Four women and one of their husbands filed a lawsuit yesterday in Tokyo to challenge the law that forces almost all Japanese women to take their husband's last name, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. Japan's Civil Code, which was written in 1898, requires that married couples share the same last name. It's extremely unusual for a man to take his wife's name, unless she's from a noble family.
The group argues that the law violates the constitutional guarantee of equal rights for both spouses and are seeking $70,000 for emotional distress. One of the women, 75-year-old Kyoko Kojima, said being forced to use her husband's name for more than 50 years was, "like having a splinter in my heart ... I want to die as Kyoko Tsukamoto."
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