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Women file suit to keep their surnames after they marry

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And they want to keep their surname ... which came from their father?

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You're missing the point, himehentai. These women simply want the right to choose, they are not out to overthrow the patriarchy.

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This doesn't apply to foreigners, or women who marry foreigners, is that right?

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The 113-year-old law requires married couples to choose just one surname for the man and woman to share, and custom means it’s usually the man’s.

People can choose the womens surname if you want.. so whats the fuss about. If these strong willed woman get married they can have their last name as the surname.

My mother once knew a woman who hated her name. "Nora Bone" then she finally got married to a guy with the last name "Round" Poor lady couldnt get away from it. Imagine if she kept both names. heheh

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This doesn't apply to foreigners, or women who marry foreigners, is that right?

Correct B. Marry a foreign guy and you can keep your J-surname. When the baby comes it gets the J-surname also.

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himehentai, it's possible the surname came from the mother, even under the current system.

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Dentshop -

When the baby comes it gets the J-surname also.

Only if the parents choose a Japanese surname for it. If they choose a non-Japanese name, it gets a non-Japanese name.

Getsy -

People can choose the woman's surname if they want.. so what's the fuss about?

• From the article: “For those who seek to keep separate surnames, the forcible use of one surname between couples is a serious human rights violation,”

Tsukamoto is one patient lady. I hope the fossils that are the Japanese government can get their piddly little heads around this terrifying concept of two people with different surnames actually being related.

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Correct B. Marry a foreign guy and you can keep your J-surname. When the baby comes it gets the J-surname also.

Funny that - so it IS possible within the current system, just the law doesn`t allow for separate surnames and the culture for the most part insists the woman takes the mans name.

What about foreign women who marry Japanese men - are they allowed to keep their surname too?

The main issue I can see with this is on the Koseki Tohon, but as foreigners come under "pets and other info" I can see how it is not an issue for foreign spouses.

I took my husbands only because nobody could pronounce my maiden name which was more of a professional hamper than taking his name!

I`ve known a few people back in the UK who took the wifes name, one because the husbands name was not good ("Mooney") and one because the wife was one of two daughters, the husband one of 2 sons so they carried on her family name.

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Sorry - meant to add that I am impressed that these people as a group are obviously not trying to fleece the government (6 mill between 5 (or technically 4 as one couple are married)) is not a lot of money, but they are using the case to draw attention to the issue. Good for them. Sounds like the money they get if they win will barely cover their legal costs, so they are not in it for the money but for genuine reasons.

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I don't get it. If they want to get married, it stands to reason they should have the same name!! Otherwise, how can you tell?

There's nothing stopping them from keeping the woman's surname, so this makes no sense. If he loves her, the man would keep her surname, if it's such a big deal to her, right? And if he won't, then find a better man!

I just don't get the fuss. It's not like you have to use your real surname in day-to-day life, and it's not like it changes who you are. A name is just a label to make it easier for other people to refer to you.

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Common sense solution. Let people decide what they want as a last name. Share his, share her's, use their separate last names or make one up from scratch.

Why do other people care what any given couple decides to do. How on earth does it effect you in any way at all? Live and let live. Repeal the law and write a new and more flexible one.

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If they choose a non-Japanese name, it gets a non-Japanese name.

I see. I was told by my ward office that if my wife didnt take my surname, our baby wouldnt be able to use my surname in Japan. Guess I was misinformed!

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miamum-

What about foreign women who marry Japanese men - are they allowed to keep their surname too?

yes :)

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I don't get it. If they want to get married, it stands to reason they should have the same name!! Otherwise, how can you tell?

my husband and I have different last names.. people who know us know we are married.. besides, why do we have to tell the whole world we are married?

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If he loves her, the man would keep her surname, if it's such a big deal to her, right? And if he won't, then find a better man!

i love my husband and it has nothing to do his last name by the way..

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Foreign nationals right now are in a different database to the japanese nationals.

My wife's Kouseki had me listed as her Husband and father of her child. She kept her name in japan.

Now if I wanted to be included on her Kouseki(or have one that covers all) than it would be different, but that way she never needed to change and we used 2 different surnames here.

Same way my sons has 2 nationalities japanese with the mothers surname, overseas with mine.

So in japan he has a fully japanese name, overseas he has a japanese 1st name and my surname = no problems.

A name is just that for me. If she was called Mrs. X or Mrs Y don't change here not her legal status.

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Fishy I agree with you. Why do you need to share this with anyone. Whatever name you use is your business and should not be a concern of the public or the state.

I am surprised how conservative people are. If you want to follow tradition folks, knock yourselves out with our blessings. But stay the heck out of our lives and let us make our own decisions. Don't worry about my decisions for what name we use, don't you have your own problems to deal with?

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tkond2-

agree.. people who want to keep their last name should be allowed to do so, couples who want to use the same last name should do so... shouldn't be anyone else's business..

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Ditto what tkoind2 said.

Let me add that once they get this messed settled I hope they will challenge the koseki data-imput system next so that it finally allows for middle names. (What a revolutionary idea!) My poor son as an affliction of a first name (his actual first in kanji+my family name in katakana with no space between the two) because of this. What we applied for and what we got were very different things and now to scratch my family name off we'll have to go to court. Good grief.

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if the law does come to pass then what...some people might try and claim double benefits for married people because they have different names and also how would the tax thing work...it will be double the paperwork because (again) the names are different, and so on.

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well, in a country where me and my girlfriend were asked to say we're engaged and to mention the planned date for the wedding by the housing agent (otherwise the paperwork becomes "difficult"), and the office of the University where I work discontinued my rent allowance because they can't fill the paperwork for two unmarried people, both having income and living together, there is no wonder for me that having different surnames after marriage is a bureaucratic utopia

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ACrowe-

it finally allows for middle names

Oh I can't agree with you more.. My kids have middle names and we were told that Japan doesn't recognize middle names.. :( So they put first and middle name together.. makes their names super long. The kids use first name only in school but official papers have their first and middle name put together and I hate it.

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cnc.

As was mentioned Posters here got different names with their spouses, no problems for taxes, etc.

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zenny is right.. no problems for taxes.

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I don't get it. If they want to get married, it stands to reason they should have the same name!! Otherwise, how can you tell? There's nothing stopping them from keeping the woman's surname, so this makes no sense. If he loves her, the man would keep her surname, if it's such a big deal to her, right? And if he won't, then find a better man! I just don't get the fuss. It's not like you have to use your real surname in day-to-day life, and it's not like it changes who you are. A name is just a label to make it easier for other people to refer to you.

Such odd things to say. Are you aware that there are many countries in the world (including neighbouring Korea and China) where there is no tradition at all of the woman changing her name on marriage, yet they don't seem to have problems knowing that they are married. Latin American countries are another example.

There is plenty stopping couples taking the woman's surname- string resistance on the husband's part, pressure from relatives, custom, fear of ridicule on the man's part from friends and co-workers, all make it much more difficult to go that route.

I also beg to differ on the issue of using your surname in daily life- there are plenty of times I have to use my official surname in daily life- anything to do with banking (so therefore at work), immigration or tax purposes along with many other situations.

I just don't understand the people who are opposed to a change in this law- why should people be forced to change their names? You may be happy with the status quo, but why do you want other people to be forced to accept it?

cnc, I have a different surname to my husband (as a foreigner married to a Japanese guy I have to go through channels back in my home country to change my name- an expensive and time-consuming procedure), and I have no idea what you are talking about- there is no doubled paperwork at tax time, and no way to claim double benefits just because a couple has different names.

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Sorry, "strong resistance".

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Japan will become a modern society one day. Ganbare!

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In my country u can keep ur former family name as middle name like Kyoko Tsukamoto Kojima.here we go iinjanai?

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tkoind2, well said. I have no idea why other people think it should be any of their business which surnames a couple has, any more than it matters to them what brands I buy at the supermarket.

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While I agree that married couples should be able to have two different surnames, I don't think they should allow middle names. Two names is enough.

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cnc - What are the extra benefits of being married? I don't see any. If you're married and both couples work there is a higher tax after a certain Yen amount. I've never heard of tax cheats in the U.S. based on having different family names.

From here on out why can't females keep their mother's family and males keep their father's family name? It would simplify everything. The whole "naming" thing has always been about property anyway. It's no one's business if people I meet know I am married or not. I don't need anyone's approval and it's also none of my business nor do I care if the the person who is escorting you is married to you or not. I'm not going to hold you to a higher esteem simply because your married.

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If he loves her, the man would keep her surname, if it's such a big deal to her, right? And if he won't, then find a better man!

If someone is prepared to dump the man they want to marry simply because he objects to taking her surname then perhaps the relationship should be called into question anyway.

I just don't get the fuss. It's not like you have to use your real surname in day-to-day life, and it's not like it changes who you are. A name is just a label to make it easier for other people to refer to you.

Rubbish - anyone who has worked as a single professional in an occupation building up their reputation (Dr Tanaka? Professor Takahashi?) shouldn`t have to then abandon their title and the associated recognition that goes with it because they get married. Yes, so they can legally use their name outside the "legal" areana - but what a hassle, trying to run two names all the time.

My kids have middle names and we were told that Japan doesn't recognize middle names.. :( So they put first and middle name together.. makes their names super long. The kids use first name only in school but official papers have their first and middle name put together and I hate it.

And yet, oddly enough when I went to apply for my 3rd childs Japanese passport, suddenly they could (and did) put his middle name on it - an official Japanese document. The first two they wouldn`t do it for so it is obviously a recent change. So they are starting to recognise middle names, but there still seems to be a lot of inconsistency across departments, and I doubt they would recognise a middle name for a 100% Japanese child.

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@fishy

yes :)

Thanks for clearing that up for me. I actually wanted to take my husbands name, but I sometimes get asked by not-yet-married friends if they have to, and I didn`t honestly know.

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Just to show you that outside Japan we are not as "equal" as we like to think....

my daughters school friend had a big problem recently with letters addressed home - her mum is a doctor, her dad isn`t. The school insisted the letter should be addressed to "Dr & Mrs XYZ" while the girl kept insisting it should be "Dr & Mr XYZ" - they cleared the misunderstanding up quickly, but how funny even in this day and age!

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I'm not going to hold you to a higher esteem simply because your married.

Yeah, but unfortunately therein lies the issue in this culture - eg see posters above who couldn`t get rental agreements easily.

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miamum.

Like I said no need to take a name for mixed couples unless they insist on a combined kouseki.

If you are happy now and things run smooth why change? Actually not ahving a combined kouseki made my divorce a lot easier.

Granted have to go to next ward to get my sons kouseki every-time as he is still registered on his mothers till he turns 20(can't change it or transfer it). Right now looks like he won't decide for japanese citizenship anyway.

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Like I said no need to take a name for mixed couples unless they insist on a combined kouseki

I actually had no idea you COULD run separate kosekis within the same family. So does that mean you are head of your OWN koseki, and your late-wife is head of the one including the children? Did it state on each koseki who the marriage partner was? Sorry to be nosy - just don`t really understand this system even after all these years!

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Miamum.

I can't have a Kouseki as I am not japanese. I am still registered in the foreigner database.

My wife's Kouseki registered my marriage/divorce to her and me being he father of our son.

Before I got my PR my Alien registration card gave my wifes name as the household owner due to my spouse-visa. Once I got my PR I became the household owner.

So bassicaly 2 databases with cross-references is what we got.

Now if I had wanted to be included in my wife"s kouseki I would have had to legally change my name(even back home).

Even more hassles if I insisted she took my name.

Don't have all the small details as I never went through it, we were happy with separate surnames.

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Just try having a kid in Japan whereas the wife keeps her surname. You won't have any rights to the kid unless you legally change the kid's name.

Let's be honest: Marriage is an outdated institution in many countries and there has to be much more flexibility for this century. With all the divorces and remarriages happening the image of the nuclear family has changed and laws need to change to suit the times - this goes for those who want partners of the same sex, too.

Not sure why we let government and religion dictate these rules to us. It's not like traditions are being respected, nor should they be. Time for a fresh start.

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miamum-

and I doubt they would recognise a middle name for a 100% Japanese child

Not sure about that.. I have a Japanese cousin who married a Japanese man and they lived in New York, had children there, the kids have dual citizenship and they both have middle name.. I'll have to ask her what they did with the middle name when they registered the kids' birth in Japan.. hmm.

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jforce.

Me and my wife had different surnames, after her divorce & death I got the full custody.

Not sure what you are talking about, quiet a few foreign dads here who got custody of their kids after divorce.

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miamum

I actually had no idea you COULD run separate kosekis within the same family. So does that mean you are head of your OWN koseki, and your late-wife is head of the one including the children? Did it state on each koseki who the marriage partner was? Sorry to be nosy - just don`t really understand this system even after all these years!

Zenny has already said it but a foreign national cannot have his/her own koseki. If you are married to a Japanese person, your Japanese spouse is the head of the koseki register whether your spouse is a man or a woman. Or, if your Japanese spouse is still in his/her parents' koseki, you are in your spouse's family's koseki (probably your father-in-law is the head of the family on the koseki). If you and your Japanese spouse have different last names, your full name with your maiden name is listed on the koseki, and that's all about it. As a foreigner, you are not on the resident certificate, either (jumin-hyo) unless you go to the government office (city/ward office). All you have as an official document is an alien registration.

If you take your Japanese spouse's last name in Japan, you can still keep your maiden name in your home country and your kids can have the Japanese name in Japan and your maiden name in your home country. They can have 2 passports and can have different last name on each passport.

If you take your spouse's Japanese last name when you get married, you cannot change it back to your maiden name unless you submit papers at a family court unless you change it back within 3 months after officially getting married.. but it is possible to change it back if you really want to.

For Japanese/Japanese couples.. People CAN use their maiden name at work and etc, it's just that the koseki and other official documentations, they have to use the official last name. My sister's husband (Japanese) actually took my sister's last name when they got married by the way :)

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I can't seem to understand the fuss either. Am I missing something?

I have no problem doing all the paperwork by my married name but still go by my birth name at work. The post office still delivers in both my names, my colleagues call me by the name whichever is convenient... no problem at all.

A few couples around me decided to go by the wife's surname for some reason such as inheritance or them being an only child. They do not have any issues either.

If marriage is an outdated institution why bother? They can just be living together as partners but can still benifit as common-laws or defactos or whatever they call it.

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And yet, oddly enough when I went to apply for my 3rd childs Japanese passport, suddenly they could (and did) put his middle name on it - an official Japanese document.

It's because the name on the passport is not the official Japanese name. Your child's official Japanese name still only contains two names.

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Japan does accept common law marriage/co-habitating and splitting up will be handled like a divorce, if so desired.

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I noticed the passport thing, too - years ago, my kids' names (Western) were rendered in butchered katakana-derived Roman characters, but in subsequent years, they were rendered as they should be.

Really, the whole koseki system itself is an anachronism and should be done away with.

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Is it true that a man can accept the woman's name in marriage in order to gain inheritance rights from her family, and the woman cannot do the same? What can women expect when the employment ads discriminate against gender and age and promotion is based on the management's precudice? It seems so contrary to the Martin Luther King Jr. stories in the junior high school English textbooks.

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when a man accepts his wife's last name, the head of the family on koseki register is the wife. when a woman accepts her husband's last name, the head of the family on koseki register is the husband. when a woman decides to accept her husband's last name, her name goes in to his family's koseki registery, HOWEVER, she can still inherit HER parents' money/property. when a man decides to accept his wife's husband's last name, his name goes into her family's koseki registery, however, he can still inherit HIS parents' money/property.

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there ARE men who accept wife's last name (my sister's husband did). so, either way, both men and women can still inherit their own parents' money/property.

Also, men can accept wife's last name and they don't have to be in the wife's koseki. THEY CAN MAKE A NEW KOSEKI using the wife's last name :)

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@fishy, miamum

Middle names do not register in Japan. They get added onto the first name in the Kouseki. My daughter has a middle name in the States, but in Japan, it's only the surname and a given name(which in the Japanese system it's both put together).

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They get added onto the first name in the Kouseki

yeah, that's what they did to my children :(( looks like they have super long first names.. I'm thinking about going to the family court to remove the middle name part.. what a pain in the neck!!!!

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Yea it doesn't make any sense. Just more of a hassle than anything.

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How about the mother changing the kids' names after divorce? It is related to this family register farce. I appealed to have the kids's names stay as my family name but was denied visitation until I agreed. Japan's family registry and divorce laws is nothing short of a complete joke!

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Disillusioned-

The kids can keep your last name. They can change to their mother's maiden name. Either way should be fine and people usually talk what'd work for the children. Even if the kids change their last name to their mother's maiden name, they can still inherit their father's property/money because regardless of the last name, they are still the children of the father if it makes sense to you.

If both parents are Japanese, kids can remain in the same koseki even after they change their last name to their mother's. I mentioned in one of my posts but the last names and the koseki registries don't always go together. The mother can also make a completely new koseki registry and put the kids in her new koseki, not her parents/family's.

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Disillusioned-

And legally, your kids could have your last name after you and your ex divorced. If your ex refused, it wasn't because of the law, it was just because she wanted what she wanted..

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Wow! I am learning a lot from this thread! So a passport name is not your official name? Interesting. My kids have middle names on their UK birth certificates, but not their Japanese ones, and they took my husbands name, as I did too.

Just a word of warning to anyone who keeps their foreign name and then gives the kids their Japanese spouses name: be very careful taking them home for a holiday. No-one seems to question you leaving Japan, but entering your home country you will almost certainly be grilled. Especially Canada for some reason - not many people know you need a notarised letter from the embassy giving your spouses permission to travel before taking the kids home to Canada for a holiday, even if you have the SAME surname. It even happened to a Japanese friend of mine, visiting her Canadian friend for a week with her son - she should have got a letter from the embassy giving her (Japanese) husbands permission to travel apparently, and she had no idea!

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Miamum.

Like I said not problem as my son mostly travels on his overseas passport. ;)

And, yes, he has a japanese passport too.

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Zenny-

I was told by the Narita immigration official that when you leave from Japan and intend to return to Japan, always use the Japanese passport. The first time my first child travelled to Japan(that was before he got his Japanese passport and he only had his U.S. passport) even though I had the copy of his Japanese birth certificate (syussei shomei), they gave him a 90-day visa.. can you believe that??? Since then, my kids always use their Japanese passport as their country of residence is Japan.

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And no probs for my boys too. Travel out of Japan on Japanese passport. Land in UK with British passport. Then do the opposite flying to Japan. According to both passports, they've never left either country - no entry/exit stamps.

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Fishy that would work too, never had a problem myself.

Being an EU citizen it takes me and son about 10 seconds to walk past customs within europe. Just hold it up and we are waived through.

Said that I have had friends that got quizzed because their kids exited/entered on a japanese passport but had no entry/exit stamp from overseas in it. Got into hot water over that one.

Seems to vary greatly.

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So, you can use Japanese passport to leave Japan and use another country's passport to enter the destination country? I thought you'd have to use the same passport.. Maybe not, huh.

When my son first entered Japan to reside (moved back from the states), he only had his U.S. passport and I had my Japanese passport. I showed the immigration official his Japanese birth certificate and a copy of koseki registry to prove he is my child and he has a Japanese citizenship, but they told him (a baby!!) that he'd be illegal if he stayed in Japan over 90 days without going to the Japanese immigration office to change his status and get a Japanese passport.. That was shocking to me.

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Fishy.

That might be the problem, 2 passports from 2 countries. Immigration can be finicky.

I use the overseas passport as it has my PR in it an also my son registered, he uses his overseas passport. Same Surname, etc.

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Whats the betting this gets thrown out because: It's not the Japanese way.

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"claim double benefits for married people"

If that works it is a problem with the system and not the names. Many countries allow multiple names, mixed names, new names etc... All you need is a simple process to define people. And since Japan is thinking about some kind of social benefits numbers. Problem solved.

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Why does society have to adjust to the clerical shortcomings of the government. Or to the outdated definitions of relationships or naming conventions?

Why dumb down society or regress it to the level of the 18th century pencil pusher when what society should do is kick these guys in the behind and tell them to come up with more efficient and modern ways of doing and seeing things.

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So, you can use Japanese passport to leave Japan and use another country's passport to enter the destination country? I thought you'd have to use the same passport.. Maybe not, huh.

Yes, thats right, you must use the Japanese passport to leave Japan, but you can enter the new country on a different passport (in my case they enter on UK ones). Its just a pain in the butt carrying all the documentation you need (7 passports in my case - 2 each per child plus mine, as if I didn`t have enough to deal with travelling alone with 3 kids!)

I have never been quizzed leaving Japan with my kids, but I always used to get quizzed at the other end - does my husband know I am travelling with the kids? Do I have his permission? etc etc (this was before I got their UK passports which stopped all the hassle). My kids and I have the same name, but I have heard it is worse if for example your kids have your husbands name and are travelling on J passports, and you have kept your maiden name and are travelling on your country`s passport - it basically looks as if you are not related at all which sets off all the alarms in immigration.

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Oops - hit send before ready. Thats another reason why its not a bad idea to have all the same family name in a Japanese international marriage - so that when you cross-border travel with the kids and only one parent that you dont get this hassle. Or alternatively just make sure the passports you are carrying have the kids surname that matches yours, if you follow me. God, this is complicated!

Or alternatively - DON`T marry a Japanese!!!! (only kidding!)

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Miamum. For you the shared name works, you are happy with it and all is well. The problem isn't having one family name. The problem is being forced to have one family name.

I don't see having kids, I like my name, she likes her name. So your model doesn't help or hinder us. So why should be comply to a rule that we don't agree with?

I think all most of us want is more flexibility and freedom to decide about our own names.

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miamum-

Thats another reason why its not a bad idea to have all the same family name in a Japanese international marriage - so that when you cross-border travel with the kids and only one parent that you dont get this hassle

By the way, you can actually pur your last name AND your husband's name on your kids's passports-- for example, if your son is John, and his last name is Smith (his father's last name), but your last name is Tanaka, they can put John Smith (Tanaka) on the kids' passport :) You'd have to ask when you renew/apply for the passport, though, and I'm not sure if that was an option long time ago, but my kids' Japanese passports have both my last name and husband's last name.

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I guess basically it is good to have choices. Different things work for different people/couples. People who don't want different last names shuold just share the last name with their spouse and people who want to keep their maiden name should be allowed to.. is my opinion (and I believe most of the people here on the thread are basically saying the same thing) :)

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Fishy, how is it basically good to have choices? It just complicates government bureaucracy.

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I don't see having kids, I like my name, she likes her name. So your model doesn't help or hinder us. So why should be comply to a rule that we don't agree with?

Not saying you should or shouldnt do anything! Just pointing out some of the complications if you dont. Quite honestly the rule doesnt bother me, so I have gone with it - it actually made my life easier not having the Japanese massacre my name every time they tried to say it (too manyrs andls) - but each to their own, and if it doesnt suit another persons/family`s circumstances - by all means, go ahead and fight it/find a way around it. Of all people, I am well up for freedom of choice.

It sounds though, that as foreigners, we cop a break with this that most ordinary Japanese couples can`t get (i.e. being allowed to keep separate names) - if I was a Japanese not wanting to change my name on marriage, I would think it pretty unfair and want to fight it. Hence I admire what these people are doing - I think the money sounds arbitrary and what they seem to be wanting is to draw attention to the issue - good for them.

Pity my friend who cant possibly take her husbands name: "Fukawa". Shes from the north of England, where they often talk about "Our Jane" or "Our John" when you talk about family members. Lets say her name IS Jane: Try saying "Fukawa Jane" with a northern accent!

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Sorry - font goes wrong all the time - should say "too many Rs and Ls"

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Try saying "Fukawa Jane" with a northern accent!

Not british but LOL.

Agree with miamum, we foreigners to get a break.

But either choice we make there are consequences/hassles that we need to live with. Up to each and everyone to decide.

I made mine and ended up with some hassles/annoyances due to them.

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Fishy, how is it basically good to have choices? It just complicates government bureaucracy.

why is it not good to have choices? there are plenty of countries that allow couples to have separate last names and why can't Japan do it? there are plenty of examples and Japan wouldn't be the first to do it if they ever decided to do so.

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miamum-

Try saying "Fukawa Jane" with a northern accent!

that's funny.. but i'm sure it isn't funny to those who have the problem.

and i completely understand about the Rs and Ls problem here in japan :)

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Yeah, I wasn`t too unhappy to ditch my maiden name - got spat all over every time they tried to say it here! Add two middle names as well into the mix and it made for some pretty interesting combinations every time my name got called in a clinic or ward office before I was married!

BUT I totally understand why some people choose to keep their maiden names - a female Japanese doctor friend of mine for one, who ended up having to change her name as she also married a doctor and he wouldn`t change his because his family owned a clinic he would eventually take over. She worked at a hospital and it was the lesser of the two evils, but she said given a choice she would have kept her name.

Zenny11 is right though - whenever you have to make a choice about pretty much anything there are pluses and minuses on both sides - it is just up to each individual which is the best option for them.

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the other disgraceful thing which isnt mentioned here is although foreigners and japanese who marry keep separate surnames,if they have children then the children have to have the japanese surname

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Flyingfish.

Clarify.

Last I checked legal surname of child depends on the parent from whom the child gets the citizenship from.

This is not just a japanese rule, I couldn't get my son registered as a citizen of my country on his mothers name unless I changed mine to hers beforehand.

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"if they have children then the children have to have the japanese surname"

Japan just keeps raising the bar on openness, equality and the ability to behave in a first world manner. :-P

Most of my friends in the US hyphenated their names. They decided which one would be first and second and combined their names. Not a bad idea for one generation.

Another couple decided to start over with an entirely new last name since their family ties were not strong.

I really think Japan should let people choose whatever. Why not Andrews-Tanaka for a couple. Or Abercrombie for a Japanese couple who like the last name? Let people express their family name as it fits their dreams. And let the pencil pushers learn to use PCs for a change to adjust to modern life.

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zenny11 what country are you a citizen of??

in japan the problem is foreigner is not on the koseki so unless j half takes foreigners name(thus showing it on koseki) then the child can only be registered in j name as on koseki

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flyingfish.

Like many posters here I am from an european country.

As I mentioned above my son has japanese citizenship/surname from his mother and foreign citizenship/surname from me. That was automatic for both countries as we never shared the same surname after marriage.

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I want to keep my name as I have my publishings, rep and job to think about. However, try having kids and dealing with parents with two last names. Bad enough to be a half kid but parents with two names??

I have friends who have a nightmarish time because the wife refuses to change her name (as does hubby) and they deal with crap at immigration all the time!

My husband can't take my family name because he would certainly be treated differently at work and would miss out on promotions and heaven forbid, would be assumed to be a foreigner.

I have also dealt with enough Japanese idiots when I do use my husband's last name - why do you have a Japanese name? You aren't Japanese, you shouldn't have a name like that... Disrespectful and annoying!

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tmarie.

Like I said never been a problem here as my son is known by his legal japanese name here and since I am a foreigner they accept that my surname is different.

Granted some parents to the initial double-take when the teacher calls for my sons parent using his japanese name and a foreigner stands up and talks in somewhat fluent japanese.

But never had any problems, etc actually the reverse I get a lot of friendly/curious attention because of it.

Even got to run a cooking circle now where I teach overseas dishes to mothers, etc. Somehow they are impressed that a man can cook well. ;)

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tmarie, my parents divorced when I was a child, so I grew up with parents with different last names. I don't recall it ever being an issue. Divorce and remarriage isn't that unusual here, so there will be plenty of children already with parents with different last names. Changing the law so that people can choose whether to change their name or not will probably remove some of the stigma these kids may feel, since that situation won't be limited to people whose parents have divorced/were never married.

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My mother has a ifferent name to mine (divorced/remarried) but I don't think you can base Japan and the name thing on how we were treated as it is much more common. I know women who have had serious issues coming in and out of Japan with their kids because they have last names.

I want to keep my name. Is it MY name. Why on earth should it be an issue for the government to decide? If both people feel strongly about keeping their name as it is part of their identity, why not?

How many men who think this is a bunch of BS are willing to change their name?

I have a rare family name, would like to keep it. I however don't expect my future kids to have it as they would deal with a bunch of BS related to it - I think. Perhaps some of you haven't had negative experiences but I know I certainly have when using my husband's name and know people who have had issues with work and whatnot when keeping their own or using their husband's name.

Again, my husband would have issues at work with a gaijin sounding name. Silly isn't it? But not unheard of.

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tmarie.

As has been pointed out multiple times here, you don't need to take your husbands name neither does he have to take yours. Either way you will be mentioned on his koseki as his wife, mother of the kids.

Neither will your kids suffer as mentioned above by posters, heck my son was at school with mixed and japanese parent kids that divorced/parent died, etc and had multiple names = no problems.

I think most of the problems are of the peoples own making, IMHO.

BTW, I go by 2 names here legally, one is my foreign name and another is a kanji only name that is legally registered to me(hanko, et al).

You can take any name here(in addition)if you can provide proof that you are using it don't take much either. Check into it.

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The five plaintiffs—four women and the partner of one of them—are seeking a total of six million yen in damages from the government for their distress and demanding that local government offices accept marriage certificates that list their separate surnames.

I just cannot get the feeling that this is done out of belief but rather for monetary reasons. Hence I do not believe it will succeed.

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Next "problem" to be solved will be: Kids shall carry father surname or mother surname?

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If your maiden name is Rumpelstiltskin and you marry a man named Rockefeller, then the law definitely offers benefits. It's pretty ridiculous that Japanese law allows a man to be "adopted" by the wife's family so that he will take her surname. Doesn't that mean you're marrying your own relative then?

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It's pretty ridiculous that Japanese law allows a man to be "adopted" by the wife's family so that he will take her surname. Doesn't that mean you're marrying your own relative then?

This is only the case if the wifes family doesnt have a son and they have lots of land and property. Its not a family thing its an inheritance thing. I dont know the details why this is preferable...but Ill change happily to my wifes family name in return for a huge chunk of land which will provide for my family and settle our retirement. If the wife can change her name to my family because of dumb law, then I can change my name for something much more meaningful easily....after all its just a name...

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tmarie-

I want to keep my name as I have my publishings, rep and job to think about. However, try having kids and dealing with parents with two last names. Bad enough to be a half kid but parents with two names??

I'm mixed (Japanese and French) and I've never had problems because of my heritage. My kids are mixed and they have not had problems. My husband and I do not share the same last name and it has never been a problem.

I'm not saying no one in my situation would ever have problems but I myself have never had problems..

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Next "problem" to be solved will be: Kids shall carry father surname or mother surname?

it's not a problem. it is just something a couple would sit down and talk to before their child is born.

my kids use my last name in Japan and use my husband's last name in the U.S. their last name(s) never caused any problems.

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i have a rare family name, would like to keep it. I however don't expect my future kids to have it as they would deal with a bunch of BS related to it

you can keep your last name after marriage. your kids can take your husband's last name. your husband doesn't have to use your last name at work. He can use his original last name if he is Japanese. no problem :)

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Fishy, have you tried taking your kids out of the country on their own on a Japanese passport???

I am well aware "I" can do this with little issue, however, Japanese people can't. It is one of those get out off jail free card that doesn't extend to Japanese people.

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Fishy, have you tried taking your kids out of the country on their own on a Japanese passport???

??? My kids always use their Japanese passports when they travel, and we travel every year. They are too young to travel on their own, so it is usually me, or my husband, or both of us are with the kids when travelling.

My kids' Japanese passport have 2 of their last names (my last name and husband's last name) so that we don't get questions when travelling. Well, we've only travelled with the kids to Hawaii and the mainland U.S, so I am not sure about other countries, but so far, travelling to the U.S with their Japanese passport has never been an issue.

They have my last name in Japan and have husband's last name in the U.S. By the way, just for your info, my maiden name isn't Japanese (it's french as my father is french)... and the only passport I have is a Japanese passport. Never been an issue.

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I think these days Japanese women have bigger fish to fry than what last name to use. Honestly... whos getting MARRIED? Is this generation of youth even DATING? Every other headline talks about boys holing up in their rooms with computer games and manga. Meanwhile the girls are too busy dyeing their hair orange and focusing on sad-clown makeup techniques.

Japanese society has some great qualities, but focusing on whats important doesnt seem to rank at the top of that list...

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I think it is more stupid for people when they become Japanese citizens, having to take a Japanese name.

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I think it is more stupid for people when they become Japanese citizens, having to take a Japanese name.

Not this one again!

goddog, listen carefully: NOBODY has to take a Japanese name why they naturalise. Nobody.

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Should be "...when they naturalise."

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Fisgy, if you have a Japanese passport that might explain why you haven't had issues taking them in and out of the country on your own. I know foreigner women who have to take a note with them stating they have "permission" to take THEIR kids out of the country becasue their last names don't match up on the passport.

I don't think anyone should have to change their name all at if they don't want to. None of the government's business what I want to call myself before and after marriage.

Mind you, this is also a country that has a kanji list for names so no shocker I guess.

And yes, I will be on the family reg. In pencil right next to the family dog - a joke yes but at times not all that far off.

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tmarie-

my husband is an American and he has taken the kids out of the country many times. the kids have Japanese passports and he has an American passport.

as i said before, my kids' Japanese passport have both my last name AND his last name.

he takes the kids to the United States on a regular basis to let them see their grand parents... Kids always use their Japanese passport and he uses his American passport (as that is the only passport he has). Never been a problem.

When they enter the U.S, he simply tells the immigration officer that the children belong to him (a U.S. citizen) and they have never given him any troubles.

Having said all I said, things might be more difficult when entering in another counteies other than the U.S, so I kind of understand what you are saying :) I'm just saying that we have never had problems with out 2 different last names and our kids having my last name in Japan... Everyone has different experiences and I respect your opinions and experiences.

I hope Japan will allow people to have the right to choose their last name rather than forcing them to pick one!! :))

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Glad you and your family haven't had issues - not the same for everyone sadly. I agree with you - just allow people to pick their own and leave it!

Did you have issues with getting both your names on the kid's passports?

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tmarie-

Did you have issues with getting both your names on the kid's passports?

nope!! actually, the people at the passport center offered to put both last names :) I didn't even know we could do that until they told me!

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Asking as this is the first I have heard of it - have heard horror stories regarding kid's passports and whatnot. Glad to hear it worked out well for you!

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This subject is one of the most time-wasting topics in japan. Just let people use to choose the name. Including the joint-name. How about using Joint-names in Japan, too then. and yes there is an exception in Japan. Japanese woman who married to other country man can keep her surname as well as put his surname in blacket on her Japanese passport. (Of course she can change her surname totally as well.) So there is already there. So that sounds not already right. because Japanese woman can keep her maiden name which is different from her husband if she is married to the foreigners, but not to Japanese guys. That is really strange. If someone wants to keep maiden names let them do it. There should no be problem at all. Why controvertial? 'Very Japan' thing, maybe?

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The ladies should have married gaijins - then they can keep their names.

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