I was told today that men could take up their wives's family name when they get married in Japan. The reverse is obviously more usual, but it sometimes happen when the man wants to join his wife's family, particularily if she comes from a rich or influencial family I guess, but also because the wife's parents don't want their name to be lost if they don't have any son. I don't think it is possible in most Western countries for a man to adopt his wife's name.

I've also heard that it is possible for a husband and wife to choose a new family name for themselves (so that Tanaka-san and Yamamoto-san could become 2 Suzuki-san). Could anyone confirm or deny this ?

Otherwise, changing one's name is as hard, lengthy and costly in Japan as in most of Europe (except Britain => see "deed polls" here )

Another thing I was wondering is whether Japanese are allowed to choose the same first name as the father for one of their sons, like the US practice of senior and junior. The problem is that middle names are forbidden in Japan and so are plural last name (e.g using both parents' family names, like Spanish and Portuguese often do). So there would be no way of recognising the father from the son.

One more question : do foreigners with middle names or composed family names have to give them up when they adopt Japanese nationality (this one is for Debito ) ?