Where to make your Hanko in Tokyo?
When you live in Japan, Hanko (判子/seal) is an item you must have. Any occasion you sign in the Western society; contract, opening a bank account, buying a car, renting a flat, receiving your parcel etc… you stamp your hanko.
Hanko, also called Inkan (印鑑) come in different sizes depends on the purposes. For general use, invoice, receiving parcels, attendance book, people use Mitome-in (認印) and this is usually only the family name.
Jitsu-in (実印) is the most important hanko, which proves the person. You must register the seal to the local municipal office and get approval. Jitsu-in entails the rights legally and socially and also the obligation. This hanko is used for notarised documents, leased deed, contract, real estate transactions, inheritance, when you become an incorporator or car registration. Usually it´s carved both family name and the first name. It´s safe to keep it separate and some people even keep jitsu-in in a safe box.
Ginko-in (銀行印) is used for any activities related to the bank. Usually it´s only the family name. The problem of having accounts in several banks is, if you use one seal for all the banks, you will have to register new hanko in every bank you have the account. It´s recommendable to have different hanko for different bank.
There are more hanko for other purposes but these three are the most common ones that any Japanese citizen has.
When you start living in Japan or visiting and like to have your own hanko, you wonder, Where to make my hanko? While ago, I visited a Hanko shop in Tokyo.
This is the shop sign of Taihodo, Fujimaki Inbo
Shousaku Fujimaki (藤巻昌作久), the director of Taihodo (大宝堂) showed me how to carve a hanko. He is a certificated first-class engraver.
This is the certificate.
First you need to write the name on the seal, which can be 12mm in diametre.
To be a hanko engraver, calligraphy skill is required.
This adjustable wooden frame is used to stabilised the small seal base.
Different size of chisels are used for carving. The materials of the seal are boxwood, water buffalo´s horn, cow´s horn or ivory. You can chose depends of your budget. By the way, the ivory they use is the stock from the time before ivory trading has been banned. Not illegal.
Even a millimetre of mistake can destroy all your effort.
“A little demonstration” Fujimaki said but his face immediately changed to a shokunin.
This is the tool the seal master uses.
This is the shop entrance. It´s a walking distance from the Tokyo Station but the shop is on the lower level. Don´t miss it. Even you don´t have Kanji for your name, don´t worry, Mr. Fujimaki will help you to find the beautiful character.
Since Jitsu-in proves your identity, it´s recommendable to have an original hanko to avoid a copy. Perhaps you like to drop in Taiho-do. If you are calligrapher, they make rakkan (落款) and the result is beautiful.
The map. Walk towards the Imperial Palace.
Taiho-do Access :
Tokyo Kaijo Nichido Blds, B1F
1-2-1, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-0005
Tell Mr. Fujimaki that you saw iromegane, I´m sure you get an extra service.
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