Japan urges traditional order for Japanese names | TribLIVE.com

Japan urges traditional order for Japanese names

Associated Press
Japan’s Foreign Ministry wants the world to start using the traditional order for Japanese names, with family names first. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would become Abe Shinzo.

TOKYO — Japan’s Foreign Ministry wants the world to begin using the traditional order for Japanese names, with family names first.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would become Abe Shinzo, as he is known in Japan, ending the Westernized name order the country adopted for use with foreigners more than a century ago as a means of internationalization.

Family names also precede given names in China and South Korea, but both of those countries use that style internationally as well.

Foreign Minister Taro Kono plans to ask foreign journalists to shift to the Japanese name order to mark the beginning of Japan’s new imperial era, an upcoming Group of 20 summit in Osaka in late June and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. There is also the rugby world cup and new Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement ceremony later this year, Kono said.

“Many foreign media refer to the Chinese president as Xi Jinping and South Korean president as Moon Jae-in, and I believe it is desirable to note the prime minister likewise as Abe Shinzo,” Kono told reporters Tuesday. “I plan to ask international media to do so.” He added that domestic media with English-language services should also consider changing the name order.

Kono, educated in the United States and fluent in English, has long advocated for a change. His family name appears first on his business card and on Twitter.

“I’ve been wondering for a long time about why I become Kono Taro in English even though I’m Taro Kono,” he told a parliamentary committee on diplomacy and defense in April.

Names of journalists from Western media are printed on Foreign Ministry-issued identification cards with family names first.

Kono’s suggestion received mixed reactions, even from the ruling party.

While conservatives including Education Minister Masahiko Shibayama supported the change, others including Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga were cautious, citing “customary practice.” The first name-first style has become a standard on credit cards and at many private companies.

An education panel’s similar proposal 20 years ago was largely ignored.

Categories: News | World
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.