Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Name's the Same

In Japan, a couple who marries must (by law) both take the same last name, and usually it is the husband's name.

A female teacher who was married three years ago and had been working for Nihon University Daisangakuen since 2003, sued the school for the right to use her maiden name while working. Before marriage she had lectured and published reference books and academic research under her maiden name.  When she married, she took her husband's name in the family registration system in compliance with the law, but asked the school to allow her to use her maiden name in the workplace. The school refused her request.  Last week, the Tokyo District Court dismissed her case, ruling that it was not a violation of her rights for the school to insist that she use her married name.  

What are the laws in your country? Is it common to change surnames, even if it is not required?  If you are married, what did you and your spouse do about names?


  1. When I married I was quite happy to take my husband's surname, but I hadn't written any books or papers that I would have wanted to be known for! Most young ladies at that time were quite happy to be called "Mrs", but I can see that it must be very annoying for the teacher who wishes to keep her maiden name not to be able to do so!
    Barbara xx

  2. Hi Pamela ,wow that's very interesting ,my youngest daughter is married but has kept her maiden name and she is known by her maiden name as that is what she uses .

  3. In the 70s, in Sweden it became trendy for wives to keep their maiden name and add the husband's. Their children would only have Dad's surname. These days it is quite common for the man to take his wife's name, or for BOTH to change to a totally new name, even a home-made name!
    I changed to my husband's name, and am glad I did it, as it is far more international and easy to say in any languge. My maiden name had alwas caused problems when I went abroad.

  4. I have kept with my maiden name this time around (third marriage)- the thought of having to write to all those different people to change it, not to mention the cost of changing your passport, makes it the easier option!

  5. In Quebec, all provincial communications are in the woman's maiden name even if she is registered with her married name with the federal government. This means driver's license and medical card have the maiden name on it. I will most likely takes my husbands last name when I get married but I wouldn't want to have to change email addresses because my last name changed.

    In the case of the female teacher I can understand why she wants to keep her maiden name for work as all her research and work achievements are under that name.