1.9 million. This is the number of Japanese who currently have the surname Sato, or equivalent to about 1.5% of the population. And if the marriage law doesn’t change, 500 years from now, all 125 million citizens will have the same name.

This is the conclusion of a study conducted by a professor at Tokohu University, as part of a campaign to change the civil code, drawn up at the end of the 19th century, so that couples can have different surnames.

In research published in March but only released on April 1 – with many thinking it was a prank on April Fools’ Day – Hiroshi Yoshidam came to the conclusion that if Japan’s government continues to insist that married people have to wear the same name, The entire population will be called “Sato-san” in 2531.

“If everyone becomes Sato, maybe we have to be addressed by our first name or by numbers“, he said, quoted by The Guardian. “I don’t think it’s a good world to live in.”


Although the professor admits that this prediction is based on several assumptions – namely if the marriage rate decreases –, he says that it reflects the potential effects of the current system in Japanese society, in which couples have to choose a unique surname, and in 95% of cases are in men.

A nation of Satos “not only will it be inconvenientas also will undermine individual dignity“, pointed out Hiroshi Yoshida, also highlighting that this would lead to the loss of family and regional heritage.

A survey carried out in 2023 placed Sato in first position on the list of Japanese surnames, Suzuki in second and the researcher’s own surname (Yoshida) in 11th. According to the professor’s calculations, the name increased by approximately 1.0083 times between 2022 and 2023. If the trend continues like this, By 2446, about half the population will have this nameleading to the fact that, in 2531, everyone is called Sato.

The professor – whose research was funded by organizations such as Think Name Project and others that defend the right for couples to have different surnames – wants, in this way, to call on the Japanese government to change the civil code law. If this change happensthe professor predicts that, 500 years from now, just 7.96% of people are called Sato.

Japan is the the only country in the world that requires spouses to have the same nameeven though it allows maiden names to appear on identification documents.

Members of the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) see this campaign as a attack on the family unit, saying it could cause confusion among children, explains the British newspaper.

Source: https://observador.pt/2024/04/07/se-japao-nao-mudar-lei-do-casamento-em-500-anos-toda-a-populacao-pode-ter-o-mesmo-apelido/

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