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Akie Tomozawa, author of "Japan's Hidden Bilinguals: The Languages of 'War Orphans' and Their Families After Repatriation From China," said that this was equivalent to how "Europeans can easily tell that the name 'Smith' is English and 'Schmidt' is German or 'Victor' is English or French and 'Vittorio' is Italian".
Japanese names are usually written in kanji (Chinese characters), although some names use hiragana or even katakana, or a mixture of kanji and kana.
In some names, Japanese characters phonetically "spell" a name and have no intended meaning behind them. Therefore, to those familiar with Japanese names, which name is the surname and which is the given name is usually apparent, no matter which order the names are presented in.
This thus makes it unlikely that the two names will be confused, for example, when writing in English while using the family name-given name naming order.
However, due to the variety of pronunciations and differences in languages, some common surnames and given names may coincide when Romanized: e.g., Shoji (surname).
Japanese names have distinct differences from Chinese names through the selection of characters in a name and pronunciation.
A Japanese person can distinguish a Japanese name from a Chinese name by looking at it.