What is Hanko stamp (Inkan) for?

In Japan, Hanko (or called Inkan) or a Japanese seal, is often required as proof of verification of a transaction or as an official acknowledgement of a situation or event, instead of using a hand-written signature. If you are going to live and work for a long period of time in Japan, you should acquire a Hanko.


Types of Hanko (Inkan)

There are several types of Hanko for personal use / business use. All of them are the same type of hanko, but are used in different applications and situations.

Hanko (Inkan) for Personal Use

Mitome-In 認め印

Mitome-in is a regular Hanko stamp used for confirmation or acknowledgement. In most cases, you can substitute your signature for it. 

Teisei-In 訂正印

Teisei-in is a Hanko stamp used when making corrections to official documents. Mitome-in is often substituted for this Hanko stamp. 

Ginko-In 銀行印

Used in formal applications or registration, like opening a bank account. Usage of Ginko-In should be restricted to formal situations. Generally, avoid casual usage and for security reasons, keep it in a safe place. 

Jitsu-In 実印

Jitsu-in is registered seal used in the making of legal agreements, for example, buying a house, setting up a company, etc. To use Jitsu-In, you must register the seal at your local government office. 

Hanko (Inkan) for Business Use

Sha-In 社印 / Kaku-In 角印

Shain or Kakuin is a regular stamp for companies, used for confirmation or acknowledgement. Sha-in or Kaku-in are used for papers such as estimate sheets or invoices.

Yakushoku-In 役職員 or Shoku-In 職印

Yakushoku-in or Shoku-ku is the seal having a managerial name (title, e.g. Exclusive director)), instead of a personal name. This registered seal is used for official documents. 

Daihyousha-In 代表者印

Daihyousya-in is “Jitsu-in” of the president of a company. This registered seal is used in the making of legal agreements, for example, having a contract, setting up a company, etc.

How to get a Hanko

If you go to a Hanko shop (Hankoya) nearby, you can order a Hanko with your name. If you like to create a Hanko with your name in Hiragana or Katakana, you should bring along your name on paper and present it to the shop representative. The cost is between 1000 Yen and 3000 Yen, this web site shows a good example of converting your name to Hiragana or Katakana and buying a Hanko

For shorter stays in Japan, you do not need to create a Hanko just for one year or that a shorter stay, you may use ready-made Hanko stamps with a Japanese family name. They are inexpensive and you can even buy hem at a 100 Yen shop. It is difficult, but try finding a Japanese name that sounds like your name, if it sounds too different, it will be refused.

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