Bibliographies and reviews
 Grading  Nationality  Population registers  Race  Minorities  Suicide

Reviews of publications on population registers and names

By William Wetherall

First posted 22 August 2007
Last updated 14 October 2023

Works with green links are reviewed in other articles

Registration Bryant 1991 Chapman 2008b Chapman and Krogness 2014
Names Kim Yong Dal 1997 Kim Yong Dal 2002 Miyata et al 1992 Mizuno 2008 Nakayama 2013 Tsuboi et al 2003


Materials about population registration systems, especially in Japan past and present, including Taiwan and Chosen when part of Japan, are grouped here. Materials about names in such registers are grouped under "Names".

Taimie L. Bryant

For the sake of the country, for the sake of the family: The oppressive impact of family registration on women and minorities in Japan
UCLA Law Review
Volume 39, Number 1, 1991
Pages 109-168

I am reviewing this article only because readers unfamiliar with family registration and nationality in Japan are likely to find listed somewhere -- and, because it was published by a seemingly prestigious law journal, they are apt to trust it. They should not.

This article is an example of what can go wrong when journal editors place more importance on fashionable criticism -- in this case feminist and minority advocacy -- than on accuracy. It is so full of fatal errors it would take an article several times its length to point them out and correct them.

"nonmarital and adopted children"

Bryant is generally (more-or-less) accurate on matters related to what she calls "nonmarital and adopted children" -- by which she means children born out of marriage or adopted children. Most faults are related to misrepresentations of family law and family registration.


Much of what Bryant writes about "surname" issues is also reasonably (more-or-less) accurate. Again, most faults stem from distortions in accounts of family law and family registration.


What she writes about "burakumin" is mostly fiction. She exceptionalizes people she describes as having "buraku status" (page 121) -- though there is no such status, hence no such people.

She differentiates people who happen to reside in neighborhoods that can be associated with former outcaste settlements from "majority Japanese" -- thereby discriminating against them. The discrimination problems she describes -- concerning the abuse of family registers to determine possible connections with such neighborhoods -- exist, but not quite in the manner, or to the extent, she claims.

"Koreans in Japan"

Bryant does not seem to have seriously studied the status of "Koreans in Japan" -- much less the status of other foreigners in Japan. She falls into the usual traps that snare most writers who focus on "Koreans" as a "minority" in Japan. Her misunderstanding of the status of Koreans is closely related to her misunderstanding of the Nationality Law and the Family Registration Law.

The following problems are the tip of the proverbial iceberg of problems in Bryant's article. However, they account for many of the other problems.


Bryant 1991:116

The information that links family registries is the honseki (ancestral homesite). When the present system of family registration was established, the honseki was simply the current residence of the registered family. [Note 17   16 Encyclopedia Japonica 627 (1971).] It served the administrative purpose of anchoring successive generations of eldest sons of the same family, thereby facilitating official recordation of the family over time. This family structure, known as the ie or "house" system, was patriarchal as well as . . . .

Bryant 1991:117

. . . However, the present Family Registration Law permits the symbolic continuation of the former house system because all couples must select one honseki for the newly established family. [Note 21Honseki is sometimes translated as "legal domicile." This translation is inapt because honseki designation does not require any intention to return to or, indeed, any actual physical presence ever at that location.]

A person's "honseki" (本籍) or "honsekichi" (本籍地) is, in fact, the persons "principle place of registration" -- or primary legal domicile -- whether the person has ever lived there or not. This is true for aliens as well as Japanese.

While some Japanese keep their honseki in a village, town, or city of ancestral significance -- whether they have lived there and left, or have never lived there but only visited, or have never even visited -- the legal significance of a honseki is anything but symbolic. The same may be said for aliens in Japan.

Bryant does not understand that a family register is territorially affiliated with the municipality that has jurisdiction over the address of the register. Municipalities are in turn affiliated with prefectures, which in turn are part of Japan's sovereign territory.

In other words, family registers define the legal population of a municipality, within a prefecture, within Japan. Japanese nationality is therefore a matter of nested territorial affiliation with Japan.

In this respect, Taiwan, Karafuto, and Chosen were no different than the prefectures, in that the Japanese nationality of their registered inhabitants was based on territorial affiliation with the Empire of Japan. If a territory is part of Japan, then those with local registers are Japanese nationals. If a territory becomes, or ceases to be, part of Japan, then those with local registers become, or cease being, Japanese.

Honseki of aliens in Japan

Under Japanese law, not only Japanese but aliens also have honseki. The honseki (honsekichi) of an alien is the alien's country of nationality -- i.e., the alien's assumed "principle place of registration" or primary "legal domicile" if one wants to put it this way -- as opposed to either their "domicile" or their "residence".

I am a permanent resident of Japan. I no longer have a legal address in the United States, and I am allowed to leave places on immigration forms for such an address blank. However, when I fill out a form intended for general use in Japan, I write 米国 (Beikoku) in the 本籍 (honseki) or 本籍地 (honsekichi) box -- where Japanese will write the prefecture, or the prefecture and the municipality, of their honseki address, if not their full honseki address.

"Korean nationality" and "Japanese citizenship"

Bryant 1991:128

Ms. Kanda [who Bryant implies was a "Japanese woman"] married a man of Korean nationality and was entered on his family registry in Korea in 1935. At that time Japan controlled Korea and considered Korea to be part of the Japanese Empire. According, at the time Kanda married, the fact of registration on a Korean family registry had no impact on her Japanese citizenship.

There was not then -- and there is not today -- anything called "Japanese citizenship" in Japanese law. There is only a law of nationality. In 1935, both the woman and the man in her anecdote were Japanese nationals. In other words, a Japanese woman married a Japanese man.

What Bryant calls "Korea" was actually "Chosen". Chosen was a part of Japan, and people with Chosen registers were Japanese. Other states recognized these facts -- and hence treated Chosen subjects as Japanese domiciled in Chosen.

Apparently the woman was an Interior subject, meaning her family register was in a prefecture in the Interior. When she married the man, in a Chosen register, and entered his register, she became a Chosen subject.

Had she been, say, a subject of Kashiwazaki in Niigata, and married a subject of Matsuyama in Ehime and entered his register, she would have become a subject of Matsuyama in Ehime. Had the Matsuyama, Ehime man entered the woman's register, he would have become a subject of Kashiwazaki in Niigata.

Depending on the structure of Ms. Kanda's corporate family, the Chosen man might have been eligible to enter her register as an adopted son-in-law or incoming husband. Had this happened, he would have become an Interior subject with the family name "Kanda" and possibly the head of the houshold. After the war, both Mr. and Mrs. Kanda would have continued to be Japanese.

Japan recognized the independence of Korea and renounced all title, right, and claim to Korea in the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty, effective from 28 April 1952. In the 1965 normalization treaty with Republic of Korea, Japan also agreed that "all treaties or agreements concluded between the Empire of Japan and the Empire of Korea on or before August 22, 1910 are already null and void" -- meaning they had become null and void from 28 April 1952.

Many Koreans, and their sympathizers, like to believe that the treaties which led to Korea becoming part of Japan in 1910 were never effective because they were never valid. Japanese courts, however, have exercised their right, under international law, to regard them as effective until the enforcement of the San Francisco Peace Treaty.

Both the man and the woman lost their Japanese nationality because, when Japan abandoned its sovereignty over Chosen, Chosen registers were separated from Japanese nationality.

Former Chosen subjects residing in Japan were never given the option of retaining their Japanese nationality. Those who remained in Japan after the war have had, since 1952, only three choices: become an ROK national, naturalize in Japan or become a national of another country, or remain Chosenese hence virtually stateless.

Nationality changes after territorial losses

Bryant 1991:128

Japan surrendered all territories taken before the war, and all persons belonging to those countries became citizens of those countries"

This is simply not true, for many reasons.

Taiwan was never, and is not now, a country. It was part of China when China ceded it to Japan in 1895. It became part of the Republic of China de facto in 1945 and de jure in 1952, and remains part of ROC, though of course the People's Republic of China insists it is one of its provinces. Former Taiwan subjects who remained in the prefectures after World War II did not become Republic of China nationals unless they registered their intent to be so through an ROC representative in Japan. Japan did not recognize PRC until 1972.

Korea ceded itself to Japan, at which point it became Chosen, in 1910. Former Chosen subjects who remained in the prefectures after World War II became nationals of the Republic of Korea only if they applied for recognition as ROK nationals through Mindan, a Korean organization in Japan with ROK ties. Those who did become ROK nationals, or nationals of other countries including Japan, remained "Chosenjin" or "Chosenese" -- a vestige of imperial status tantamount to being stateless.

Family Registration Law and Nationality Law

Bryant 1991:131

. . . until 1985, neither Japanese women nor Japanese men could establish a new family registry if they married a non-Japanese. However, Japanese women ere disadvantaged relative to Japanese men because Japanese men customarily entered non-Japanese wives on their parents' family registry, since marriage involved the wife's entering her husband's family registry. Registration of the marriage conferred legitimacy and Japanese citizenship on children born to the couple after marriage.

Bryant 1991:128

Under the new [1985] Nationality Law, either parent can confer Japanese nationality on his or her child. The Family Registration Law was also revised so that now Japanese men or women who marry non-Japanese can establish a new registry upon marriage. Their marital children have dual citizenship until the age of twenty-two. At that time they automatically lose their Japanese nationality if they have not taken steps to renounce their foreign citizenship. This provision continues discrimination against non-Japanese because the default rule results in loss of Japanese nationality rather than loss of the foreign nationality if the child does not actively seek to retain Japanese nationality. Children whose parents are both Japanese do not have to do anything to retain their Japanese citizenship.

Almost everything here is wrong. Unless their personal register comes first in their family register, Japanese men and women have been free to establish their own registers since the Family Registration Law was revised after World War II. The nationality of the individual's spouse has had no bearing on this freedom.

No non-Japanese spouse -- wife or husband -- is ever entered as a member of a Japanese register. Particulars of the alien spouse -- such as name, date of birth, and country of nationality -- are noted as matters of fact. Only after being permitted to naturalize (or, as was possible in some cases under the 1899 Nationality Law, after confirming eligibility for Japanese nationality through marriage) can (or could) such a person be entered in a family register as a new Japanese national.

No Japanese parent can "confer" Japanese nationality on his or her child. Nationality through birth can only be acquired through filing a notification of birth in a timely manner, after administrative confirmation of the particulars. Failure to file such notification means abandonment of the child's right to acquire nationality through parentage.

Moreover, Japan's Nationality Law has always been matrilineal in the case of a child born to an unmarried Japanese woman, and place-of-birth in the case of a child born in Japan to parents both of whom are stateless or unknown.

Dual nationality

Whether a child becomes a dual national depends on the nationalities of its parents and where it was born, and how Japan's Nationality Law operates in conjunction with the nationality laws of other states.

The marital status of the child's parents is not necessarily a factor in the occurrence of dual nationality. The child of married parents of different nationalities does not necessarily become a dual nationality. The child of married parents of the same nationality does not necessarily have only one nationality.

Dual nationals who fail to declare a notification of intent to chose Japanese nationality do not automatically lose Japanese nationality. Those who chose Japanese nationality do not necessarily lose their other nationalities, automatically or otherwise.

Japan's Nationality Law does not prohibit dual nationality. Japan has no authority over the disposition of another state's nationality. Whether a dual national renounces or otherwise loses a foreign nationality, after filing a notification of choice of Japanese nationality, depends on the laws of the state that controls the foreign nationality.

Japanese parents, whose children are born in countries with place-of-birth nationality laws, most certainly have to file notifications of intent to retain Japanese nationality for their children -- or their children will not become Japanese. All dual nationals, even if both of their parents are Japanese, have the same obligation as other dual nationals to "choose" or "renounce" Japanese nationality before their 22nd birthday.

Biographical note

It is clear from Bryant's article, and from many of her sources, that she was interested more in anthropology than in law. This would be a dangerous mix for someone trained only in anthropology. But Bryant was also trained in law. Why, then, did she get so much wrong? Probably because her approach to both fields has been more "critical" than objective.

Bryant has a BA from Bryn Mawr College (1975), an MA (1978) and a PhD (1984) in anthropology from UCLA, and a JD from Harvard (1987). She has been on the faculty of the UCLA School of Law since 1987.

Bryant's PhD disseration was on "Mediation of Divorce Disputes in the Japanese Family Court System: With Emphasis on the Tokyo Family Court" (1984). From 1983 to 1995, she published many academic articles -- including this article -- on various aspects of Japanese law, focusing on family law.

Apparently Bryant tired of Japan, for from about 1995 she turned to the subject of animal law. Since then she has been teaching classes on animal law. According to the UCLA Law website, "in 1998, she was the lead drafter of California state legislation to shift animal sheltering from killing to saving lives."

"More recently," the UCLA Law profile concludes, "Professor Bryant is utilizing the literature of social justice activism in feminism and disability rights areas in order to inform activism for animals. In particular, she seeks to combine the approaches of radical feminism and social justice activism in her work on animal protection."


David Chapman

Tama-chan and Sealing Japanese Identity
Critical Asian Studies
Volume 40, Number 3 (September 2008)
Pages 423-443

This article is a testimony to the state of affairs of some "peer-reviewed" academic journals. The editors apparently found nothing wrong with David Chapman's descriptions of family registers, nationality, and citizenship in Japan. Perhaps they were too mesmerized by the convolutions of his radical rhetoric, and the redundancy of his footnotes, to notice that every page is littered with errors which cast serious doubt on his ability to read and understand Japanese history, law, and even simple government statistics.

Although this article is mostly about family registers, resident rolls, and alien registers, I am reviewing it here because of what Chapman says about Japan's Nationality Law.

I have organized my comments under the following headings.

Family Registration Law and Nationality Law
Family registers
Subjects and nationals
1947 Alien Registration Ordinance
Nationality Law revisited
Soo im Lee on Nationality Law
Soo im Lee on Korean hibakusha
Need for integration of register systems

Family Registration Law and Nationality Law

Chapman gets off to a running start with this observation (page 425).

The koseki contains details of gender, date and place of birth, details of one's parents, siblings, and records of divorce and marriage. It is based on the Family Registration Law (koseki hō), which was, until the introduction of the Nationality Law (kokuseki hō) in 1950, the principle means for defining and determining nationality in Japan.

Not only is the Nationality Law not "based on" the Family Registration Law -- but Japan has had a nationality law since 1899. Chapman's implication that there was no such law before 1950 appears to have been inspired by similar implications made by Soo im Lee in Lee 2006, who he cites in connection with other comments about nationality (see below).

While many laws (including the Nationality Law) firmly rest on the foundations of the family registration system introduced nationwide from 1872, the Nationality Law depends on the Constitution, not the Family Registration Law, for its authority. Moreover, it is a passive law in that it merely reflects principles of family law first implied in the Family Registration Law and since defined in the Civil Code.

The only link between the Nationality Law and the Family Registration Law is in the customary association of Japanese nationality with membership in a Japanese family register. The 1898 Family Registration Law provided that only a Japanese national could establish a principle register (honseki) in Japan. However, there was as yet no law of nationality. And the Nationality Law of 1899 did not contain an initial determination of the population of "Japanese" it would apply to. In other words, no national law directly defines Japanese nationals as persons who are enrolled in family registers affiliated with Japan by their honseki. The association of nationality with register enrollment has been a matter of customary law and implication.

The Nationality Law, not the Family Registration Law, sets down the criteria for acquiring and losing Japanese nationality. The Family Registration Law depends on the Nationality Law to the extent that acquisition of status as a member of a Japanese register at time of birth or later in life (resulting in one becoming Japanese), or loss of status as a member of a Japanese a register (resulting in one no longer being Japanese), is determined by the Nationality Law.

Chapman similarly alleges that the Civil Code is "based on the koseki" -- but family matters reflected in family registers are based on the family law encoded in the Civil Code. Regarding nationality matters, the Civil Code also depends on the Nationality Law.

Primarily, family registers are legal records of actions taken by officials pursuant to rules set down in the Nationality Law and Civil Code.

Secondarily, family registers facilitate the operation of provisions in numerous laws -- including some provisions in the Nationality Law (e.g., legal status of mother, father, or spouse as a Japanese national) and in the Civil Code (e.g., inheritance).

Family registers

Chapman makes several remarks by way of comparing what he calls "the residency registration system (jūminhyō)" and "the Japanese family registration system (koseki)". This is how he characterizes the two (pages 425-426).

The jūminhyō is a separate document from the koseki and serves a different purpose. The koseki is administered by the state, whereas the jūminhyō is used as proof of residence and is the responsibility of the public affairs division of each municipality.

"administered by the state"

Family registers are definitely not "administered by the state".

Article 1 of the Family Registration Law -- Law No. 224 of 22 December 1947, enforced from 1 January 1948 -- stipulates that heads of (village, town, city) municipalities are in charge of register affairs.

Article 3 provides that the Minister of Justice can set the standards by which municipal heads conduct register affairs. Additionally, the article allows the director of the Legal Affairs Bureau or Regional Legal Affairs Bureau having jurisdiction in the municipality to seek reports and other information from the municipal head when necessary to assure the proper conduct of register affairs.

Article 8 requires the municipal head to make every family register in duplicate. The original remains in an office of the municipality, and the copy is preserved at the Legal Affairs Bureau, or the Regional Legal Affairs bureau or branch thereof, with jurisdiction.

In other words, the Family Registration Law delegates primary responsibility to the municipality. Why? Because municipalities are local autonomous bodies as defined by the Local Autonomy Law (Law No. 67 of 17 April 1947, enforced from 3 May 1947). As such, they are recognized as semi-autonomous polities within prefectural polities, which are semi-autonomous polities within the state.

Historically, local communities and their population registers have always been the primary building blocks of larger polities. This had been the political condition for centuries when, in 1872 at the start of the Meiji period, family registration, until then a local or regional matter, at times associated with temple registration, was nationalized and standardized.

That family registers today continue to be local building blocks of the state's demographic territory, reflects the historical origin of the state as an amalgamation of local communities whose registrants had been under the rule of a local or regional authority.

A family register begins with a statement of the honseki address on the register a family -- assuming Japan to be the outermost layer of nested territorial affiliation -- begins with the next smaller nests of affiliation (prefecture, municipality) and continues down to the smallest (neighborhoods and lots). A family register is essentially a part of Japan's demographic territory by virtue of its affiliation with a specific part of Japan's geographic territory. Enrollment in such a register is therefore taken as affiliation with Japan's nation, hence possession of Japan's nationality.

The presumed honseki of an alien is a foreign state, since the alien's principle domicile will be an address within his or her state of nationality. This is presumed regardless of how the foreign state determines its nationality.

"public affairs division"

What Chapman vaguely calls the "public affairs division" is a rather loose reference to what in a city, town, village, or ward hall would be called the "city affiliate section" (市民課 shiminka), the "town affiliate section" (町民課 chōminka), the "village affiliate section" (村民課 sonminka), or the "ward affiliate section" (区民課 kuminka). These literal English dubs reflect the metaphors of the Japanese terms. In official translationese they are typically morphed into metaphors like Civic Section, Civic Affairs Section, Citizen Section, Citizen Affairs Section, among others.

These sections manage all manner of affiliate affairs -- including (1) family registers with honseki addresses in the jurisdiction of the municipality, (2) resident registration matters for all Japanese affiliates of the municipality, and (3) alien registration matters for all alien affiliates of the municipality.

Why are "Japanese" and "alien" registers managed in the same "affiliate section"? Because, by law, Japanese and aliens alike equally qualify as affiliates of the municipality in which they are registered.

Affiliation with a municipality is analogous with affiliation with a state. One is a Japanese national if one posses es Japanese nationality. And a Japanese national or an alien is an affiliate of a Japanese municipality if one is registered as a resident of the municipality. Just as Japanese nationality equally qualifies all who possess it as Japanese, registration as a resident in a municipality equally qualifies all registrants as affiliates of the municipality -- regardless of their nationality.

All Japanese equally possess the same nationality. But the elements of citizenship that apply to a Japanese individual will differ from person to person.

Similarly, Japanese and alien registrants of a city, town, village, or ward are equal in terms of their legal status as municipal affiliates. But elements of citizenship will vary -- according to nationality, age, gender, and other attributes of legal status.

Chapter 2 of the Local Autonomy Law defines "Inhabitants" (住民 jūmin). The chapter has four articles.

Paragraph 1 of Article 10, the first, defines an "inhabitant" of municipality as any person who has a "residence" (住所 jūsho) within the area of the city, town, or village. The same paragraph also stipulates that such a municipal inhabitant is also an inhabitant of the prefecture (todōfuken) that includes the municipality.

Paragraph 2 of Article 10 provides that inhabitants (the grammar implies all), in accordance with law, have the right of equally receive the offerings of the "ordinary local public body" to which the inhabitant belongs, and also bears the duty to share the burden [responsibilities and costs] thereof.

Articles 11 through 13 define the full range of rights of inhabitants who are nationals of Japan (日本国民 Nihon kokumin) to participate in the political affairs of "ordinary local public body" to which the inhabitant belongs.

All articles of Chapter 2 apply mutatis mutandis to wards in larger cities.

In other words -- the Local Autonomy Law defines municipalities as the primary loci of residence (as opposed to domicile) affiliation within Japan -- and provides that municipal affiliation extends to prefectural affiliation. The law also defines all registrants as affiliates, without regard to their nationality.

The Local Autonomy Law also provides for the political rights of Japanese affiliates of Japan's self-autonomous polities. While the law does not provide political rights for alien affiliates, neither does it prohibit the extension of such rights.

By comparison, the Nationality Law defines national affiliates, while the Constitution provides for the political participation of national affiliates in national affairs -- as opposed to municipal and prefectural affairs, which are governed by the Local Autonomy Law.

The Diet could amend the Local Autonomy Law to specifically require all local polities to extend some or all rights of suffrage to some or all of their alien affiliates. Extending national suffrage to aliens would require an amendment of the Constitution.

In the meantime, municipalities in Japan are legally free to enfranchise their alien affiliates if their Japanese affiliates would agree to such a legislative measure.

Subjects and nationals

Chapman does not seem to understanding the workings of law within Japan during its imperial years. He describes family registration in negative terms only -- in what comes across as a paranoid critique of imperialism and colonialism.

First he claims that Japan "created" a dualistic registration system in Korea to "[facilitate] the colonial gaze of the Japanese empire" -- because Japan's ambitions required "rigid social control" and "surveillance" of the people it "strategically differentiated from the rest of the Japanese populace".

Then he claims that a registration system already existed in Korea at the time Korea became part of Japan. (Pages 430-431, bracketed glosses in original).

In the process of becoming subjects of the empire, Koreans and Taiwanese were strategically differentiated from the rest of the Japanese populace. This was done through a separate koseki system based on the Revised Karafuto Native Household Census mentioned above. Two registries were created depending on geographical location (chiiki seki), one for domestic or internal territory (naichi) and one for overseas or external territory (gaichi).


In Korea a family registration system introduced from China (ho-ju) already existed. [Note 28] By the time the Korean Family Registration Order (chosen koseki rei) was officially introduced in 1922, however, the system largely replicated the Japanese koseki system. The only difference was the clear differentiation between insiders and outsiders. (The colonized were often labeled "subjects" [shinmin] as opposed to "nationals" [kokumin] for the Japanese population.)

"two registries were created"

Japan did not "create" different register systems in Taiwan and Korea -- much less systems based on the registers created in Karafuto -- much less "two registries" one "in" and the other "out".

Karafuto came into Japan's fold with a very small population and practically no legal system to speak of. Whereas Taiwan and Korea -- when they joined the prefectural Interior as parts of the sovereign Empire of Japan -- not only had large, complex populations, but demographic registration systems that were governed by standing bodies of law.

Japan did not create but inherited these different register and legal systems. The whole point of applying Interior family register standards to the plural Exterior territories (gaichi) of Taiwan and Korea -- along with other elements of Interior law -- was to integrate their legal systems with that of the Interior.

At the time Korea was annexed as Chosen in 1910, its registers were being administered under the People's Register Law (民籍法 Minsekihō). This law had been promulgated through Japan's urging and guidance during the period that Korea was a protectorate of Japan. The law was created to solve a host of problems, including tax evasion and corruption, faced by the Korean government because it lacked sufficient knowledge and control of the population it was supposed to serve and protect.

"often labeled 'subjects' as opposed to 'nationals'"

The idea that Exterior affiliates were "often" differentiated as "subjects" while "the Japanese population" was labeled as "nationals" is simply without foundation.

All nationals of Japan were subjects. All subjects of Japan, who were affiliated with Japan's sovereign dominion, were nationals.

1947 Alien Registration Ordinance

The Alien Registration Order, as promulgated by Imperial Ordinance No. 207 of 2 May 1947, came into effect the following day. Chapman characterizes the law like this (page 432).

On the second of May 1947, the day before the revised constitution of Japan was effected, the Alien Registration Ordinance (gaikokujin tōroku rei) was established and former colonial subjects living in Japan were proclaimed to be aliens or foreigners (gaikokujin).

The law does not make such a proclamation -- because such a proclamation would have violated the principles of nationality that were still in force. Article 11 of the law, in fact, very clearly implies that Taiwanese (as determined by the Ministry of Interior) and Chosenese were NOT aliens -- except for the purpose of the law.

Article 11   Among Taiwanese those the Minister of Interior determines and Chosenese, with respect to the application of this imperial ordinance, for the present shall be regarded [looked upon] as aliens.

The treatment of Taiwanese and Chosenese as aliens in matters of demographic registration was not, in any event, an initiative of the Japanese government. From the beginning of the Occupation, GHQ/SCAP excluded Taiwan, Korea, the Ryukyus, and a number of other Japanese territories from Japan as a legal entity from its definition of "Japan" for Occupation purposes. It also shrunk Japanese as a legal status to include only "Japanese" -- meaning people affiliated with "Japan".

SCAPIN-224, dated 1 November 1945, regards Formosans, Koreans, and others who in fact were nationals of Japan as "non-Japanese" for purposes of repatriation from Japan. By the following year, registration of such "non-Japanese" had begun, also for repatriation purposes.

While Taiwanese and Chosenese (Koreans) were thus excluded from the category of "Japanese" for Occupation purposes, they remained nationals of Japan as a legal entity.

Some Japanese lawmakers and law enforcers took GHQ/SCAP's definition of "non-Japanese" at face value and attempted to treat Taiwanese and Chosenese as aliens in matters other than registration. GHQ/SCAP, however, generally overruled such attempts and insisted they be treated as Japanese nationals. Consequently, Taiwanese and Chosenese did not became aliens under Japanese law until the San Francisco Peace Treaty came into effect from 28 April 1952.

Nationality Law revisited

In "Who's In and Who's Out?" -- the last section of his article before the conclusion -- Chapman returns to the Nationality Law. Here I will cite the entire section, part by part, followed by comments (pages 437-439).

Who's In and Who's Out?

Nationality and citizenship are often used synonymously, but are, in fact, quite distinct notions. Nationality can be defined as a legal status whilst citizenship is better considered as a set of rights held by residents regardless of their nationality. When seeking to apply this distinction to residents in Japan the primacy placed on lineage as a marker of Japanese identity facilitated by the koseki, jūminhyō, and gaikokujin tōroku makes this process difficult and fraught. In other words, these systems of surveillance, originally designed for defining and protecting Japanese identity based on genealogy, actually conflate ethnicity, citizenship, and nationality, leading to the discriminating effects spotlighted in the Tama-chan protest.

"set of rights . . . regardless of nationality"

Citizenship cannot possibly be "a set of rights held by residents regardless of their nationality". Moreover, citizenship is a set of duties as well as rights. The elements of citizenship (rights and duties) that apply to an individual will depend on the individuals nationality, age, and gender, among other personal attributes.

"systems of surveillance"

This sentence is essentially a summary of Chapman's radical thesis about register systems in Japan. The system was not "originally designed" to do what he alleges. The 1872 Family Registration Law was clearly designed to standardize local population registration throughout the country the purpose of facilitating more efficient and responsible local and national government. Of course the registers defined the state's demographic territory -- the population of subjects the state considers its nationals.

Japanese nationality has always been a civic status.

Japan's family registers and alien registers are civic instruments. Their primary purpose is to administer elements of citizenship -- the rights and duties that come with legal status -- for nationals and non-nationals alike.

Japan's register systems have not, except in racialist imaginations, conflate "ethnicity, citizenship, and nationality". The "Tama-chan protest" mostly spotlights the ignorance of its participants and publicists.

     According to Kondo, [Note 59] Japan strictly applies the principle of jus sanguinis (kettōshugi) or nationality by descent. [Note 60] This means that Japanese nationality is acquired through one or both parents. [Note 61]

[Note 59]  Kondo 2001, 227. [Kondo, A. 2001. Comparative citizenship and aliens' rights. In A. Kondo, ed. Citizenship in a global world: Comparing citizenship rights for aliens. New York: Palgrave, 225-48.]

[Note 60]  Sweden is another country that applies a strict jus sanguinis in the granting of citizenship (Kondo 2001, 227).

[Note 61]  There have been exceptions in Japan to the strict application of jus sanguinis in cases of a child being stateless or when both parents are unknown (Kondo 2001, 227). The Nationality law makes provision for this.

Why does Chapman describe the principles of the Nationality Law through a secondary source? Did he not read the law himself? And, having read Japan's law, and compared it with a few other laws, did he not observe that Japan's law has been, since 1899, a fairly conventional nationality law?

Why Sweden? Why not Germany or France? Why not the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea? Why not the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China.

All students of nationality law know that most states have jus sanguinis laws. And they know that most jus sanguinis states have similar jus soli provisions for children of stateless or unknown parents.

Chapman chose -- instead -- to squeeze three notes from the same page of the same English source -- "Kondo 2001, 217" -- into the space of two short sentences which say very little.

Acquiring Japanese nationality, however, is also possible if one is married to a Japanese spouse or by meeting the all six requirements stipulated in Article 5 of the Nationality Law (kokuseki hō): (1) having five years of continuous residence in Japan; (2) being of upright conduct; (3) being twenty years of age; (4) having the ability to secure a livelihood; (5) having no nationality or being able to rescind one's nationality when taking on Japanese nationality; (6) never having plotted or advocated to overthrow the constitution or the government of Japan. [Note 62]

[Note 62]  The last condition in this list was added in 1950.

Chapman's list does not accurately reflect the order or the detail of the six general conditions for naturalization. His footnote is correct -- but casts doubt on an earlier statement in his article.

"married to a Japanese spouse"

Where does it say in Japan's Nationality Law that an alien can acquire Japanese nationality if "married to a Japanese spouse"? The 1899 Nationality Law -- which apparently Chapman has not seen -- provided for acquisition of nationality by notification for some alien spouses of Japanese. These provisions were dropped from the 1950 law.

Never mind that an alien who knowingly "married . . . a Japanese spouse" might encounter some legal difficulties -- as would "a Japanese national [who] marries a foreign spouse" (page 434). Double the legal trouble were a "Japanese spouse" to marry an "alien spouse". There must be a French expression for such entanglements.

"added in 1950"

Chapman stated earlier that "The koseki . . . is based on the Family Registration Law (koseki hō), which was, until the introduction of the Nationality Law (kokuseki hō) in 1950, the principle means for defining and determining nationality in Japan" (page 425, see above). So what does he mean here by "The last condition in this list was added in 1950"? To what was condition (6) added?

Indeed, in 2007, 14,680 out of 16,107 applicants were naturalized as Japanese. The majority of these applicants, however, were zainichi Koreans with one Japanese parent, making the process, administratively at least, a lot easier. [Note 63]

[Note 63]  Ministry of Justice 2008. [Ministry of Justice. 2008. Kika Kyoka Shinsei Shasu [Number of applications for naturalization].; accessed 8 April 2008]. At present some ten thousand zainichi are naturalizing each year (Ministry of Justice 2006b) [Ministry of Justice. 2006b. Kokuseki kankei [In relation to nationality].; accessed 20 December 2006], the majority of them being children with both Japanese and zainichi Korean parents and being naturalized at birth.

This statement and note also come up short on factuality.

"14,680 out of 16,107 applicants"

"Ministry of Justice 2008" represents a table of data called "Kika kyoka shinsei shasu nado no suii" [Changes (transitions, shifts) in the number of applicants for permission to naturalize et cetera]. The keywords are "applicants" and "permission"

Chapman mistranslates both keywords in his incomplete title. And his mistranslations lead him to misunderstand the meaning of the figures in the table.

The 2008 MOJ table summarizes naturalization data for the ten-year period from 1998 through 2007. In 2007 there were 16,107 "applicants". The same year there were 14,680 "approvees" and 260 "disapprovees". The figures don't add up because "applicants" are apples and "approved persons" and "unapproved persons" are oranges.

MOJ counts events -- events of application and events of approval and disapproval -- within a given year. There is no correspondence between the application events and the approval and disapproval events. This should have been clear to Chapman -- who acknowledges that naturalization "can take twelve months or more to complete" (see below). In other words, many of those who were approved or disapproved for naturalization in 2007 would have applied in 2006 if not earlier. And many of those who applied in 2007 would not be approved or disapproved until 2008 or later.

Some 8,546 of the 14,680 approvees were of "Kankoku/Chōsen" [ROK, Chosen] status. 4,740 were of "Chugoku" [PRC, ROC] status. 1,394 were of other nationalities.

"ten thousand . . . naturalizing each year"

Why -- having cited a 2008 source that includes data for the ten-year period from 1998 through 2007 -- does Chapman then cite a similar 2006 source apparently accessed at the same URL two years earlier -- as foundation for his statement that "at present" the zainichi naturalization rate is "some ten thousand a year"?

The 2008 source clearly shows that the number of "Koreans" approved for naturalization peaked at 11,778 in 2003, then fell to 8,531 and 8,546 by 2006 and 2007.

"one Japanese parent"

What does Chapman mean by "the majority of these applicants . . . were zainichi with one Japanese parent"? Does he mean -- as he implies in the note -- that "the majority of [the Koreans who are naturalizing each year are] children with both Japanese and zainichi Korean parents and [are] being naturalized at birth"?

How does he know that the majority are offspring of Japanese and zainichi Korean parents?

Where does the Nationality Law provide than anyone can be "naturalized at birth"?

And why was the process easier "administratively" because one parent was Japanese?

Ostensibly, application for Japanese nationality seems to be reasonably straightforward and an argument can be made that if foreign residents in Japan want to be placed, at least legislatively, on an equal footing with Japanese nationals, then they need only naturalize as Japanese. This argument, however, as the discussions above illustrate, is somewhat simplistic and ignores many of the problems and circumstances encountered by long-term foreign residents considering naturalization as an option.

To state that becoming Japanese through naturalization puts a former alien on an equal "legislative" footing with other Japanese cannot be "simplistic" -- somewhat or otherwise. It is simply a fact. Legal status is all about -- and only about -- legal footing. And legally, all Japanese are equally subject to the same laws regarding rights and duties that come with possession of Japanese nationality.

All that matters for an alien who would qualify for naturalization, under one or another of several sets of conditions, is whether the alien wishes to become Japanese. Personal exposure to social discrimination -- as an alien, or as a Japanese who may have naturalized from a former status as an alien -- are irrelevant.

The "problems and circumstances" encountered by resident aliens -- long-term or short term -- have no bearing on "naturalization as an option". The option is there. An alien either takes it or doesn't.

     The bureaucratic process of naturalization itself is opaque, often arduous, and can take twelve months or more to complete. [Note 64] Furthermore, in principle, the Nationality Law, which is based on the Family Registration Law, prevents dual nationality for Japanese nationals after the age of twenty-two. Although evidence suggests that the Ministry of Justice can do little to enforce this except to urge Japanese nationals holding dual nationality to rescind their other nationality or lose their Japanese national status, [Note 65] the decision to naturalize or not is a difficult one for many. The Nationality Law also precludes non-Japanese residents from political representation and, in many cases, the right to employment in public service positions. [Note 66]

[Note 64]  Asakawa 2003, 105-37. [Asakawa, A. 2003. Zainichi Gaikokujin Kika Seido [Resident foreigners and the system of naturalization]. Tokyo: Shinkansha.]

[Note 65]  Weatherall [sic = Wetherall] 2006. [Weatherall [sic = Wetherall, W. 2006. Nationality in Japan. In Soo im Lee, S. Murphy-Shigematsu, and H. Befu, eds. Japan's diversity dilemmas: Ethnicity, citizenship, and education. Lincoln, New England [sic = NE = Nebraska]: iUniverse.]

[Note 66]  Recently, in some local municipalities non-Japanese residents have been granted local voting rights and the right to work as public service employees. At the national level though these stipulations are rigidly enforced.

Has Chapman ever directly examined, or personally submitted to, the "bureaucratic process" of naturalization? I have done both, and known several people who have done both.

"bureaucratic process . . . opaque"

How so? The vast majority of applicants have always been approved. The various sets of conditions are clear. Pre-application interviews, which determine the paperwork required for the particular applicant, are straightforward. Government pamphlets, and commercial guide books, outline procedures -- "arduous" mostly in terms of gathering supporting documents and filling out forms -- in a step-by-step manner.

"prevents dual nationality"

Again (see above), the Nationality Law is not based on the Family Registration Law.

The Nationality Law does not "prevent" dual nationality after any age. A number of provisions attempt to prevent the occurrence or maintenance of dual nationality. In other words, the law "minimizes" the occurrence of dual nationality.

Japan's dual-national measures work in tandem with measures in the nationality laws of other countries. Whether a naturalizer becomes or remains dual national is contingent on (1) how strictly Japan applies its own measures at the time of application, and (2) counterpart measures in the applicant's country of nationality.

For example -- even if Japan's Nationality Law did not attempt to prevent dual nationality when naturalizing, the nationality laws of the Republic of Korea and the People's Republic of China would result in their nationals losing ROK or PRC nationality upon naturalizing in Japan.

"evidence suggests"

There is a vast difference between "evidence" and "testimony". In my article, I only stated an opinion. That opinion happens to be based on years of observation, including personal experience with how naturalization works, and personal acquaintance with a number of dual nationals by birth or naturalization and knowledge of their circumstances. But none of this "evidence" is presented in my article.

"precludes non-Japanese residents"

Chapman's allegation that the Nationality Law has something to do with the "preclusion" of non-Japanese residents from political participation and public employment confirms my impression that he had not read -- or has read and forgotten -- the Nationality Law and other laws germane to nationality and citizenship status in Japan.

Articles 16 and 17 of the 1899 Nationality Law stipulated restrictions on the rights of persons who had acquired Japanese nationality through naturalization, marriage, or adoption and the like -- to hold certain political offices or serve in certain military posts.

The 1950 Nationality Law has no such restrictions -- and otherwise contains not a single "stipulation" concerning the rights and duties associated with either national or alien status in Japan.

Chapter 3 in the Constitution concerns Rights and Duties of nationals. Article 10 provides that conditions for being a national will be determined by law. That law is the Nationality Law.

Other articles in Chapter 3 outline the principle rights and duties of nationals, including Article 15, which guarantees universal adult suffrage in elections of public officials. Some articles in Chapter 3 extend to all people, but not Article 15.

The Local Autonomy Law (see above) defines both nationals and aliens as affiliates of the municipalities in which they are registered as residents, and provides that prefectural affiliation derives from municipal affiliation. The law also outlines the full range of the rights of national inhabitants to participate in the political affairs of the municipality and be extension the prefecture to which they belong.

     Lineage or blood as a marker for Japanese identity as well as the preferential disposition of Japanese authorities for genealogically determined national membership and its link to the koseki are particularly demonstrable through the 1985 and 1990 modifications to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act. [Note 67] The 1985 change allowed spouses and children of Japanese nationals to naturalize after only three years of residence as compared to five for everyone else. The 1990 change allowed up to third-generation descendants of Japanese emigrants (often referred to as nikkeijin) to work legally and unrestricted in Japan. This "front door" (ethnic repatriates) entry contrasts with the "side door" (trainees) and "backdoor" (irregulars) [Note 68] shunting of other unskilled workers endeavoring to gain entry into Japan.

[Note 67]  See also Selleck 1997, 202; and Mackie 2002, 203. [Selleck, Y. 1997. Nikkeijin: The phenomena of return migration. In Weiner, ed. Japan's Minorities: The illusion of homogeneity. London: Routledge. 178-210.] [Mackie, V. 2002. Embodiment, citizenship and social policy in contemporary Japan. In R. Goodman, ed. Family and social policy in Japan. Cambridge; Cambridge University Press.]

[Note 68]  Kondo 2002. [Kondo, A. 2002. Development of immigration policy in Japan. Asia and Pacific Migration Journal 11 (4); 415-36.]

Here, too, Chapman prefers radical critique to facts.

"1985 and 1990 modifications"

Chapman's "1985" claim makes no sense because the Immigration Control Law has nothing to do with naturalization.

His "1990" claim is true to the extent that the Immigration Control Law was revised that year, but the law does not specify status of residence particulars.

spouses and children of Japanese nationals

Contrary to what Chapman, changes in laws in 1985 did not allow "spouses and children of Japanese nationals to naturalize after only three years of residence as compared to five for everyone else".

The Nationality Law, which concerns naturalization, was revised in 1984. The revisions came into force from 1 January 1985.

Under the 1899 Nationality Law, an alien whose father or mother was Japanese, or whose wife was Japanese, had to continuously reside in Japan for only three years instead of five years to qualify for naturalization. An alien wive stood to become Japanese through the marriage if she lost her original nationality through marriage -- which was conventional in most nationality laws at the time.

Under the 1950 Nationality, nationality derived through marriage was eliminated, but the alien wife of a Japanese national could naturalize without meeting a residency requirement. The residency requirement was also waived for an alien child of a Japanese nationality, while an adopted child could naturalize after only one year of residence. The residency requirement remained three years for the husband of a Japanese national.

Under the 1985 revisions, nothing changed for actual or adopted children of Japanese nationals. However, in the interest of sexual equality, the three-year residency requirement for the alien husband of a Japanese national was also imposed on the alien wife of a Japanese national.

Under the 1899 law an alien wife stood to become Japanese on account of being married a Japanese. Under the 1950 law she had to naturalize but did not have to meet a residency requirement. Under the 1985 law she has had reside in Japan for three years.

third-generation descendants of Japanese emigrants

1990 revisions in the Immigration Control Law introduced an entirely new status of residence framework. But particulars were left to ministerial orders.

The status of residence which covers an alien child or grandchild of a Japanese national is called "long term resident". This status was defined in Ministry of Justice Order No. 15 of 24 May 1990, effective from 1 June 1990 when related revisions of the Immigration Control Law came into effect.

Chapman leaves the impression that policies were changed especially to accommodate second and third generation offspring of Japanese emigrants. But this is not the case.

The "Long Term Resident" category includes many kinds of aliens, including the following (adapted from bilingual version published by the Immigration Control Bureau, English as received except bracketed phrases, which are my translations).

"Long Term Resident" . . . Those who are authorized to reside in Japan with designation of period of stay by the Minister of Justice in consideration of special circumstances.

[Concretely, the following persons come under (this status).]

1. Indochina refugees and their families

2. Biological child [実q jisshi = "actual child"] of biological child of Japanese national [国民 kokumin] [(so-called nikkei sansei)]

3. Spouse of biological [actual] child of Japanese national or "Long Term Resident"

4. Biological [actual] child who is a minor of Japanese, "Permanent Resident", "Special Permanent Resident", Spouse of Japanese national, Spouse of Permanent Resident or "Long Term Resident"

5. Adopted child who is under 6 years old of Japanese, "Permanent Resident", "Special Permanent Resident" or "Long Term Resident"

Note that the status of "Long Term Resident" is associated with the statuses of "Permanent Resident" and "Special Permanent Resident" because, as non-visa statuses of residence, they place no restrictions on activities in Japan.

The criteria for Long Term Resident status are generalized and essentially family-spirited. The Long Term Resident status is accorded not only to "actual children" and "actual children of actual children" of Japanese nationals, but to the spouse and/or children of such persons.

Most states relax their immigration rules for the alien children if not also for the alien grandchildren of nationals who for various reasons did not acquire the state's nationality through right-of-blood lineage rules. This includes the United States, which like most place-of-birth states applies right-of-blood lineage rules to the children of US citizens born outside the United States.

In other words, most states recognize the primacy and the legacy of family ties. Japan is no exception.

Some proponents of the proposal -- to permit alien children and grandchildren of Japanese to live and work in Japan under the new unrestricted activity status of Long Term Resident -- made racialist hay out of the promise of workers who, while alien, were expected to be more compatible with Japanese society and culture than aliens who had no family ties with Japan.

Some critics, in turn, have excessively racialized the so-called "nikkeijin" worker policy by labeling them "ethnic repatriates" -- and disparaging the government policy as an example of insidious "Japanese" racism.

But the idea of tapping into a pool of aliens with family ties to Japan makes perfect sense. And the experiment has been a valuable lesson in a country that needs such lessons.

Permanent Residents and Special Permanent Residents are not referred to as "nikkeijin" (persons related to Japan) -- but they are accorded permanent residence because the government recognizes that they have intimate connections with Japan. Embracing "nikkeijin" as Long Term Residents is merely to add them to a growing list of people who arguably have more cause than aliens generally to be according preferential treatment in Japan.

Chapman fails to recognize this larger forest through the trees he sees in his radical focus on "lineage or blood as a marker for Japanese identity".

The Japanese government's granting of citizenship to former Peruvian prime minister Alberto Fujimori is another example of preferential treatment based on bloodlines. Fujimori was accused in Peru of homicide and bribery, leading him to self-exile in Japan. He was able to claim Japanese citizenship through his koseki registry because his Japanese parents registered him at birth with the Japanese consulate in Peru. [Note 69] In verifying Japanese lineage, nikkeijin must produce, amongst other documents, the koseki tōhon in which their family records appear, underscoring the koseki as the ultimate authoritative mechanism in determining Japanese identity. [Note 70]

[Note 69]  Lee 2006, 111-12. [Soo im Lee 2006. The cultural exclusiveness of ethnocentrism: Japan's treatment of foreign residents. In Soo im Lee, S. Murphy-Shigematsu, and H. Befu, eds. Japan's diversity dilemmas: Ethnicity, citizenship, and education. Lincoln: iUniverse. 100-24.]

[Note 70]  The koseki tōhon register contains the names of extended family as well as immediate family members.

By the time Chapman wrote these concluding lines of "Who's In and Who's Out?", he appears to have forgotten what he wrote in the opening lines.

granting of citizenship

The Japanese government did not grant Fujimori citizenship. Nor did it grant him nationality.

Japanese law defines only nationality, and nationality is not citizenship. Chapman attempted to say this at the outset of the "Who's In and Who's Out?" section, but apparently he does not take the distinction between "nationality" and "citizenship" seriously.

Japan's 1890 and 1947 constitutions gave the government the authority to determine the requisites for acquisition of Japan's nationality in the form of the 1899 and 1950 nationality laws, which the government then enforced. The law does not grant nationality. The Minister of Justice, with the approval of the Nationality Diet, may in exceptional cases permit the acquisition of nationality other than by meeting the requisites for nationality stipulated in the Nationality Law. Otherwise, when someone files a birth or other notification with a municipal registrar, that involves nationality acquisition, the Nationality Law operates automatically, and makes no provisions for discretionary permission or granting on the part of the registrar or other government official.

What the Japanese government did in Fujumori's case was to recognize that, pursuant to a provision in the 1924 revision of the 1899 Nationality Law, which his parents complied with when they registered his birth in Peru, he had retained Japanese nationality and could actively possess it if he wished to.

Japanese lineage, nikkeijin

"Nikkeijin" as a popular term for aliens related to Japan through ancestry. It is highly racialized because people tend to racialize "Japanese" among other nationalities that are legally raceless.

Proof of ancestry for the purpose of qualifying as a Long Term Resident is nothing more than a paper trail back to a family register in Japan. Anyone, in any country, having to prove ancestry for whatever reason, would have to produce a paper trail, or in some cases credible testimony, of lineal or adoptive descent -- having nothing to do with racioethnic "blood".

Japanese identity

Japanese law is not concerned about "identity". It is only concerned about status.

The status of a Long Term Resident as the child or grandchild of a Japanese national is not based on race of family lineage. The race or ethnicity of the Japanese national ancestor is irrelevant, as race and ethnicity are not matters of law in Japan.

Soo im Lee on Nationality Law

Chapman gives Lee 2006 as the source for his remarks about Fujimori. The full particulars are Soo im Lee, The cultural exclusiveness of ethnocentrism: Japan's treatment of foreign residents, in Soo im Lee, Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu, and Harumi Befu (editors), Japan's Diversity Dilemmas: Ethnicity, Citizenship, and Education. Lincoln (Nebraska), iUniverse, pages 100-124 (Chapter 5).

The same book contains my article, Nationality in Japan, pages 11-46 (Chapter 2). In other words, my article -- which examines the history and development of nationality and nationality law in Japan in a comparative perspective -- practically leads off the book for which Lee herself is the first-listed editor. Yet she appears not to have read it. And though Chapman cites it -- misspelling my name, and mistaking "NE" for "New England" in the publishing particulars -- he also appears not to have read it.

But Chapman appears to have read Lee's article and accepted it's claims at face value. For the impression he creates that Japan did not have a nationality law until 1950 appears to be based on a similar statement in Lee 2006.

Lee's remarks about Fujimori, which Chapman cites, come in a section of her article called "The Synonymous Meaning of Citizenship and Nationality". The section runs about two and one-half pages. It has nine paragraphs. The third and fourth are specifically about Japan's Nationality Law. The sixth is about Fujimori. The last two -- running about half a page -- are about Yasukuni, Ise, Amaterasu, and Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with a focus on zainichi victims.

Here I will cite and comment on some of the most problematic statements about nationality and citizenship (pages 110-113).

     Nationality can be generally acquired by jus soli, jus sanguinis, or naturalization. The two strictures used to determine Japanese citizenship or nationality are called jus soli, meaning citizenship by birth, and jus sanguinis, based on the principle of citizenship by descent. The United States is one of the few countries that adheres to both of these principles. For example, the children of foreign-born parents who are born in the U.S. will be granted American citizenship automatically.

This is the start of the second paragraph. In the first, she has presented a rather superficial and unexamined claim, supported by a single opinion, that "citizenship (shiminken) and nationality (kokuseki) while different if defined in legal terms, are often used interchangeably.

"Japanese citizenship or nationality"

She does not seem to understand that legal terms are precise and, if two terms are defined differently, then they cannot be used interchangeably. And in fact only people who don't understand this use them synonymously. Japanese law does not define "citizens" or "citizenship" as such. And "citizenship" such as it exists in Japan is definitely not synonymous with "nationality".

jus soli and jus sanguinis

Lee seems to misunderstand the operations of jus soli and jus sanguinis. Jus soli is not "by birth" but right-of-soil, i.e., place of birth. And jus sangunis is right-of-blood, namely, family (parental) lineage.

Lee, in one breath, implies that Japanese nationality is based on "two strictures" -- which she lists as "jus soli" and "jus sanguinis" -- in this order. Meaning what? In fact, "jus sanguinis" is the primary criterion and "jus soli" is the secondary criterion, applied only case where a baby is born in Japan to unknown or stateless parents.

Lee then states that the United States "is one of the few countries that adheres to both". Meaning what -- that Japan is also one of the few countries? In fact, practically all states in the world -- perhaps all states -- deploy both principles in their nationality laws -- and Japan's 1899 and 1950 nationality laws rank among the most common in the world.

Japan belongs to the majority of states which primarily apply jus sanguinis rules but use jus soli to minimize the occurrence of statelessness among children born in their territories.

The United States belongs to the minority of states which mainly follow the jus soli principle but use jus sanguinis for children born to US citizens and nationals outside US territory. The United States happens to be one of the few countries that does, in fact, use both terms -- "citizens" and "nationals" -- but with different meanings.

"granted American citizenship automatically"

No. There is no "granting" of citizenship at time of birth. And citizenship is "automatically" acquired at time of birth only if one possesses a birth certificate proving birth within the United States, or a consular birth certificate issued upon presentation of documents proving birth to a U.S. national or citizen abroad, who has satisfied U.S. residence requirements that permit the transmission of U.S. nationality the foreign-born child.

Acquisition is "automatic" only in the sense that nationality results from the operation of the law on the event of birth in the United States, attested to by a valid birth certificate, or birth abroad to a U.S. citizen or national a U.S. consular offical determines is qualified to transmit U.S. nationality.

Not all children born in the United States qualify for citizenship at birth. Children born to Japanese parents who are under diplomatic immunity, for example, do not become US citizens.

     Citizenship in Japan is granted based on the nationality law, which was first enacted in 1950. . . . In 1984, an amendment to the law changed the lineage system from patrilineal to bilineal, permitting children from international marriages between Koreans and Japanese to obtain Japanese citizenship. Today, eighty percent of Korean youth residing in Japan marry Japanese and their children are automatically granted Japanese citizenship by birthright.

This is the lead of the third paragraph, and the line that appears to have influenced Chapman.

"automatically granted . . . by birthright"

Japanese nationality is never granted. It is always, and only, acquired.

Acquisition of Japanese nationality is never automatic and by birthright as such. Nationality at time of birth is acquired only upon timely filing of a notification of birth at a local municipal office if born in Japan, at a Japanese consulate if born abroad. The window of opportunity to acquire nationality at birth through notification is very narrow -- two weeks domestically, three months (now) overseas.

Nationality through naturalization is also acquired, not granted. Naturalization itself is permitted. Permission is not a grant of nationality but an issuance of a "notice of permission to naturalize" and a public notice of such permission in the Official Gazette.

An approvee has one month from the date of the public notice within which to file a "notification of naturalization" at a municipal office, which then enrolls the approvee in a family register. While acquisition is effective from the date of the public notice, the acquired nationality is not truly effective until registration is completed.

"children from international marriages"

The adoption of an ambilineal (not bilineal) principle affected only children born to Japanese women married to aliens. Children of Japanese men married to aliens have always been able to acquire Japanese nationality if their births were registered as required by law.

     A child born out-of-wedlock needs the father's affirmation of paternity prior to birth. Japanese men who travel to Southeast Asian countries through sex tours have sexual relationships with local women. Since these Japanese men refuse to recognize paternity, the children possess no nationality. When the child is born in Japan but both parents are unknown or do not have Japanese nationality, the child acquires citizenship. A child found in the street as an orphan will be granted Japanese citizenship regardless of the color of his or her skin and a child whose parents are not legally married may acquire Japanese nationality before the age of twenty. Problematic cases are increasing in Japan due to the exclusive nature of the Japanese immigration policy ("60oku-ninno,", 2004).

We have here a long list of out-of-focus, off-target statements.

"child born out-of-wedlock"

This statement is essentially true.

"Men go on sex tours have sex

Yes, Japanese men who go to Southeast Asia on sex tours have sex. They then return to Japan, and their sex partners go on plying their profession. The men cannot "refuse" to recognize that they are fathers of children that may well be theirs but about which they know nothing.

Most refusals to recognize paternity involve Japanese men in other kinds of relationships with non-Japanese women, including relationships in Japan.

"children possess no nationality"

A refusal to recognize paternity on the part of a Japanese father does not result in statelessness if the child is qualified to acquire the nationality of its non-Japanese mother -- as is usually the case, whether born in Japan or elsewhere.

"both parents are unknown
or do not have Japanese nationality"

If Japan's Nationality Law operated the way Lee has described it, then all children born in Japan would become Japanese.

Her statement regarding cases of children born in Japan for whom "both parents are unknown" is correct.

Her remark about "do not have Japanese nationality" should be either "neither parent has a nationality" or simply "both parents are stateless".

"a child whose parents are not legally married"

An alien child of unmarried parents cannot acquire Japanese nationality unless its parents marry, and at least one of the parents recognize the child, and the recognizing parent was Japanese at the time the child was born and is still Japanese.

     In 1983, Doi Takako, a female Japanese politician, was the first politician to make issue of the discriminatory nature of the nationality law.

This is not true. Sexual equality has been an issue in provisions for nationality in Japan for a long time. It was certainly an issue in the late 1940s when revamping the 1899 Nationality Law into the 1950 Nationality Law.

Moreover, Doi and others associated with the Japan Socialist Party (Shakaitō) -- as the party was then called -- publically supported the nationality lawsuits brought by me and my ex-wife on behalf of our children in 1978 and 1982.

The immediate impetus for the 1984 revision, effective from 1985, was Japan's signing of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) was adopted by the UN in December 1979, opened for signing in March 1980, and signed by Japan in July the same year.

In signing CEDAW, Japan had five years within which to revise a number of major laws in order to comply with terms of the convention. Japan's legal bureaucracy obviously, but also savvy politicians in all parties, knew that something had to be done about the Nationality Law. Male politicians, especially those who served on legislative committees in which CEDAW was discussed before and after Japan decided to sign the convention, had to be aware that the patrilineality principle and other sex-based distinctions in the Nationality Law were in conflict with the convention.

Lee, in her rush to turn every issue into a Korean or feminist cause, seems not to comprehend the intertwined realities of the legal and political worlds, past or present.

Lee's article goes on say things about Fujimori which I have already discussed in my review of Chapman's digest of her views.

Soo im Lee on Korean hibakusha

Lee ends her brief on "The Synonymous Meaning of Citizenship and Nationality" with two paragraphs on "Yasukuni Shrine", "Ise Shrine", and "Amaterasu Ōmikami" with this remark about Koreans in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Very few Japanese are aware of the estimated number of Koreans who were killed by the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki -- 70,000 and 30,000 lives respectively (Weiner, 1999). The victimization consciousness of native Japanese that ignores the victimization of non-natives is another reflection of Japanese cultural exclusiveness.

Lee misrepresents the statistics presented by Michael Weiner.

"Weiner, 1999" in the body of her article appears to be an error for the first "Weiner, 1997" she lists under References. She also scrambles the title a bit.

The full (corrected) particulars are -- Michael Weiner, The representation of absence and the absence of representation: Korean victims of the atomic bomb [Running title: Narratives of exclusion: Korean hibakusha], in Michael Weiner (editor), Japan's Minorities: The Illusion of Homogeneity, London: Routledge, 1997, pages 79-107 (Chapter 4).

This is what Weiner writes (Weiner 1997: 90, 95).

Weiner on Korean hibakusha

Page 90   Of approximately 50,000 Koreans residing in Hiroshima, an estimated 30,000 died, either as a direct result of the blast, or soon thereafter. . . . The corresponding figure for Korean hibakusha in Nagasaki has been estimated at 20,000, including 10,000 fatalities (Chōsenjin no Hibakusha 1989; 8; Sato and Yamada 1986: 111).

Page 94   Of the estimated 70,000 Koreans who were exposed to the atomic bombings, approximately 40,000 died immediately or within the following year.

Need for integration of register systems

Chapman gives examples of the better known flaws in the present system of maintaining separate registers for Japanese and aliens registers -- which encumber what I prefer to call "multinational families" -- especially those consisting of a Japanese and alien couple and their children.

Chapman's radical criticism of the two registration systems, however, prevents him from seeing that the sort of problems he describes would easily be solved by merging all registration under a common system. Under a common register system, all municipal registrants -- Japanese and aliens alike -- would be treated the same regarding basic registration procedures.

Chapman contends that the two register systems are "administered by different government departments" and that "an official link is rarely made" between the two (page 434). This is not true.

Both systems are administration by the same department at the municipal level. National supervision of family registers falls under local and regional Legal Affairs Bureaus. National supervision of alien registers falls under the Immigration Bureau and its regional offices.

At the time of the anti-fingerprinting movement of the 1980s, local governments had primary jurisdiction over alien registers. The movement won the battle but lost the war. The government eliminated fingerprinting from alien registration -- but transferred primary authority over alien registration to the Ministry of Justice, namely the Immigration Bureau.

Nonetheless, local municipal offices are still delegated the responsibility of directly administering alien registration affairs. And both family and alien registration are handled by the same "municipal affiliate section" of a municipal office. So local officials have no difficulty confirming information in the two register systems when necessary.

Streaming the two systems into a single system is administratively feasible. Politicians and bureaucrats need only make merger a governmental goal and set about rationalizing Japanese and alien "control" (the truer metaphor for the Japanese term "kanri" is "management") into a common individual plus family registration system.

All registers would have a box for nationality. The content of the nationality box, like the content of the date-of-birth box and the gender box, and of other boxes that represent attributes of status, would affect how a registrant was treated under laws and policies that factored such attributes into their operation.

The treatment of aliens within such a register system, regarding family matters, would have to be flexible enough to accommodate cases where, under Japan's law concerning the application of laws, the law of the alien's country of nationality, or possibly a treaty between Japan and that country, might require treating the alien differently than he or she would be treated under Japanese law.

Such a case might arise if, for example, a foreign couple, married in their own country, were to take up residence in Japan and have children in Japan. Depending on their nationality, they might not be able to be divorced under Japanese law. If not, then their home country law would apply. And that law, rather than Japanese law, would determine the course of their divorce and possibly even the post-divorce status of their children with regard to parental rights and other matters.

These are not, however, major bureaucratic barriers, since affiliate sections of municipal offices already have experience dealing with the complexities of family matters in the current system of alien registration.

In any event, family and alien registers in Japan are mainly records of vital events -- birth, death, marriage, divorce, adoption alliances and dis solutions, and the like. They facilitate a long list of municipal, prefectural, and national services much more efficiently than in countries like the United States.

In terms of privacy and surveillance issues as well -- Japan is in a much better position than the United States to protect people from unwanted examination of personal information.

In the United States, the same information -- scattered around the country in municipal, county, and state offices -- is open to the general public, as well as to private investigators and any government agency. Copies are easily obtainable, by mail if not on-line, by application and small fees.

Anyone who has had to deal with probate and estate law in the United States, in a case in which relatives are scattered and perhaps out of touch with one another, would envy the centralized system which has evolved in Japan.

Reflect for a bit on the long list of vital government operations in Japan that are facilitated by family and alien registers.

public elections
tax collection public education national health insurance national pension insurance general welfare services driver licenses passport issuance for Japanese property titles and taxes et cetera

Japan's registration systems are not without problems. At the same time, they are a great national asset which enable the government to manage one of the world's more complex and successful civil societies.



Materials about family, personal, and other names -- especially as legal names in population registers -- are grouped here.

Kimu Yondaru 金英達
[Kim Yŏngdal, Kim Yong Dal]

Sōshi kaimei no kenkyū
[Studies of soshi kaimei]
Tokyo: Miraisha, 1997
194 pages, softcover, jacket


Biographical note

See next review.


Kimu Yondaru (author) 金英達 (著), Ijichi Noriko (editor) 伊地知紀子 (編集)
[Kim Yŏngdal, Kim Yong Dal]

Sōshi kaimei no hōseido to rekishi
[The legal system and history of soshi kaimei]
金英達著作集 1
Kimu Yondaru cho sakushū 1
[Collected writings of Kim Yŏngdal 1]
Tokyo: Akashi Shoten, 2002
230 pages, hardcover, jacket


Biographical note

Kim Yongdal (1948-2000), born in Aichi prefecture, was a specialist on the history and legal status problems of Koreans in Japan. Kim naturalized in 1970 as Ono Eitatsu (大野英達). Besides being a dedicated scholar, he was an activist, best known as a founder of RENK or "Rescue The North Korean People! Urgent Action Network" (救え!北朝鮮の民衆/緊急行動ネットワーク).

In early May 2000, Kim was found on a futon in his apartment in Amagasaki, Hyogo prefecture, by the apartment manager -- two weeks dead, a stab wound in his chest, a bloody kitchen knife near his body. The door had been locked, and missing was a teacher in her thirties who had been living with him earlier that year. She was soon found and arrested.


Miyata Setsuko, Kimu Yondaru, Yan Teho   宮田節子、金英達、梁泰昊

Miyata Setsuko, Kimu Yondaru, Yan Teho
[Kim Yŏngdal, Kim Yong Dal]
[Yang T'aeho, Yang Tae Ho]
Sōshi kaimei
[Create family name, change personal name]
Tokyo: Akashi Shoten, 1992
(3rd printing 1994)
263 pages, softcover, jacket

As Miyata states in her epilogue, reflecting the opinion of all three authors, before considering whether the name-change policy was horrible, one has to recognize that Japan should not have annexed Korea as Chōsen.

As for the name-change policy, the book shows that it was clearly intended to implement the establishment of "corporate families" (ie 家) in Chōsen.

Under Interior (prefectural) family law, household registers defined corporate families in which all members shared the same "family name" (shi 氏) regardless of their lineage. Formally, lineage (blood) was not a factor in the legal definition or continuation of a corporate family.

The object of the "create a family name" policy was to convert Chosenese households into Interior-style "corporate families". The idea was that if the head of household did nothing, his lineage name would become the common "family name" of all household members. Alternatively, he could file a notification of choice of family name. The head of household could choose the lineage name of another member of the household, or he could choose an Interior-style ("Japanese-style") family name.

One of the problems in the manner in which the name-change policy was presented was the inclusion of the "change (personal) name" component along with the "create (family) name" component. The two components were entirely unrelated. The "change (personal) name" component was not even new, but had been a provision in Korean law before Japan annxed Korea as Chōsen.

But, as the authors argue, the "change (personal) name" had a greater impact on the eyes of the beholders of the name-change policy. Some people took it mean that Chosenese were expected to change their names, and in particular change them to Interior-style names.

The confusion continued notwithstanding official cautions that the policy did not require the adoption of Interior-style name. There was considerable misunderstanding, and considerable division of opinion among Chosenese, including the petty officials who mediated the policy.

Some Chosenese wished to adopt Interior-style names, and some of these Chosenese both favored and promoted the adoption of such names. These and other factors led to the pressuring of some Chosenese to adopt Interior-style names.

The lineage names of individuals in Chosenese households would continue to be recorded in the "family register". Moreover, Chosenese would be free to continue to make lineage distinctions based on these names in private matters such as marriage and adoption.

Part of the conflict concerned precisely the introduction into Chosenese family law the more flexible standards of Interior law, especially concerning marriage and adoption. Lineage was all but immaterial in Interior marriage laws, and was totally immaterial in adoption laws.

To be continued.


Tsuboi Sachio et al   坪井幸生・他

Tsuboi Sachio, Daishidō Tsuneyasu, Sugimoto Mikio, Ishikawa Mizuho
Moto Chōsen Sōtokufu kanbu ga kataru: "Sōshi kaimei" no shinsō
[Former Government-General of Chosen officials speak: The truth about "Sōshi kaimei"]
正論 Seiron
2008年8月号 August 2008
Pages 50-65

The authors

The two senior authors, Tsuboi Sachio and Daishidō Tsuneyasu, are former officials of Government-General of Chōsen Province (Sōtokufu-dō 総督府道). The province was the metropolitan capital of Chōsen. It consisted mainly of Keijō, now called Seoul, but included also some smaller towns and villages. The headquarters of the GGC was of course located in Keijō.

Sugimoto is a colony issue reseacher, and Ishikawa is a Sankei Shimbun editorial writer.

Tsuboi Sachio

Tsuboi Sachio (坪井幸生 b1913) was a chief of the Police Division (Keisatsu-bu 警察部) of GGC Province. He is author of the following book, which was published a year after the appearance of this Seiron article.

坪井 幸生 (著)、荒木 信子
Tsuboi Sacho (author), Araki Nobuko (author)
Aru Chōsen Sōtokufu keisatsu kanryō no kaisō
[Reminiscences of a Government-General of Chosen police bureaucrat]
Tokyo: Shisōsha, 2004
221 pages, hardcover

Daishido Tsuneyasu

Daishidō Tsuneyasu (大師堂経慰 b1917) was a chief of the Regional Section (Chihō-ka 地方課) of GGC Province. He is the author of the following book, in which he refutes Kōno Yōhei's statement that women were forcibly brought to comfort stations.

大師堂経慰 (著)
Daishidō Tsuneyasu (author)
Ianfu kyōsei renkō wa nakatta: Kawano danwa no hōchi wa yurusarenai
[There was no forcible bringing along of comfort women: Leaving be (ignorning) the Kōno statement cannot be permitted]
Tokyo: Tendensha, 1999
278 pages, hardcover

Daishidō has contributed to other issues of Seiron, including an article titled "The truths of Japan-ROK and Japan-DPRK history" (Nik-Kan・Nit-Chō rekishi no shinjitsu 日韓・日朝歴史の真実), in which he comments on both comfort women and the name-change policies, in Bessatsu Seiron (Volume 2, 2006).

Aso's remarks

The August 2003 Seiron article begins with a reference to remarks made in a talk at Tokyo University on 31 May earlier that year by Aso Tarō, then head of the Policy Research Council of the Liberal Democratic Party, to the effect that the people of Chōsen (Chōsen no hitotachi 朝鮮の人たち) had sought the name-change provisions made in the sōshi kaimei decrees issued by the Government-General of Chosen in 1939. Aso's remarks ruffled the feathers of ROK mass media on the eve of the 6 June meeting between ROK's and Japan's heads of state.

Tsuboi makes the following comment about Aso's remarks (pages 50-51).

As for the impression I received, I felt it would have been better if [Aso] had chosen [his] words a bit better. It is true that there had been [some] desire for sōshi kaimei from the Chosenese side, but whether that was the opinion of the great majority, that's not clear. I think it would have better had he made an explanation that dug down more.

To be continued.


Mizuno Naoki   水野直樹

Sōshi kaimei: Nihon no Chōsen shihai no naka de
[Soshi kaimei: In the midst of Japan's Chosen control]
東京:岩波書店、2008 (岩波新書 新赤版 1118)
Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 2008 (Iwanami Shinsho Shinakaban 1118)
246 pages, softcover, jacket

Mizuno Naoki begins his introduction with this statement (1).

It is all right to say that "sōshi kaimei" [create family name, change personal name] [policy] that was implemented in Chosen in 1940 is the best known among Japan's colony control [colonial rule] [植民地支配 shokuminchi shihai] policies [政策 seisaku]. Because [this] is so, in forming an understanding and a perception concerning Japan's colony control, the sōshi kaimei problem occupies an important position. Also in debates [arguments] between Japan [on the one hand] and Korea [韓国 Kankoku = ROK] and North Chosen (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) [北朝鮮 Kita Chosen (朝鮮民主主義人民共和国) = DPRK] around [over, concerning] historical perceptions, how to seize [grasp] sōshi kaimei has become a point of discussion [dispute], and in Japan society statements [opinions] regarding this are flying around.

Despite [this], about the actual circumstances of sōshi kaimei and its historical meanings, that sufficient research has been done [I find] hard to say [I would hesitate to say]. In the information and views that can be obtained through books and magazines, or the Internet, that there are many errors is the actual situation.

Mizuno next says that his book "attempts to draw the entire image of sōshi kaimei, based on research of recent years and materials the examination of which has newly [again] become possible." He then makes this observation (1-2).

Generally, [sōshi kaimei] is understood as a policy that "changes the names of Chosenese to Japanese style", but in fact in sōshi kaimei there were various aspects. Behind the changing of names, the policy of Japan concerned agencies [authorities] [当局 tōkyoku] toward the family system of Chosen had been hidden [concealed] [隠されていた kakusarete ita]. Also, around [over, concerning] sōshi kaimei, within respectively the Government-General of Chosen, politicians in Japan "Interior" [内地 naichi], and Chosenese, different perceptions [and] standpoints appeared. These are also things that indicate [show] differences in perception toward colony control.

Biographical note

Mizuno Naoki (b1950) is a professor at the Institute for Research in Humanities (人文科学研究所 Jinbun Kagaku Kenkyujo) at Kyoto University. His fields are the recent history of Korea (Chosen) and the history of East Asia relations. He is particularly known as a specialist on Japan's control of Chosen as an entity of its sovereign empire.


Nakayama Nariaki   中山成彬

183rd National Diet, Budget Committee, 10th Session, 8 March 2013

Exchanges concerning discrepancies between descriptions in textbooks of sōshi kaimei policies in Chōsen and historical facts, introducing into the record newspaper clippings showing that policies were not compulsory

(Then) Japan Restoration Party member Nakayama Nariyuki (中山成彬 b1943), who had the floor, was going through a long list of issues, including historical descriptions in Ministry of Education approved textbooks. Concerning the "sōshi kaimei" policy in Chōsen.

Nakayama first directed a question to (then) Minister of Finance Aso Tarō (麻生太郎 b1940) concerning controversial statements Aso had made on the name-change issue in the past.

He then presented, and cited from, a panel of newspaper clippings showing that the name-change policy was not compulsory.

Next he directed a question to (then) Minister of Education Shimomura Hirofumi (下村博文 b1954), concerning statements in some textbooks that Japan had coerced Chosenese to change their names.

To be continued.