Birth registration and the right to have rights: the changing family and unchanging Koseki
Additional Publication Information
The major system for the identification of individuals in modem Japanese society is the koseki (family registration) system. This can be contrasted with Anglophone countries where the basic document of identification is the individual birth certificate, which lists date and place of birth and the names of parents (if known): and with separate documents to certify marriage, divorce or death. In Japan, on birth, each individual is listed in a family register which sets out the relarionship between family members, and records births. deaths, marriages, divorces and adoptions. The koseki is based on a particular view of the family, centered on a heterosexual couple with children, and placing importance on birth order. The koseki system can also, however. accommodate some other ways of making families such as adoption. The current system assumes a two-generation nuclear family of two parents and children, unlike the pre-1945 system which assumed a stem family with a patriachal head who passed on property and authoriry according to rules of patrilineality and primogeniture.