I have a character, a middle-aged Japanese woman, whose husband is absent for some reason or another (and has been for some time). I'm unsure of whether to have them have divorced quite some time ago (shortly after the birth of her children, so around 20-25 years ago) or to have him have died (same time, 20-25 years ago).
She and her two children (now adults) have the same last name--we'll say Tanaka. My question is: how likely would she be to have kept her husband's name in either situation?
If he died, I'm thinking she'd keep his name (so, remain Tanaka, instead of reverting to her maiden name), but I really have no idea about how this works in Western society even, let alone Japanese society some 20 years ago.
If they divorced (and how popular was divorce 20 years ago in Japan even? Is that even feasible?) would she go back to her maiden name?
I'm thinking the children would keep their name as their father's, but that could be off as well.
Search terms: Japan divorce name change, Japan divorce maiden name (most of what I found was too archaic), Japan widow name change