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Abstract

In her article "Intermarried Couples and 'Multiculturalism' in Japan" Kaori Mori Want discusses why hyphenated names for the children of intermarried children are important for the achievement of multiculturalism in Japan in an era of globalization. In Japan the number of people who marry interracially or inter-ethnically is increasing, but changes to naming practices must occur for Japan to become a multicultural society. Intermarriage is not a reliable indicator of the maturity of multiculturalism. Foreign residents who have intermarried in Japan do not have the rights of Japanese, such as those of voting, social welfare, education, and so on. This fact alone makes Japan far from multicultural. One of the aspects missing in the critiques of multiculturalism in Japan has to do with naming practices. Children of intermarried couples have at least two cultural heritages but under the present Japanese family law, it is almost impossible to give children a hyphenated last name that would reflect their multicultural heritage.