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Law Forces Couples in Japan To Share Surname

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In Japan Couples Forced To Share Surname

Married couples in Japan are obliged to share Surname subject to provisions of the law.

A Japenese top court on Wednesday ruled that legal provisions forcing married couples to use the same surname are constitutional, upholding a Supreme Court judgment from 2015.

The latest decision on a more than century-old provision based on the Civil Code and the family register law dismissed requests filed by three couples in 2018 to keep their separate surnames after local governments refused to accept their marriage registrations.

The decision handed down by presiding Justice Naoto Otani at the Supreme Court’s Grand Bench, populated by all 15 justices, came at a time when families have become more diverse and public opinion on surname sharing has shifted in Japan.

Under Japanese law, married couples are not allowed separate surnames and have to choose one or the other. About 96 percent choose the man’s surname. (Same-sex marriage is not legal in Japan.)

Japanese politicians have historically opposed couples having separate surnames, reasoning that it would “damage the unity of a family.”

However, an online opinion poll in November showed that 70% of people supported the right of married couples to have separate surnames, even if most would still choose to adopt the same name.

Ayano Sakurai, a gender equality activist, organized a petition in December asking for a selective surname system that garnered more than 30,000 signatures in just five days.

Married three years ago, Sakurai said changing her legal surname left her “feeling like zero and having to start afresh to build an entirely new identity.”

Japan’s Enforcing of Same Surnames for Couples Has Only a Short History. It was not until the early Meiji era (1868–1912), that the general public could even use surnames.

They are said to have been introduced to improve the family registration system for the purpose of collecting taxes and managing military enlistment.

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Culture

Campaign Seeks To Add Congolese Rumba Among UNESCO World Heritage Site

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Congolese Rumba has wide appreciation across the African continent and other parts of the world. There is a campign seeking to conserve it under UNESCO’s world heritage site.

The promotional campaign in favour of the inscription of the Congolese rumba on the representative list of the cultural heritage of humanity of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO ) was launched on August 17 in Kinshasa.

For the Congolese Minister (DRC) of Culture, Arts and Heritage, Catherine Katungu Furaha, the inscription of the rumba will be an occasion to rejoice for the population of the two Congolese shores.

“Today is an opportunity to tell the Congolese population that there is reason to rejoice in the fact that the only thing that we have of very value is this dance of value, this dance of dignity which will be brought to the knowledge and appropriation of the world, ”said Catherine Katungu Furaha.

She advised the Congolese to appropriate and promote the virtues of Congolese rumba:

“First we have to start making this our own, not settling for what we import elsewhere when we have value with us, at home. We need to support this, we need to be informed about what Rumba is and what it brings to us. ”

For her, “the Rumba will bring us recognition, will strengthen our diplomacy, but also somewhere an opportunity to say that with dance, we can turn this cultural industry into a production.”

Catherine Katungu Furaha requested the media to increase the number of programs that promote and popularize this music which constitutes the identity of a whole people in order to provide the public treasury:

“We need to bring money into our public treasury because without putting money into our public treasury, music will continue to be seen as the last line item.”

The UNESCO Representative in the DRC, Jean Pierre Ilbudo, welcomed this “happy” initiative and reaffirms all support for the inclusion of Congolese rumba, after Brazilian Zumba, on the representative list of the cultural heritage of humanity of the ‘UNESCO.

The executive board of UNESCO will in fact meet next October to examine the candidacy for the inscription of Congolese rumba.

Between November and December, it will be the jury’s turn to decide on this candidacy which mobilises the governments, experts, practitioners and technicians of Congolese rumba from the two Congos.

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Culture

Maasai Cultural Chief Wins ‘Wisdom Treasure Award’

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A US based organisation, the Sacred Fire Foundation has awarded a Maasai cultural chief Salaton ole Ntutu for his efforts in preserving culture.

The award handed over the weekend is known as ‘Wisdom Treasure Award’ at David Bower Center, Berkeley in USA.

Maasai Chief Salaton ole Ntutu, 67, is the first African to win the award.

A self-styled Maasai cultural ambassador has traversed several countries abroad to showcase the much-adored Maasai culture.

According to the foundation that was founded in 2007, Ntutu is the tenth annual award winner this year. He was found to be dedicated to keeping his culture alive and thriving.

“He champions self-sustaining initiatives in the areas of employment, water, women’s rights, education, conservation, and tourism through organisations he has co-founded,” read the attribute.

Ntutu founded the Enkiteng Lepa, a community-based organisation, that protects cultural values, ceremonies, and traditions while working to eliminate harmful practices such as female circumcision and early marriage.

In 2009, Ntutu founded the Maji Moto Maasai Cultural Camp whose proceeds fund progressive projects and promote the value of his community’s traditions.

“A lifelong dream for Salaton is to demonstrate that people can thrive by simultaneously preserving traditions and respecting the natural world, and while doing so, can increase awareness of the criticality of indigenous wisdom for all humankind,” said the Sacred Fire Foundation in a statement. Ntutu traveled to the US last week to receive the award.

 

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Culture

Tanzanian Woman MP In Tight Pants Kicked Out Of Parliament

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Defiant Condester Michael Sichlwe has hit local and regional media headlines for doing the unthinkable in Tanzania – she arrived at parliament wearing a very tight fitting trouser that forced the entire house to gaze wondering what had become of her.

In quick reaction to Sichlwe’s wardrobe, the Speaker of Parliament Job Ndugai threw her out for wearing ‘non-parliamentary attire’.

They called it “indecent attire” claiming parliamentarians (especially women) should uphold highest moral standards in their clothing. In specific, they said her trouser is “too tight” hence asked to leave the chamber and change.

Tanzania, including the island of Zanzibar, is a deeply conservative country. Wearing revealing clothing is disrespectful and it’s always best to dress modestly.

Traditionally, women wear long skirts, but it’s fine for visitors to wear trousers or jeans that aren’t too form-fitting. Both men and women should cover their knees and shoulders in public.

Tanzanians are a polite people and probably won’t point out when you make a cultural misstep, but that doesn’t stop them silently tsk-tsking when they see mzungu (foreign visitors) wearing inappropriate clothes, kissing in public, or committing other etiquette blunders.

In Zanzibar, you might be tempted to stroll around in shorts and swimwear, but remember the island is predominantly Muslim. On the beach, you can get away with skimpy attire, but as soon as you set foot in a village, be sure to cover up.

Make it simple and buy yourself a kanga – a colorfully printed wrap that local women use as skirts, headwraps, and baby slings. When wearing one, keep modesty in mind and don’t tie it so tightly around your waist; it’s better if your curves aren’t clearly outlined.

Touching other people, or food, with your left hand, is a no-no. Don’t shake hands, eat, or give money and gifts with this hand as it’s reserved for toilet business.

Use the right hand instead. If you’re invited to eat with a local family, don’t sniff your food or decline to taste a dish, or you risk insulting the chef.

You should also remember that Tanzania is a conservative country, so resist kissing or touching your significant other in public – even if you’re on your honeymoon in Zanzibar!

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