Japan is the only country with a law forcing couples to adopt the same surname after marriage.

On average, Japanese people marry around the age of 30, in essence forcing many of us to give up the surnames we have used all our lives — and that, in many cases, have become part of our identity — when we wed. Is it unnatural or wrong to ask to keep our names? Should we let the state deprive us of such an important marker of our identity?

Given that more than 95% of wives in Japan take their husband's surname, the single-surname rule also adds fuels to the fire of gender inequality. While spouses can choose to adopt either name, outdated practices and gendered expectations prevent a more balanced distribution of who takes whose.