Inkan=Hanko(Seal) Shop 【SHIBUYA HANKO-DOU】

It is a Inkan(Seal) shop only for Japanese domestic resident's foreigner.

Inkan(Seal) 印鑑
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Seal (=Inkan) necessary to live in japan

Audio version information 1

After settling down in Japan, there are certain things foreigners need to do including applying for an Alien Registration card and opening a bank account .However, the first thing they need is a seal ( called an "Inkan" or a"Hanko"). In Western countries, it is common to put a signature on documents, but in Japan, you usually have to stamp your seal instead. Although there are many instances where signatures are accepted recently, for the majority of important documents your seal will definitely be required even if you have signed your name.

There are two kinds of seals: one is a registered seal and the other is a ready-made seal called a "sanmomban." The registered seal is the one you registered at the Registry office and use for official documents. Since it is supposed to last a lifetime, many people have it made from high quality materials. Also, more than a few people go in for taking the advice of fortune tellers for the design of the letters on their seals for good luck. The Registry office is located in each district (ward city, town and village). The registration procedure is simple, as you just bring your seal and register it.

A "sanmonban"is used in the daily lives of many peaple in place of a signature, for example when you receive registered mail or packages from delivery companies. Sanmonban are not decoratively made and are available ready-made featuring most Japanese names at stationary and department stores for around hundred yen. On registered seals, it is common that both the family and first name are engraved, but only surnames are used on sanmonban.

Seal can be sculpted in katakana or kanji

In Japan, there is a hanko-ya (seal shop), where you can have your seal made, in every town. In these shops you can place an order for a registered seal to be made as well as for a sanmonban featuring a name that is not among the readymade seals. Registered seals can cost anywhere between afew thousand yen and maybe up to hundreds of thousands of yen. However it despends on the materials and design used. On the countrary, sanmonban only cost around 1,000yen.

While there may never come a time when you need to use a seal (becouse as a foreign citizen you will likely be asked for signature), it will however be more convenient to at least have a sanmonban. For foreigners, either their surname or first name can be used but many have them made in katakana. Katakana are the closest representations of foreign words in Japanese However, the representation of katakana can differ according to the person who writes it.

For instance, "Vincent" can be written in katakana as either "ビンセント" or "ヴィンセント". It would be best to ask Japnese for advice about appropriate spelling. Also instead of using katakana,kannji can be used. By joining the kanji letters together you can create names with different meanings. Take "敏先斗", for example, which means a person who can see the future. However, there are some names that are impossible to be replaced with kanji.

Requirements for opening a bank account differ by bank

Audio version information 2

To open a bank account, it is necessary to show your ID (passport or driver's license) and a certificate to prove your address (ie:your Alien Registration card).
You are also required to bring your seal (signatures are accepted at some banks) and a deposit (over 1 yen in cash). You can also open an account at the post office in a similar manner.


In fact, the opening of bank accounts by foreigners' is generally not welcomed. This is to prevent crimes such as money laundering, and the use of fictitious names for bank accounts. But the true reason is that the savings of foreign residents are generally small and therefore banks do not benefit much. The category of foreigners who can open accounts is limited to "residents". The interpretation of "residents"and relevant account opening procedures differ by bank.

"Residents" are interpreted as those who stay in Japan for more than six months under the Foreign Currency Exchange Control Law. However, alien registration is necessary for those who stay in Japan for more than 90 days. In all cases, it is difficult for short stayers to open bank accounts. Most bank accounts for foreigners are registered in either katakana or romaji. In the case of katakana, be sure to remember how to write your name, otherwise you will not be able to make withdrawals.

An order for seal is this place.

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