Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I want to introduce something that might be seen only in Japan: Hanko. Since I've traveled abroad several times, I know people in other countries write signatures to seal a deal, but almost every adult in Japan has this Hanko. You can buy it anytime, but students buy very expensive Hankos when they graduate from school or college and become workers, as workers do have lots of opportunities to sign a contract.

I bought this Hanko for about 100 yen, and the reason why I chose this "Koizumi" Hanko is because I'm a huge fan of the anime "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" and that the most well-known Japanese prime minister in the past few years is "Junichiro Koizumi".

Let me show you how to use a Hanko. This is a contract format I downloaded off the Internet, and it is a commonly used form for a sales contract. There are two types of Hanko, and this one doesn't need an ink-pad and all you have to do is just press the surface of the Hanko on the paper. And the other type requires you to press the surface on an ink-pad. I have to say the latter is the authentic Hanko and often costs more than the former. And as an additional note, the price range is from this 100 yen Hanko to ones made of buffalo horn that each costs more than 3500 yen, or 40 us dollars. 

If you're fan of Nagato Yuki from "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya", you can get a Nagato Hanko for 100 yen when you come to Japan. As far as I looked, there wasn't a "Suzumiya" Hanko at the store I dropped by. I guess it is a rare surname and in fact I haven't seen or heard of any person named "Suzumiya".