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News Foreign Minister Kono: foreign media should switch order of Japanese names

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thomas

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Foreign Minister Taro Kono, no sorry, Kono Taro asked foreign media to use the Japanese "family name first, given name last" standard when citing Japanese names, a convention that is already applied to Chinese and Korean names:

Xi Jinping, not Jinping Xi, as well as his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in, and not Jae-in Moon.

Kono cited a report released by the education ministry's National Language Council in 2000 stating it is desirable to write Japanese names on a family-name-first basis. "The new Reiwa era was ushered in and we are hosting the Group of 20 summit (next month). As many news organizations write Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korean President Moon Jae-in (in the family name, first name order), it is desirable for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's name to be written in a similar manner." Under the initiative, Shinzo Abe would be written Abe Shinzo.
Source: Minister to ask foreign media to write Japanese names in 'family name first' order - The Mainichi

Historically, the public appears divided on the proposal. In a 2000 poll by the cultural affairs agency, 34.9% of respondents preferred the Japanese order, while 30.6% liked the western order better, and 29.6% had no preference.
Source: Last name first, first name last: Japan minister tells foreign media to get it right

 
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Makes sense to me.

Even in a practical sense, whenever I read an English language article on a Japanese person I find it hard to tell which name is which unless one is a name I'm familiar with or I already know about the person.
 

nice gaijin

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How else are we supposed to know which Taro they're talking about?

 

Buntaro

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It all depends on which country the news story is meant to be seen in. If it is meant for an audience in Japan, it is Abe Shinzo. If it is meant for an audience in America, it is Shinzo Abe.
 

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