Japanese Couple Divorce and Remarry Every 3 Years to Take Turns Using Their Family Names

A Japanese couple who can’t agree on their last name has agreed to divorce and remarry every three years so they can take turns using their respective last names.

Japanese law clearly states that couples must agree on a single last name to use after they get married, but what happens when two lovers just can’t decide which one of their family names to use? That was the conundrum a young couple from Hachioji city, on the outskirts of Tokyo, found themselves in when they decided to tie the knot, after a few months of dating. Only when it came to settling on their last name, she made it clear that she intended to keep her maiden name, something that her husband didn’t agree with at all. They argued about it for a while, but then they decided that they weren’t the first couple to have this problem and that there was a way to solve it.

Photo: Luis Tosta/Unsplash

“My husband (who was still her boyfriend at the time) thought women should take their husband’s last name. I didn’t agree with that, so we argued,” the woman, an office worker, recently told the Japanese newspaper Mainichi.

The wife-to-be was very frustrated about not being able to keep her maiden name, and her fiancee complained about it to some friends. That’s when he found out about another couple with the same problem who had managed to fix it by divorcing periodically and getting remarried under the other partner’s last name. Which is exactly what they decided to do.

After the man, who works as a civil servant, presented the solution to his fiancee, they decided to go through with it. In 2016, they got married for the first time and used his last name for three years. Then, in 2019, they divorced and then remarried, using the wife’s maiden name. This July, they are scheduled for another divorce, after which they plan to remarry using the husband’s family name.

Photo: Drew Coffman/Unsplash

But while this compromise solves their original disagreement, the Japanese couple, who preferred to remain anonymous, both admit that periodically changing their last name is somewhat problematic. The husband still goes by his family name at work, but when it comes to procedures and paperwork, it can get confusing.

“I always had to remind myself that I was carrying my wife’s last name,” the man said.

As complicated as the arrangement may seem to other people, the couple said that it was the only acceptable solution for them. The only other alternative they knew of was going abroad and getting married with their respective family names, before returning home and asking a Japanese court to recognize their marital status despite their different names. They apparently thought their way was simpler.

Posted in News        Tags: , , , , ,