These Japanese Women Are Fighting for the Right to Keep Their Maiden Names
In recent years, more and more of the outdated traditions and ideas surrounding marriage have undergone some much-needed modernization. Obviously, the supreme court’s decision to make gay marriage legal was a MAJOR winning moment, but on a slightly less grand (albeit still important) scale, we’re also beginning to see a shift in women changing their last name — in that they’re not doing it. In fact, one celeb husband even made headlines recently by changing HIS surname to his wife’s.
However, for women in Japan, keeping your maiden name is currently not an option. In fact, it’s against the law in Japan not to change your name after you’re married. But five brave ladies have decided it’s time that majorly outdated law is finally put to rest.
Technically, the 1896 law states that spouses must adopt the same surname to legally register their marriage. While the law does not specify which partner must make that change, records show that 96% of the time, it’s the woman.
According to The Guardian, some conservatives in Japan feel that “Allowing different surnames risks destroying social stability, the maintenance of public order and the basis for social welfare.” But others are ready to move into a more progressive future.
Kaori Oguni, one of the five women involved in the lawsuit, tells the UK publication, “By losing your surname… you’re being made light of, you’re not respected… It’s as if part of yourself vanishes.”
Two courts have previously ruled against making an amendment to the law, but the Japanese supreme court is scheduled to make a decision on the issue by tomorrow, December 16. A poll conducted by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper last month found 52% of the public to be in favor of being able to choose your surname and 34% against the idea.
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(Photo via Getty)