Japanese Name / Legal Alias

Before I ask this question, I just want to offer some context:

  1. I know there have been a lot of posts about people (especially non Japanese/Chinese/Korean people) making/taking a Japanese name for themselves and the response has been lukewarm at best.

  2. I’ve seen a lot of complaints from foreign residents in Japan complaining about how troublesome the forms for various things like credit cards and the like because they either require kanji names or don’t have the space for the person’s katakana name.

  3. I’ve known for a while that it’s possible to register alias(es) with the government and they have some legal usage.

  4. Today I put in an order on BookOff, which required my name kanji. As a person pretty wholly of European descent, I don’t have any official kanji, but I’ve picked some for myself that Japanese people like as an alternative/way to remember my name. I felt a bit like a fraud, but according to the wiki on aliases in Japan, I might’ve just done one of the requirements for registering an alias.

Finally, the question for this post:

Would you get a kanji alias if you were a long term resident of Japan (regardless of whether or not you actually plan to become one)? Especially if it made filling out documents easier?


Did it really require kanji to fill out the form? I’ve never encountered a form that required kanji, but sometimes website forms do require full-width characters (of which you can still find all the latin alphabet). Considering that some Japanese people don’t even have kanji for both names, it would be a little strange to require it.

I don’t have a kanji alias, and I never plan to. If I get married, my girlfriend is going to take my katakana last name, so she doesn’t see that as an issue either.



I was there for 4.5 years, and if I’d known I could have, I absolutely would have, especially for the 判子(はんこ).


Do you just not like the look of a katakana hanko?

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The way I pronounce my name did not jive with the way Japanese people wanted to pronounce or write it, so it would have bypassed some of that.

And yes, I find the katakana to be the least attractive of the kana/kanji.


It said 漢字* and I’ve not been able to fill out other forms online when I’ve tried because I couldn’t figure out how to get the characters to be a certain width. My full name in katakana is also more characters than usually accepted even if the width is ok.

I had forgotten about how not all Japanese people have a kanji given name. That’s a really good point.

I guess I and the people I’ve seen complain need to get better at figuring put keyboard stuff.


I got a legal alias for two reasons. My last name sounds funny in Japanese and I got married. Legally changing my name requires me to get it changed on my passport in my home country. It was just easier to register my husband’s last name as an allias. I can’t use it on bank cash cards which is annoying.


Hard ditto lol. Every time someone at my local places takes a form from me and looks at my name, they clearly have a small moment of panic. Half the time, they say something like, you have a really long name don’t you?


In such a case, I would write my name in full-width latin characters until there was no room left. For something like Book-Off, I don’t really think it would be that big of a deal either way, but I’ve done various registering for things in different towns, with different companies and organizations, and I’ve never found that I had to leave something incomplete. I don’t have a super long name (my last name is only 8 letters and my first is just 3) though, so maybe that’s part of it.


I had an Indian friend in Japan named Ramchandra - his ID tag read ‘Ramchan’ to the amusement of his colleagues.


That makes a lot of sense! Now I’m curious what your name is, but I don’t feel comfortable sharing my own, so I won’t pressure you to share yours.

Aw, that part’s a bummer. At least they’re only good for banking stuff anyway.


Oh, and my last name is the same as a somewhat well-known European city, and there’s a variety of fruit with the same name that even Japanese people have heard of. So it usually doesn’t take that long to get them to recognize it (though I usually use the katakana pronunciation to ensure it goes smoother.)

To my pleasant surprise, I am now able to place phone orders for Gyoza no Ohsho with little to no difficulty, and they don’t bat an eye at my name when I have to give it at the end. Maybe they’re just used to me specifically.


Oh it’s pretty good. In katakana it sounds like Bakanan


When I’ve tried that before, I got an error message. Again though, it could just be that I’m not tech savvy enough for online forms though.

I don’t think it will be a big deal either since usually the delivery folks around here don’t even expect me to have a stamp and the katana I put in for the reading should be available to them. But it’s made me think about it more.

I thought your real name was James Craburn??

My full name in Latin letters is over 12 letters long and the katakana version of it is over 10 kana long as well.

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No, obviously it’s Jim Turtelle. (More suggestions for animal / WK-based last names welcome)

Roy… Gatering

Max… Wkisslow


Wait, then what is your forum title a reference to???

Either way, that’s fantastic! I’m too nervous to try ordering anything over the phone. I tried to order in the McDonalds drive through once with a Japanese person and for simplicity’s sake, I ordered a regular big mac and the drive through person ignored me… my companion said it was really weird, even if I ordered in a halting way, I said big mac exactly right. :sweat:

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Lmao, please keep these coming, these are great :joy:


You would have to ask the mod or whoever who assigned it to me. I can’t even change it successfully. It always comes back. At least when sect names still said “Sect” at the beginning, people didn’t think it was a name.

Yeah, sometimes you just have to chalk those experiences up to lousy customer service and nothing you did wrong. Every now and then when I’m with my girlfriend, and I’m the one who needs to talk to an employee or someone, they will constantly address my girlfriend even if I’m the one who responds and she remains quiet.


Oh, that’s funky. Hi @Mods can you help solve this mystery?


They’ve tried. We had a thread (maybe a year ago?) where they tried to manually change it a few times. It’s back as you can see.

And yeah, it was like 5 years ago at this point that the name was given.