Japan's Name Culture: The Significance of Names in a Religious, Political, and Social Context
This is the first comprehensive study in English of Japanese names - their history and evolution, and ontological implications. Its main purpose is to understand the development of the nomenclature in its religious (animistic) and socio-political contexts.
We learn, for example, how belief in the animistic-symbolic property of names developed into extensive taboos and, in connection with these taboos, into the custom of revealing names in case of marriage or territorial surrender. Whereas private (religious) use of surnames was tolerated, commoners without public functions were prohibited from public use of surnames.
In the Meiji period (1868-1912), on the other hand, the government enforced the universal registry of surnames to conform with its policy of universal conscription, education, taxation and the postal service.
The book will be of particular interest to students of Japan and Japanese nomenclature. It will also appeal to the general reader drawn to learning more about Japan by looking at its history, religion and culture through the names of its people.