Hi there! Hope you enjoy Japanese world !!

判子 ~ A Stamp of Your Identity ~

" What did you just say!? " I burst into laughter.
" I didn't know it was that important !" my Chinese friend cried over the phone.
Oh yeah...of course she didn't know just a stamp could be such an important thing here in Japan, and she lost her important hanko.


An 判子 ( hanko or 'stamp' ) of your name is essential thing in here.
Everyone has at least a few, because these are your signature or can be your identification.
An individual basically has four types of stamps of his/her family name.


①One is called シャチハタ ( syachihata ). It has a cap on which curved chracters are printed, and once you take off the cap, you just need to press on a piece of paper because it has buit-in supply of red ink. We use this kind as a signature for when we receive deliveries or for others relatively unimportant. In some cases, this kind of stamp can't be used because it's too casual.


三文判 (sanmonban) is a cheap stamp ,and we often use it as a  認印(mitomein) .
A mitomein is a stamp which is not officially registered. You can buy them in a stationary store or even in a 100 yen shop if your name is not too unique. We use it in business or for signing a contract. It is less valuable than 実印 (jitsuin). But it shows your responsibility.


③銀行印 (ginkouin) is a stamp registered banks where you have accounts.
Don't lose it ,or forget which one you registered in where. It is an identification of you.
If you lose it, it takes a while ( around two weeks to a month ) to change it, and during this time what you can do with your accounts is limited. You can't show this stamp to others, for your accounts' security.


④実印 (jitsuin) is the most valuable stamp, though its use is limited. This is an official stamp, and registered with a government office. Most people order this stamp specially, and don't show this one to others. It is used as an identification / signature but is of limited use for purchasing or selling a property, dividing your family's estate when a family member passed away and the like.


Don't underestimate the power of a 'stamp' when you are in here.
We even have more kinds of hanko especially in the business scene...











「え? 今何て言った!?」私は思わず大声で笑ってしまった。