are so right! I also hate how at the hosptial, dentist, etc., they always call out my full name when its time to pay or see the doctor. I have two middle names, and decided to drop one, since it was such a pain in the neck! As for the bank, they are now finally able to print my name on the bank book, without having to write it by hand.

Good luck to her and her husband. Its nice to know you can find love at any age.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Hope I still look that good 10 years from now.

Spouses can only share one name on a family register. It is most often the husband's, but can be the wife's. Legal documents such as bank accounts must follow the family name on their register. How they refer to themselves in society, though, is up to them. Many women I know have been married for years but have never used their husband's family name except for legal purposes.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My Partner little Brother recently Married and legally took on the Wife's Family name. Reason why is there only one Male living and 2 females, her and her mother. The grandfather 79 and has a large estate and businesses. His Father was totally against it but end up coming around, Probably because he realised how wealthy the old man is but it upset the house hold for months.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In Japan, women are required by law to take their husband’s name upon marriage.

Not if they marry an impure foreigner. If two Japanese marry they have to share one surname though as taj mentions either name is fine. Women can keep their maiden name at many companies but legally this is still impossible. Thanks to the rank and file troglodytes in the LDP.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Bravo to both of them. She looks 43 in photo. Good genes.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"It's not newsworthy, except that I felt it was newsworthy"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Strangerland May 18  05:55 pm JST

My wife just used her last name for her middle name when we got married. So that way she kep her family name.

Are you overseas? No middle names in Japan.

cleo May 18  07:45 pm JST

No middle names in Japan.

My bank insists on having my full name, middle name included, on all my accounts. It means there are too many characters for the computer to handle and all the bank books etc., have to be handled at the counter - I can't just send them through the ATM to get a new one issued when they're full.

Same with my tax returns - too long for the computer, I have to print out the forms and then add my name by hand.

========

Maybe I a misunderstanding. Which is correct? From my USAF days, I think Cleo is correct.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

HaiDesu - I think we're both right!

I assume Strangerland is referring to Japanese citizens, who do not have middle names - and if they give themselves one, I'm pretty sure it just gets studiously ignored by officialdom.

Pesky foreigners on the other hand, are notorious for having long, rambling hard-to-pronounce katakana names, and officialdom insists on making sure they get it exactly right. For years I trundled along using only my surname and one given name and nobody bothered, until the ore-ore scams came along and the banks were instructed to make sure only bona fide people had bona fide accounts. That means the name on your passport, however long it may be. And written in ABC. (I wonder, is it only ABC? Anyone here with a bank account, passport and name in some other alphabet? Cyrillic? Arabic? How does Japanese officialdom handle your name? Now my curiosity has been tickled....)

Then when I went to the tax people with my request for a refund into my account, they insisted I re-register myself so that my taxes and bank account were obviously the same person. Then all the people who pay me and pay PAYE on my behalf also needed my full, official name... and so it spreads.

zichi - Your name on your passport is in kanji? How many official heads exploded when you registered your name?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You can register additional names(Kanji, etc) but need to show proof that you are actually using it like correspondence, etc.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

zichi, that's interesting. I registered my shortened kanji/katakana name with the local yakuba and had it noted on my gaijintorokusho, but the bank still insisted my accounts had to follow my passport. I'm also self-employed, but the tax people still want to use my 'official' English name.

Confirms my impression that Japanese officialdom often makes things up as it goes along.....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

She's probably using the Jeunesse Product line.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Congratulations madam. The marriage is a bridge of friendship and understanding after certain age.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

My wife just used her last name for her middle name when we got married. So that way she kep her family name.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

As we are both taking care of our elderly parents and are preoccupied with work, we have no plans for a wedding party or a ceremony,

As a foreigner, I find this reason pretty strange to not celebrate your wedding, apparently enough time to PR about it, but then, in japan.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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