Radcliffe Takashi Onishi
Sep 18 · Last update 7 mo. ago.
Why does Japan not permit a marriage law whereby couples can retain separate family names?
What are the various viewpoints of the support or rejection of separate surnames for married couple in Japan? In other countries other than Japan, couples are allowed to have a different names. According to survey results, 96% of women in Japan changed their family name when married, and have also undertaken all the burden of document changes on top of losing their familiar family surname. Should selective couple surnames be accepted from the viewpoints of gender equality and the protection of individual identity?
Stats of Viewpoints
There are already exceptions to this law, so their should be no reason not to change it
1 agrees
0 disagrees
This law reflects the prevalence of sexism in Japanese society
3 agrees
0 disagrees
Single family names are a Japanese tradition & undermining this could open families to difficulties
0 agrees
3 disagrees
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There are already exceptions to this law, so their should be no reason not to change it

If a Japanese woman marries a foreign national she does not have to change her name or that of her partner's automatically, but can choose to by filling out the relevant paperwork. This is due to the complication of including foreign names in the 'koseki' (Japanese family register). The woman is then automatically registered as the ‘head’ of a new family with the same maiden name, if no such action is taken.

If this flexibility of the 'koseki' is enjoyed by a foreign national that is settling in Japan, and provisions can be made to accommodate them, then the same provisions should be extended to natives also. If this is a possibility for Japanese women marrying foreigners, then arguably it should apply also to the vast majority of Japanese women. Additionally, it should equally extend to Japanese people in general, and be closer to the laws of other nations so that all can enjoy more equal rights. jlptbootcamp.com/2016/01/the-name-change-game-in-japan

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Daniel Halliday
Dec 14
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
If a Japanese woman marries a foreign national she does not have to change her name or that of her partner's automatically, but can choose to by filling out the relevant paperwork. This is due to the complication of including foreign names in the 'koseki' (Japanese family register). The woman is then automatically registered as the ‘head’ of a new family with the same maiden name, if no such action is taken.
This law reflects the prevalence of sexism in Japanese society

The Meiji-era law surrounding Japanese family names is another example of sexism in Japanese society. As a developed country, Japan should be doing its best to eradicate inequalities in society and this is one example that would be easy to enforce and allow people to retain their identity, family ties and prevent lots of administrative honeymoon hassle. It is just a name, and in this modern age where so many countries allow you to change your name to anything, and maintain flexibility in regard partners adopting each other’s names when married; Japan should likewise permit some flexibility on this issue.

This law was recently retained alongside the review of another of Japan’s 19th century family laws, forbidding women from remarry until 6 months after a divorce. While this remarriage law was repealed as unconstitutional, and was widely regarded as an infringement on women’s rights, the name change law remains enforced. However the argument of upholding this as a traditional convention becomes a bit weak as you consider the history, as both of these laws were put into place in 1898 as part of the Meiji Civil Code. This Civil Code was inspired by the Meiji restoration and therefore had patriarchal feudal values firmly in mind, a far cry from modern Japanese society. britannica.com/topic/Japanese-Civil-Code

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Daniel Halliday
Dec 14
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
This law was recently retained alongside the review of another of Japan’s 19th century family laws, forbidding women from remarry until 6 months after a divorce. While this remarriage law was repealed as unconstitutional, and was widely regarded as an infringement on women’s rights, the name change law remains enforced. However the argument of upholding this as a traditional convention becomes a bit weak as you consider the history, as both of these laws were put into place in 1898 as part of the Meiji Civil Code. This Civil Code was inspired by the Meiji restoration and therefore had patriarchal feudal values firmly in mind, a far cry from modern Japanese society. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Japanese-Civil-Code
Single family names are a Japanese tradition & undermining this could open families to difficulties

It would be an administrative nightmare to allow retrospective changes to Japanese family names; it has become a traditional part of society and is worth preserving. Adopting a single family name is a way of binding families in Japanese society and the undoing of this law threatens to undermine social stability, public order and social welfare. Not to mention the massive administrative cost of keeping track of people being in the same family despite having different names, the whole structure of the ‘koseki’ (family registry) would have to change, making this unworkable.

Married couples with different surnames can face all sorts of different issues in different countries, preserving this law will help protect couples and families from such problems. Making this a strict law with no exception is in the benefit of individual couples and of Japanese society at large, allowing the preservation of traditional culture. Studies show that 70% of couples would adopt a single family name if given a choice; this demonstrates that the vast majority are in favour of this law in Japanese society.

theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/16/japanese-court-rules-married-women-cannot-keep-their-surnames

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Latest conversation
Daniel Halliday
Dec 14
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/16/japanese-court-rules-married-women-cannot-keep-their-surnames
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