MANABINK

hanko

Hanko (はんこ)

A hanko, or personal seal used as a legal method of identification in Japan. The engraving of seals is an art in itself, the best seals being carved from ivory and the poorest from rubber with various gradations of quality in between. A careful observer can tell what a seal is made of by looking at its impression on paper. “Jitsuin,” official seals are registered with local municipalities and used on important legal documents like real estates. “Mitome,” unofficial seals, are usually inexpensive and are used in the same manner as signatures for casual dealings.

Foreigners living in Japan always need this seal, so let’s make at least one. It is used not only for company documents but also for various transactions.