This site uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. Learn more

Sign up or log in to follow your favorite podcasts and listen to episodes!

451- Hanko

99% Invisible
451- Hanko
39min

Hanko, sometimes called insho, are the carved stamp seals that people in Japan often use in place of signatures. Hanko seals are made from materials ranging from plastic to jade and are about the size of a tube of lipstick. The end of each hanko is etched with its owner’s name, usually in the kanji pictorial characters used in Japanese writing. This carved end is then dipped in red cinnabar paste and impressed on a document as a form of identification. Hanko seals work like signatures, only instead of signing on a dotted line, you impress your hanko in a small circle to prove your identity. But unlike a signature, which you can make with any old pen or touch screen, in Japan you need to have your own personal hanko with you whenever you stamp something, and you have to stamp it in person.

Disclaimer: the content and artwork of this podcast are the property of its owner and are not affiliated with nor endorsed by jCasts.