A signature? What’s one of those again?
For many things in Japan – at the bank, signing for packages, putting your name on important bits of paper – your handwriting’s not gonna cut it. Nope, what you need is a name stamp.
A personal pocket woodblock print
There are a few different kinds of name stamps in Japan. ‘Hanko’ (判子) is a general word for them. You might also know about these types already:
- Mitome-in – general stamp for daily life
- Ginko-in – stamp registered to your bank account
- Jitsu-in – official registered name stamp
To use a name stamp as a jitsu-in for legal stuff, like signing a contract, you need to register it. Some regions of Japan have rules about what you can register – the stamp size, the shape, and so on. Depends where you live, so we’re not gonna list them all.
Outside of Japan, whether your stamp’s registered in your name or not isn’t super important. You can create a custom hanko for fun, if you want. Any size and shape, and any design.
No need to make up a kanji name for a basic hanko. It can be in katakana or hiragana. Some stamps limit the number of characters you can use, often to max 3 or 6, but the rest’s up to you.
Japanese tradition blends with… a different Japanese tradition.
Kabuki is Japan’s bold, iconic style of musical theatre. You can tell if a show’s kabuki from the face makeup on the actors. The colours and shapes give actors their character: young or old, hero or enemy.
Each kabuki name stamp features a trademark face paint design. You choose if that face is engraved on the stamp itself or not. Your name’ll always be at the top, like it’s printed straight across the forehead.
Stamp previews show how a name’d fit around each Pokemon. Some leave loads of space for your name… some others, not as much. Move that wing outta the way, Pidgeotto!
You can also pick a font style for your Pokemon Pon hanko, and choose between wooden stamps (natural or black) or a general plastic one. They all come in kawaii Pokemon design cases.
Fun fact: the ‘itai’ in ‘Itaindou’ is the same as in ‘itasha’ (痛車) – those anime decal-covered cars. Yeah, you can get anime hankos. Like for The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls, Attack on Titan, and King of Prism.
The name section on many of these stamps has a solid red background when printed. We feel that’s the smart option, keeping your name as easy to read as possible.
For Space Invaders name stamps, check the Taito Toys Market online shop. They’re not the only character stamps on sale, but we think more people outside Japan’ll recognise them. (That, and Danboard...)
These retro videogame designs are simple and fun. Even the name font’s styled to look like pixels. You’ve got space for up to 3 full-width (or 6 half-width) characters, and they don’t have to be your name at all.
For the outside, pick from the 6 different stamp body colours. We feel like ‘Space Invaders’ logo bright yellow’s the obvious choice.
When we wrote this, Monoiy made themed stamps for 4 Japanese baseball teams: Hiroshima Toyo Carp, Saitama Seibu Lions, Chiba Lotte Marines, and Tokyo Yakult Swallows. No Hanshin Tigers? Check if they’ve started making any more…
These name stamps are the subtle way to show you’re a baseball fan through and through. Many designs are based on team mascots – read our blog post about some of our faves.
Monoiy hanko designs (including the kabuki ones) can fit up to 6 full-size name characters. Or, if you put ‘名前無し‘ in the box, they’ll leave it blank.
One of Japan’s signature traditions
Get advice on ordering name stamps and other custom-made items direct from Japan – ask the DEJAPAN team. For products that aren’t listed on our own website, you can use our quick and simple item request form.