Thursday, 24 June 2010

Han / Hanko / Inkan

Called Inkan, Hanko or Han
Seals are normally made of wood, stone, bone, ivory or plastic usually used by most Japanese as a signature.

It is a personal seal that is made of normally circular shape cylinder.
It is usually one’s family name or first name that is engraved at the bottom.
It is an essential item for everyday life in Japan, because seals are legal means of identification used instead of signature.

Seals are classified into many kinds:

Jitsu in is a registered seal that you have to register in local government office.
The use of it is for legal and official documents.

Mitome in called also Sanmon ban which means “three penny seal” is unregistered and for everyday use.

Ginko in is a bank seal. You use it to make banking transaction.
There are more rules for this one depending of which bank you are dealing with in Japan. Rules are about the sizing of the Hanko and you should always provide your full name on your Ginko in.

Gago in is more a decorating seal and usually it is your nickname or a slogan.
The Gago in is many size and many shape.
Hanko/ Inkan / Han are normally written in Kanji or Hiragana or katakana.
Foreigner’s names are almost always carved in rômaji, katakana and sometimes made out of kanji or Hiragana.

You store your Inkan in a Inkan case.


You use the Shuniku "Red Seal ink".
You use a small cloth or a tissu to clean your inkan after use.

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