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Top court says laws requiring married couples to have same surname constitutional

105 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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Disappointing news for people who just want to choose their way to live their own lives.

20 ( +34 / -14 )

Can you just let people be free? Is this country really a democracy?

Always disregarding its’ people’s opinion (e.g Olympics), and not allowing the japanese people to make their own choices and think for themselves.

We tend to forget how similar Japan is to non-democratic countries like North Korea.

5 ( +25 / -20 )

Perfectly fair.

Nobody says it's the woman that must change. Couple can choose.

Enough of this liberal nomsems

-31 ( +16 / -47 )

'nonsense

-26 ( +9 / -35 )

This is kind of unfair, considering if two foreigners marry in Japan, I don't believe the same rule applies to them. So, we have 2 different laws for 2 different groups of people in Japan.

If they want to promote gender equality, this would be an easy way to do it. But, there are dinosaurs in Japan, really deadset anything progressive. They preserve the status quo for the sake of the status quo, not what the people want or need.

I know the changing names paperwork is annoying, a name change can be a red flag for companies who don't want to hire married women because they don't want to deal with a possibility of maternity leave, and the paperwork to change your name back in case of divorce is also very complicated. This is a real unfortunate decision for people's ability to live a simple life.

17 ( +22 / -5 )

The law is indeed different for foreigners. I married in Japan and we completed the family register with different surnames with no problem at all. So the system can handle it, the staff at the ward office didn't even question it.

Surely that difference is the evidence of inequality they were looking for?

22 ( +28 / -6 )

so the constitution is set in stone then. including article 9?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Because I married my Japanese wife when we were in America, she registered herself in her original name when we registered the marriage. I also have my own family name registered. By fluke of getting married in the US, we are legally flouting the Supreme Court.

This ruling is unfair and nonsensical. But this is Japan, so I guess one could say it’s a Thursday.

-1 ( +13 / -14 )

This is hilarious given it’s the one area in which the Japanese government treats foreigners better than it treats its own citizens.

20 ( +27 / -7 )

so the constitution is set in stone then. including article 9?

I think you misunderstand. The Diet can change the law and then each spouse keeping their own surname would be constitutional. The courts are saying indirectly it is constitutional for Japanese law to make this restriction, however the Diet could legally change it at any time.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

@GdTokyo

Because I married my Japanese wife when we were in America, she registered herself in her original name when we registered the marriage. 

If you are Japanese citizen, then yes that's one hell of a feat.

If you are American citizen, then that's nothing special as foreign spouses and Japanese spouses can register their surnames separately.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Because I married my Japanese wife when we were in America, she registered herself in her original name when we registered the marriage. I also have my own family name registered. By fluke of getting married in the US, we are legally flouting the Supreme Court.

My wife and I did one better. Our little boy has her family name, not mine, because "she did all the hard work". Who could argue O_o

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Well done Japan. Stay strong to your principles, give the liberals an inch and they will take a mile and still find something to be unhappy about.

-20 ( +10 / -30 )

Why bother to get married then? Getting married require commitment and sacrifice. It means you are serious to spend your life with the other and have a family. By adopting you spouse surname, you announce to the world you are married to that person and any other person courting you should get lost. I don't get why people want to destroy such a nice tradition. What's the big deal of losing a surname and taking the surname of the one you love?

This is a tradition every Asia country had done and will continue to do.

-24 ( +8 / -32 )

. By adopting you spouse surname, you announce to the world you are married to that person and any other person courting you should get lost.

This should be announced long before the marriage.

I don't get why people want to destroy such a nice tradition. What's the big deal of losing a surname and taking the surname of the one you love?

Your surname is your connection with your ancestors, and there is zero valid reason to force one person to adopt the surname of the other. It’s actually quite anachronistic as it harkens back to a tile when wives were hewed as chattel.

0 ( +11 / -11 )

The last 4 paragraphs sums it up. LDP old guard terrified by change.

Best ingnore them have a happy life. They aren't relevant to normal people's lives.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

I know many married Japanese couples who have taken the wife's family name. I also have met people adopted into a childless family simply so the family name could continue.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@P. Smith, that is the difference between us. West care about quality and convenience. We care about tradition and sacrifice. It doesn't matter if you build it better. This is also why we do things here a lot with our hands too. We like to feel the pain and effort it brings us.

And i think you have no idea what you are talking about. What does the west even knows about ancestors and surnames? I am pretty sure most names in the US you can't even tell where of your ancestor is through the surname.

-9 ( +6 / -15 )

I concur with @Mat, they don't seem to care about the constitution when one of the couple is a foreigner. I married in Japan and my wife and I kept different surnames.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

In my case my wife is Japanese, so it's not the case that we are both foreigners. Just me.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

We do things here with or hands? We like to feel the pain and effort it brings us. Must be why robots are so popular here.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

This why you never want government too deep in your personal everyday life. The more they do, the more they take, the less you get out of it.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

When I married my wife as a foreigner, there was no problem. She kept her last name, I kept mine. We registered and there was no problem anywhere. When I got Japanese citizenship, suddenly the absurdities started. First I had to change my name to Japanese. OK, no problem, this is to be expected. But at that point, my wife had to change her last name to mine, which I had changed. No one could explain to me what the difference was on her part and why she suddenly had to change her last name when it wasn't necessary before. Eventually we thought about me taking her last name, only that would have been an even bigger problem for some reason. Eventually we were told that if she kept her current surname (e.g. Yamamoto) and I changed my surname to Yamamoto, by taking Japanese citizenship I would also get a new name and surname, basically like a new person was born. So if I changed my surname to hers, i.e. Yamamoto, she would also have to have her surname changed - yes, from Yamamoto to Yamamoto. I am not kidding you. But that was in the 1990s.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Do you expect anything less in a country that is governed by male centenarians? I think not.

S

2 ( +9 / -7 )

It doesn't matter if you build it better. This is also why we do things here a lot with our hands too. We like to feel the pain and effort it brings us. 

We know, which is why there is a minimum level of comfort in Japanese buildings. Insulation anyone? NO! That’s not how we’ve down it before.

And i think you have no idea what you are talking about. What does the west even knows about ancestors and surnames? I am pretty sure most names in the US you can't even tell where of your ancestor is through the surname.

You think incorrectly. Many of us can trace our ancestors back to Europe, just like many Japanese can grace their ancestors back to Korea and China.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

so the constitution is set in stone then. including article 9?

Nothing to do with the constitution really, it's civil law, and IF the Diet would change the law, there would be no problem.

BUT the problem is the Diet, meaning LDP, is full of conservative hacks, who dont care about it.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

To be clear, like Desert, my wife is Japanese. I am not. And this ruling is unfair to Japanese couples.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Personally, I don't understand why you would want two different last names as a married couple, What message does that send? However, the women and the man do both have a choice. To me, the problem isn't the law.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Back when I married, a Japanese woman was not allowed to change her name when marrying a foreigner.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Hiro

By adopting you spouse surname, you announce to the world you are married to that person…

But that only works for one in the couple.

By that logic maybe you should suggest they switch surnames. smh

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Back when I married, a Japanese woman was not allowed to change her name when marrying a foreigner.

Correct, if she wanted to change her name she had to go to family court or it was not possible.

Until the 90s if a foreigner was naturalized they had to choose a Japanese name that could be written in Yamato kanji. Fortunately that has passed and a foreign name in kana is acceptable now.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Just marry a foreigner.

The problem is solved.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

 When I got Japanese citizenship, suddenly the absurdities started

After all, was it better or not to change your citizenship ?

For me, I do not see any merit, unless I want to vote here. Eventually , border crossing

2 ( +4 / -2 )

We married in London and registered marriage at the Japanese embassy.

When we arrived in Japan wife and still had her name and passport. It stayed like that for about 15 years when she decided she preferred my family name. She went to the Family Court and changed her name. My name is in all kanji but her name is now a mixture of kanji and katakana.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Well if people would vote for progressive lawmakers this would change. Thankfully judges don't make law like they do in Iran.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Christopher LoweryToday 08:33 am JST

Personally, I don't understand why you would want two different last names as a married couple, What message does that send? However, the women and the man do both have a choice. To me, the problem isn't the law.

Just because you do not understand something is no reason to disregard someting. But imagine two professionals who have both built their reputations (or brands if you will) under their unmarried names. If they marry under the current law, one of them has to change their name and effectively start with a new brand. This is a big problem for women in academia for example because they may have many publications in their maiden name. Upon marriage, one of them (generally the woman) will have to start publishing under a new name. Can you not imagine the problems this might cause?

5 ( +9 / -4 )

A modern nation still governed by stone age policies

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Just look at the Olympic chiefs in Japan:

It should be Seiko Ishizaki- not Hashimoto; and Tamayo Otsuka - not Marukawa.

One rule for the elite, one rule for the plebs!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

How asinine of them clinging to archaic and patriarchal societal and gender roles that other countries have phased out because it's the TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY. This "law" in in direct violation of a Japanese citizen's rights - they should not have to give up their familial identity given to them from birth just because they're getting married. Why Japan insists on clinging to the past, I'll never know. And they wonder why fewer people are getting married, staying married, and having kids. Ridiculous.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Personally, I don't understand why you would want two different last names as a married couple, What message does that send? However, the women and the man do both have a choice. To me, the problem isn't the law.

Aside from the fact that your surname is an integral part of your identity from birth and you might want to pass it down to future generations? Well let's see: many people have made a name for themselves in their places of work/industry/etc. using their maiden names. They've built up a reputation based on their original name and to have to change it due to marriage would potentially hinder this.

And since societal conditioning has the majority of women taking their partners' name upon marriage, women are usually the ones who have to face the potential fallout/issues of said name change.

Japanese citizens should have the right to choose to take their partner's name, keep their maiden name or if it's even possible, hyphenate both last names. It should not be mandatory. That's fundamentally UNconstitutional, despite what the dinosaurs running Japan's Supreme Court says.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

arguing that allowing the option of separate surnames would destroy family unity and affect children.

Probably the same politicians that say there's no scientific evidence that smoking is bad for your health. Also probably the same kind of politicians that thought reducing the number of trains per rush hour would increase social distance. Politicians in complete disconnection from reality and from people's everyday's life.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Good!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

The attitude of "It's ok for me, so everyone else should do what I want" in this thread is terrifying.

There are almost 8 billion people in the world, trying to impose rules based on "it's what I want" rather than actual logic and reason, is just a path to failure.

If the people living next door to me are married, and have different names, what difference does that make to me? Do I think "Oh, she has a different name to her husband, that must mean she wants to sleep with me", or "oh, they must not love each other", no- of course not. It's irrelevant and meaningless.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

As the name would have otherwise dissapeared, my J-Wife kept her family name, and our kids have her family name also. That made a lot of relatives happy, like I said our kids are the only heir in the family. If I would ever want to become Japanese, I would probably change my name to her family name, and have absolutely no problem with it myself, but so far I'm keeping my original family name.

In Japan in similar situations the male takes the wife's family name, and it is relatively no problem. What I don't understand it the cancellation of free will - people are actually FORCED to change their names - and that is a total nonsense - we don't feel less of a family even if our family names are different.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

"...as Japan is faced with calls to accept diversity..." Like shouting down a deep, deep well...

2 ( +6 / -4 )

The lawyers botched the job.

I don't understand is why the complainants' lawyers didn't challenge this law using the fact that surname retention is permitted for gaijin-to-Japanese marriages. A precedent has been set, so legal ground for dismissing the challenge would be shaky, to say the least.

Instead they decided to challenge this outdated law in respect to equal rights legislation, but it makes sense that the judges would reject this, because the law does not stipulate that the woman has to take the man's name.

Essentially, the law discriminates against men and women equally.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

They support traditional gender roles and a paternalistic family system, arguing that allowing the option of separate surnames would destroy family unity and affect children.

This is the state giving a very narrow definition to what marriage must mean to everybody with no exceptions.

If have different surnames, like some of the Japan-based posters in international marriages who've commented above, has your family unity been "destroyed"? That's what the Japanese government says will happen. If you have children, have they been "affected"? Again, that's what the Japanese government says will happen.

People marry for different reasons and do not automatically produce children. The state has no right to interfere in people's lives and force someone to change their name. Do people who support this welcome other state interference in their lives? The other obvious takeaway from this is that a country that stubbonly defends a narrow definition of marriage is not going to open it up to gay couples. For gay marriage to happen, the state must first recognize that people marry for different reasons and do not automatically produce children.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

They support traditional gender roles and a paternalistic family system, arguing that allowing the option of separate surnames would destroy family unity and affect children.

Yeah I think the kids would be fine, and if your family unity hinges on having the same name there are probably other marriage issues you should be looking at first, maybe before procreating. I have never heard of a case of a kid's name being different (or hyphenated even) causing any issues at all.

This seems to just be trotting out a "But what about the children!?" argument for the sake of it. What if the couple is childfree, can they keep separate names because no children will be devastated and confused by the existence of another name.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

That’s a typical misogynistic Japanese law. We have to remember it was only a little over a hundred years ago that women were allowed to attend school.

I have no doubt it will be blamed on MacArthur as he was the one who instigated the constitution after WW2, but it was the emperor at the time who signed off on it. They are busting their humps to change the constitution so they can attack other countries but do nothing about this crap. This is clearly something that needs to be updated.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

I can see it, Chinese, Korean and western civilizations falling apart because couples don't share the same surname.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Nobody in my family has a problem with that. I am a foreigner, permanent Japanese resident, married to a Japanese, no problem about names at all, no change - we continue to keep our own family name.

Our two daughters decided for Japanese citizenship, married Japanese men and both of them had no objection to change their family names, one of my daughter even preferred to keep the family name of the ex-husband after divorce and did not change it back to the previous family name, she says she and all people who know her are accustomed to it since years.

I think, it's different from person to person, some feel they have to resist to change their names, others do not and don't care about that at all.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

First step that needs to be done is abolishing the Koseki tohon. It stands in the way of progress same as hanko. It is a bureaucratic nightmare that has to end!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

didouToday 09:09 am JST

Robert CikkiToday 07:49 am JST

When I got Japanese citizenship, suddenly the absurdities started

After all, was it better or not to change your citizenship ?

For me, I do not see any merit, unless I want to vote here. Eventually , border crossing

Same with me, I agree.

Good question, I think it depends which citizenship is better for you.

I know people from poor countries who would take Japanese citizenship gratefully and immediately without asking any question and renounce the own one - but they cannot.

In case you have a choice, you have to decide, either Japanese or keep the former citizenship.

If you choose the Japanese one, because it is better for you compared to your present citizenship and an advantage, don't complain otherwise about such trivial rules. You cannot have it both ways.

About myself, I prefer to keep my good EU-citizenship AND being a Japanese permanent resident since almost 40 years. So far for me the best solution.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

multiple name allowing system is rather to be abolished

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I agree with @Hiro - What's the big deal of losing a surname and taking the surname of the one you love?

I am not sure what the fuss is with whose surname to adopt.

I am more concerned about:

How many marriages in Japan actually last? Or should I ask, how many happy marriages are there in Japan?

For those who does not want adopt husband's surname - I question their reason for it.

Under Article 750 of the Civil Code, a couple must adopt “the surname of the husband or wife” at the time of marriage - it could have been worse, if they mandate only the surname of the husband must be adopted at the time of marriage.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

It is strange that it is permitted for women married to foreigners but not to Japanese.

If we ever decide to move to my home country and province not changing names makes things far easier since name changing was abolished in 1981 due to cost and trouble if changing back the names to birth name.

The Japanese people that challenged the law should have gotten some divorced people to join the law challenge.

The argument would be the same as the 1981 reasoning from my home province, that is having to keep the ex husband's or wife's name is unfair and mental stress and having to go through the costs and trouble to have all documents changed back to their birth name is discrimination because their former spouse does not have to do the same.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I agree with @Hiro - What's the big deal of losing a surname and taking the surname of the one you love?

I am not sure what the fuss is with whose surname to adopt.

Well look at it in a different light!

Over 35% of marriage in Japan end in divorce.

Mostly women change their names.

Now you divorce a person you either no longer love or worse was abusive and now you have a daily reminder of this person the rest of your life because you are stuck with their surname.

Now yes you can go through the long and costly in time and money to change your surname back.

Koseki, drivers license, passport, etc...

But why should you have to when the ex-spouse has no such problems.

This situation make the law unfair and unequal.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Having read the judgment, I got the vibe that no one was really happy with the present situation. They are all aware that there is a strain between the law and the provisions concerning equality et al. The main dispute is less one of the rights and wrongs of the case, as the degree of deference and discretion that the judiciary should give to the legislature as the popularly elected body.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So many more important issues in need of discussing, yet this is taking up a significant amount of time. Get some perspective Japan, real quick.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

So many more important issues in need of discussing, yet this is taking up a significant amount of time. Get some perspective Japan, real quick.

This may not be important to you personally but in actuality it is to many others.

See my comment on divorce.

35% of marriages end in divorce.

Think about it, mostly women must either live with the name of a person there no longer want to be with or worse were abusive.( 1 in 4 spouses is a victim of domestic violence Jgov stats)

Or only they ( not their ex spouse) has to go through a long troublesome process of regaining their birth name.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

This is wonderful news. Japan’s Supreme Court is pro-family.

It also recognized the reality of complementary nature of marriage, a man and a woman coming together as ONE flesh for one lifetime.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

It also recognized the reality of complementary nature of marriage, a man and a woman coming together as ONE flesh for one lifetime.

Do you know that flesh and names are not the same?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

This is wonderful news. Japan’s Supreme Court is pro-family.

It also recognized the reality of complementary nature of marriage, a man and a woman coming together as ONE flesh for one lifetime.

Strange!?

My parents married for over 65 years same for my uncle and his wife, my brother and his wife over 35 years my sister and her husband 20 years, all my friends in Japan married to Japanese all married between 10 and 40 years

None have their spouses surname all have great Families and family life.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

This is wonderful news. Japan’s Supreme Court is pro-family.

It also recognized the reality of complementary nature of marriage, a man and a woman coming together as ONE flesh for one lifetime.

Where's the rolling eyes emoji when you need one?

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Japanese law requires a married couple to adopt a single family name, his or hers. A Japanese married to a foreign woman, she can keep her own family name. A Japanese married to a foreign man can keep her family name.

If it is allowed for international marriage then why not doemrstic ones?

6 ( +9 / -3 )

domestic ones?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

How does this have anything to do with liberals? Man, you guys are just looking to pick a fight over everything and anything.

This is a law about giving more FREEDOM to people. I just.. how do you draw these conclusions? How did you get there?!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

What's the big deal of losing a surname and taking the surname of the one you love?

If you're happy doing it, it's no big deal at all.

But if someone wants to keep their surname, who cares? It's just a matter of choice.

You do realise that one person losing a surname and taking the surname of the one you love means that their spouse doesn't take the surname of the one they love? Can that be right? Are you saying most men don't love their wives, because they don't take their surname? Maybe husband and wife need to swap surnames?

Live and let live, I say. If a couple want to have the same surname, that's fine. If they want to keep their birth surnames, that's fine too.

But the choice should be theirs, no one else's.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The three couples challenged provisions of the Civil Code and the family registration law after they were unable to register their marriages at local government offices using separate surnames.

They tried to register their marriages under names different from what appear in their marriage certificate? Seems obvious

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Darn... and just when Japan had moved up a couple of places in international gender equality rankings the last year to be... what... 122 out of 145 in the world?

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

That’s the right way. If two people cannot even easily reach consent over their one (new) family name, they will probably also go very individual and selfish but not together through their married life.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

They tried to register their marriages under names different from what appear in their marriage certificate? Seems obvious

No they didn't!

Not sure what place you are taking about but here in Japan our marriage certificate had both our birth surnames on it.

The difference is the government will only accept one of those names.

Archaic thinking, but I noticed that many here agree but I doubt any of the men that agree with the ruling are ready to take their spouses name or did.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@Sven Asai Today 06:27 pm JST

That’s the right way. If two people cannot even easily reach consent over their one (new) family name, they will probably also go very individual and selfish but not together through their married life.

Let me put it this way, Sven. This is equivalent to "reaching consent" as to who is to stab themselves for the sake of marriage (BTW, 96% of the time it'll be the female). Why force people to make that choice?

If you must know, the Supreme Court didn't really agree with the conservatives. There's a reason why the reasoning was short - the court might have majority approved that the plaintiffs have lost, but the majority cannot really agree on their grounds, so they just wrote in the only common one they can agree on (that they will at least be sticking with a precedent that's only five years old).

That the Supreme Court finds that something is constitutional is not a seal of approval. When something is problematic, the Court will compare its badness to the cost of permanently removing that power from the legislature. Which means, in turn, the Court will actually say something is constitutional even knowing that it is really bad - to an extent, anyway.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This should be up to each state and the central government should have NOTHING t o do with it, so people can choose were they wish to live .

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I kind of think this stance on the law of same surnames is for convenience. Possibly it makes it easier to do the family registry at the city offices and for government "tracking" purposes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why have the same name anyways? people should be able to choose whatever name they wish, and the authorities should stay out of it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It's unconstitutional on the grounds that it interferes with individual civil rights and punishes those women (exclusively) who choose to remain in a ralationship unmarried to keep their birth name, instead of being forced to take their husband's name in order to register the marriage, do the attendent paperwork required to obtain government services, register kids and get them benefits... the list is endless. The Japanese government treats its citizens like a 17th century local fiefdom treated its serfs. Note, too that the Paralympics has now been thrown under the bus.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They tried to register their marriages under names different from what appear in their marriage certificate? Seems obvious

No they didn't!

Not sure what place you are taking about but here in Japan our marriage certificate had both our birth surnames on it.

The difference is the government will only accept one of those names.

What appear on the marriage certificate are the accepted names right? If they tried to register it under a different one then obviously it won't be accepted.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It's unconstitutional on the grounds that it interferes with individual civil rights and punishes those women (exclusively) 

The men can also choose to take up their wives names I think

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Anyway people may feel it's wrong but the court ruled it's constitutional according to this article

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The men can also choose to take up their wives names I think

Yep we keep hearing that trope!

I wonder how many here saying that the decision is right are ready to take their wife's surname or actually did.

I am going to guess a grand total of ZERO.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Oh, come on, when is Japan going to join the rest of the civilized world?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

In places like Shishu or Nagano, it's very common when a male is marrying into his wife's family and will be living in the wife's family house, the husband will take the family name of the wife and will become adopted into the family. An adopted son as it were. The priority is also on the new family of the wife and not his previous own family. Especially for vacation times.

I have several friends who did just that. Still happily married and retired after 40-50 years.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

In places like Shishu or Nagano, it's very common when a male is marrying into his wife's family and will be living in the wife's family house,

Here we go again the know better speaks

It is done all over Japan and is by no means "common" most were and the word is "were" done when a family had no male heir to take over a family business and occasionally the family name and it would be extremely rare for the man to be the first born son in his family.

Taking half the facts and something done occasionally and for very specific reasons in trying to make a point does not change reality.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Mrs. Affist laughed when I told her the Supreme Court says she must use my last name. She never changed her family name. Apparently those who marry foreigners don't have to. So how does that square with this Court decision?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

She never changed her family name. Apparently those who marry foreigners don't have to. So how does that square with this Court decision?

Ah now I am no expert but when a female friend married a Japanese man in Japan the city office told her the only way she could take his name officially was to go back to her country and do it as Japan has no mechanism to do it.

And that necessitates her having her name on her passport changed.

Now that is what she was told, is it true I couldn't tell you but sounds logical.

Now a Japanese can take their foreign spouses name but I only know of one person that did (she is the type that acts like being married to a white guy is some sort of status) the rest like my wife think it is just a bit strange for a fully Japanese person to go around a Mrs. Smith, or worse one Friend is Barker ( pronounced in Japan as Baka) his wife wanted nothing to do with being called Baka-san.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Mrs. Affist laughed when I told her the Supreme Court says she must use my last name. She never changed her family name. Apparently those who marry foreigners don't have to. So how does that square with this Court decision?

Is that because the supreme court didn't say that?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The men can also choose to take up their wives names I think

Yep we keep hearing that trope!

I wonder how many here saying that the decision is right are ready to take their wife's surname or actually did.

I am going to guess a grand total of ZERO.

You mean it's not true?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

You mean it's not true?

No I am saying that 99.99999% of the men that agree with this decision spewing"family values" and going on about "men could be the ones to take the wife's name", would never accept doing it as it would go against their male ego and so-called family values.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

No I am saying that 99.99999% of the men that agree with this decision spewing"family values" and going on about "men could be the ones to take the wife's name", would never accept doing it as it would go against their male ego and so-called family values.

Now, that's archaic thinking

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Cowards... Typical leadership in Japan, can't make a decision. No one prepared to put their knackers on the chopping block. Weak.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

snowymountainhellJune 24  06:42 am JST

Disappointing news for people who just want to choose their way to live their own lives.

Seems to me that they're just as stupid and petty as American politicians. I know a married couple that didn't change surnames (bride). i guess the married couple could combine their surnames into one if they wanted to. Just guessing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They support traditional gender roles and a paternalistic family system, arguing that allowing the option of separate surnames would destroy family unity and affect children.

This is so dinosaurish and 1000 X PATHETIC !!!...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Ian "The men can also choose to take up their wives names I think"

Yup. Muko-youshi. But, typically, this is done to preserve the wife's family name in the absence of another male in the family capable of fathering children. I may do it just to have an alternate identity. You never know when you might need to go deep underground.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The legal team handling the cases of the three couples blew it by basing their argument of a constitutional basis. Tough hill to climb.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

So, combine the proposal with an application for a legal name change to something both can agree on, or the marriage celebration with an application for a name change back for one partner, thereby making your local courts upset with the top court's ruling. Get one group of judges angry at the other, and they'll eventually figure out how to get around this ruling in a way that doesn't 'waste their time'.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Apparently those who marry foreigners don't have to. So how does that square with this Court decision?

Its because of the stupid discriminatory Koseki system. The "logic" behind the Civil Code rule requiring married couples to have the same last name is that when you get married you and your spouse have to be registered on the same koseki, a form that only allows one family name to be used.

This only applies when two Japanese nationals get married to each other though. If a Japanese national gets married to a foreigner, the foreigner doesn't get to be registered on the Japanese spouse's koseki (well, the fact that the Japanese national is married to a foreigner is mentioned in a little box, but that is it), so as far as the koseki system is concerned it doesn't care if a foreigner has a different last name from their Japanese spouse.

Its one of the few legal areas in which rules that discriminate against foreigners actually end up working to our advantage!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

To be truly fair and non-discriminatory, why not assign all people of Japan the same first and last names? It would be an important step in achieving a true homogenous collective society.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

RichardPearceToday  09:00 am JST

So, combine the proposal with an application for a legal name change to something both can agree on, or the marriage celebration with an application for a name change back for one partner, thereby making your local courts upset with the top court's ruling. Get one group of judges angry at the other, and they'll eventually figure out how to get around this ruling in a way that doesn't 'waste their time'.

Please look at my previous posting. the couple could maybe combine their surnames into one to signify their union, like the yang-and-yin, opposites but equal that are complementing each other and completing ONE CIRCLE. Marriage is a unity, isn't it?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Antiquesaving:

worse one Friend is Barker ( pronounced in Japan as Baka) his wife wanted nothing to do with being called Baka-san.

LOL. Imagine marrying someone with the surname Wilce. - Virus.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Unlike the US, the central government controls these family matters.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

AntiquesavingJune 24  06:37 pm JST

Archaic thinking, but I noticed that many here agree but I doubt any of the men that agree with the ruling are ready to take their spouses name or did.

Spot on.

Not an "I know better"

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Its one of the few legal areas in which rules that discriminate against foreigners actually end up working to our advantage!

Well said, but personally I would prefer the law applied to us too, so my wife wouldn't have been too lazy to change her last name. Now my kids have her last name because of that, while on their US passport they have my last name.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good for them ! The last thing Japan needs is to follow the liberal west’s example in how to destroy the nuclear family.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Can not see a problem in keeping the name you were give and registered by law at birth when a couple get married. But don't confuse the children surname. Their surname should be of either parent but not both.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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