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Gov't to start using 'family name first' order from Jan 1

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The use of the family-name-first order was proposed by Defense Minister Taro Kono and former education minister Masahiko Shibayama...

Great to see that in reporting this, their new rule is already being ignored.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

The Cultural Affairs Agency then asked government entities, universities and media organizations to adopt the change, but it did not take root.

Let's give a try then Abe, Shinzo and Trump, Donald. Yes, that's sound strange.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

That'll confuse the rest of the institutions (banks) even further. They swap my name 50% of the time even if I put everything in the respective columns. The greatest fun is specifying my middle name, which now comes last, and repeating twice that my first name, which is now in the middle, is not my middle name.

I learned in school that in Japanese language first names follow last names, in English last names follow first, regardless of your nationality, that's how the languages work. I follow the same rules when I write in one language or the other, I fail to see what the problem is.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

The use of the family-name-first order was proposed by Defense Minister Taro Kono and former education minister Masahiko Shibayama. The government has been working out the details after deciding to adopt the order following Shibayama's proposal at a Cabinet meeting in September.

The Cultural Affairs Agency then asked government entities, universities and media organizations to adopt the change, but it did not take root.

Doesn't The Cultural Affairs Agency have a more productive way of wasting our tax money??

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Great to see that in reporting this, their new rule is already being ignored.

Ahh, but don't you see. This goes into effect on January 1st. So, until then, it is perfectly OK for reporters to use the current style. Which will become the old style on January 1st. Magically.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I have never experienced a “first name first” in general situation in Japan, and I am Japanese. It’s always been family names first. What exactly are they going on about?

Japanese aren’t used to using their first name for almost anything official. Even kidz in preschool are referred to as “Shimizu-san” half the time.

Unless you are foreign, in that case you are Mr/Mrs (Insert first name).

What gives?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So what do I do if I only go by one name?

Do people just call me Mario? Or Mario Mario? or Mario Mario?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I usually just go by one name which all Japanese people use "zichi" but when it comes to form filling then I have to use the name on my resident card/my number/passport. Sometimes I'm writing in Katakana and or Kanji but signing in western style signature or in hiragana.

I'm only filling out forms which are also used by nationals so the family name comes first.

The only form I filled out which hasn't been for nationals was for the resident card and probably then it was filled out as it is in my passport.

Just more nonsense.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Which comes first should simply conform to the grammar of the language you are using. This is simply a grammar point. If one is writing a Japanese language sentence in roman letters, you put the family name first. But if its English language you put the family name last. That's it. Its very simple. All word order is a grammar question. Finished. Done.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

government wants to be like China I guess

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Great to see Japan falling in line behind the standards used in western country; writing family name first of documents.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

I agree. Family name first is a pro-collective mindset. We need more individualism.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I fail to see what the problem is.

Current  Defense Minister Taro Kono , who was foreign minister when he proposed it!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Given that I'm required to use my full name on some documents, many Japanese end up calling me by my middle name, assuming that I'm writing my name in Western fashion.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I am amazed at the speed in which Kono's "proposal" is being put into effect here. Normally crap like this takes years to hash out.

Which tells me Kono's "idea" was just a trial ballooon being sent up to get public opinion about. Meaning this was decided upon a hell of a long time ago!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Great to see Japan falling in line behind the standards used in western country; writing family name first of documents.

Uhm, me thinks you better be MORE specific which countries you are referring to because many use GIVEN NAME then FAMILY/SURNAME!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan has been odd man out for too long. In English language publications, Chinese and Korean names have long been rendered surname first. (Hungarians do this as well.) Vietnamese also use surname first order.

Academic publications on Japan have been almost entirely surname first for decades.

Not obvious to me why foreign nationals should have any say in this. Japanese do not tell you what to do in your country. No reason why you should be telling me what to do in mine.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@ Yubaru

Please name 5 non-English speaking countries worldwide that use the given name first in official documents.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

When you're in Japan, China, S. Korea - Surname First

Western - First Name First

3 ( +3 / -0 )

No reason why you should be telling me what to do in mine.

Who's telling you what to do? And shouldn't your name be Penny Henny?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

@ Backpacking

French, German, Spanish to mention a few important western languages use last name first.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@Open Minded

Not in French at least officially.

I am Jonathan PRIN personally.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

In Spanish too by the way.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

In official documents, the order has nothing to do with how you speak of somebody publicly.

If you say this is M. TRUMP Donald, it means you are either stupid or uneducated...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Can just imagine the confusion when someone tries signing their name with their surname first!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Please name 5 non-English speaking countries worldwide that use the given name first in official documents.

The order given name, family name is commonly known as the Western order and is usually used in most European countries and in countries that have cultures predominantly influenced by Western Europe (e.g. North and South America, North, East, Central and West India, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's not clear what is meant by "official documents". In things such as passports, drivers licenses, etc. names are often separated into their own boxes, and order is not important. My own UK passport and drivers license have family name first (and on a separate line). My bus pass has given name first. I'm guessing they're referring to documents where a full name would normally be written in the order it is expected to be read aloud - press release translations, signatures at the end of letters, lists of attendees at meetings, limericks mocking politicians, etc.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Just to be clear: I prefer the first name first.

Happy to see an example of first name first in an official French document.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ Yubaru

All your examples are either English countries, former colonies or occupied countries from the same.

Western countries is a bit more than that...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Given that I'm required to use my full name on some documents, many Japanese end up calling me by my middle name, assuming that I'm writing my name in Western fashion.

I get this... even when it's written in Japanese right in front of them which name is which! I think many people think the entire string is reversed, so Last Middle First and not Last First Middle.

Not obvious to me why foreign nationals should have any say in this. Japanese do not tell you what to do in your country. No reason why you should be telling me what to do in mine.

What I don't understand is why non-Japanese people get their name put in a different order on TV even when it's in Japanese. I think this is more for some kind of nihonjinron ideology than anything practical...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The name's Bond, James Bond

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What I don't understand is why non-Japanese people get their name put in a different order on TV even when it's in Japanese.

Any examples of which people you are referring to? A lot of people that have made their way onto Japanese TV are naturalized Japanese, so in those cases it is correct. I don't watch enough TV to be an expert on this, though.

In my case the forms always list the last name first in a separate field, so people naturally start writing and reading my name backwards. But now that they came out with this new rule I feel like I should force people to read my name properly.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Fair enough. What I would like to know is, are they going to use the proper name for Chinese nationals or the Japanese reading?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All my life I have used family name first. it sounds more formal and respectable.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well when filling in forms I generally have to ask which do you want first, so I guess this rule will make it a bit more consistent here.

And, often in other Countries, when doing a role call... family name will come first....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lots of fun for people whose names are like George Michael or Peter Alexander or Larry David or James Dean etc.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There’re many other conventions, besides writing one's name in Roman characters, that were forced to conform to western customs. Should they also be returned to traditioal ways?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ah, Japan! The way forwards is backwards.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You know, I see what a lot of you guys are talking about, but I actually support this. Because it emphasizes the fact that you live in Japan, and it’ll confuse Japanese people less. Yes, I see a bit of cognitive dissonance in putting the last name first in English, and other like languages, but this is more of a Japan first sort of thing. You know, like national pride or something.

Because if this is how they’re used to writing it in Japanese, wouldn’t it cause a lot of unnecessary confusion when they write it in other languages? Just saying.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ties and suits, hair styles, and words for salute are a few, among others, that were conformed to Western styles after the Meiji Restoration. Note there were no words for "good afternoon" and "good evening" in Japanese before it.

Should all these be returned to old styles?  Absurdity is sure to take place instantly.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

All your examples are either English countries, former colonies or occupied countries from the same.

My "examples", in answering your initial question, cover just about half the planet. If you dont like the answer, that's on you.

You are just looking to nit-pick and play word games, so feel free to have at it, on your own of course!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Oftentimes, Westernization went one step too far to cause inconvenience. Take the way of enumeration, for example.

Large numbers such as 1234567890 are very difficult for an ordinary Japanese to read if they were written as 1,234,567,890. It should be written as 12,3456,7890 in conformity with the Japanese numerical system, which is of the Chinese origin per se.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Large numbers such as 1234567890 are very difficult for an ordinary Japanese to read if they were written as 1,234,567,890. It should be written as 12,3456,7890 in conformity with the Japanese numerical system, 

What a joke! If any Japanese kid wrote out a number like that in school they would be marked wrong! It:s not hard for Japanese, not at all! They will just read it FIRST right to left, ichi,jyu,hyaku,sen,man,ju-man,hyaku-man,sen-man,oku.

ANd writing it, as a Japanese you SHOULD know that this as well, writing numbers using kanji not just the numbers by themselves. 1億2千356万7,890!

Japanese write numbers the EXACT same manner as westerners do as well when not using kanji.

Dont go on here and think that the Japanese way is anything special, it's not.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yubru,

A joke? No way!

If the figure 12345677890 is written as is, it‘s very difficult for any language speaker to read and figure out its correct meaning. So in English or in any other Western languages that use the Roman numerical system, this figure is divided by commas every three digits from the right like 1,234,567,890. By so doing, the figure is easily read as "one billion, two hundred and thirty-four million, five hundred and sixty-seven thousand, eight hundred ninety". 

The Japanese numerical system divides large figures every four digits like 12,3456,7890 which reads "twelve cho, three thousand four hundred and fifty-six man, seven thousand eight hundred and ninety".

A statistics report on the Internet says, for example, that in 2019 Japan exported a total "645,407"cars to foreign countries. To read the figure correctly, I must do a chore to reanalyze it as "64,8407" and read it as "sixty-four man, eight thousand four hundred and seven".

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Not sure I get what the plan here is considering on all official documents I have seen. it is already surname then first name and then middle name.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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