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"Justice Ministry Proposes Changing Law to Discourage "Kirakira Names""

Learn Japanese from the News

Broadcast on March 20, 2023 Available until March 19, 2024

Welcome to "Learn Japanese from the News." In this program we learn Japanese and more about Japan from news stories presented in simple Japanese. Today's headline is "Justice Ministry Proposes Changing Law to Discourage "Kirakira Names"" which was published on NEWS WEB EASY's website on February 6, 2023. Keywords include「キラキラネーム(きらきらねーむ)kirakira-neemu」"so-called "kirakira names" -names with unique kanji readings" and 「個性的な(こせいてきな)koseiteki na」"unique or distinctive."



"Justice Ministry Proposes Changing Law to Discourage "Kirakira Names""

 Welcome to "Learn Japanese from the News."
Join us as we learn Japanese and about the country through Japanese news stories. Today's headline is…

"Justice Ministry Proposes Changing Law to Discourage "Kirakira Names""
This news story was published on NEWS WEB EASY's website on February 6th.
Now let's go over some vocab words that will help us understand what's going on.
キラキラ means "sparkling" or "glittering." By extension, the expression キラキラネーム refers to Japanese names that are seen as "flashy" or "unique."
unique or distinctive
Let's keep these words in mind as we listen.
Unconventional names are on the rise in Japan, and the Justice Ministry is proposing revisions to the Family Register Law in order to streamline the digitization of administrative processes.
The revisions include requiring frenetic readings of kanji on family registers, as well as limiting readings to those widely recognized by the public.

Now we'll break down a few sentences from the story that contain helpful expressions and keywords.
Let's start with the following sentence:
"Recently, so-called "kirakira neemu" — names with unique kanji readings — are becoming more common."
The word 名前(なまえ)can refer to a person's "given name," "family name," or "full name."
Our story today is specifically about given names. The キラキラネーム trend first became a thing in the 1990s, and ever since we've been seeing more and more unconventional 名前(なまえ).
The word 個性(こせい)refers to the traits that make a person unique. It can mean "personality," "individuality," or "character."
個性(こせい)is a noun, but we can make it an adjective by adding the suffix 的(てき). 個性的(こせいてき)means "unique" or "distinctive."
OK, let's move on to our next sentence.
"It would establish a rule that says "the kanji used in a name must have a reading that is widely recognized.""
The verb 認(みと)める has multiple meanings, but here it means "to recognize as legitimate."
So 認(みと)められている refers to the state of having gained recognition or acceptance. 認(みと)められた is in the passive form. With passive constructions, we can omit the agent, that is, who is performing the action, when it's clear from context. Here, we can infer that it means "recognized by Japanese society at large."
Under the proposed revisions, municipal governments would have the authority to accept or reject specific name readings when parents come in to register a birth.
OK, that's it for today.
Now, naming a child is a very personal thing, so I get why parents would want to choose a name that's unique and creative or 個性的(こせいてき).
Right. The story mentions that these new rules are meant to streamline processing of family registers, but let's hope there's more of a national conversation as they move forward with shaping new guidelines.
Be sure to tune in next time for more!

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