Home
Back

Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Note that this thread has not been updated in a long time, and its content might not be up-to-date anymore.

just get a name change living in Japan 2008/4/1 14:13
wonder...If someone moves to Japan and to make it easier for everyone just gets a name change...I wonder how do you know what name to get that is suitable for you? And what about your last name. Women lose their last name anyways so it doesnt even really matter, it goes by the males family name. So how would then female go about choosing a ew suitable Japanese last name?
by chris  

not easier for everyone 2008/4/1 15:46
I have lived in Japan for 10 years and am married to a Japanese guy and I still have my original name- I see no reason to change it, and women don't have to "lose" their name when they get married- in fact not all women get married!

I don't see any point in a non-Japanese changing their name to a Japanese one unless they were born in Japan- some of the ethnic Koreans and Chinese who have lived here all their lives do change their names, but otherwise people don't tend to.

In fact for most non-Japanese, changing their names would probably cause more problems as they would then spend half their lives explaining to people why they had a Japanese name. Not much point really.
by Sira rate this post as useful

true 2008/4/2 00:51
Thats true, I know its really not at all about gender all the time and who gets whos name and who gets married or not, but you know. Sometimes depending on where you live...you never know. Ha, I figured get'n a more simple name or a japanese name that one can pronounce would make it a whole lot easier on everyone ha ha. Like the sounds or the letter "V" and even some american and eastern european last names can be a mouth full for some Japanese speakers.
by chris rate this post as useful

the way i see it 2008/4/2 02:37
Being half-Japanese, born in America and a name that is entirely Japanese "Miyuki Hayashi" I sometimes have the trouble of having to explain why I have a Japanese name. Depending on the day and the person I meet, whether I look full-american or half, will make them ask "why do you have a Japanese name?"
I've even been asked whether Hayashi is also an American name... which MUST be why I have it.
I get the feeling sometimes when they ask me about my name, that I don't have any business in owning it. I might be wrong, but that's sort of the first impression I receive when I'm asked "Why do you have a Japanese name?"
... "well, why not?"

However, if you have no Japanese background I can see how this question might be more difficult on the person. I wouldn't see a point in changing your name to a Japanese name (unless you just happen to be named "Ken" or "Lisa" cuz those names are also Japanese) and then taking a Japanese last name after you get married.
by Miyuki rate this post as useful

Kanji Name 2008/4/2 18:43
When I lived in Japan, I wrote my family name in kanji, my given name in katakana and I wrote my family name before my given name. This name was noted on my alien registration card as "tsushomyo". I used tsushomyo for all official documents except for credit card and bank account related documents. The kanji combination had a meaning related to my life in Japan and the kanji readings resembled my name's pronounciation.

You are free to use or not to use a kanji name. Of course you should be able to write the kanji and you should know their readings and meaning.

When I entered Japan as a tourist later, I wrote my kanji name in the disembarcation card and the embarcation card. I was asked what it meant during passport inspection when I left Japan. I told that it was the tsushomyo during the time I was studying in Japan. The immigration officer just answered "sugoi". Even this happend only once.

In Japan foreign names are often written in katakana. In many cases the pronounciation is changed or the name is abbreviated. A long, complicated name can get an illegible chain of katakana. Of course it is difficult to express it in kanji, too.

When a foreigner is married to a Japanese, they can have different family names. Once the foreigner naturalizes, both the foreigner and the Japanese must have the same family name.

Basically it is up to you: Do you want to show that you try to blend in Japanese society (to some extent) or do you want to emphasize that you are a foreigner?
by OkinawaDolphin rate this post as useful

T0: OkinawaDolphin in reply 2008/4/3 01:51
Yeah, I see where your coming from. You should at least know what your name means and how to write it properly. Also I dont want to to have this long american name that everyone can hardly say. I have found about 8 japanese names that actually are the exact same names that are in my own cultural background. So I guess I would chose those. I dont want to stand out but at the same time Im not Japanese so I want to get soemthing that fits me.
by chris rate this post as useful

Maybe they won't have problems 2008/4/3 09:52
You might be surprised by how well Japanese people can pronounce your name- don't assume they won't be able to, unless it contains a lot of Ls or TH sounds. Many Japanese men's given names alone have 4 syllables (e.g. Takehiko, Hirokazu) so a long name isn't a problem in Japan.

My family name is an English name but it is unusual, and Japanese people are actually more likely to pronounce it correctly than native English speakers, because of the sounds involved.

My first name (not really Sira) is a common one, and Japanese people have no problem whatsoever with the usual short version of it.

If you really want to give yourself a Japanese name then by all means go ahead, but don't do it just because you assume that Japanese people will have difficulty with your name.

Unless you change your name legally your passport and alien card (if you stay more than 90 days) will have your actual name on them anyway, so for anything official you will have to use your real name.
by Sira rate this post as useful

What other way is there 2008/4/3 11:18
If I did chose to change my name, then it would have to be done in a legal way as far as I see it. I have a few Japanese friends and they have expressed to me that many times some foreign names are very diffifult to catch hold of to pronounce. As with any foreign names not only Japanese, there are many people here in the states who are Japanese, Indian, Chinese and so on; and many Americans have trouble saying their ethnic names so many times even Chinese, Indian, Japanese etc do in fact adopt American names. Ive never asked why some African people, Chinese people, or Indian people Ive grown up with or met in my life why they have American or European names. And many of my friend were not born in the states so its not like they were born in an American environment so then they took on the name. But they happend to adopt a new name upon living in the states. Usually its because of many Americans having problems with foreign names. This happens world wide, not Just exclusive for Japanese people.
by chris rate this post as useful

conventions 2008/4/3 12:39
Basically, it's common for people moving to America from Asian countries to take an English name, for whatever reason.

It is however extremely rare for someone moving to Japan to take a Japanese name- in fact in 10 years here I've never met anyone who has done it, other than some of the foreign women I know who have married a Japanese guy.

In any case I recommend spending some time in Japan before deciding to change your name officially- just see how things actually are here. A couple of people giving their opinions on an anonymous internet forum doesn't tell you that much really!
by Sira rate this post as useful

. 2008/4/3 13:00
I don't think you can compare America and Japan like that. America is the most diverse country in the world, and Japan is the exact opposite.

You'll probably end up being the butt of the joke, whether by friends or people behind your back. It's not normal at all for a westerner (especially non-Asian) to have a Japanese name.

It's like a Caucasian girl with a name like Shaneequa.
by Po rate this post as useful

Why would someone get ...? 2008/4/3 13:45
I do plan to visit Japan next year. My very best friend lives in Japan and wants me to come stay with her for a while. This is just a post board for feedback of different views. Trust me, I'm not taking word for word of what a few people post to heart, no need to be alarmed. As far as taking on a Japanese name, like I said before...there are a few Japanese names that are the exact same names found in my own ethnic culture. So even if I did change my name, it would still be a name from my own culture. Infact I have a friend who is from the same cultural background as me and her name could be considered Japanese if people wanted and chose to look at it that way. like its been said before, America is very diverse so ive seen it all as far as people sharing and exchanging cultural customs and arts at this point. Its 2008 :-)
by chris rate this post as useful

more credit? 2008/4/4 00:19
I think you should give Japanese people more credit... and I agree in that you can't really compare Japan to America. America is diverse and Japan is homogenous (in the Asian sense). You're going to stick out of the crowd anyways just by appearance and changing your name won't make a difference or any more Japanese than you aren't (personality-wise too). Sure they may say your name in a Japanese way (for example Jeff would become Je-fu) but what's wrong with that? Wouldn't that make you feel like you're in a different country already without having to change your name to something that's Japanese and normal for them? I think they'd like a Western name much better and find it more exotic and appealing than the names they know from everyday even if they can't say it like your country can.
Though talking to us and asking us if we think it's a good idea or not might not help because you already seemed determined. That's just my two cents.
by Miyuki rate this post as useful

Hm... 2009/1/8 09:50
Well, I think that should depend on the personfs name aswell. For example, I donft think I would be laughing stock in Japan if I married a Yamada Taro-san and took his family name. Yamada Maria doesnft sound too not japanese, right? But say a Yamada Jessica or Melissa would be completely out of place.
by Rin rate this post as useful

reply to this thread