Japan to put surname first for Japanese names in English

/ 02:14 PM September 06, 2019

TOKYO – Japan wants to start using the traditional order for Japanese names in English in official documents, with family names first, a switch from the Westernized custom the country adopted more than a century ago.

The idea has been floated for years, most recently by foreign and education ministers in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ultra-conservative Cabinet.


Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Friday that he looked forward to go by Suga Yoshihide, as he is known in Japan.

He said the change will start with government documents.


Japan adopted the first name first order for use with foreigners about 150 years ago as a way to modernize and internationalize itself.

China and South Korea traditionally use surname first order both at home and internationally. /gsg

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