Hanko fun for people of all ages and about 38 names.

Japan’s traditional way of signing documents with a wooden stamp known as a “hanko” has come under increased scrutiny recently. In our digital age it’s a question of whether such a time consuming form of identity verification is needed anymore. However, Bandai Namco dares to argue that there is a place for hanko with just a few small adjustments to make it better, faster, stronger.

Called the Hanko Rebellious Phase 2 series, five types of revolutionized stamps are available for 300 yen (US$2.10) each. Our resident capsule toy expert Saya managed to acquire all five so we can see what temperamental changes were made to this tool during its second rebellious phase.

First, a common problem in a company is that all key people need to have their hanko ready to sign important contracts and other documents. If only one of these people forgets their stamp, then bureaucracy gets derailed and cities burn.

Not any more, because all the names are now on one stamp!

Of course, you’d need to make sure all the key people in your organization have the exact names featured in this stamp…

Look, if you think this line of hanko is here to please you, you’re sorely mistaken. But they are willing to meet you half way by putting the most common surnames on the stamp such as Sato, Suzuki, and Takahashi.

Speaking of common names, “Watanabe” is definitely up there, but it can be a nightmare with all the different possible kanji combinations that can make up the phonetic name. Well, this new generation of hanko takes care of that problem too, by just putting all the Watanabes in one stamp.

Now it doesn’t matter what kind of Watanabe you are because you are all one now.

With all these hanko-related problems, we still haven’t even mentioned the corporate seals that use an antiquated form of writing that can be really hard, if not impossible, to read. Since, no one can understand it anyway, why not have some fun and turn it into a maze?

Since “start” and “goal” are written on it too, this stamp has the added benefit of knowing that you’re holding it right-side up.

It’s a great way to pass the time while staring at a piece of paper at work. Of course, staring at things too long isn’t always fun and games. For example, how often have you wasted company time by staring at someone’s hanko print and wondering if it’s really symmetrical?

If “never” is your answer, it doesn’t matter because Bandai Namco went ahead and made this handy stamp anyway.

In addition to the name “Yamamoto” is a helpful disclaimer that the kanji characters technically “aren’t symmetrical” and that we should “look closely.” Not only does it solve a mystery that might take some people hours to crack, it reminds us of the subtle beauty of handwritten characters.

However, perhaps the most ingenious entry in the Hanko’s Rebellious Phase 2 lineup is this beauty which holds a three-by-three grid of kanji characters.

Using this, just stamp everything and circle the two characters that hopefully make up your name! All the classics are there, from Kimura to Fujita and even Anzai.

▼ Ando

We should also mention that these particular items are a part of a growing design trend in the capsule toy industry in which no wasteful capsule is used, because the hanko is the capsule!

So why wait? Streamline your business right away by hurrying down to your local toy store and feeding coins into a capsule machine!

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