This article is from the American misconceptions about Japan FAQ, by Tanaka Tomoyuki email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
THE TRUTH: a Japanese name usually consists of a family name followed by
a given name.
most academic and serious treatment of Japanese culture in
English text (such as scholarly papers and serious books)
observe this original order, while popular and cursory ones
(such as newspaper and magazine articles) reverse and
"Anglicize" the order.
note that preserving the original name order in English text is
the default for people from mainland China (PRC) (Mao Tse-tung,
Chou En-lai, Li Peng), Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh, Nguen Van Thieu,
Pham Van Dong), and North Korea (Kim Il Sung). it is also
common for people from Taiwan (ROC) (Chiang Kai-shek) and South
Korea (Rho Tae Woo, Chun Doo Hwan).
on a related note ...
many Japanese people (myself included) don't find it
particularly flattering or pleasant when non-Japanese do the
following "Japanese" things in an attempt to be polite or show
off their knowledge.
--- saying, "Ah, so".
--- bowing to us (instead of shaking hands).
--- calling us "XXX-san" in English speech or text, such as
"Good morning, Tanaka-san."
(when friends do it, it's perfectly fine. use of
"-san" in Japanese is always fine.)
--- using words "Nippon" and "Nipponese" instead of "Japan" and
"Japanese". (we usually say NIHON anyway.)
I've stored some articles on notation of Japanese names in
English text in my WWW site. see Section (A) for access