I'm getting some business cards made up and will have my Western name in both Latin and Katakana. I've noticed that sometimes there is a bit of confusion when I verbally tell people my name, with them sometimes opting to use my first name when they probably intended to use my family name.

To avoid this confusion I was thinking of adding 「名・姓」 to my business card right under the Katakana for my name. Is that the correct way to phrase the hint, and is it a good idea to include it? If not, what would you recommend to avoid this confusion?

For reference the card will look like this (example name):

John Smith



1 Answer 1


People sometimes capitalize surnames to clarify although I'm not sure a lot of people do this for business cards.

That is, in case of John Smith, it is written

ジョン スミス

At least if your name is uncommon enough (to the extent that most Japanese won't tell which is surname), I think it is reasonable to add 名・姓, but probably something like "ジョン(名) スミス(姓)" with smaller fonts for 名・姓 looks better. (This is just an opinion.)

  • Thanks. Do you think many Japanese people would understand the significance of one name being in all caps though?
    – user2141
    Commented Oct 8, 2022 at 10:07
  • 3
    @user2141 From what I've seen, it is kind of common in academia, so I guess people with some research experience (i.e., those who have at least read some paper in college) can guess as such.
    – sundowner
    Commented Oct 8, 2022 at 10:16

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