Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Self-Portrait Tuesday Part II, Feb. 21, 2006
In Japan, one's signature isn't affixed to legal documents, apartment leases, bankbooks and so on. Instead, a hanko or inkan is used. Both words can be loosely translated as "signature seal." A hanko carries the same legal weight as a signature elsewhere in the world.
Here are my hanko.
The oval one at left was my legal hanko, my hanko of record. It shows my first name, Maikeru, rendered into katakana, the Japanese syllabary used for foreign words.
The three square ones show a purely phonetic rendering of my name, Maiko, in kanji, or Chinese characters. It's just coincidence, but maiko can be translated as "tall rice," which I think is neat. I use these hanko instead of my name when signing photographs. On a white or gray mat, they really stand out.
The small circular hanko is of my name in katakana. I used it to sign off on my students' classwork and homework.