Fibea asked in Society & CultureEtiquette · 1 month ago

Going by first name in Japan?

Not going into the details, but some painful events in my past have left me with an extreme dislike for being referred to by my last name. Put simply, everyone who has been nice and kind to me has used my first name and everyone who has been horrible to me has used my last name. The conditioning has resulted in me seeing my last name as a term of disrespect (since it always came coupled with other disrespects).

I should stress that I have no problem calling others by their last name, and I do not feel I am disrespecting them by calling them it (unless they have otherwise said).

My reason for asking is that I want to visit Japan one day, and want to know if it would be okay to ask that people (such as my guide) use my first name. I understand that this might be weird for them, and I have no problem calling them by their last name (with appropriate honorific).

I know Japan is a culture built on politeness and respect. Not using a term someone finds disrespectful seems like something they'd understand and agree with, but I'm a little unsure. I'm normally very much a 'when in Rome' type of person, but I don't want to subconsciously start seeing everyone there as disrespectful due to some painful events in my past.

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  • 1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    You say you 'want to visit Japan one day'. As it appears you're not boarding a plane to Japan tomorrow, I can't imagine why you're fretting about this right now.

    Wait till you're actually ready to plan your visit. Who knows: by then you may have got over your difficulty.

    • Fibea1 month agoReport

      Thanks, perhaps it is a question I'll leave till then although I doubt things will change.

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  • Foofa
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    If you're an adult and you've already completed a course of talk therapy to make some sense of this aversion you should just legally change your surname then you won't have to behave like a name nazi everywhere you go.

    • Fibea1 month agoReport

      A nice suggestion, but my last name is still important to me. I simply find it disrespectful to be called it

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  • Pearl
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    you might need to use your last name for certain things

    • Fibea1 month agoReport

      Thanks, I guessing and okay with that. I'm more referring to general conversation, such as with a tour guide.

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Ask them, and explain why, politely, or let it go when you visit, they’re being polite and do not know your history.

    • Fibea1 month agoReport

      Thanks, that's my plan. I know they don't know my history, and have no intention of sharing the detailed (my understanding is that oversharing is not polite in Japanese culture). I understand that they are doing what they consider polite, and just want to know if its okay to ask.

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  • 1 month ago

    Just know that it is considered disrespectful in Japan to address people by their first names.

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    • Fibea1 month agoReport

       If their desire is to not make me feel disrespected, then it seems like something they would want to know. Conversley, it might not be okay to ask.

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