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  • Legal Name Change

    OK, so I've lived in Japan for 4 yrs(Spouse) and married for 6 yrs. We are planning to raise our children here and working on having our first one. We've decided that it would be best if I take her last name. Now I am Canadian so does anyone have experience in doing a legal name change? I imagine I would need to do it in Canada which isn't a problem since I'm going there in December for 2 weeks. Any help or suggestions would be great.
    Thanks in advance,
    Ryan

  • #2
    Originally posted by RyanKumi View Post
    OK, so I've lived in Japan for 4 yrs(Spouse) and married for 6 yrs. We are planning to raise our children here and working on having our first one. We've decided that it would be best if I take her last name. Now I am Canadian so does anyone have experience in doing a legal name change? I imagine I would need to do it in Canada which isn't a problem since I'm going there in December for 2 weeks. Any help or suggestions would be great.
    Thanks in advance,
    Ryan
    Why did you both decide it would "be best if [you took] her last name" ?

    Comment


    • #3
      First is everything is in her name already. Second is her family is weathly and important in our area with a rare last name so people(Banks, Police, etc.) treats us different upon seeing her kanji just because they know her family. Third is that gaijins aren't treated the same as regular citizens. Forth is that in Japan, when children are born, they take the mothers last name.
      Her father even took the mothers lastname becuase of the importance.
      All in all it would be an advantage for me to take it.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by RyanKumi View Post
        OK, so I've lived in Japan for 4 yrs(Spouse) and married for 6 yrs. We are planning to raise our children here and working on having our first one. We've decided that it would be best if I take her last name. Now I am Canadian so does anyone have experience in doing a legal name change? I imagine I would need to do it in Canada which isn't a problem since I'm going there in December for 2 weeks. Any help or suggestions would be great.
        Thanks in advance,
        Ryan
        You indicated you were Canadian, and making the assumption you were from Vancouver Canada, I looked up the requirements for that state/province:

        http://www.vs.gov.bc.ca/name/index.html

        Sounds pretty straightforward to me.

        Getting the rest of your documents in order might be a bit more challenging. You might want to make sure you have all your relevant documentation with you when traveling so you don't get flagged or worse if/when you end up with return tickets that don't match your new legal name.

        The challenge might be converting the new name into the original kanji (rather than its katakana form) for legal documents and ID in Japan. Kanji names are generally for Japanese citizens - which is why Japanese Brazilians when ever they get arrested are easy to identify. ヤマダ instead of  山田 . However, at the same time there is also a provision available to use an official pseudonym (not sure what they call it -- someone on this board ought to know). Lots of zainichi Koreans use it so they can hide behind Japanese names in their public lives.

        Comment


        • #5
          Yes, I am from Vancouver and thank you for your help. Now I need to ask my father and her father for permission.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by RyanKumi View Post
            First is everything is in her name already. Second is her family is weathly and important in our area with a rare last name so people(Banks, Police, etc.) treats us different upon seeing her kanji just because they know her family. Third is that gaijins aren't treated the same as regular citizens. Forth is that in Japan, when children are born, they take the mothers last name.
            Her father even took the mothers lastname becuase of the importance.
            All in all it would be an advantage for me to take it.
            First two make sense, but I don't necessarily agree with the third and the fourth simply isn't true. But anyway, I know a Canadian who did exactly what you are trying to do. So it is possible, I just don't know exactly how...

            Good luck!

            Comment


            • #7
              Regarding writing the name in kanji.... I'm assuming that your Canadian passport will only list it in romaji. Japan is a bit hypocritical IMO on this issue because JAPANESE passports don't even have the kanji written, but the bottom line is, they won't write your name in kanji on your gaijin card unless it's written that way on your passport.

              What you CAN do is register the kanji as an official alias (通称名 tsuushoumei) and BOTH versions will appear on yoru card. You will get a new card if you legally change your name in your home country, so both will be written on the front. Just make sure when you register the name change, you make sure that you tell them from the beginning that you want the kanji there too. The only proof you need would be your marriage certificate (if you got married in Japan) and/or wife's koseki, which will have both her name in kanji and the fact that you are married on them. Your gaijin card will have both, for example: Yamada, James Michael (通称名:山田ジェームス). On your driver's license if you have one they'll want to write the romaji name as well (although I've heard that IF you get the righ employee at the license center they may be nice and leave it off... I've never been that lucky though, even though I ask every time), but on everything else including health insurance card, bank book, pension registration, tax returns etc, you can use only the kanji name.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by RyanKumi View Post
                Yes, I am from Vancouver and thank you for your help. Now I need to ask my father and her father for permission.
                And I hope your father gives you the beatdown you deserve for showing such disrespect to your lineage. Or maybe he'll be glad that you won't be carrying his name anymore. By the way, do you and your wife share panties?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by RyanKumi View Post
                  First is everything is in her name already. Second is her family is weathly and important in our area with a rare last name so people(Banks, Police, etc.) treats us different upon seeing her kanji just because they know her family. Third is that gaijins aren't treated the same as regular citizens. Forth is that in Japan, when children are born, they take the mothers last name.
                  Her father even took the mothers lastname becuase of the importance.
                  All in all it would be an advantage for me to take it.
                  That is the saddest bunch of reasons you could have produced. May I suggest a 2nd set.
                  First, Japanese names are far easier to spell. Second, my Japanese ability will improve, because I will spend large portions of my day explaining to banks, police, etc. why I have a Japanese name. Third is that gaijins are usually citizens who are regular. I wish to be irregular. Fourth is that in Japan, children who have their mother's name are cool.
                  Last edited by ozzijp; 2009-09-06, 06:30 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ozzijp View Post
                    That is the saddest bunch of reasons you could have produced. May I suggest a 2nd set.
                    First, Japanese names are far easier to spell. Second, my Japanese ability will improve, because I will spend large portions of my day explaining to banks, police, etc. why I have a Japanese name. Third is that gaijins are usually citizens who are regular. I wish to be irregular. Fourth is that in Japan, children who have their mother's name are cool.
                    Now THERE are some reasons I could actually go along with!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ben ali View Post
                      First two make sense, but I don't necessarily agree with the third and the fourth simply isn't true. But anyway, I know a Canadian who did exactly what you are trying to do. So it is possible, I just don't know exactly how...

                      Good luck!
                      Actually from what I've researched is that the children go on the Family Registry and since the family registry is in my wife's last name and I'm under hers, they take her last name.

                      Read this post. http://forum.gaijinpot.com/showthread.php?t=67026

                      Also if you people don't like my reasons, Oh well. Like I said, Everything is in her name and I don't want to be screwed if something happens to her. For example last week our main bank book filled up so I went in the bank to get a new one and they said she had to come in because it had a different last name than mine. Now what if she had an accident and I need a large sum of money to pay? I couldn't get it from the bank due to different last names.

                      To others that actually helped, thank you.
                      Last edited by RyanKumi; 2009-09-07, 03:27 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RyanKumi View Post
                        Actually from what I've researched is that the children go on the Family Registry and since the family registry is in my wife's last name and I'm under hers, they take her last name.

                        Read this post. http://forum.gaijinpot.com/showthread.php?t=67026
                        My kids have my last name, but then so does my wife.

                        Mate, it's your choice and in this enlightened age we should be happy for a man to change his name instead of a woman if circumstances suit.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RyanKumi View Post
                          Everything is in her name and I don't want to be screwed if something happens to her. For example last week our main bank book filled up so I went in the bank to get a new one and they said she had to come in because it had a different last name than mine. Now what if she had an accident and I need a large sum of money to pay? I couldn't get it from the bank due to different last names.
                          It's quite simple to put things in your name too. Why isn't your name on the bank account? Why don't you have your own account? If she has an accident and you need access to money, try getting a job like most men.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Shakes Spear View Post
                            It's quite simple to put things in your name too. Why isn't your name on the bank account? Why don't you have your own account? If she has an accident and you need access to money, try getting a job like most men.
                            What a jerk. Your the reason why I hate coming to this board. I do have my own bank account but it's for my spending money, the rest of the money goes into the main account to pay the bills. There is no such thing as joint accounts in Japan or at least with Suruga and she usually handles the bills since I'm usually working. I work 7 days a week so don't just assume. I work more than most men.
                            Last edited by RyanKumi; 2009-09-07, 08:34 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              RyanKumi, I agree with you, it IS easier when your entire family has the same last name, at least in Japan where that is the norm. And good for you for marrying into one of THOSE families.... we have a couple around here (not us, unfortunately!) too, and having one of those well-known last names definitely makes life a lot easier too. I understand why some families choose to keep seperate last names TOO, but it's your choice and don't let anyone's opinion bother you too much.

                              One other thing you CAN do is to register your wife's name as an alias, and keep your own last name in Canada. So your "real name" would be for example "Smith, James Michael" and "alias" would be "Yamada James" (in kanji/katakana). You can do that IMMEDIATELY, just go down to the city office with a copy of your marriage certificate or koseki (or take your wife, if she's free on a weekday), and if you're married they will do it immediately, and you can open a bank account using your alias (wife's last name) the same day if you desire. Get your health insurance and pension information changed too (everything except gaijin card, passport, and driver's licence can be alias-only if you request it) and you'll have a valid ID (health insurance card) which has neither a romaji name nor any info regarding your nationality or visa status on it.

                              Even if you are going to change your name in Canada too, you might want to go ahead and set up an alias ASAP, so you and your wife can start taking care of things like banking for each other when necessary.

                              Good luck!

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