• Shiori W

How to order a personal seal on Amazon in Japan?

Learn about the basics of buying Japanese seals, and order them easily!

Regarding how to buy a personal seal,

Here are tips on how to order a personal seal online.



Personal seals, known as “inkan” or “hanko” in Japanese, are important in Japanese culture. Similar to a signature in the west, an inkan can be legally binding.

When you start living in Japan, you will need to buy a personal seal. It acts as your signature and is necessary if you wish to open a bank account, deal with real estate, or submit legal documents.

People have used seals in Japan from around 2 thousand years ago. According to “Gokan-sho” (後漢書), a history book from China, the first seal used in Japan was a solid gold seal sent by Emperor Guangwu of the Han Dynasty to the king of Nakoku, a Japanese state located in modern day Fukuoka. The seal became known as the King of Na gold seal. A gold seal is called “Kin-in” in Japanese, and it’s been determined to be the oldest type of seal used by people in Japan.

Referenced resource; http://museum.city.fukuoka.jp/gold/

From Fukuoka city museum website. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seal_(East_Asia)

Have you ever ordered a personal seal?

If not, let’s try ordering one online!

You may need a seal to sign documents from places like a bank, city hall or the tax office.

Index

  1. The kinds of seals you need in daily life.

  2. How to order a seal online (Amazon version).

  3. What will happen if you marry to a Japanese person in Japan?


1. The kinds of seals you need in daily life.

There are main 4 types of seals which you need.

Officially Registered Seal (実印 Jitsu-in)

A seal registered to represent yourself.

*A Jitsu-in needs to be registered with a city hall to be legally binding.

Used in place of a signature when signing contracts or other legally binding documents.

You only have to register one seal with your local city hall.

You must order and have one made, you cannot register pre-made seals.

To prevent forgery, I recommend that you get one written with your name in Japanese characters rather than the English alphabet.



A seal used for bank transactions. (Ginko-in)

Used to open a bank account.

Used to apply for loans, subsidies and other 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 your officially registered seal.



Personal seal used for accepting documents, deliveries, etc. (Mitome in)

Used to receive delivery items from the post office and for submitting documents from city hall, the tax office, and so on.

Self-inking rubber stamp (Shachihata)

Used to prove that you checked documents.

Used to send mail. Companies and individuals often have a stamp with their name and address written on, making it easier to address envelopes.

A rubber stamp can also be made with information to show that a parcel has been received.

Shachihata is a self-inking rubber stamp. They are quick to use and don't require an ink pad like regular inkan does. One can be easily bought at many stores such as a book store or a 100-yen store.

They are often used in companies as a way of showing that a document has been looked over. However, they can’t be registered as an officially registered seal with city hall. It’s not as legally binding as an officially registered seal but it is useful for proving who’s responsible for something.

*Please note that you can’t use a Shachihata to sign important contracts or documents.

Having one will just make daily tasks more convenient.

Seals in order of legal power.

>An Officially Registered Seal (Jitsu in)

>A personal seal used for accepting deliveries, etc. (Mitome in)

> A self-inking rubber stamp (Shachihata)

So, you will need at least three different types of seals an “Officially Registered Seal”, a “Seal used for bank transactions” and a “seal used to accept deliveries etc.” when you start a new life in Japan.

Just like company seals, a personal seal can be ordered online or at specialty stores. 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 a seal 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 for different seals.

1 Search and Find Japanese Seals!

When you log in to the Japanese version of Amazon.com,

Copy the following Japanese word to find Japanese seals.

Seals = “ 印鑑 “

*you don’t have to copy “ “ .

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


You can find seals easily 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 stamps 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 google translate doesn’t work, I will explain the main steps!

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

・Please inform them of the name you wish to have on the seal.

(You can use 3 types of Japanese characters “Kanji”, “Katakana”, “Hiragana” or the English “Alphabet”).

・Choose a font style

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

Name of Font Styles

楷書体 Kaisho tai

Used for accepting deliveries (Mitome-in)

Easy to read *Easy to forge


行書体 Gyosho tai

Used for accepting deliveries (Mitome-in)

Easy to read *Easy to forge


隷書体 Reisho tai

Used for accepting deliveries (Mitome-in)

Easy to read *Easy to forge


古印体 Koin Tai

Used for accepting deliveries (Mitome-in)

Easy to read *Easy to forge


印相体 / 吉相体 Insou tai / Kissou tai

Officially registered seal and seal used for banking.

Difficult to read and copy *low risk


てん書体 / 篆書体 Tensho Tai

Officially registered seal and seal used for banking.

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. A personal seal is the same as your signature. A seal, similar to a signature in the West, has legally binding power. Please store any important seals somewhere safe, where it cannot be accessed easily by others.

I’d recommend not going for an expensive seal set 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 What will happen if you get married to a Japanese person in Japan?


When you marry a Japanese national, one spouse will have to change their last name. In Japan, it is not legal for a married couple to have different last names.

In most cases, women will adopt the last name of their partner.

Changing your last name means that you will have to register a new seal with banks and city hall. As of 2020, people still cannot apply for this process online. An individual will have to go in person to a city hall or the bank to register the new stamp. I needed two whole days to complete the steps required when I registered my marriage, my change of name for my seal registration with city hall, banks and for my driver’s license.

I had to use my paid vacation days to do this. Please remember that the name on your seals need to match the your currently registered legal name.

How was this guide on buying seals online and my story?

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

Hope you were able to learn a new tip!

See you guys soon!

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