People walking around Tokyo's Kabukicho Shinjuku Station

Unique Study: One Surname for All

A startling study has revealed that if Japan continues to disallow married couples from keeping different surnames, everyone in the country will share the surname “Sato” in 500 years.

The research, conducted as part of a campaign for changing a civil law dating back to the 1800s, suggests a future where, by 2531, the only option for Japanese individuals will be to adopt the name “Sato-San.”

Hiroshi Yoshida, an economics professor at Tohoku University who led the study, commented, “If everyone’s surname becomes Sato, we might have to address each other by our given names or numbers. I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

Sato is already the most common surname in Japan, used by 1.5% of the population, a figure that has rapidly increased between 2022 and 2023.

Experts warn that this shift towards a “Nation of Satos” could infringe on individual rights. In Japan, it’s customary for couples to take one partner’s surname upon marriage, typically with women adopting their husband’s surname.

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