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 While this remarriage law was repealed as unconstitutional, and was widely regarded as an infringement on women’s rights, the name change law remains enforced.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.