Family_Registry 戸籍謄本 

When I started my research, a lot of people said that I really needed to get a Japanese family registry.  They also said that it was probably next to impossible to obtain one.  I’m not really sure.  The American data such as census records, immigration records, city directories, especially from Hawaii is pretty much all out there to be gathered and recorded into your family tree.  

The Japanese information, if you donʻt have someone who is literate in Japanese kanji and able to find the koseki holderʻs legal domicile or as the US Military calls “home of record” you are sort of out of options.  According to what I was told, the name (kanji spelling) and date of about when the ancestor lived in the area, and the honseki is the third point that makes locating which exact family of the many Matsuuras or Toyotas that lived in the area was your ancestorʻs family.

The honseki is also used by the Citizens Affairs Division (names vary by major city or county) to determine which of the municipalities is managing that particular honseki.

josekitohon - decommissioning; removing a name

kosekitohon - official copy of the family register

My Experience

The most important items to have before applying for the Japanese kosekitohon or josekitohon are:

     proof that you are a direct descendant of the ancestor that you are requesting the kosekitohon for.  Your birth certificate, your maternal/paternal birth certificates provide this thread.        

     “honseki” - Legal domicile of the koseki holder or legal residence in Japan of the ancestor is a requirement.  The closest I can come to an American equivalent is the US Military "home of record".

     names of your ancestors in kanji

     name of the registry owner (nice to have but not necessary)

     you might be able to get other people around your ancestor if you’re able to get your ancestor’s father’s registry.  The possibilities are fascinating.

The application itself was pretty straightforward.  I had to produce evidence that that ancestor I was looking for a koseki/josekitohon was related to me; I was who I said I was, and proof that the address I wanted the koseki to be sent to was mine.

Some offices that handle kosekitohon requests will accept E-mail correspondence, others will not.  Some will accept requests in English, others will not.  My guess is, if you were requesting without an intermediary, it is better to go with both English and Japanese applications.

Currently, each kosekitohon or josekitohon costs 750 yen plus a self-addressed envelope and shipping.  I would send about $20 in International Money Order to cover the charges.

The first one is always the hardest.  From the first one, you can find “honseki” for related people.  For instance, from my grandfatherʻs koseki, I was able to get his wifeʻs fatherʻs honseki.  That allowed me to expand my koseki/josekitohon accumulation.

From what I can gather, honseki or domicile of origin or legal residence was a requirement for kosekitohon reporting.  All my ojiichans and obaachans have honseki noted on their entries on the koseki/josekitohon.  It is fascinating.

The “honseki” tells the Citizens Affairs Division (names vary by major city or county) which municipality handles your family koseki/josekitohon.

I used to think my paternal grandfather was really strange because he had his sons memorize his address in Kumamoto Prefecture.  Come to find out he hadnʻt lived at his address in Kumamoto for a very long time, but it was the “honseki” by which we were able to obtain his kosekitohon.  Interesting.



©June 2021 by hisiamone