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Fufu Bessei

  If you are a foreign resident of Japan who is married to a Japanese national, please have a look at this short survey at Survey Monkey.

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As a simple question (If you are a foreigner currently or formerly married to a Japanese citizen, did your spouse keep his/her Japanese family name after getting married to you?) and you will surely get someone replying to it like this:

"I was married to a Japanese man, and yes - he kept his name. You seem to be assuming that the only people who marry foriengers are Japanese WOMEN. I happen to be a foreign woman who married a Japanese man. I kept my name because it's my name - why would I change it? Women don't "belong" to their husband; why should they change their name?"

Ugh. I wasn't assume anything. Why do you assume that as a man I was assuming something?

Statistically, Japanese men are far more likely to marry foreign women than Japanese women. Fact. They tend, however, to marry other Asian women (Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Thai, etc.). Japanese women, on the other hand, marry in decreasing order Koreans, Americans, Chinese, British nationals, and so on.

What I am trying to look at--again, no assumptions--is what motivates people (particularly women), when given the choice, to either keep their maiden name or husband's upon marriage.

Ultimately, what I want to know is what family name Caucasian parents of half-Japanese children (i.e. children who are likely to look "half") are choosing for their kids and what motivates them. I also want to know what challenges they may have had if they had chosen the Western family name.

One of my friends is half Japanese/half American, but looks for the most part like a Japanese man. His wife is Japanese. Their children look, as you would suspect, Japanese. But, they all have his American family name written in katakana on their name tags at school. Whenever they change schools/grades and meet a new group of cohorts, everyone is surprised by how good their Japanese is. Seeing the American name, the other kids brains assume the kids are 100% American rather than 75% Japanese.

In my own children's experience, they look very . . . hard to say. They don't look Japanese at all, but they speak Hakata-ben and have my wife's family name. Wherever we go, people look at the boys and start speaking in broken English to them.

Here are some stats on "international marriage":
January 11, 2016 | Registered CommenterAonghas Crowe

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