Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Won't Miss #55 - hanko
The Japanese don't use signatures on official documents. They use a personal seal (inkan) which has been registered with the local government office called a hanko. Every time we sign official documents in Japan, someone asks us if we have a hanko. We don't, and it gets tiresome dealing with the clucking and disapproving wind sucking that results from our saying we don't have one. Yes, we could have gotten and registered a hanko, but there is a security risk. No one can steal your signature, but they can steal your seal.
I won't miss being asked about having a hanko and having to cram my signature into tiny spaces designed for the seals on various documents.