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Japan gender equality minister opposes change on separate spouse surnames

Buntaro

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"Tamayo Marukawa said it was a "personal belief" that would not affect her duties

"Japan's minister for women's empowerment and gender equality has joined a group of lawmakers opposing a legal change to allow married couples to have separate surnames.

"An 1896 law in Japan says married couples must adopt the same surname.

"Campaigners have long argued that this is discriminatory as most couples end up using the husband's surname"

(cont.).

 

Petaris

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My opinion is that it is probably a good idea to keep this rule. If there are any kids it allows there to be a clear source for their family name and to avoid situations like we have in the US of the many hyphenated family names. I also think it lessens family ties to have kids that only share a family name with one of their parents.

Keep in mind also that the husband can take the wife's family name legally. It may not be done often but is legally possible.
 

Lothor

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My opinion is that it is probably a good idea to keep this rule. If there are any kids it allows there to be a clear source for their family name and to avoid situations like we have in the US of the many hyphenated family names. I also think it lessens family ties to have kids that only share a family name with one of their parents.

Keep in mind also that the husband can take the wife's family name legally. It may not be done often but is legally possible.
Having a sister who never married her partner and seeing the devotion with which they look after and advocate for their severely disabled daughter with a barrelled surname, I think you're overstating the influence of names, and I'd prefer a more relaxed and flexible system to accommodate the relatively small number of people who want to be a bit different.

However, I liked your post - you nicely put the case for keeping the system the same without sounding like an LDP bigot - the social system would collapse!
 

Petaris

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Having a sister who never married her partner and seeing the devotion with which they look after and advocate for their severely disabled daughter with a barrelled surname, I think you're overstating the influence of names, and I'd prefer a more relaxed and flexible system to accommodate the relatively small number of people who want to be a bit different.

However, I liked your post - you nicely put the case for keeping the system the same without sounding like an LDP bigot - the social system would collapse!
By "barrelled" I'm guessing you mean hyphenated? If so, then she actually shares a family name with both. Its more of an annoyance everytime you have to write it on a form or use it to login at work. Anyway, I wasn't indicating that it would magically mean that there was less emotional attachment. :)


As an aside, I have run into people with names like "Kimberly Anderson-Wesley-Barrington-Jones", can you imagine having to write that on a bunch of government forms? :p
 

thomas

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Posted last week but not prominently enough. :)

Mrs Marukawa is minister for women’s empowerment and gender equality. Still, it is sad that partisan loyalty seems to be more important to her than actually empowering Japanese women. @Petaris, I understand and respect your opinion, but I feel women should at least have a choice.

I'm not aware of the laws in the US and UK, but surnames are restricted to one hyphen in German-speaking countries.
 

mdchachi

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I'm not aware of the laws in the US and UK, but surnames are restricted to one hyphen in German-speaking countries.
That sounds discriminatory. What if your name is Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarra and you want to get your German citizenship?
 

thomas

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Hm, true, but I guess that from an orthographic point of view the hyphenation between the definite article and the actual surname could be dropped. As in Mdchachi Alamriki. ;)
 

Lothor

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By "barrelled" I'm guessing you mean hyphenated? If so, then she actually shares a family name with both. Its more of an annoyance everytime you have to write it on a form or use it to login at work. Anyway, I wasn't indicating that it would magically mean that there was less emotional attachment. :)


As an aside, I have run into people with names like "Kimberly Anderson-Wesley-Barrington-Jones", can you imagine having to write that on a bunch of government forms? :p
Sorry, meant to say double-barrelled, which is commonly used in UK English for hyphenated with names. Traditionally it was mainly the very posh had such names - check out the politician Jacob Rees-Mogg if you want to be amused and horrified - but they are becoming more common now because of people like my sister and partner, who are not posh!
 

bentenmusume

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Interestingly enough (and as some of you perhaps already know), separate surnames are the default for international marriages here, as you have to fill out a separate form if you want to go that route. My wife actually said that she had a slight preference for taking my last name rather than keeping her own (which she's never particularly liked), but neither of us could be arsed to fill the out the paperwork...so here we are. ;)

We've been thinking, and we'll probably give our daughter a hyphenated name for her US passport, as we think it's an elegant enough way to show her bicultural heritage. (Of course, when she gets old enough and if she chooses to live in the US or some other English-speaking country, she can decide for herself what she wants to do with it.) Here in Japan, she'll just have her mom's name, because I'm convinced that the hassle of dealing with a hybrid katakana/kanji last name that will inevitably be incompatible will all sorts of paperwork and automated applications would be far worse than whatever symbolic benefit would be gained.

She will also have zero middle names by unilateral decision of her dad, who has two of them and finds them to be way more trouble than they're worth. (Also, unlike her dad, her name is probably unique enough without them.)
 

Buntaro

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'Mari Inoue is a 34-year-old IT professor in Tokyo. She got engaged to her boyfriend Kotaro Usui three years ago. A wedding, they say, is out of the question.

'It's not the pandemic that is preventing them, but an archaic Japanese law that requires married couples to adopt the same surname.

'Theoretically either partner could give up their family name. In practice it is almost always the woman who loses hers: one study found it's them who change it 96% of the time.

"I find this very unfair," said Ms Inoue. "We should have the choice (to retain both)."

 

Petaris

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We've been thinking, and we'll probably give our daughter a hyphenated name for her US passport, as we think it's an elegant enough way to show her bicultural heritage. (Of course, when she gets old enough and if she chooses to live in the US or some other English-speaking country, she can decide for herself what she wants to do with it.) Here in Japan, she'll just have her mom's name, because I'm convinced that the hassle of dealing with a hybrid katakana/kanji last name that will inevitably be incompatible will all sorts of paperwork and automated applications would be far worse than whatever symbolic benefit would be gained.

Our kids have my wife's last name in Japan and mine in the US The Japanese passport has my last name in parenthesis after their Japanese last name. Their US passport just has our family name in the US.
 

thomas

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Okayama to adopt opinion paper opposing dual surnames

The proposed written opinion, spearheaded by a group of prefectural assembly members of the Liberal Democratic Party, says a system that allows married couples to use separate surnames could undermine the bond and unity of the family. It also argues that such a system would lead to parents and their children using different surnames, causing “irreversible” psychological damage to the children. [...] The written opinion, however, warns that hastily changing the system could pose serious problems for the future of the country.

Unbelievable. I can think of many issues that could cause irreversible psychological damage to children. Having different surnames isn't one of them.
 

bentenmusume

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I have decided to never visit Okayama.
That's a bit harsh, don't you think?

I mean, just because a group of LDP politicians there might be regressive-minded jerks, it doesn't mean that everyone in Okayama is a bigot, or even that the leadership will always be that way. I'm sure there are plenty of nice people and things there, including many progressive-thinking people who aren't particularly happy with this decision.

What would you think if a Japanese person said "I've decided never to visit [state in the U.S.]" because of an offensive statement issued by a conservative governor or group of state senators?
 
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bentenmusume

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Haha, yikes. Before I trigger any sort of discussion, I assure you I wasn't making a political statement or trying to suggest that people on one side of the political spectrum have a monopoly on offensive opinions.

Was just making the parallel since clearly the group that Buntaro was offended by was conservative, not liberal.
 
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