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Foreigners Changing Name to Japanese Name

Mikawa Ossan

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Does anyone here have experience with changing their name (specificially the family name) into a Japanese name? For example upon getting married?

What is involved and how does that work in each legal system?

For example I know that people from Brazil of Japanese ancestry officially no longer have kanji for a name, although I do know for a fact that a number of them do use kanji in practice.

If say an American changed his/her name to a Japanese, would it still be officially a katakana name in Japanese? Or is the only way for a foreigner from a country that doesn't use chinese characters to officially get a name with them to become naturalized?

If anyone has experience, please respond! I'm anxious to hear your stories and experiences.
 

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Well, I am thinking of or taking my wife her name, or adding it too my name. So I am also interested in hearing the stories.

I did hear of this one Dutch guy who got married with a Japanese and the decided to change their family name into 2 names. So a Dutch one and a Japanese one. Officially it's not possible, but when you go to court and say it's normal in your country and you are married bla bla. It shouldn't be a very big problem.
 
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I have retained my own surname to carry on the family tradition as myself and Mark in the UK are the only two who can carry it on.

My wife chose to retain her surname as she thought it would be better whilst living in Japan.

My son retained my name when born in Australia, although my wife registered him with her family name in Japan. (One signature required)

I will definitely be keeping my family name and will not be changing it.

Hope this helps you somewhat.

Mikawa Ossan - Are you involved in an inter racial marriage?
 
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From what I understand is that you don't have to choose chinnese charaters, but you do have to use either katakana or hiragana, romaji cannot be used at all. When you change your name you will have to register at your local city office and they will register the change on your "ナ津仰静絶?慊」窶怒" kosekitouhon. However you original name will still be on this document with a line through the middle and there is no way of erasing it. Same goes if you get divorced, it will stay on record which is why a lot of Japanese frown upon divorce. I hope this helps.
 
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I have retained my own surname to carry on the family tradition as myself and Mark in the UK are the only two who can carry it on.
My wife chose to retain her surname as she thought it would be better whilst living in Japan.
My son retained my name when born in Australia, although my wife registered him with her family name in Japan. (One signature required)
I will definitely be keeping my family name and will not be changing it.
Hope this helps you somewhat.
Mikawa Ossan - Are you involved in an inter racial marriage?
Is there a reason for your wife keeping her name?
 

Mikawa Ossan

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My gut instinct tells me that the only way to change your name to a Japanese one with kanji is to become a naturalized citizen, but I'm not entirely certain on this point.

I think the first problem is the foreign country involved. For example, as an American citizen, is it possible to change your name to a non-alphabet name? I am quite sceptacle on this point.

If your name is not in Chinese characters in your country of citizenship, I think the the name automatically becomes just the sound and therefore legally romaji or katakana at best.

Kyoto Returnee, race has nothing to with it, but I will say that this has suddenly become an issue of great importance to me!
 
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My gut instinct tells me that the only way to change your name to a Japanese one with kanji is to become a naturalized citizen, but I'm not entirely certain on this point.
I think the first problem is the foreign country involved. For example, as an American citizen, is it possible to change your name to a non-alphabet name? I am quite sceptacle on this point.
If your name is not in Chinese characters in your country of citizenship, I think the the name automatically becomes just the sound and therefore legally romaji or katakana at best.
Kyoto Returnee, race has nothing to with it, but I will say that this has suddenly become an issue of great importance to me!
Mikawa, no you don't have to become a naturalized citizen to change your name to kanji or kana. All you need to do is make a "hanko" and get it registered at city hall, then have them change your info on the "kosekitouhon". It is that simple. BUT, if you are changing your name to how it reads through out the rest of the world, then you need to go through the neccesary proceedures in your country of citizenship, or as you say become a naturalized Japanese citizen and it will be done for you.
 

Mikawa Ossan

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Mikawa, no you don't have to become a naturalized citizen to change your name to kanji or kana. All you need to do is make a "hanko" and get it registered at city hall, then have them change your info on the "kosekitouhon". It is that simple.
Would this affect your nenkincho? Your health insurance? I'm just stabbing in the dark, but I don't think so. I'm talking about swallowing the pill whole.
BUT, if you are changing your name to how it reads through out the rest of the world, then you need to go through the neccesary proceedures in your country of citizenship, or as you say become a naturalized Japanese citizen and it will be done for you.
Yes, this is actually half of the question in the OP (or at least I meant it to be). 😌
 
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Kyoto Returnee, race has nothing to with it, but I will say that this has suddenly become an issue of great importance to me!

I totally agree.

My son is named Kai.. It was great as it sounds cool, we think, and fits both English and the Japan Ocean👍

I really do not care in any way, shape or form between Japanese and English names.

What I do care about is that my FIRST name is mine, and given to me at birth by my parents, and my surname was my name at birth, given to me, once again by my parents, of which was my Father's maiden name, and my Mother also took on when they were married.

Now, call me conservative, but I like, wrong or right, and believe in the wife taking on the husbands family name at marriage.

In what appears to be the genuine reasons behind a few including myself, in which we are involved in a marriage situation between a Japanese, and non Japanese, what is the real issue here?

It appears to be that people are worried/thinking/whatever, about Japan and their home country.

For me, it honestly does not make a scrap of difference..

I cannot honestly see what difference it makes in Japan for a Japanese person to use a non Japanese surname, or the other way around.

It also seems a concern of not being able to write the Roman name using Kanji, which once again, in no way would concern me, personally. I do not have an issue with this.

Having siad that, my first name in English is 'Elliot', backwards it spells 'Toille' (stop laughing)

My surname in English fits fine in Japan.

If you are a non Japanese, getting married to a Japanese human, and they wish for you to take on their surname, well, that's totally up to you guys and you really need to reach a consensus between you, which could end in disaster, depending on how important it is for each of you, etc.

Hope that clears things up a little, but at the end of the day, be happy with your name, and don't think of changing it simply because you are going to or are living in Japan.

You are who you are, change can be good or bad depending on situations and circumstances..

Would this affect your nenkincho? Your health insurance? I'm just stabbing in the dark, but I don't think so. I'm talking about swallowing the pill whole.
Yes, this is actually half of the question in the OP (or at least I meant it to be). 😌

Mikawa, your name, whatever it is will not affect anything in Japan.

I had everything same as a Japanese national in Japan, my name certainly had nothing to do with it.

If you swallow a pill in the dark, make sure you go to your nearest hospital fast, press that after hours buzzer fast..
 
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Would this affect your nenkincho? Your health insurance? I'm just stabbing in the dark, but I don't think so. I'm talking about swallowing the pill whole.
Yes, this is actually half of the question in the OP (or at least I meant it to be). 😌
Remember it wont read kanji on your US passport. Eg, 窶「ナク窶懌?。ツ 窶伉セヒ弸ツ、it will read "fukushima tarou" on an American passport. Eg, "Micheal Jordon" into Japanese "ニ筑ニ辰ニ単ニ停?ケツ・ニ淡ニ停?。ツーニ胆ニ停?慊” ,"Maikeru jyoudan"is what it will read on the passport.
 

Mikawa Ossan

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Remember it wont read kanji on your US passport. Eg, 窶「ナク窶懌?。ツ 窶伉セヒ弸ツ、it will read "fukushima tarou" on an American passport. Eg, "Micheal Jordon" into Japanese "ニ筑ニ辰ニ単ニ停?ケツ・ニ淡ニ停?。ツーニ胆ニ停?慊” ,"Maikeru jyoudan"is what it will read on the passport.
Yes, and this is an issue for me, actually. But more important to me in the immediate sense are things like nenkin and insurance and bank accounts and the like.

Kyoto Returnee, I completely see your point.

I would respond in detail, (actually I did, but I deleted it at the last second), but in the spirit of keeping the thread on topic, let's discuss those issues via PM or email! 🙂
 
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A character to be usable for a name is 2230 characters in "the chinese characters commonly used in Japan" (1945 characters) and "a person's name kanji" (285 characters) in a kanji
In addition,"A hiragana " and "katakana".
When I say what is important by a name.
Other Japanese understand your name?
When other Japanese do not understand your name, your descendant will be troubled.
In a hospital, a government office, a school.
http://oshiete1.goo.ne.jp/kotaeru.php3?q=1971777
 
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Yes, and this is an issue for me, actually. But more important to me in the immediate sense are things like nenkin and insurance and bank accounts and the like.
Changing your name will not affect these, obviously you should notify your place of employment and have everything (what ever nenkin system you are in, plus your medical insurance) changed into the new name. (Something you will have to do if you are self employed).

But, you don't need to change your name to ensure that you get all these while living in Japan. May I ask why you wish to change your name?
 

Mikawa Ossan

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But, you don't need to change your name to ensure that you get all these while living in Japan. May I ask why you wish to change your name?
I know that. I've been enrolled in the nenkin and insurance for years. It's not so much for practical reasons as.....I'm trying to do some research in advance for my possible (and I stress the word "possible") marriage into a certain woman's family. I'm sure you've heard of 窶督ケ窶倍ナスq... That's what's suddenly become a real possibility for me, and I want to do some legwork before making the final decision.
 

nice gaijin

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AFAIK, mukoyoushi is generally used to preserve the bride's family name; in the cases of which I have direct knowledge, it was decided that since there were no sons to carry on the (historically significant) family name, the groom would be adopted into the bride's family to carry on the surname.

I wasn't aware that mukoyoushi could be performed for foreigners that haven't naturalized (sorry Mikawa Ossan, I can't recall if you've mentioned your visa/residency status before), or whether it was an option even for naturalized foreigners (though I don't see why not). The whole family register system is ridiculous and just another form of institutionalized discrimination, IMHO.
 

Mikawa Ossan

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Yes, I know about mukoyoushi, and if I were Japanese there wouldn't be any problems (unless they came from my parents). In terms of legality of the adoption, that is a topic for another thread (one I may or may not make in the future).

At this point in time, and more specifically in this thread, I only want to focus on the name aspect of the process, and the nuts and bolts of that.

I mean this as a practical thread. If you want to know the reasoning behind my possible choice, feel free to PM me, and I'll be happy to discuss it with you!
 
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I know that. I've been enrolled in the nenkin and insurance for years. It's not so much for practical reasons as.....I'm trying to do some research in advance for my possible (and I stress the word "possible") marriage into a certain woman's family. I'm sure you've heard of 窶督ケ窶倍ナスq... That's what's suddenly become a real possibility for me, and I want to do some legwork before making the final decision.
I don't see a problem, except that your last name will stop with you. As for name changes, your name will read the romaji version of your wifes name on your passport if you are not a naturalized Japanese citizen. As for your first name, I don't believe you will have to change it at all, obviously you already have a Japanese name if you have nenkin and a bank account so there will be no need to change your name to conform with Japanese society as that has already been done for you, and this will mean that there is no need to change it on your current passport either. So if you ever decide to move back home, your last name will read as you wifes in romaji ,but your first name will be how it has always been. Well that the way I see it.
 
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G'day Mikawa Ossan:

I checked with my good friends here today at the Japanese immigration, and you are good to go.

Name changes are all fine..

Names have no bearing on services provided in Japan, unless discrimination is a factor.
 

Mikawa Ossan

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I don't see a problem, except that your last name will stop with you.
That's what brothers are for!👍
G'day Mikawa Ossan:

I checked with my good friends here today at the Japanese immigration, and you are good to go.

Name changes are all fine..

Names have no bearing on services provided in Japan, unless discrimination is a factor.
Thank you for that. The most important thing to me is that the name of my potential wife and myself is the exact same legally after doing the paperwork, whether that has any practical meaning or not. (That has to do with my opinions on marriage, but that's another subject entirely!)
 
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That's what brothers are for!👍
Thank you for that. The most important thing to me is that the name of my potential wife and myself is the exact same legally after doing the paperwork, whether that has any practical meaning or not. (That has to do with my opinions on marriage, but that's another subject entirely!)

Exactly said, and at the end of the day, what's in a name;-)


The most important point here is that you are getting married, and a big congratulations from me, and I'm sure life in Japan will be just grand for you and the family:)

By the way, does that mean we can expect a forum name change?
 

Mikawa Ossan

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By the way, does that mean we can expect a forum name change?
Nah. I still will live in Mikawa for the time being, and every day it gets that much harder to say I'm not an ossan.... :p


Back on topic!

As a U.S. citizen, I am quite certain that I would have to change my name at my "state of residence". The only problem is that I don't reside in any state, nor have I for some time. I could always use my parents' address, but I highly doubt I could ever get enough vacation to file the paperwork and be able to make the court date. It's starting to look like that will be the biggest obstacle.

It might be best to suck it up and wait on the name change for a while, and then after being married for say a year apply for citizenship. If my application is accepted, I could change my name at that point to hers.
 
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