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Getting married and have name question 2020/6/7 21:25
My soon to be wife is Japanese and trying to decide if she can keep her family surname (last name) in Japan and add my surname (last name) in the US. I have read that Japanese some woman get a green card with their Japanese surname as a middle name and husbands name as last name - example Hanako Sato Smith. But they do not change their name with Japanese Koseki and keep maiden name as is. Instead they only add married surname to passport in parenthesis - example Hanako Sato (Smith).

I would like to know if anyone has done this and had problems? I thought it might be a problem returning to the us through immigration because the green card and passport names do not match. Any information would be most appreciated, thank you.
by Jerry75  

Re: Getting married and have name question 2020/6/7 22:38
I am not familiar with the green card process, but no one has responded, so might just describe my experience with the name.

I am Japanese, married to a non-Japanese, and Ifve done the gadding in parenthesish thing on my passport. So it appears as Hanako Sato (Smith)h on my passport. But as far as all my other Japanese official documents go, my name remains gHanako Satoh on koseki, juminhyo, driverfs license, bank accounts, even when I purchase international air tickets. The benefit of adding g(Smith)h is just to show that I am married to Mr. Smith, without having to walk around with my marriage certificate (from the country where we got married in). (My spouse is no longer registered as a resident in his home country, and we got married in a third country, so we have not reported our marriage anywhere else, so there has been no complication with names at all.)

Another thing to note that the only authority that can accept changes to names of Japanese nationals is the Japanese authorities.

Soc to me it sounds like whether US authorities consider her official name the only way to state her name, or accept the added gSmithh (for convenience). It just might be better to ask the US immigration authorities for suggestions.
I hope someone with firsthand experience posts their experience.
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Getting married and have name question 2020/6/8 21:35
Thanks AK,

There seems to be many benefits to not changing her name in Japan. Our biggest concern is US immigration because she will need both her passport and green card to enter back in the US. US authorities are not of much help, they say she should change her name in Japan. It would be nice to hear that a few people have successfully re-entered the US with different names on passport and green card.

Thanks again for your input!
by Jerry75 rate this post as useful

Re: Getting married and have name question 2020/6/8 23:27
Hello Jerry75,

I don't have firsthand experience either, and this is not even an answer, but I wonder if your wife is aware that, now, married Japanese nationals have the option of adding her maiden name to her juuminhyo, inkantourokushou, my-number-card and driver's license (as well as her passport if she is married to a foreign person).

Not many people seem to know about this new system that started last autumn, but the procedure is very easy. It may help avoid complications when trying to prove that she is the holder of her new family name and also was the holder of her maiden name. You can add the name long after you got married, so there is no need to rush, but I just wanted to let you know about this option.

Here are some details.
https://www.soumu.go.jp/main_sosiki/jichi_gyousei/daityo/kyuuji.html
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Getting married and have name question 2020/6/9 06:29
I know women who have done what your wife is planning to do. They haven't had problems entering the US with different names.

Their passport says Hanako Sato (Smith) and green card is Hanako Smith.
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Getting married and have name question 2020/6/9 10:18
Uco-san,
Yes, this is available, but this assumes those Japanese (usually) women who gchangeh their surname on the gkosekih upon marriage (to another Japanese). This recent system allows those who have changed their surname on gkosekih to be able to show their maiden name on other official documents alongside their married surname.
In the case of Japanese – non-Japanese marriage, by default we donft change the surname. If one wishes to change to the non-Japanese spousefs name, they need to report it. Then in this case she officially becomes gHanako Smithh on her koseki, and under this new system can have her maiden name alongside gSmith.h

That would be another way to deal with it – so she will be consistently gHanako Smithh everywhere, with her maiden name gSatoh shown alongside it in Japan. If other places such as banks accept this, I donft know. I donft know how Jerry 75fs wife-to-be feels about it. It is worth considering though. Also where the two of you would live most of the time would be another factor to consider too.

And to Jerry75, congratulations on your upcoming marriage!

by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Getting married and have name question 2020/6/9 12:46
AK, thank you for the clarification. That's what I meant.

In Japan, only a Japanese woman married to a foreign man can enjoy the benefit of not changing her surname and still be legally married. Meanwhile, in recent years, it has become very easy for a Japanese woman to change her surname on her koseki to her foreign husband's upon registering her marriage (back then, you needed to go to court while now you just go to the counter next to you). And now that you can add your maiden name to official documents, I believe that the disadvantages of changing surnames have decreased.

I'm not insisting that it's better to change surnames. On the contrary, I support freedom of surname registration. I'm just suggesting options, since the core of the question seemed to be about asking what happens "if" she doesn't change her surname in Japan. And, Jerry, congratulations on your future.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Getting married and have name question 2020/6/9 13:21
by ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Getting married and have name question 2020/6/9 13:48
Uco-san,
Yes, I know that you were suggesting a way to mitigate the disadvantages of changing the name. I just assumed that the OPfs wife-to-be didnft want to change her surname to begin with anyways.

Yes, nowadays a Japanese who got married to a non-Japanese national can simply file for a name change (if they want to) by reporting it, up until 6 months after the marriage, after which they need to file with the family court.


Another thing: this system (of allowing the maiden/a different name galongsideh the married surname) to me sounds like a gimmick by the government telling its nationals, hey, we are giving this much leeway to let you show your maiden name if you have to, so donft complain about having to change it – it shouldnft matter now, right? So I am not too fond of thisc it is about onefs (usually the womanfs) identity. Sorry completely off the topic, but just had to say itc
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Getting married and have name question 2020/6/9 21:13
Thank you, AK.

And, Ken, that's not what I'm talking about, but I thank you for the information, regardless.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Getting married and have name question 2020/6/9 21:57
OP does not have any concerns about miscellaneous things in Japan.
by ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Getting married and have name question 2020/6/10 05:48
Thanks for all of the comments and information!
by Jerry75 rate this post as useful

Re: Getting married and have name question 2020/6/29 11:20
Thatfs good to know, thank you. My fiance and I are worried about all of this.
by MarLion rate this post as useful

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