• Shiori W

How to order a company seal on Amazon in Japan.

Seals, known as inkan, are important in the Japanese business world.

When you start a business in Japan, you have to register a company seal with the legal affairs bureau in the city where you start your business.

You are required to bring, both, your own personal seal and your company’s seal.

Have you already ordered a seal?

If not, let’s try ordering one online! I’ll share the tips on how to order a company seal for a business.

You may need to order a personal seal as well, so I will talk about that later.

Index of this topic

1. The kinds of seals used for businesses in Japan. 2. How to order business seals online (Amazon version). 3. 4 items you should buy together with seals.

1. The kinds of seals used for businesses in Japan.

Generally, there are 4 main types of seals which a company has to have.

Name of Types

Company Representative Seal/Corporate Registration Seal

( JP : Daihyosha-in 代表者印/ Ho-jin toki-in 法人登記印 )

To register a company representative seal you need to order a seal with your company name rather than your own.

*It is used to sign contracts, deal with real estate, and also for insurance needs.

You only have to register one seal as a representative seal to the legal affairs bureau.

If you lose it or if it’s stolen, you have to report it to the legal affairs bureau so that they can mark it as such.

Generally there should be rules and procedures as to who is able to handle and use the seal within your company.

Company seal with a title.

( JP : Kaisha mitome in 会社認印 )

Used to sign contracts with clients.

Also used when submitting documents to city hall, tax offices, and other places.

*It is not necessary to seals with company titles on them if your company is a small one. If your business grows and becomes larger it will be useful to have.

This seal usually has a person’s title within the company so that you can identify who signed off on something. It also reduces the number of people who have to handle the company’s representative seal.

Corporate Seal for Banking

( JP : Ho-jin ginko-in 法人銀行印)

Used to open a bank account.

Used to apply for loans, subsidies and financial services from a bank.

Also used to make payments or cash checks at banks.

*You have to register a seal with the bank when you open a bank account in Japan. Normally, the seal is required to be different from the representative seal.

Also, this bank seal should be used by someone in accounting or the CFO to sign any financial documents, or to make a payment at a bank.

Company Seal

(JP : Kakuin 角印 / Shain 社印 )

Used to issue invoices, estimates and delivery statements.

Also Used for the documents from city hall, the tax office, and so on.

This seal is often called “Kakuin” since it is shaped liked a square (“kaku” means “corner” in Japanese).

The different seals have different legal powers and, generally, go in the following order of power.

The Corporate Registration Seal (Jitsu in / Daihyo in )

> Company Seals with titles.

> Company Seal (Kaku in )

So, you need at least three different types of seals, the “Corporate Registration Seal”, the “Corporate seal for banking” and the “Company Seal” when you start a business in Japan.

You can order these seals online or have them made in specialty stores or bookstores.

Taking into account price and ease of ordering, I’d recommend getting one online using sites such as Amazon or Rakuten.

Here’s an example of how to order one on Amazon!

2. How to order business seals online (Amazon version).

You might set up your Amazon account in English or some other language so I will share some Japanese words which can be copy and pasted to search different seals.

1. Searching for Japanese Seals!

When you login to Amazon.com,

Copy the following Japanese word to find Japanese seals.

Corporate Seal = “ 法人印鑑 “

(*you don’t have to copy “ “ .)

Searching the above word will most likely result in a page similar to the following photo,

Yes! It’s easy to find a set of 3 corporate seals on Amazon.

If you don’t have a particular preference for the material the seal will be made of, it’s ok to select the cheapest option made of regular wood. However, if you want a more expensive and higher quality seal, you can choose seals made from materials such as water buffalo horn.

2. Purchasing the stamp and choosing a font and style.

After ordering from Amazon, you will receive an email directly from the seal specialty store. They will ask you to choose which text and font style you want on the seal. Please be sure to reply to them with your choices. After receiving a reply, they will start making the seals.

In case that google translate doesn’t work, I will explain the main steps!

So, please refer to this tip if you need a support.

  • Please inform them of the company name you wish to have engraved onto the stamp. ( You can use 3 types of Japanese characters “Kanji” , “Katakana”, and “Hiragana”. You can also choose to write using the English alphabet. ) Your company name will be put on the outer border of the seal.

  • Then please choose “Includes a starting point(開始点 有り)”. *If your company name is too long, the starting point won’t be added. Generally, a corporate seal is cylindrical so the seal will be a circle. If you select a starting point, your company name will be written starting at that point and continue around the circle.

  • Select a title name to be written in “the center of a seal (中文)”. Generally, for a Corporate Registration Seal “CEO/ President ( 代表取締役 )” will be written in the center.

  • Choose a font style *Please check each image from the following link.

Referenced link ; https://hankomori.com/inkanbasic/2016/02/25/syotai/

The Names of Font Styles

What kind of seal is it suitable for?

  • 楷書体 (Kaisho tai) > Company seal for invoices *Easy to read = Easy to forge

  • 行書体 (Gyosho tai) > Recommended for personal seals *Easy to read =Easy to forge

  • 隷書体 (Reisho tai) > Company seal for invoices *Easy to read = Easy to forge

  • 古印体 (Koin Tai) > Recommended for personal seals *Easy to read =Easy to forge

  • 印相体 / 吉相体 (Insou tai / Kissou tai) > Registered seals and Bank seals *Difficult to read and copy = low risk

  • てん書体 / 篆書体 (Tensho Tai) > Registered seals, Bank seals, and Company seals used for invoices *Difficult to read and copy =low risk

The arrangement of the text on the seal will depend on how many letters you wish to have written on the seal.

Please choose a font style that you like. It should be one that is difficult to copy though. Seals are your company’s signature. A seal has legally binding powers, the same as a signature in the West. Please store the important seals somewhere safe, where it cannot be accessed easily by others.

I’d recommend not going for an expensive seal set for a company because the Japanese government has been expanding the online e-seals system which, in my opinion, means that the use of physical seals will become lower in the future.

3. Four items to consider buying in addition to a seal.

Seals use a red ink which is called “Shuniku (朱肉 )” in Japanese, and a mat “Natsuin Mat (捺印マット)” which is used to make sure the seal is clear.

You should also get a case to carry the seal in. (The leftover ink on the seal can stain your pocket and it looks unprofessional if you don't have a case.)

Then, other big powerful items are your company address’ stamp “Gomu in (ゴム印)” with black ink.

When you send documents by mail, you will need to write your company address on the backside of the envelope. You can use a rubber stamp (Gomu-in) to stamp your address instead of writing it out by hand.

While red ink is needed for seals (inkan), black ink is usually used for “gomu in”, please note this!

How was this guide to buying seals online?

When you are ready, why don’t you try ordering one?

Hope you were able to learn a new tip!

See you soon!

Referenced information : http://www.inshou.or.jp/ ( 公益社団法人 全日本印章業協会 )

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