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Being forced to change your name is nothing more than a violation of human rights.

20 Comments

Miki Haga, 29, who legally changed her name to Miki Ishizawa two years ago when her husband didn't want to change his name. About 600,000 Japanese couples wed every year and the law says that after marriage, a couple must have the same surname.

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20 Comments
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Don't you mean, "...nothing LESS than..."?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Doesn't sound right. Is your marriage officially recognized by Japanese law? Japanese citizens must change If married to Japanese but are not required to if married to non Japanese from what I've heard.

That's the law alright. Possible it was an unknowing city official incorrectly enforcing the law. But the law allows those who marry foreigners to choose whether or not they change their name.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It is a human rights issue. No one should be forced to change their name.

That's the law alright. Possible it was an unknowing city official incorrectly enforcing the law. But the law allows those who marry foreigners to choose whether or not they change their name.

Foreigners don't have a choice, they can't change their name unless they do so in their home country and get a passport in that name, only then is it accepted in Japan. I had no nterest in changing my name, so luckily the law wasn't an issue for me, but it doesn't stop people referring to me using my husbands name, which is appallingly rude.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I agree that married women should not be forced by law to have change their names on marriage.

My own Japanese wife, would use my family name even by free choice, which she did.

We actually married in London and lived there before moving here. We did register the marriage with the Japanese Embassy.

On our arrival here, my wife to change the name to my own, required an application to the Family Court but she could have continued with her own family name.

The law only requires a name change if you marry here.

The husband can change his name to the wife's family name.

Couple could also choose not to marry.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

When we married, my wife wasn't allowed to change her name according to Japanese law.

Doesn't sound right. Is your marriage officially recognized by Japanese law? Japanese citizens must change If married to Japanese but are not required to if married to non Japanese from what I've heard.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Don't you mean, "...nothing LESS than..."?

I have to wonder what the original Japanese was. This translation seems weird.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Oh, actually maybe hello kitty 321 was. I read it as a foreigner with a Japanese wife. It could very well have been the other way around though:

When we married, my wife wasn't allowed to change her name according to Japanese law.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Really?

I would have thought something is only appallingly rude if it was intentionally rude.

Due to cultural norms and the registration system, women keeping their own name after marriage is so very unusual that no one would presume.

I hope you don't go around being offended by what is intented to be politely respectful

It's intentional. After being introduced or, as in some cases, filling in a form using my name, I was still referred to by my husband's name. Rude. It's also ignorant to presume.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

When we married, my wife wasn't allowed to change her name according to Japanese law.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oh, actually maybe hello kitty 321 was. I read it as a foreigner with a Japanese wife. It could very well have been the other way around though:

Ah yes, that would make sense.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's really no big thing. You are two people now.

Nope, I'm me. My husband and I are individuals, we haven't morphed into the same person and if you refuse to acknowledge that you are being deliberately disrespectful. Would you be rude enough to ignore the name anyone else chooses to use, or is it just married women?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Well, what I wrote is "You are two people now" by which I meant you have an official identity and whatever you wish to consider yourself personally.

My official identity is the same as my personal one.

You are free to use your maiden name in public.

Cheers for that.

I use MY name, in public and in any other situation. I do not have a 'maiden name'.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Couple could also choose not to marry.

Not if they need a visa.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Luddite

Not if they need a visa.

If you marry in London, for example, like we did and register the marriage with the embassy you can get a spouse visa and still keep your own family name. My wife could have kept her family name but it was her decision to change it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan is different than other countries because the law says for a couple married here they must use only one name, but it does not say that a woman must change her name.

If a woman marries and moves into the home of her husband's family then she would change her name.

If a man marries and moves into the family home of the wife he would change his name

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Luddite

it doesn't stop people referring to me using my husbands name, which is appallingly rude.

Really?

I would have thought something is only appallingly rude if it was intentionally rude.

Due to cultural norms and the registration system, women keeping their own name after marriage is so very unusual that no one would presume.

I hope you don't go around being offended by what is intented to be politely respectful.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Sounds like you married the wrong country. Or didn't read the contract beforehand.

As maiden names can still be used informally, I'm wondering if they thought they were being formal by using your husband's?

What's wrong with it, isn't it good enough for you?

Marriages in Japan are unions between families, not individuals. Names are seen as the best way to bind families. Allowing different surnames risks destroying social stability, the maintenance of public order and the basis for social welfare. And, of course, things don't change so quickly.

Why come to Japan if you can't respect its ways and expect it to change for you?

Of course, foreigners generally a free pass in such situations and are not expected to understand or properly fit in.

There are actually cases going through the legal system about this issue right now where individuals are seeking damages for what they call the “psychological damage” of being forced to use their spouse’s names but they've largely been unsuccessful and not made it to the supreme court yet. Claimants also said that by excluding Japanese married to foreigners from that law, the law is discriminatory and therefore unconstitutional.

But it's a foreign idea.

If I were to play the psychoanalysis there, I'd say the problem is something like the desire to retain such a strong degree of individuality within a collectivist society and only a very small mental adjustment to commit to your new culture is required.

It's really no big thing. You are two people now.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Luddite

Couple could also choose not to marry.

Not if they need a visa.

Funny, that was the conclusion I came to, that it wasn't a proper marriage between two people, only just because someone needed a visa.

For example, some people are just anti- the institution of marriage.

It appears the post of mine to which you were referring was censored. I have no idea why or what motivates the forum censors.

How can one continue on a discussion if a faceless, anonymous third party keeps removing chunks of it without any clear reason or logic?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Women are not "forced" to take their husband's name. Husband's can take their wife's name. I did. Men taking their wife's surname is socially accepted.

If you want to continue using your birth name (I was never a "maiden" and never will be one) professionally (I did), you submit a 通称名登録 (registration of alternate name) and life goes on.

If you are citizen, you can stand for election under an alternate name. Both men and women do this.

Japanese who marry a foreign national and change their name can register their Japanese birth name as their alternate name and continue using it.

City and ward office websites usually have a page telling you how to register an alternate name. Here is an example from Toshima Ward in Tokyo.

https://www.faq.cc.city.toshima.tokyo.jp/faq2/userqa.do?user=toshima&faq=gaifaq&id=434&parent=73

While I do not personally object to changing Japanese law to allow separate names, I do not think this is a vital issue and certainly not a violation of human rights.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If that is your definition of a human rights violation, maybe Miki Haga really needs to see other parts of the world.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

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