Abe Shinzo, the Prime Minister of Japan. Photo: Bloomberg

What does Shinzo Abe’s name change have to do with colonialism and ‘unenlightened Westerners’?

  • Experts say the request is consistent with Abe’s nationalist views, while others point to Tokyo no longer wanting to provide cultural concessions to the West
  • But as people in North America and Europe are reclaiming how they want to be referenced, some see it as time for Asians to take ownership of their names
Topic |   Japan

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Abe Shinzo, the Prime Minister of Japan. Photo: Bloomberg
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Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at his New Year's press conference in Ise, central Japan, in January. Photo: Kyodo via AP

Japan to the English-speaking world: call him Abe Shinzo, not Shinzo Abe

  • Diplomat says prime minister’s family name should come first, as with Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korean President Moon Jae-in
  • Request issued ahead of series of important international events in Japan, including G20 summit and visit from US President Donald Trump
Topic |   Shinzo Abe

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Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at his New Year's press conference in Ise, central Japan, in January. Photo: Kyodo via AP
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