A Koseki (Japanese戸 籍) is a family register in Japan.

Sometimes this is confused with the system of registration cards ( Jūminhyō ).

The Japanese law requires all Japanese households (Ie), births, deaths, marriages, divorces, but tell that to sentences to their local authority which incorporates this information into a detailed family tree, which includes all family members under their jurisdiction.

The above events are not officially recognized by the Japanese government, if they are not entered in the Koseki.

A similar system already existed in ancient times, but was abolished in the 10th century. In the Edo period it was resumed with the goningumichō (五 人 组 帐), where not the individual household formed a unit but the goningumi ( " groups of five [ of households ]"). The modern Koseki comes to 1872 directly back to the Meiji Restoration. In this context, for the first time in Japanese history had all Japanese have both a family and a first name.

Originally the recording was made in extensive files, but these were digitized in 2002 and is now out exclusively electronically.

The Koseki is traditionally the responsibility of the eldest male descendant of the line, the Honke. The two occasions special worship of the family ancestors in the year, Higan (Spring) and Obon (autumn), so can visit the other family members ( bunkering ) the house of the Honke to worship the ancestors of the family.

It replaces birth, death certificates, marriage certificates and censuses of other countries. However, the detailed information in the Koseki also make the discrimination against such groups as Burakumin, illegitimate children and single mothers easy.

The liberation movement of the Burakumin reached that in 1970 some details of the place of birth of people were deleted. 1947 forbade the Health and Welfare Ministry for employers to ask to see job applicants an extract from the register.

In 1975, the names of the persons Anstammungslinien been deleted. 1976 access was restricted to the register. Today, the records of the government usually will be kept strictly confidential and made ​​available only to police and family members. Any person who appears on the Koseki ( even if it was canceled due to divorce or not a Japanese citizen ), is legally entitled to receive a copy of the Koseki. This is personally possible in Japan or by mail.

Lawyers get a copy of the Koseki, if one of the listed persons is involved in a legal dispute.

A typical Koseki has a page for the parents and the two first children, for more children there are additional pages. Any change must be certified by a notary. Marries a child, it falls out of the Koseki the parents and is listed in a separate Koseki together with their spouse and their children. It follows that a person who is in Koseki the parents is always single.

Similar systems exist in China ( hukou ), Vietnam ( Ho khau ) and North Korea ( Hojeok ). In South Korea, Hojeok was the abolition of the Hoju system (户主 制, Hojuje ) restricted inherited patriarchal family line, on 1 January 2008, replaced by an individual family register.