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baby for Japan citizenship & naming 2007/7/22 01:14
Dear All

I sincerely ask for the advice and help from anyone who knows the right way to name newly born baby for the Japanese citizenships.

My baby will soon be born in Japan. I am a foreigner and my wife is Japanese. So the question now is how to name the baby. I understand that I need to name the baby by following the mother's surname in order to be Japanese citizen.
I am not sure if this is true. If not please let me know if I can still give my baby a Japanese firstname while keeping my family surname(lastname).

If it is true that the baby must follow mum's Japanese surname, I wonder if Japanese passport or birth cert can allow alias. With the option of alias, I can name my baby using my surname at least. This is something I must do as respect to my ancestor.

I have a Malaysian citizenship so the baby should not have dual citizenship in such cases. Any input, please feel free to advise.

Kindly advise.

Thank you

best rgds
by Jason  

... 2007/7/22 20:25
Jason, lawful procedures like this has changed over the years. Since you still have time until the baby is born, I suggest you phone or visit your local ward office in Japan or your Japanese embassy if you're overseas, and update yourself with accurate info.

But there is one advise I can give you. My understganding is that your child's name on the Japanese passport will be indicated in romaji. So for example, if the baby's name is Adrian in English, it would be written as "Eidorian" in the baby's Japanese passport. That's one of the reasons why many internationally married parents give two different names for each of their child's passports.
by Uco rate this post as useful

why mother's name? 2007/7/22 22:15
I know plenty of half Japanese adults and children who have their non-Japanese father's family name, but are Japanese citizens. The actor Eiji Wentz is an example of this too.

Why do you think you need to give the baby your wife's family name? Do you plan to apply for citizenship and take your wife's family name? If not, then there is no reason why your child can't have your family name- that is the norm, as far as I know.
by Sira rate this post as useful

Thank you 2007/7/23 00:56
Dear Uco and Sira

Thanks so much for the inputs.
I will follow the approaches you mentioned. Good to hear those examples you mentioned which given me more confidence to keep my surname.

I do not intend to take up Japanese citizenships at this moment (at least for now).
So I will do my best to keep my family name when naming my baby.

According to Sira, if my baby is taking for surname and is Japanese citizen, how would it affect me if I apply for Japanese citizen in future? Would myself and my baby need to follow my wife's surname or create a Japanese surname?

Thank you for your kind advice and input again, Uco, Sira and anyone out there.

Happy Sunday!

best rgds
by Jason rate this post as useful

surnames 2007/7/23 11:25
The explanation of surnames is complicated (although the procedure of registering is simple).

In a J to J marriage, the couple need to have same surnames if they want to be lawfully registered as a married couple.

However, in an international marriage, the Japanese spouse is free to either keep the Japanese surname or change to the foreign spouse' surname and still keep the Japanese citizenship and, of course, be registered as married person. In your wife's case, I am assuming she kept her Japanese surname. You cannot have two different surnames on your Japanese koseki, btw.

When a foreign person decides to obtain Japanese citizenship, the person is free to choose any surname that person wants. But a lot of people choose to the spouse' name since it would be convenient etc..

In registering your Japanese koseki, it is possible to register different surnames between mother and child. This happens a lot when the mother is divorced.

I guess the advantage of being born from international marriage is that you get to have multiple surnames or even multiple first names. You lawfully can't do that if you're born from a J to J marriage.

Again, all this may sound complicated when you explain it, but the procedure of registering yourself or your family is not that complicated any more. It's just that you might have several options.

But again, please up-date yourself at the ward office or embassy.

Take care.
by Uco rate this post as useful

in my case 2007/7/23 22:58
i am japanese and my partner is malysian.we haven't get registered yet but we have a baby.

my baby got japanese citizenship automatically coz i am japanese.but if we waned to have my baby's malysian citizenship,we had to apply it before baby become 1-year-old.(this is for malysian)
if your baby gets dual citizenship he/she has to choose which citizenship when he/she is 22 years old.japanese gov dosen't allow to have dual citizenship.

so now my baby and me using my familyname.and he has japanese name and english midle name.on his passport,his name is NOT english spelling.but if i have any document such as foreign passport or birthcertificate,i can change it.after we get registered we'll do it.
(i made his passport this march and he was 2 months old the time.)

about family name.
after registered,i can change our family name,too.

i'll use my family name for myself but i'll change my baby's familyname.
by moco rate this post as useful

Thanks Uco & Moco 2007/7/25 13:37
Dear Uco & Moco

Once again, Thank you so much for the input.
I carefully stuided your messages. This leads me to be more firm to stick to my family name. However, I would allow baby's middle name to use my surname while lastname to follow my wife's surname. I have Kanji written name as I am Chinese Malaysian but I know I can only use my surname in katakana form(not kanji). I worried about any sort of differentiation within the kids when my baby goes to school in future. I apologise for my unduly worries.

Uco, you are right about it. My wife still stick to her own original surname.

According to Moco, it sounds like once baby is older than 1 year old, he/she will not be able to apply for Malaysian citizenship (automatically). If a Japanese baby applies for Malaysian citizenship before 1 year-old, then he/she can have the option to decide one citizenship at the age of 22. Do you mean that, Moco?

Do you see any unforseen issue on this action?
I might take up Japanese citizenships one day.

To Moco, when you registered for Malaysian middle name for your baby that time, did you meet with any obstacles? Or any foreign documents you must prepare in advance?

Kindly share with me your experience. Also do remind me if you see anything amiss.

I will be going to the local office before next thursday since I am still in Singapore for the time being.
I keep you all posted.

Thank you . Domo arigatou gozaimasu!

best regards
by Jason rate this post as useful

you can keep dual citizenship 2007/7/26 22:34
Jason and Moco,

Another note on dual citizenship. Please search the phrase using the "Search" devise at the top of this Forum. You will see that, in Japan, you are actually free to keep both nationalities even after age 22. Please see my post and further posts on the following thread for details.

But keep in mind that I'm talking about the Japanese law. I have no knowledge of how Malaysia handles this.
by Uco rate this post as useful

need more help 2007/7/27 23:43
Dear Uco, Sira and Moco

Sorry to trouble again. Thanks a lot for the link.

I have some updates here and need more advice.

Today my wife went to the local office to register the birth and name of our baby.
It turned out that the officer said in order to be registered as a Japanese citizen, the baby need to have her mother's surname.
I understand from you that my baby is given choices of name. But it seems I met a different situation. However, the officer saidthe baby can change the name in the court later on if we wish to (of course I want to).
So I am wondering if anyone there went thru this type of procedure?

I do not mind to go back to the local office on Tuesday for some reasoning once I reach Tokyo.
I just want them to understand many people can do that way (keeping Gaijin's surname for the baby). It should not be limited to certain local office.

Kindly share with me your comments and input.

Thank you so much!

best regards
by Jason rate this post as useful

Japanese Citizenship and Foreign Name? 2007/7/28 20:29
A baby is born to a Japanese woman and a foreign man and shall have Japanese citizenship, not dual citizenship. The father does not rule out applying for Japanese citizenship in the future. Why should the baby have the family name of his or her foreign father then? This does not make much sense.

When a foreigner married to a Japanese and naturalizes in Japan, both must have the same family name. Usually this name is written in kanji and not in katakana. The kid, who is Japanese anyway, will usually have the same family name as his or her parents. So the Japanese mother of this kid should adopt the name of her previously foreign husband once he gets Japanese citizenship? That is strange too, but at least it is her choice to be a Japanese with a foreign name.

By the way, foreigners in Japan are allowed to write their family name in kanji and to put it in front of the given name. This is called a ''tsuushoumyou'' and can be used in almost all official documents.
by OkinawaDolphin rate this post as useful

... 2007/7/29 14:51
I can't agree with OkinawaDolphin at all, but I'm not going to argue about that today.

Jason, I don't have experience concerning your last post, but it does sound practical.

A couple of decades ago, when a Japanese female gets married to a foreign male and if she wanted to change her surname to her foreign husband's, she needed to go to court to be interviewed. I recall from my friend's experience that this was a bit time consuming, but it did work. The court just needs to make sure that the marriage and changing of names is sincere. Today, a Japanese female can change her surname to the foreign husband's just like that at the counter right beside the place where she registers her marriage.

So things are changing, mostly in a better way for foreign people or for those involved, probably because that population is increasing.

I think it's up to you to go to court to for your baby or to not go to court and leave it as it is. It just depends on what you think is worth for. If you go to court, it's not a big deal. It's just time and energy consuming, and not that you will be accused of anything.

Again, if you feel uncomfortable about anything concering registeration, you should inquire to multiple offices and see if the answers fit.

Btw, personally, I think it would be great for children of mixed marriage to have dual names and dual citizenships, because the duality does exist culturally within the baby. But that's just my opinion. Just for reference, the following are some websites useful for multi-cultural children.






by Uco rate this post as useful

PS 2007/7/29 15:05
Jason, perhaps I misread your last post. And I'm also sorry if any of my previous posts had been misleading in any way.

You can register only one first name and one surname in your baby's Japanese koseki.

However, for example, if a baby's father is UK citizen, you can usually register a different name for the baby's British nationality. I don't know how it works for Malaysian nationality, but I am assuming that usually you are free to have different names depending on the natinality difference.

I think most children of mixed marriage have dual nationalities, having slightly or completely different names depending on the nationality. So for example, if the baby's is born from a Japanese mother and her lawful American husband, the baby's Japanese passport's name shows "Yamada Taro", while the baby's American passport name shows "John Smith" or to be a bit more practicall, something like "Taro John Smith". I know adults who keep both names forever.

What you do need to keep in mind however, is that the name on the baby's koseki is basically the name (s)he is going to write at every small school test in Japan.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Thanks 2007/7/31 20:01
Dear Uco & Okinawa Dolphin

I saw your postings and seems like there are some differences. But still appreciate your help for the input. Let me further study and come back here for discussions.
Good day

best rgds
by Jason rate this post as useful

Its Ok 2007/8/1 12:37

My wife is Japanese. We married in 88 and she promptly changed her surname to mine. (American) This name change was done at the local City Hall I believe. There was no court interview or anything more difficult than filling out the required paperwork.

We then had one child while we still lived in Tokyo. That child was promptly registered under my surname. He was also registered for health insurance and was basically a Japanese citizen from that point. We even received a sum of money from the Government for having a new child just like Citizens do.

Hope this info helps. I'm even confused after reading a few of the posts.
by BB rate this post as useful

... 2007/8/1 12:57
- To BB (and to Jason),
If the Japanese spouse's name change is done "promptly," then, right, there is no court interview or whatsoever. I forgot the time period, but if six months or so have passed after the marriage registration, and if THEN the Japanese spouse wants to change his/her family name, then the court interview issue comes up.

- To Jason and to others:
There seems to be some confusion here. The following is correct as far as I know.

Here we are talking about a marriage between a Japanese woman, and non-Japanese man, right? And I am assuming that the couple's marriage has been reported to the Japanese authorities, so that your wife's koseki looks like this:
(Main entry column) Hanako Suzuki (I'm using a fake name for the wife), born Jan. 1, 1980.
(Remarks column) Married to Mr. Jason Smith (again a fake name) with nationality of YYYY, on day AA BB, 2007 according to the law of (country name entered here - it may be Japan, or it may be another country, if you got married outside Japan and reported the marriage later to the Japanese authorities).

When a baby is born to Japanese & non-Japanese couple, when the couple reports the birth to the *Japanese* authorities, it will be entered into the Japanese wife's "koseki," and there you will see only the Japanese national's name, with the child listed under HER NAME, because koseki only recognizes Japanese nationals.
So it will be like:
(Main entry column) Hanako Suzuki, born Jan. 1, 1980.
Eldest daughter: Aya, born ZZ ZZ, 2008.
(Remarks column) - remains the same -

So this is all that happens on the JAPANESE side.

For the non-Japanese national's authorities, I assume you will be reporting your marriage as well, either through the embassy here, or through your home country's local authories if you return to your country with the family. There then, the reverse will happen I guess. ANd through doing this, the child, when he/she is born, can be granted the other (non-Japanese) citizenship as well, though it depends on that country's law. Just like Moco mentioned, there will be some restrictions/rules about registering your child and having that country's citizenship.

- Now for those Japanese spouse who decided not to change her family name. For convenience, for the Japanese wife's passport, the Japanese spouse can have the non-Japanese spouse's family name appear in ( ) on her passport, for easy recognition that the couple is married, you can show both names. So the Japanese wife's passport would look like:
Hanako Suzuki (Smith).

I believe this can be done with the child when she/he is born, so in the example above, if the girl (Aya in the above example) gets a passport later on, you could have:
Aya Suzuki (Smith).

- Now, the above does not even mention either of the couple changing citizenship, not to mention naturalization. Those things need to be kept separate otherwise you could get confused :)
by AK (Japanese woman) rate this post as useful

Thank you ! 2007/8/1 17:34
Dear AK and BB

It is my pleasure to read your postings.
First BB reconfirmed that naming the baby according to husband`s surname is possible. That in agree with what Uco and the rest have advised me.

Then AK explained very detail for the case she advised. So it seems like my case where my wife never promptly changed her surname to mine.
So I need to go the long way. That is to change her name in court. By putting the way AK suggested SUZUKI(Smith). Let me get my foreign registration id done and this will be my next task.
Please feel free to share with me more info if you have more ideas.

I sincerely thank you all for the helpful response and advice.
Good day!

best rgds
by Jason rate this post as useful

Help Needed 2008/2/26 18:15
Hi Jason and others,

Firstly, thank you all for sharing all these info on the web. My case is very similar to Jason's.

My wife is Japanese and I am Malaysian, we both live in Singapore, as Singapore Permanent Resident.

The question we seeking for answer is how do we go about getting both Malaysian and Japanese passports.

Jason, if possible can you email me so that I can tap on to your experiences/knowledge, thanks much.

by Felix rate this post as useful

Help Needed 2008/2/26 18:16
Sorry, I missed out my email address :


Thanks again.
by Felix rate this post as useful

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