・I want to change the alias registered on my resident card

・I want to have a Japanese-sounding name because I’m starting a business

・I want to change my Japanese name

Foreign nationals living in Japan sometimes ask for advice about changing their name.

The procedures for changing your name are different for Japanese and foreign nationals.

*For information on name change procedures for Japanese nationals, please see here.

So, what should a person of foreign nationality do if they want to change their name in Japan?

This article describes “how a person of foreign nationality can change their name in Japan.”

How can a foreigner change their name in Japan?


There are several ways for foreign nationals to change their name in Japan, including the following:

Register a common name(Tsushomei | 通称名)

If it is deemed necessary, a name other than the name you use daily in your home country can be listed as an alias on your resident registration card.

The procedure is carried out at your local city, town or village office.

Please note that there are requirements for foreigners to have a residence status of more than three months in order to be listed on a resident registration card, so some people, such as those staying for a short period of time, do not have their name listed on their resident registration card.

Sample from Sapporo City Hall

What characters can be used in a common name?

The characters that can be used for the common name are hiragana, katakana, kanji, and Immigration Bureau correct characters.
The alphabet, Western characters, Hangul, symbols, etc. cannot be used.

Documents showing common name

The common name will appear on documents such as:

Documents showing common name

・Resident registration card
・Basic Resident Registration Card (Juki Card)
・My Number Card
・Public Personal Authentication Service Signature Digital Certificate
・Seal Registration Certificate
・Insurance Card, etc.
*Other documents such as driver’s license can also be listed at each institution.

What you need to register a common name

To register an alias, you will need the following:

What you need to register a common name

・Identification documents
(Residence card, special permanent resident certificate, driver’s license, etc.)

・Each insurance card
(only if you have one)

・Resident registration card, My Number card
(only if you have one)

・Documents that objectively prove that you use a nickname in your social life

※Employee ID card, employment certificate, etc. issued by your workplace, student ID card, student handbook, bankbook, etc. issued by your school (multiple documents may be required depending on the type of certificate)

※Receipts, business cards, and other documents that are deemed to have been created by the person themselves may not be accepted as evidence.

How do I change my common name (Tsushomei | 通称名)?

If you are changing your common name to the other person’s name (including the surname you use as a common name) due to a personal status change such as marriage, you can change your common name by submitting documents that verify this, but as a general rule you cannot change your common name unless there is a reason to do so.

Therefore, if you already have a common name registered and you want to change your name, you can do so in one of the following two ways.

Change your name in your home country


If you are a foreign national, you can change your name in Japan by changing your name in your home country.

Please check with the relevant authority in your home country for instructions on how to change your name in your home country.

Notification to the Immigration Bureau is required

If you have a residence card and your name has changed in your home country, you must complete the change procedure at the Immigration Services Agency within 14 days of the change.

For more information, please contact the Regional Immigration Services Bureau in your area.

Naturalize in Japan


Foreign nationals can also change their name by naturalizing as a Japanese citizen.

However, there are various requirements for naturalization.

For more information on naturalization, including such requirements, please refer to the Ministry of Justice website.(法務省:国籍Q&A)

Name after naturalization

Naturalization application sample: Click to enlarge (from the Ministry of Justice website)

When applying for naturalization, you will decide your post-naturalization name, but you can generally choose whatever you like.

If you use a nickname, you can make it your official name, or you can use your name from your home country. Of course, you can also choose a completely different name.

However, while you can use common kanji, hiragana, and katakana, you cannot use characters or symbols that cannot originally be used in names, such as the alphabet.


As mentioned above, there are not many ways for foreign nationals to change their name, and it is often difficult for them to make the change.

We hope that our article will be of some help to those people as well.

Thank you for reading this long article.

*Our office accepts name change consultations for Japanese nationals. For name change consultations for foreign nationals, please contact the consulate of your home country.