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Need a new personal seal/hanko for all your official paperwork in Japan? Then you’ll definitely want one of these adorable cat stamps!


As long-time readers may already know, people in Japan don’t usually sign official documents — instead, they use a personal stamp or seal (called hanko or inkan in Japan) to make paperwork official for everywhere from the bank to city hall to receiving packages. This has two great advantages that we can see: 1) Your hand won’t cramp when signing lots of documents, and 2) You can get personalized stamps with cute cat images in addition to your name!

▼ Come on, you know you want to sign your rent checks with these!


Of course, not all hanko are made equal — some personal seals can be used for any official documents…and some cannot. Fortunately, it looks like these adorable cat stamps, call “Nekozukan,” can be used for all manner of official documents, including “signing” for a mortgage or life insurance! Just think of the little bit of joy your survivors will have when they see your name next to a cute kitty!


However, we’re sad to report that, of the two types of Nekozukan available, only one can be used for official documents. If you’re dead set on opening a bank account in Japan with an adorable paw print and your name, you’ll need to get one of the long black sticks, call kuro-suigyu, which literally means “black water buffalo” because these seals are made from the horn of water buffalo. If you’re not quite so serious, you can still use JOINTY J9, the mechanical stamp (with built-in ink pads) pictured on the right above, for things like signing for packages received.

▼ An example of a seal using the name “Nekoyama,” or “Cat Mountain”


As for the types of illustrations you can choose from, the full range is pictured below! The top two rows can be used with either the kuro-suigyu stamps or JOINTY J9 stamps. The three illustrations on the bottom left are for kuro-suigyu stamps only, and the three on the right of the bottom row are exclusively for JOINTY J9. It looks like the most difficult part of getting yourself a new hanko will be choosing just one!


▼ There are also a variety of fonts to use for your name.


The JOINTY J9 stamps cost 1,500 yen (about US$12.70) and can be purchased using their Rakuten store. The kuro-suigyu seals cost 3,000 yen (about $25.40) and can also be ordered using their Rakuten store. Overseas shipping is available, but there doesn’t appear to be an English version of the site, so proceed with caution if you’re using something like Google Translate. Also, bear in mind that the stamps are usually intended for short family names written in kanji, so if you have a long name, you’ll want to find a shortened katakana version to use.

It might take a while for your cat seal to arrive, but once it does, at least you won’t have to worry about it forgetting who you are!

Sources: ITMedia, Hankos
Images: Hankos