Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Chinese government cracks down on baby names

The Chinese government is cracking down on parents trying to give their kids unusual names.

Actually, the move isn't as harsh as it sounds. What the government is doing is telling parents that any Chinese characters (known as kanji in Japan) used in a child's name must be on an official list. This move was made in response to parents using super-obscure characters that many folks didn't know how to pronounce and—more importantly—weren't in the government's computer databases.

In Japan, when parents register their child's birth at the local city office, officials there actually have the power to accept or reject the name. A story widely reported by Japan's mass media about 10 years ago concerned a father who wanted to name his son "Akuma," or "demon" (悪魔). The city officials said no way. The father protested, but to no avail.

I say that if the guy likes the name "Akuma" so much, let him change his own name. Don't give the poor kid a screwy name like that!

—Mellow Monk

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