in modern times usually consist of a family name (surname), followed by a given name. Middle names are not generally used. Japanese names are usually written in kanji, which are characters usually Chinese in origin but Japanese in pronunciation. The kanji for a name may have a variety of possible Japanese pronunciations, but parents might use hiragana or katakana when giving a birth name to their newborn child. Names written in hiragana or katakana are phonetic renderings, and so lack the visual meaning of names expressed in the logographic kanji.