(All feedback edited for concision and anonymity)

Date: Tue, 07 Oct 1997
From: OK in Sapporo

Thanks for the info about the juuminhyou!!! I copied the pages from your web-site and we will go to the kuyakusho to fix that thing.

Did you know that my health insurance card is the ONLY document that states that my wife and I are married? It is indeed incredible! Regularly my wife gets information and phonecalls from the kuyakusho about paying health insurance, or about retirement money or support for single mothers.

NB: OK later wrote (I can't find the email) that when he went to the Ward Office, the bureaucrats had copies of *my wife's* juuminhyou already there, downloaded! And he thought it was only porno that people were interested in. Anyway, OK got juuminhyoued with no problem.

Date: Tue, 31 Mar 1998
From: RT in Tokyo

A couple of weeks ago I went down and got my wife's juuminhyou.

When I was in [another city] I wasn't listed on her card at all.

When I got the present one, however, there I was as the jijitsujo no setainushi. A victory for human rights!

But wait, I never asked for this. My wife doesn't remember asking for it either. So it seems that this was done without anyone telling us. And _it's_ _all_ _your_ fault (joke).

It may have happened when we applied for health insurance together, or something else, but at no point did I ask the Japanese government to make another record for me.

Obviously it's no big deal, and may even be to the advantage of me and my wife, but what I suspected seems to be the case. The way the circular is written, it is an order to the local ward office, not an affirmation of the foreigner's "right" (at some point I will confirm this with the Ward Office).

QUESTION FROM FS IN SAPPORO (in prompts), with my answer.

At 2:32 PM 97.10.7 FS wrote:

> Why is your wife's married name (written in Katakana + kanji) crossed out? Is it standard policy? In this day and age, when young married Japanese ladies are unsuccessfully fighting for the right to go on using their maiden name, a Japanese female married to a foreigner cannot use her married name on official documents?

Nothing as sinister as that. In fact, Aya took my last name after we got married (my choice), but after enough haggling with registration computers (click here for full story), she asked to have it changed back to her maiden name. As this is no problem koseki-wise (hell, I don't have one, right?), we are officially and legally fuufu bessei--one benefit of our loophole.

In other words, the crossing-out is her choice, not the government's.

From: MM
Date: Mon, 24 May 1999 21:13:55 EDT
Subject: Thanks

Dear Dave

Just wanted to thank you for your past info on the jumihyo issue (posted on your website). It really helped after my (Japanese) wife returned from the ward office and noted how one nice old lady took her aside and told her she was eligible for single mother benefits. When she looked into having my name listed on her juminhyo (as I directed her over a phone call from the US), they said it was out of the question.

Accessing your website, I downloaded and printed a copy of the revision and faxed it over. Noriko was able to receive an immediate apology and correction.



Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2001 17:49:23 +0900
From: Kirk Masden <masden@kumagaku.ac.jp>
Subject: Re: [kumamoto-i] Seasons Greetings | juminhyo

One of the author's of the page on juminhyo ("certificate of residency")
that Tony Laszlo mentioned:


is Lucinda Otsuka who is a local resident and an active
participant in Kumamoto-i:


Lucinda has played a central role, right here in Kumamoto, in the effort to
make it possible for the names of foreign family members who are not heads
of households to appear on the juminhyo. For a description on Lucinda's
activities and accomplishments in this regard please see:


This article by Lucinda points out that "a notification passed by Jichisho
(Ministry of Home Affairs) in 1967, gave non-Japanese household heads a
right to be listed in the bikouran (remarks column) of his/her spouse's
juminhyo." However, Kumamoto City Hall has refused to list a spouse or
family member even in the remarks column if that person was not a de facto
household head (jijitsujo no setainushi). Kumamoto City Hall gave the
following reasons (I'm quoting here from Lucinda's article):

>1. no formal notification by the Ministry of Home Affairs and no precedent
>in other areas where this has been implemented;
>2. there is no telling what problems might arise with the dependent spouse
>being listed;
>3. laws and procedures must be reviewed first.

Recently, however, there seems to have been a small break though in this
regard. Earlier this year I received a message from a friend who indicated
that she and another friend had succeeded in getting themselves listed as
"wife" in the "remarks column." I suspect this is at least part of the
"development" Tony referred to. I look forward to learning more about
recent progress soon.

It should be understood, however, that being listed on the juminhyo in the
"remarks" column is only a partial remedy. The juminhyo of any Japanese
citizen is, amazingly, a public document that ANYONE may request and
obtain. Unless that remarks column is specifically requested, in will not
appear. Here's a copy of my wife's juminhyo:




You will not find my name on it at all, though I am registered to be listed
in the remarks column as "de facto household head." I called to ask why
they do not automatically include the "remarks column" when one requests a
juminhyo and was told that the "remarks column" is "private." Why would my
wife and I go to all of the trouble to get my name on her juminhyo and then
want that information to be treated as though it were some dirty little
secret (Mariko Masden is married to a foreigner! Oh, the shame!)? Well,
the answer seems to be that the "remarks column" sometimes contains the
"remark" that so-and-so is a "new" Japanese. I don't know why this
information is necessary in the first place. Why is it necessary to keep
notes on which Japanese are "pure" and which have been naturalized?

More disturbing than the failure to include that "remarks" column
information is the following Japanese sentence, which appears at the bottom
of every juminhyo:

>Kono utsushi wa, setai zen'in no juuminhyou no genpon to soinai koto wo
>sho^mei suru

I would translate this roughly as "We hereby certify that this is a
facsimile of the family registry for the entire family."

Entire family? Setai zen'in? I'm not listed but this is still the
registry for the entire family? I asked at Kumamoto City Hall if this was
not an out-and-out lie. I was told that according to the Juminhyo Kihon
Daichoho, foreigners are not members of the family (setai) so this
statement is not false. Well, if it is not technically false, it is
certainly misleading. Any non-lawyer who got his or her hands on the
document (and, as I said earlier, ANYONE can) would think that this is a
single-parent household. Also, the very idea that I'm not included in the
setai (family) because I'm not Japanese is insulting to say the least.

This concludes this rant. Thanks for reading. For information on this
issue, please see:


Yours truly,

Kirk Masden

P.S. Here, for your reference, is the address of the page Tony introduced
in his previous message:


Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2002 20:58:51 -0500
To: debito@debito.org
Subject: juminhyo (Osaka Tennoji-ku Ward Office)

Dear Mr Aldwinckle,

If you dispose of this mail without reading it because you receive too many similar mails then it is at least a good sign that some things are clearly working towards constructive change.

I got married last [year] at which time the ward office bureaucrats made numerous mistakes. It took them 4hrs to fully process the registration of my marriage before they finally gave us the correct certificate. They claimed there was only a smaller certificate, the problem being that I needed a large certificate for the British records office. Luckily I had taken a photo-copy sample of the larger certificate provided by the British Consulate. They didn't say a word about changing my wifes name, asked for generally unnecessary documents and then flatly denied me permission to be on my wife's juminhyo. With all the delays and other problems they were causing I chose not to argue for inclusion on the juminhyo on that day, my parents-in-law were with us and the priority was to get married. They didn't even say congratulations or seriously apologize for their mistakes at the end of it.

Three weeks later I took the printed information from your site and went back with my friend Alfred Wienzerl (featured in Japanzine for helping the foreign community in and around Osaka). It was beautiful although at times a little messy. Basically after one particularly disrespectful bureaucrat had tried to argue about the point of my being on the juminhyo, they included me. At one point Alfred had to argue with the bureaucrat, that it was the taxpayers who paid his wage and not solely 'kokumin' as the bureaucrat had argued.In all it took about forty minutes, alot quicker than my marriage, with a more informed ward office as a result.

Anyway thanks again for the work you put into your site and the support that you and other activists give to the foreign community despite the naysayers. I hope to do more myself in the future.

Yours Sincerely, XY

That's all for now. Readers, if you tried to get yourself juuminhyoued and want to give us some feedback, please click on COMMENTS below and email me.

Dave Aldwinckle

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