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Kono to ask foreign media to switch order of Japanese names

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With all the other crap that this government has to deal with, spending time on this issue, which seems to me to be a "pet" issue with Kono, is inappropriate now.

33 ( +40 / -7 )

Agreed with Yubaru. It's wasteful nonsense to be doing this in 2019. Undoubtedly, we have Japan Meeting to thank for this.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

I agree with the above post. In addition, I doubt that media outlets around the world are going to do that just because he wants. He just wants to seem like he's doing something when he's not really doing anything at all

21 ( +27 / -6 )

I think that it is simply proper manners for others to respect name order. It is not a big issue but a polite one.

-14 ( +9 / -23 )

Wasn’t he calling for Japan to be like the west and not using family names first for the sake of confusion, just a little ago?

https://japantoday.com/category/politics/kono-suggests-need-to-end-reversal-of-japanese-names-in-english

Seems so

15 ( +19 / -4 )

Nice to see the government tacking the pressing issues of our time.

28 ( +28 / -0 )

Foreign media are going to be more interested in the bizarre state of affairs in Japan over the word order of names. A Pandora box has is going to open that politicians have no experience off.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

This is proof that Japan has its priorities right on target.

17 ( +22 / -5 )

What a way to start Reiwa !

17 ( +17 / -0 )

Hey Kono! Stop trying to tell other countries what to do! Japan is the only country that reverses names. Perhaps it is Japan that should change them around.

-11 ( +12 / -23 )

Will never work, the viewers expect first name, last name and that is what the media will use.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

I think that it is simply proper manners for others to respect name order. It is not a big issue but a polite one.

And then you re-read the article to find out the Japanese started using western writing conventions for names over one hundred years ago, which means there is nothing impolite about it.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

How about he instruct japanese media to change foreign name to conform with the japanese way.

Ok lets see.

Trump Donald, Gates Bill, Clinton Bill, Bezos Jeff.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

Hey Kono! Stop trying to tell other countries what to do! Japan is the only country that reverses names. Perhaps it is Japan that should change them around.

China. North Korea. South Korea.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Kono again proves his leadership by finding the most pressing issue Japan currently faces. A man of priorities, sure to be a future prime ministe who will lead Japan into a bright future.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

It’s a long overdue change. Reversing the name order just to conform to the Western practice is such a stupid idea. Getting rid of this century old absurdity is a nice way to start the new imperial era.

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

Lolololololololololoololololololol

Yes kono. That right there is the most pressing issue. It sux watching a once mighty nation slither oh so slowly to the dust heap of history. Damn shame.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

I find it interesting that an article discussing reversing the Japanese names in the foreign media begins, “Foreign minister Taro Kono...”

20 ( +20 / -0 )

How about he instruct japanese media to change foreign name to conform with the japanese way.

> Ok lets see.

> Trump Donald, Gates Bill, Clinton Bill, Bezos Jeff.

Exactly! Excellent point!!

Yes kono. That right there is the most pressing issue. It sux watching a once mighty nation slither oh so slowly to the dust heap of history. Damn shame.

They only have themselves to blame

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Will never work, the viewers expect first name, last name and that is what the media will use.

China does it. NK does it. Xi and Kim are family names.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Wait for a World Heritage Award in this somewhere.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

You can't just blame the foreigners again. The Japanese do it themselves. Look everywhere, especially when singers write their name in romaji. This should never have been done in the first place. More inferiority complex when Japan started opening up to the world.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Vietnamese also put their surnames first.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Actually, when I speak in Japanese, I find it natural to say Japanese names, last name first.

When I'm speaking in English and say English names, I find it natural to say, first name first.

Just go ahead and grant Kono's wish. It's not that big a deal if that's what he or Japan wants.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Of all the other important pressing issues Japan faces, this is the one they choose to address? Talk about beating around the bush just to ignore the gorilla riding the elephant's back in the room!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

but was educated in the United States and is fluent in English, has raised the issue in the past.

Might have got more traction saying that in English, otherwise he's just another minister with nothing else to do. Go help out desperate Abe and go talk with the North Koreans or something useful.
11 ( +11 / -0 )

Now is the right time to make the change, Kono told a press conference, given that the new Reiwa era has just begun

I don't get the connection. Is he also going to request that foreign media start using the imperial year system?

13 ( +15 / -2 )

I totally Agree, Especially since much Japanese Anime circulates the Globe and we hear the pronunciation in Japanese with English Subtitles. Even the English Subtitles gets it Wrong! Its like mispronouncing someone's name inaccurately on purpose, it is like a ''slap'' in the face. Lets be more correct with Japanese people, unless the request we were to use the name differently or as a nickname, but only when they ask us to.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

@davidnorell

Yes because Japanese people never, ever pronounce foreign names or words incorrectly. Are you trolling?

18 ( +19 / -1 )

I totally Agree, Especially since much Japanese Anime circulates the Globe and we hear the pronunciation in Japanese with English Subtitles. Even the English Subtitles gets it Wrong! Its like mispronouncing someone's name inaccurately on purpose, it is like a ''slap'' in the face. Lets be more correct with Japanese people, unless the request we were to use the name differently or as a nickname, but only when they ask us to.

Lol of the day and it's not even 9 am. What a ramble of blah,blah,blah.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Another pointless distraction. Is he suggesting a tennis match should be

Roger Federer

Vs.

Nishikori Kei

??????????

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Good. Finally Japanese sound like Japanese.

-16 ( +1 / -17 )

I guess if they can add the H to Otani (Ohtani) when we never see Osaka spelled Ohsaka, flipping the first and last name can be done.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Long live Abe Shinzo, down with Shinzo Abe.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Will never work, the viewers expect first name, last name and that is what the media will use.

Tbf, i think most westerners/non J, korean, chinese etc struggle to identify north east asians' first and last name. Kono Taro - Taro Kono, KJU - JUK, reckon most ppl simply repeat what they're told/what they read, so it would/could 'work'.

Sounds like a trivial, symbolic-only request to me (after what, 100-120 years?!), not worth wasting one's time & energy but the J govt obviously thinks differently.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

And they make all their kids dye their hair black. While you might think that analogy doesn't belong in this thread, think about it; "We're worried about our needless proclivities, paranoias and interpersonal misogynistic failures."

Just a thought from a Japan-loving Canuck.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Long Live Xi Jinping. Down with Jinping XI! aka Winnie the pooh or Pooh the Winnie or maybe Pooh on China!

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Really Guys is this a problem? What about foriegn names in Japanese. Never thought that a govt can spend time and money on such useless thing.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Funny considering the heading didn't use Taro

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Kono is being ridiculous. In the English language, given names come first. In the Japanese language, family names are said first. Just because China and Korea have somehow convinced English-language media to violate the principles of their own language doesn't mean that it should be done for Japan too.

And does he plan to make all the other non-English European language media do the same thing?

There is (at least) one European language where surnames are said first -- Hungarian -- and you don't ever see English-language newspapers or TV stations preserving Hungarian order and saying things like "Orban Viktor", do you?

Japanese bureaucracy has very little respect for Westerners' names these days: the new zairyu cards no longer have any Japanese orthography on them; they force people to use extraneous and needless middle names; there is even the infamous and embarrassing case of the MoJ humiliating married German women whose maiden names were on their German passports by treating the helpful field header geborene __ as if it were part of their actual names.

No, Kono's beef is because he has seen the other two big Asian powers get the Western media to kowtow to them and twist the English language, and thinks Japan should get the same privilege. It's a privilege that none of them should have.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Always uncomfortable with countries telling other countries what to do. The name order is all done as per Japan conventions within Japan’s domestic media, and they may end up tweaking official documents like passports etc. to feel better about themselves. That’s their domestic right if they want to. But sorry, they can’t tell other countries to change their own language conventions when writing names in foreign country media. It’s just a weird request.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I assume that the Japanese media will reciprocate by never, ever, transliterating foreign names into katakana again.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

It's a bad idea. If it were for Japanese readers, I'd consider it. Foreigners read a name opposite. Some Asians & Hungarians read names like Japanese do. That's it. Since foreign media writes for foreign readers - except those mentioned above - they should stick to their culture. If on occasion they'd like to add a cultural footnote, OK. Maybe I can suggest Kono & Co to reverse their culture and go international. Less people around the world would go confused.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

And this is what Japanese politicians get paid to do?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Long live Abe Shinzo, down with Shinzo Abe.

Who cares? Most people outside Japan wouldn't be able to figure out who that is in any order.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@ performingmonkey

The Japanese media are already polite enough to write foreign names in the order used by foreigners.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

@redelmotalking

Foreign countries already follow foreign conventions when it comes to Chinese or Korean names so why not Japanese?

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Wait. Who is the foreign media reporting to? The foreign public. The foreign public expects the given name first and the family name last.

Or let’s just pile on more confusion along with incomprehensible KATAKANA English which corrupts Japanese kid’s efforts to speak discernible English.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

And foreigners in Japan have their names reversed all the time-I live with that but the rules are different elsewhere.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

David:

English spelling doesn't do japanese or Korean justice either. There's no key to roll, tap, flap, retroflex, or uvulate an R. Perhaps everyone should use the international phonetic alphabet. Once you learn, never mispronounced when reading again.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The people who really "get it" are the ones who use the order of the language being used, not the language of the person being named.

Kono is just a closet nationalist. After all that time in the U.S. he still doesn't get it.

How many have experienced something like this and not winced?

"Mr. Donald? I'm Abe. Nice to meet you."

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Lol. This will be messed up for 1000 years. Backwards or forwards. Forwards or backwards. The very Japanese company I work for writes my name, in Japanese with family name last and even has my meishi printed up that way. There will never be uniformity over this. For one we have decades and decacdes of books and movies and news, whatever, documents, with Japanese names written Western style. So even if we spend the next 5 decades trying to fix it. No one alive today will see uniformity. And someone will just want to change it back.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Maybe Japan can start getting my name correct first - or at least adopt a consistent rule industry wide:

Should I write surname - first name, or first name, surname?...where should I put my middle name?...should I write my name is romanji, hiragana, or katakana?

Ive literally had this issue with an application for a credit card this week. My bank book, cash card, passport, and resident card are ALL different. They all have different variations of my name. The credit card company said to use the name on my passport and provide bank book or resident card as further proof - which they rejected because the names were different!!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

juminRhee

you are so right about the lack of consistent phonetics in the English alphabet. It’s been debated for years among its native speakers. Unfortunately it won’t change in our lifetimes.

Its no excuse to replace the audible sounds of the language with the totally different sounds of another language.

If my wife can learn to read and write English, anyone can.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

does this peanut not realise that the reason we switched the names over ages ago was to help non-japanese identify which is the given and which is the surname? his idea will only serve to confuse people for years to come.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

You don't eat sushi with spoon.

So better the Japanese way.

If not entirely, at least in official documents and meetings etc.

Even in western world esp. UK, they call u by last name first, in hospitals and offices. Even on official papers.

Last Name, then First Name.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Changing the current order of Japanese name is a necessary move for Japan's Reiwa [command* and harmony] era. Apart from informing foreign media, Taro Kono should ensure foreign universities are aware of this change. Since WW2, editors of Euro–American journals use their convention in indicating Japanese authors and names.

*Despite this hidden intention, Japanese Foreign Ministry confirmed that "beautiful harmony" was the true meaning.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

A poignant and symbolic move that reads we are a collective culture, ie we put our group first over the individual and the massive differences that these two mindsets represent. Japan seems to be making it pretty clear how they see themselves in the great collectivism vs Individualism smackdown that is going to define the next generation and maybe even the future of the world.

This always makes me wonder. is it really worth learning or teaching English to a die hard collectivist? Cause real and meaningful communication is only possible between individuals. Can one actually talk to the Borg? Captain Kirk didn't get to far!

Have the reasons for this policy by Kono and the government been properly explained to the nation? Or did they just go ahead and decide it themselves?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Ask first your own citizens in city and government offices, banks, etc, to write correctly and in order the name of foreigners in Katakana.

For example, on my number card, the order is family name/first name in alphabet, but the opposite in Katakana. This is just one example. But it is also in different orders depending on the banks and this creates problem when doing some money transfers.

This is common I guess to every foreigner

Foreign medias will never change the order to please him. Has first Kono any popular support here for that change? I am sure most J-people do not care at all.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

he wants to be authoritarian just like the Chinese, so you can't use first names, that's not cool for police states

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Would cause confusion with readers who are not familiar with the way Japanese names are written and will continue to think the first name is in fact the first name and the second the surname.

When Japanese names appear in foreign media they should continue to be written in the style of the language and country.

In Japan, on my official documents and cards, sometimes my name is in the western style, surname last, and sometimes Japanese style, surname first.

Not sure why he's wasting his time on this.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

When people are pretending to work, results show..

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Taro got nothing better to do?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I can't wait to see the response on this....

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Totally wrong!

In Rome do like the Romans do!

In the local (foreign) media the names should be according the local rules. If all names are given by first name, family name this is how it should be. Otherwise readers might think Abe is his first name!

I can't understand the stupidity (or they think we foreigners are stupid) when I give them my names in the right (for Japan) order and they always make all possible combinations but the correct one. Hilarious - I have given up!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

If it isn't broken, why fix it?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Politics is Hollywood for the Ugly.

Doesn't matter what it is, get the face time; Heck, even contradict yourself.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Got to love the sarcastic comments by some!

Guess there are no more important things to do for him.

One of our English teachers even told the students today they should use family name first.

So, it's not just those politicians who got nothing better to do then going back to the past.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Looks like the ‘when in Rome do like Romans’ doesn’t apply here. Maximum hypochrisy!

First Name , Last Name should be the norm everywhere. Don’t impose to other countries your silly rulles.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Americans will be totally confused by this, as they see "first name" and "last name" as the only possibility. Australians less of a problem, I think with their use of "surname" and "given names".

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The Japanese don't even know what to do for western names. How can they expect other countries to change?

eg. Some Japanese will switch the order of their names when speaking to a foreigner, and some won't. And if a foreigner is in Japan, they often won't give that person a -san suffix, even when that person lives in Japan and speaks Japanese and has given their surname first, even when many people know it's quite offensive to omit!

I think the takeaway is that there's no winning, and Japan shouldn't take offence in the same way that they expect foreigners to not take offence.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"Foreign Minister Taro Kono said Tuesday he plans to ask overseas media outlets to write Japanese names with the family name first, as is customary in the Japanese language."

Fine, but I hope no one is offended when people who read or are familiar with foreign media but not Japanese name order start Calling people only by their family names, Kono. Or if they say, "Hey, Mr. Taro!" Ideally, of course, the reader/watcher is knowledgable about Japanese (and other Asian countries') names and understands, but what Kono is asking is you change:

"Hello,  my name is Taro Kono" to:

"Hello. My name is Kono Taro, but Kono is my family name and Taro is my given name. In Japanese we do it the reverse of many Western countries. So, please call me Taro if you're going to use my given name."

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Japan is awakening !

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

LDP is not PDL, as simple as that.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

one of the numerous legacies from the meiji era when europeans & derivatives were controlling the lands and oceans around the whole world and japanese elites of that time were talking about datsu-a ron 脫亞論, de-asianization, leaving asia and joing europe! lol.

adopting gregorian calender, abandoning the traditional lunar calender. whereas the rest of east asia still uses both calenders, lunar calender for their own traditional cultural festivals.

abandoning the celebrating of the lunar new year, and mapping new year and all traditional cultural festivals directly from lunar to gregorian calenders. whereas the rest of east asia still celebrates their traditional new year and own cultural festivals in the lunar calender.

some of the traditional cultural festivals from the lunar calender now becomes totally out of sync with the moon phases! lol.

weather bureau using western cardinal directions convention instead of japanese norms in daily life. eg tohoku 東北 literally means east-north in japan, but in weather bureau wind forecasts, winds from the north-east becomes hokutou no kaze 北東の風.

and perhaps some others.... lol.

more importantly, computer software from outside japan will still display their own naming orders, regardless of the cultural norms of whatever countries.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

And what next? I can see the headlines now:

Japanese Anger at Western Faux-pas

The Japanese Government has expressed its anger at the disrespect shown to the Japanese Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Abe was greeted as Prime Minister "Shinzo" on arrival at the G8 summit yesterday.

His aides expressed great displeasure at this insensitive mistake.

Summit organisers, who had been expected to apologise deeply, instead replied flippantly, increasing the ire of the Japanese party:

"We were told to call him "Abe Shinzo" in English, and had expected the Japanese party to be familiar with English language conventions - we are not going to change our language to suit one country.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Kono Sensei is just asking for a little respect. Korean and Chinese leaders have their name written in their order of preference. So it's not fair if Japan can't.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

In the English language, given names come first. In the Japanese language, family names are said first. 

Not true and not a language issue. As a translator (Japanese to English) I am usually expected to put Korean and Chinese names into English in surname given name order and Japanese names into English in given name surname order for journalistic publications but generally academic publications want all names in surname given name order.

I would also note that the Hungarian custom is surname given name and there are other European cases where surname first is customary.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

From now on for all Japanese language applications, forms, etc that bear my name in Katakana I will demand my given name be listed before my family name, as is customary in my mother tongue, per Kono-logic.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

...I just realized I'm paying tax dollars for them to waste time on discussing this.

Can we please worry about more pressing issues effecting Japan, like the importance of mental health and the methodology being used to raise children? I mean it's 2019 and Japan is no longer a lonely island without foreign interaction. Foreign exposure is growing rapidly. What kind of chaos is going to happen if young people are not able to adapt to the new world they'll be exposed to? Does it not bother anyone that young teenaged children believe there is nothing for them in life and hang themselves in front of school gates, or leap to their death?

Please Kono, I'm begging you from my heart... please get back on track.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Wonder what they will do with Japanese wives' names once they decide to accept the husband's surname.

What will their passports look like, since most countries (as much as I am aware of) use given name - surname.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I agree that it is correct to use the family name first and given name second. I never call my father in law or mother in law by their given names unless they ask me to address them in that manner.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

You know, since were on the topic, how about someone explain the Japanese version of why the last name is more respectful than the first name but yet, using the first name is considered a sign of friendship, warmth, and the desire to be closer to someone? I hear Japanese people call each other by first name and nickname all the time. If it's so much more disrespectful, why do it? I've asked around the office today, but none of my Japanese secretaries understand why. They say your just supposed to. I know that Japanese schools dont actually teach education during the child's most valuable years, instead they teach what they're calling "manners", well really just another way to politely refer social standards, not actually the correct use of the word manners, but still understood. Could it be that Children are taught this before anything else and now the just 'know', but dont know why? I'm not proclaiming anything, I'm just honestly curious how such a minor thing because so important.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

OK! You're the boss, Mr. Taro!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

1) This article is ignoring his request!

2) Then I request all Japanese companies stop writing and requiring foreigners to write their name in Katakana! It is disrespectful to my culture!

That is a fair trade! Done!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Japan doesn't even have a standardized name order among its own people. It's got singers like Dick Mine and Judy Ong, and film directors like "Beat" Takeshi. There are probably dozens of similar examples.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Or let’s just pile on more confusion along with incomprehensible KATAKANA English which corrupts Japanese kid’s efforts to speak discernible English.

I totally agree. Katakana is one of the primary reasons why the level of English pronunciation and listening is subpar compared to other nations around the world. Especially, considering it is a first world nation.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I agree that it is correct to use the family name first and given name second. I never call my father in law or mother in law by their given names unless they ask me to address them in that manner.

I think most people would find calling relatives by their surnames even through marriage a little weird. When a surname is used it is usually with a title like "Grandma Smith". In the Southern parts of the US, it is not uncommon for children to call close adult friends of the family by their given name with Mr. or Ms. infront as a sign of respect (ex. Ms. Sara, Mr. John). More than an acquaintance, less than a family member.

I guess everyone is a little different.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I totally agree with Mr Kono but this problem is not of the foreign press, this problem is in all documents in Japan. The Japanese forms ask that one,write their name first then family name. This problem can be corrected if Japan makes their correction. Also if Japan make English as the standard minimum in Japan, everything will function normally. Look at Asia even the Chinese in the poor country side wants to read & write English to bring their world up-to date. Why not the world's 4th largest economy country like Japan ???.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@silvafan

True-Dat

And did you ever consider this policy is a purposeful form of isolation? I believe it’s government policy that prevents its citizens from truly integrating with the foreign world.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So wait, you're telling me my tax money is going to help pay for his trips to other countries to tell them to "properly" say his name?

That's great. I can see the itinerary now.

NEW YORK

Day 1: 8 AM - Leave hotel

8:30 AM - Meet with NBC President 8:31 AM - Secretary announces KONO, NBC President asks, "who?" 8:35 AM - KONO states his case to the NBC President. 8:40 AM - KONO leaves the office. 9 AM - Kono changes and spends the rest of the time shopping in Times Square.

Toronto

Day 2: 8 AM - Leave hotel

8:30 AM - Meet with CBC President 8:31 AM - Secretary announces KONO, CBC President asks, "who?" 8:35 AM - KONO states his case to the CBC President. 8:40 AM - KONO leaves the office. 9 AM - Kono changes and spends the rest of the time shopping in Eaton Centre.

Next day, new city, new country, new company, same thing..........................

4 ( +5 / -1 )

In some countries they drive on the left, in others on the right. Nobody needs to change, we all work around it.

In some countries, when writing the date it works: Day/Month/Year, in othrrs it works : Month/Day/Year. Nobody needs to change, we all work around it.

In some countries they put the surname first, in others the Christian name first. Nobody needs to change, we all work around it.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

And while you are at it, why don't you ask your fellow countrymen to call people from that rather large country to the west their actual names and not by the local reading of the character? It is not Cho, it is Zhang. It is not Oh, it is Wang and isn't it Xi not Shu?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@ kitzrow

Unfortunately Osaka has become recognized internationally as the name of the city, but poor Mr. Ohtani is vainly trying to get people to pronounce his name with a long 'o' as he feels that there is difference between 'Big Valley' and 'Little Valley'.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@ JustAGoodOleBoy etc.

For all you people banging on about having to write your names in katakana instead of Roman characters, Kono has not asked the foreign press to write Japanese names in kanji, just to do them the courtesy to write them in the correct order.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

So will Japanese authorities allow all Westerners living here the same courtesy and change our Japanese documents to given name, surname order forms since its the norm in our " original language ?

Ans also use western calendar instead of Heisei/ Reiwa?....using Kono,s logic?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Kono, who was speaking in Japanese but was educated in the United States and is fluent in English

typical japanese nationalist, hates the English language and expects everyone to kow tow to his authoritarian ego trip, foreigners won't lie down and be dictated to like the Japanese are on a daily basis...

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I wish Mr Kono would drop this put some effort into helping resident foreigners who are continually running into the kind of problems detailed by HBJ’s post. I’ve got to do some important paperwork in the near future and I’m totally dreading the nightmare I know it’s goibg to turn into. Despite my various efforts at unification over the decades, I don’t think any two items I have are in identical format.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Midwicket:

I remember seeing an old English map where place-names in foreign countries were translated. Some still are: St Petersburg (not the one in Florida, but Petrograd and formerly Leningrad), Black Forest instead of Schwartzwald, etc. Used to be much more prolific. Guess with Kanji if they want to pronounce the Chinese name, they should put furigana above or next to the kanji at all times.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm not going to take any of this seriously until the same people who support it stop going abroad and talking about the people in those countries as "foreigners".

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I wonder why people in Japan think it's disrespectful to use someone's given name. Using your given name is naturally a sign of respect. When you were born your parents thought carefully of a befitting name for the new life they are bringing into the world. They came together and carefully considered hundreds of names before deciding on the perfect name for person that will carry on their legacy. Your surname? Sure, you were born to that name and your family heritage. But, it was automatic, nothing special happened for you to get your last name you just 'recieved' it simply because you exist. Your given name is not the same, that's why it's called a "given name". Your given name is rooted deeply to the escense of your existence. It was given to you by the people who love you most and brought you into this world. Using the name they carefully gave you is the ultimate sign of respect for the love and care that went into making you, raising you, and guiding you. That's why other cultures are happy to use their given name first.

So tell me again, why is it disrespectful to use the first name, first?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

No more pretense. No more masquerade. Japanese are Japanese, as east is east.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

And why isn't Japan Today complying by naming Kono as "Kono Taro"?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

OK...

President Abe Lincoln

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo

0 ( +0 / -0 )

On a side note, but related, other countries have requested changes in the way some cities are written and pronounced in English, haven’t they? We don’t say “Bombay” or “Peiking” anymore, for example.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan always trying to navigate in the opposite direction of the world. I can only feel a little ashamed of this. Ancestral traditions should be well preserved, but the modernity of the world should also be sought. It's like the Chinese language. That there is traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

People who have international business will resist going along with this for one simple reason: All the confusion it will cause.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"He who first suggests it should be the first to do it " So instead of asking foreign media to write Japanese names in an order with family names first and given names last, Kono should ask Japan's school children be taught their names shouldn't be reversed when speaking and writing to foreigners.

But that's a minor thing, compared with other cultures Japan has imported since the Meiji Restoration.

As I posted on another thread, large numbers such as 1234567890 are very difficult for ordinary citizens on the street to read if they are collocated as 1,234,567,890. It should be written as 12,3456,7890 in conformity with the Chinese numerical system which the Japanese and East Asian peoples have been accustomed to for centuries.

But can Kono suggest as much as this?

The Statistics Bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications tells Japan's current population is 1,2612 man or 1億 2612 万. The figure is represented in accord with the Chinese number system. If it were written as 126,120 千(thousand), as sometimes done, that'll be really difficult for ordinary people to read and grasp.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It is shame.

I am Japanese.

Japanese! Should be proud your name.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Next will be to ask the media to write articles from right to left and/or top down horizontally.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Kono is being ridiculous. In the English language, given names come first. In the Japanese language, family names are said first. 

Actually, no. Just look at the Wikipedia for Trump. His name, as well as all the other names that come up in the article, are in the same order as they would be in English. However, if you live in Japan you will basically be forced to have your name reversed because all of the forms and systems are set up that way.

https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%89%E3%83%8A%E3%83%AB%E3%83%89%E3%83%BB%E3%83%88%E3%83%A9%E3%83%B3%E3%83%97

How about he instruct japanese media to change foreign name to conform with the japanese way.

Ok lets see.

Trump Donald, Gates Bill, Clinton Bill, Bezos Jeff.

No, again. He is talking about the names of Japanese people.

What Kono is saying makes sense. That being said, making such changes now will probably just cause more confusion.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Embrace both methods by saying the family-name twice, as in, for example “The name’s Bond James Bond”.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Michael Morris: "I wonder why people in Japan think it's disrespectful to use someone's given name. Using your given name is naturally a sign of respect."

I got in a pretty big argument with a guy at my company over this. He always tries to use English with me, but in a way that he can always complain about Western culture (he is quite insecure). His daughter married a German and lives there, and he came up to me and asked why people use first names instead of calling husbands and wives "otosan" or "okasan" or, if they MUST use the names, why they don't say, "san" at the end. He said, "I always hear my son in law say, 'Tomoko', and not 'Tomoko-san' and it makes me very angry!" I explained that people you are intimate with, or at least friendly with, generally use first names, and in fact explain the idiom "be on a first-name basis". He just said, "Americans are lazy, that's why." I reminded him it's lazy to assume I'm American when he knows I'm not. Bright red face, and the "You should leave" retort that always comes out. So, since then I have called him "Mr. Shimada" (not real name), and call everyone else by the their first names after clearly having explained you use first names with friends. He has since calmed down and seems to want me to use his first name like I do with others. I won't.

Akie: "No more pretense. No more masquerade. Japanese are Japanese, as east is east."

So why the handle "Akie" and not your family name?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It wasn't that long ago when in my home country, Britain, addressing people by their surname was more in common use, with the added titles. Mr. Surname. Mrs Surname. Master Surname. Mistress Surname. The European countries are still very formal when addressing other people.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japanese court of convicted kidnapper rapist torturer murderer Tatsuya Ichihashi permitted him to use his victim's first name Lindsay throughout the daily sessions - no one objected.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Wow, big deal !

Human rights will wait ...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

zichi: "The European countries are still very formal when addressing other people."

People they don't know well, on letters, or in formal settings. Not friends, family, or in the media when a full name is used (may say "Mr." or "Ms.", but they will still use the first name first).

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Doesn't matter to me. Whatever the Japanese people prefer is fine.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I guess we could argue that since they read right to left, and we read left to right, that we are simply reading the way they write their names down, and perhaps they should correct that ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So tell me again, why is it disrespectful to use the first name, first?

logic does not dictate in Japan, everything is in reverse here... spend some time in Japan and you will see for yourself.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

got in a pretty big argument with a guy at my company over this. He always tries to use English with me, but in a way that he can always complain about Western culture

The usual nationalist nonsense here that i encounter regularly.. . i don't comprimise though.Have you ever noticed how the japanese want 'gaijin' to be like japanese only when it suits them..

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan always trying to navigate in the opposite direction of the world. I can only feel a little ashamed of this.

spot on observation there...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Interesting. More Japanese obsessive, egotistical navel-gazing. It never ends.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Mr. Taro should understand that foreigners would then use the title Mr. or Dr. or Prime Minister with the first name, leading to misunderstanding, unless someone is visiting the southern U.S., where everyone is Mr. Bill and Miss Judy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So why the about face on this when before the new era he was saying that he wanted it the other way. I know some other readers noticed that article previously. He needs to work on not flip-flopping in the media. They are not going to listen to his request when he was just telling the media to do the opposite.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All those double-sided bilingual business cards will have to be replaced too, I suppose... Expensive!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So why the about face on this when before the new era he was saying that he wanted it the other way. I know some other readers noticed that article previously. He needs to work on not flip-flopping in the media. They are not going to listen to his request when he was just telling the media to do the opposite.

He said the exact same thing previously. Either you didn't read it correctly or someone mis-translated.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not a big deal, just do it. Already, Chinese and Korean names, when given in English, are often listed with the family name first. I just assumed that the reason it is not done that way with Japanese names dates back to the 19th century, when Japan was anxiously copying many things Western.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The indignation of the Japanese towards the impoliteness of the foreigners seems to know no bounds. Many a time, I have wondered about whether I was being impolitely treated, when I was expected to always address Japanese business associates as Mr. or Ms. Lastname, and yet they freely addressed me by my first name every time. If I am in Japan, do I not deserve the same level of respect that all the Japanese expect?

To generalize, the Japanese seem to believe that all foreigners use their first names immediately, whatever the circumstances, but they are apparently largely oblivious to the fact that in many European countries, it is still expected to use formal titles and last names until the person invites the other person to use a first name basis. I try to be understanding and not become annoyed when business associates use my first name, but at the same time, they expect us foreigners to have advanced education in all forms of Japanese etiquette, and certainly not calling someone Shinzo or Taro or some other first name lest we deeply offend their delicate sensibilities. I probably should laugh at the hypocrisy of this entire debate, as the Japanese tromp all over most of the world's own polite customs. As a start, perhaps the Japanese could just treat me equally as a foreigner to themselves, using my title and last name as they expect to be done in Japan? I cannot imagine they would knowingly be insulting me.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nic, you are reading too much into it. This is about the media reporting full names properly. Japanese media doesn't switch foreign names around, so likewise foreign media (and local English media) shouldn't switch Japanese names around. It isn't about politeness, it's about being right or wrong.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

World Heritage , please, for uniqueness of japanese name order.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Because I feel so strange if I say Last name First name in English, so I’ll continue use first name last name. Of course I use Japanese style name order in Japanese. If they want people to call them “Kono”,and “Abe”, then just ask “Call me Kono” or “Call me Abe”. That’s all. They didn’t have to ask foreign media and Japanese people like that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As a translator of journalistic Japanese many years ago, I once brashly announced, being conversant with both Korean and Chinese, that I would henceforth follow the general East Asian practice of surname first. That, by the way, is taken for granted by scholars, to whose group I also belong. I was sternly told that such would be very much contrary to policy...Mr. Kono is not, contrary to the snarky comments made by some here, simply nitpicking...When East Asian names are reversed, there is an unnecessary distortion in the intonation. The Japanese accentual pattern will, of course, be altered according to foreign pronunciation, but not so severely if the Japanese order is observed...A further complication is the fact that pre-Meiji names are already given in Japanese order. It's Utagawa Toyoharu, not *Toyoharu Utagawa.

I agree with "Nic": The tendency to refer to Occidentals by their personal names can be irritating, and it's not just a matter of confusion regarding the order of names. Part of it may reflect the notion that all "foreigners" are Americans and that Americans call everyone by their personal names--something that, when I was young, was in much of Europe unthinkable. But then there may be the feeling that foreigners don't have (modern) honseki and therefore might as well be Edo-period peasants...And then there are those pseudo-Westernized Japanese who meet, let us say, Prof. George Smith, a veteran Japanologist, fluent in Japanese, and then, though knowing who the person is, nonetheless say: "Hi, George...My name is Toshiyuki Yamamoto. But you probably can't pronounce my name, so just call me Tosh." (Sure, anything you say, Tush...)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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