Separate surnames for married couples 2015/12/22

The lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of a civil code article has been brought before the Supreme Court. The article states that married Japanese couples should use a single surname.

This one-surname policy has been criticized by some who claims the policy is against Japan’s constitutional guarantee of equal rights for women.


Yesterday the court judged the article is constitutional.


Until Meiji revolution in 1867, Japanese society was led by worriers and nobles who carried surnames but occupied less than 10% of total population, while majority of population, namely farmers, fishermen, merchants and so on, did not have surnames.

New modernized civil law was enforced after The Revolution and all people were allowed to have surnames together with the one surname policy which was designed to encourage sense of unity among family members.


Western society put preference on “individual freedom”, while Japanese society historically put more preference on family ties. There are clear differences in traditional way of thinking, or sense of values between western society and Japanese society. It is natural that each nation or each race has own traditional values and diversities.japan should respect their own historical values. From that viewpoint,

I strongly support yesterday’s judgement of the Supreme Court.


By the way, a rate of illegitimate child In Japan is only 2% which is far lower in comparison with European average of 40-50%. It can be said Japan still keeps traditional healthy family ties.