Do you know what a ‘hanko’ is?
In Japan, a signature stamp / name seal is still used in everyday life. These are commonly known as ‘hanko’.
For example, when parcels/packages are received, Japanese would use hanko to stamp on the receipt. They can sign too but commonly still use hanko.
If you live in Japan, you will find it fairly useful to have one. It makes a cute souvenir too!
Three different seals for different purposes
Jitsuin 実印. This seal is made on demand (it’s unique) and needs to be registered at your city office. It is used for important documents such as a sales agreement for a car, real estate, or when writing a will. Anyone who’s at least 15 years old can register his/her jitsuin at the city office.
Ginkoin 銀行印. This seal is also made on demand. It has to be registered by your bank that will record its impression as you open a bank account. You’ll need to use it to sign bank documents such as bank transfers. The minimum age to register a ginkoin will depend on the one required to open a bank account, which varies across each bank or each type of account.
Mitomein 認印. You can use this seal for your everyday life actions. For example, when receiving a parcel at home or to notify your acknowledgement of specific documents at work. Any seal on which your name is carved becomes a mitomein if it’s not registered as a jitsuin or ginkoin. Some mitomein come with an ink tank. A mitomein won’t be registered at the city office and can usually be bought in ¥100 shops. Using this seal (also called shachihata) may be refused for some procedures such as the opening of a bank account.
So where do you get one?
If you have a common Japanese name, you can find cheap ones in stationery stores or even Daiso!
If you do not, then you will need to find a store that would carve it for you. Typically they cost around 2000+ yen.
But what if you didn’t want to spend too much? And you want it immediately? Well, you can use a vending machine that carve ‘hanko’ for you!