My Name. My Choice. My Right.

Asuniwa is a Japanese NGO aiming at realizing a gender-discrimination-free society in which every individual can live freely and comfortably, irrespective of their gender.

Our first goal is to abolish the Japanese mandatory one “family name” policy, under which a couple must choose a single “family name” upon marriage. This policy has resulted in many women being pressured into abandoning their surname upon marriage, despite their unwillingness or reluctance to do so. Japan is the only country in the world that retains such a policy in violation of the CEDAW treaty and contravention of three CEDAW committee recommendations issued against the Japanese government. We believe that abolishing this policy is the first step towards realizing gender equality in Japan.


  • Coming soon

English language resources

  • Ayako Hatano, What is Your Name? – Gender Inequality Embedded in the Same-Surname System for Married Couples in Japan, Oxford Human Rights Hub Blog (2024)

  • Japan business leaders call for choice of separate surnames, Kyodo News (2024)

  • Chris Lau and Mayu Nishiyama, Japanese people could all be called Sato by 2531, study warns. But they’d need to get married first, CNN (2024)

  • Yasuo Takao, Japan sorely needs separate surnames, The East Asia Forum (2024)

  • Karin Kaneko, Group files lawsuit over Japan law that mandates couples share a surname, The Japan Times (2024)

  • Momoka Yokoyama, Japanese Couples Sue Government Over Controversial Surname Law, Time (2024)

  • Oscar Coleman, Why Japan is the only country where married couples must have the same surname, ABC News (2024)

  • Kazufumi Kaneko and Chifumi Shinya, Couples who ended marriages to sue state over 1-surname rule, The Asahi Shimbun (2024)

  • Karin Kaneko, By 2531, everyone in Japan could have the surname 'Sato’,The Japan Times (2024)

  • Stanford University, Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, The Japanese Public Broadly Supports Legalizing Dual-Surname Option for Married Couples, All Shorenstein APARC News (2023)

  • Kayo Mukuda, Forced by law to use one surname, Japanese couple chooses to divorce every 3 years, The Mainichi (2022)

  • Same Surname Case: Japanese Supreme Court Holds That Forcing Couples to Share a Surname is Constitutional, Harvard Law Review (2022)

  • Teppei Kasai, Allow married women in Japan to keep their surnames, openDemocracy (2020)

Contact us

If you have any inquiries about our activities or Japan's one "family name" system, please kindly contact us using this contact form.

General Incorporated Association Asuniwa

JR Shinjuku-Miraina-Tower 18F

4-1-6, Shinjuku,

Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0022

© 2023 "General Incorporated Association Asuniwa" All rights reserved.