“This may be common knowledge, but it wasn’t for me (admittedly due to my own failure to properly research the issues), the lesson being that you should never take anything for granted — not even something as simple as your child’s last name.
My wife and I have separate last names; she kept her maiden name when we married. Yesterday, we took the Notification of Birth form for our recently-born daughter to the city hall to file it. Naturally assuming that our daughter would take on my last name, we filled it out with my last name and her chosen name. Fifteen minutes later, we were waved over to be told that because my wife’s maiden name is still on her koseki — and as we all know, my name is just a footnote on her koseki — we cannot use my last name, and our daughter would have my wife’s last name. The only way around this is to have my wife file for a change of name at court, whereupon her name will officially be changed to mine, and thus our daughter will be able to take on my last name.
While it’s a quick fix for the time being, the horrendous legal and familial limitations put on foreigners by the koseki system finally really hit home. I’ve never felt my existence was negated quite so much as the instant where we were informed of this rule. I guess I’m just offering this anecdote as a warning to people considering marrying/having children because this is what you will face if you opt to go with different last names, and as an example of why the koseki system needs a serious overhaul, particularly with respect to foreigners.”
Read the rest of the story here.
Additional information on the Koseki System.