In the name of “family values”, it appears that the Japanese are going to be taking a step backwards and surprisingly little is being written about it here in the United States. This is all thanks to Sanae Takaichi, who was just appointed as (ready for this?) Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories affairs, science and technology policy, innovation, gender equality, social affairs and food safety. Yes, you read that right. Gender Equality issues.
The title’s interesting (especially “food safety”) but I’m just amazed by a woman being appointed to this role who is opposed to women keeping their maiden names, but uses her own maiden name as a politician. Yes, she’s married to another politician, Taku Yamamoto, but doesn’t go by Sanae Yamamoto.
Am I missing some nuance here?
The Japan Times has an interesting article on the subject, Takaichi Undaunted by Wide-Ranging Portfolio, in which you can find the following comments:
“”There has been debate over the issue of different surnames between a married couple, but I think the government should ascertain what the Japanese people really want,” Takaichi said.
“Various options should be prepared, she said, prior to debating a draft bill on the subject, and she indicated her willingness to discuss the topic with the Justice Ministry, which is in charge of the regulation.”
Now I have to admit that personally, I’m glad that Linda changed her last name to match mine, but I certainly support and completely understand women who choose to retain their maiden or family names rather than changing their identity to indicate they’re wed. Either way, having the government make a rule that women must change their last names to match those of their husbands really does seem a step back into the dark ages, when women were viewed as a possession of their husbands, and worse.
Maybe I’m misunderstanding some subtlety of Japanese culture here that explains this viewpoint, but I’d sure love to hear from some Japanese about this issue and their opinion of popular Japanese sentiment regarding women having the option of either keeping their maiden name or adopting their husband’s name.