Taiwanese diners who legally changed their names to ‘Salmon’ to get free sushi discover they can’t undo it

  • Some of the 331 people who legally changed their names for a two-day promotion that gave free sushi are are now unable to reverse the changes.

  • The restaurant chain Sushiro ran the promotion in March 2021, resulting in hundreds of Taiwanese people paying a fee to legally change their names to “Salmon.”

  • Legislators in Taiwan's national parliament have proposed changing the name ordinance to allow people stuck with the name change to reclaim their birth names.

  • Taiwan’s government criticized the promotion at the time, complaining that it would create unnecessary paperwork.

Some Taiwanese people who legally changed their names to “Salmon” in exchange for free sushi are now stuck with the name one year later. 

Sushiro, a conveyor belt sushi chain restaurant, ran a two-day promotion in March 2021 where individuals with the Chinese characters for salmon, “gui yu,” would receive free all-you-can-eat sushi. The promotion, later called the “salmon chaos,” had 331 participants who paid a fee to legally change their names to those such as “Salmon Dream” and “Dancing Salmon.”

One participant stated at the time of the promotion that he went to the sushi restaurant “almost 15 times.” Another 22-year-old participant said he was not worried about the name change as Taiwan’s government allows people three opportunities to change their names. 

Several participants gained large social media followings after changing their names, while others accepted small fees to take friends to the restaurant. While most participants were able to change their names back, some got stuck with “Salmon” after having used all three of their allowed name changes.

At the time, the Taiwanese government criticized the promotion, complaining that it would create heavy amounts of unnecessary paperwork for government officials, and urged citizens to “be more rational about it.” 

Taiwan’s national parliament legislature debated on Thursday whether the name rule should be amended so that individuals can change their names back and to prevent a future “salmon chaos” incident. 

New Power Party legislator Chiu Hsien-chih suggested solutions such as fee changes and cooling-off periods.

Other legislators, however, proposed that the name ordinance be revised to become stricter.


Feature image via Pexels

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