Experiencing Hanko Carving in Tokyo

January 9, 2020 Juju Kurihara Craft, Entertainment Tags: , , , , , , 2 Comments

During the last stay in Japan, we have visited our favourite Hanko shop, Taihodo near the Tokyo station. It was just to say hello but our friend Mr. Fujimaki offered us to try carving a hanko. Of course we didn’t say No. 


Here are some videos of our fun experience. 

The key is, you carve one line in one go, don’t stop and just carve it through. You can engrave either vertical way or horizontal way. Mr. Fujimaki prefers horizontal way, he said. 


In the second video, Mr. Fujimaki fixes some details so that the letter will appear clean and clear. The way he hold the carving knife looks so different from us. 


Then in the third video, Mr. Fujimaki finalising the seal. The pad he uses is called Injoku (印褥). Bamboo skin is attached to the surface and its slightly rough texture helps all the lines appear clearly. That’s why he slides the seal several times on the pad. 


It was a very unusual and interesting experience. I will keep you posted if I find any seal events where you can also engrave your own Hanko. 






And this is the finished seal. 



Taihodo (大宝堂藤巻印房)

Tokyo Kaijo Nichido Blds, B1F

1-2-1, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-0005


The map. Walk towards the Imperial Palace.
Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 20.58.08


  1. Beth Parkhurst 3 years Reply

    Thank you for posting those fascinating videos! Seeing Mr. Fujikami’s skill is highly educational.

    Working on one’s own hanko must be challenging but uplifting. I don’t expect there will be any hanko-engraving events where I am, in Boston, Massachusetts. If I ever hear of one I will definitely attend.

    • Juju Kurihara 3 years

      Engraving a hanko doesn’t take so much time even though you have no previous experience but when you see Mr. Fujimaki, you know there will be a long way to have such a skill.

      Do you have any Chinese shop that sells calligraphy materials in Boston? If so, maybe you can ask them for a workshop too. I think you will have fun.

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