Every Japanese could share the same name by 2531, but how?

Japans unique marriage policy may result in homogeneous surname population. — Reuters/File
Japan’s unique marriage policy may result in homogeneous surname population. — Reuters/File 

A startling simulation has projected that Japan may witness a scenario where every citizen shares the same surname by 2531 due to the country’s strict marriage laws.

This prediction has sparked fears among observers, as married couples are currently mandated to adopt the same family name, a regulation unique to Japan worldwide.

As argued by economist professor Hiroshi Yoshida from Tohoku University, if this situation continues, the common Japanese surname, “Sato,” would even become the whole of the Japanese population.

Simulation part of Think Name Project project is intended to visualise a future where scenery, shops and sports jerseys with “Sato” more than anything else are so widespread that one cannot help feeling concerned for personal identity.

In Japan, there are about 500,000 weddings every year on average; thus, approximately half of a million people give up their surnames annually, and this is one of the principal reasons for the increase of the “Sato” surname. 

Without legislative amendments, if we take a look at the future, by 2246, half of all family names will presumably be “Sato”, that’s impossible to overlook the issue of cultural diversity and personal identification.

Although this policy is being advocated for to ensure that different surnames continue to be retained, the system still faces other difficulties such as existing societal norms and bureaucratic bottlenecks. 

Moreover, creating double-barrel names combining maiden names and married names for official documents are shown as temporary measures, which reflect the necessity to revise policies to save Japanese culture and nationality.

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