One of the more interesting things about living in Japan is getting used to using a “name stamp.” While signatures are the accepted way of indicating your approval in writing in the West, in Japan and much of Asia you usually use a hanko, or official name stamp that’s registered with the city. This custom always strikes us gaijin as odd — after all, what’s to stop me from stealing someone’s stamp and taking all their money out of the bank? For some reason, you never hear of this happening, partially because for really important transactions you need to go to the local city office and get a document that proves that this stamp is the one that’s registered to you, kind of a like a notary public for your stamp. Companies have official stamps, too, and when you order an Apple product your warranty card comes with an eerily cool red stamp that says Apple Computer Inc. on it in katakana and kanji. If you’re interested in getting your own name in kanji, J-List’s offers a custom kanji name stamp service, with kanji chosen by our professional native Japanese staff. The stamps are legal for use in Japan, too.
This is what an Apple warranty card looks like in Japan.