Hanko - seals instead signature


In Asia, people commonly sign with seals instead of a handwritten signature. The most common name seals, MITOME-IN, are sold in every stationary shop.


The JITSU-IN or GINKO-IN is used for official documents and is therefor unique and registered against abuse. They are handmade by stamp crafters.


RAKKAN-IN are stamps used only for signing art works.
The characteristics are more lively lines and a broken, weathered looking rim.


My special GAN-IN are all RAKKAN-IN. While normal sealing stamps are made out of one material, I combine fine wood and stone for a very unique look.

Motive stamps

Unlike the classic RAKKAN-IN, that are made only with asian characters, I also craft stamps with personal motives with a special meaning to their owners.

Ying and Yang

Ying and Yang describe stamps in their positive and negative forms, so what part is imprinted. Ying or HAKUBUN (white script) means a red seal with white characters, and yang a white seal with red characters.

Wood and Stone

Fide wood and carefully chosen stone are the components of my GAN-IN stamps. Of curse I cannot have too many materials in stock all the time, and maybe you have a special material in mind. Feel free to browse internet shops for woods and stones and tell me your wishes in the contact form.






Thuya Root

Snake wood

Tagua nut

Wild cherry




Serpentine, green

Serpentine, black

Alabaster, caramel


Finding your name

When you order a stamp, I will translate your name and / or title phonetically into japanese. In order to do this, I will carefully choose Kanji, that not only will transport the pronounciation but also combine aesthetics with a beautiful meaning. It is my concern that my clients do not make a fool of themselves in front of asians, who can read those characters. I still advice to use these kanjified names for private purpses only. If an unquestionable readability is required like the name on a Judo belt or a stamp, that is supposed to be registered for official purposes, the name must be translated into katakana.



Tensho, Ying


Tensho, Yang

Friedrich Poyer


A little excursion

To illustrate the difficulties of name conversion between English names and their appropriate KANJI counterparts, let me give a short example:

Japanese is written using KANJI 漢字, characters deriving from chinese. Each of them has a unique meaning, even though many of them are pronounced the same. Some characters are pictograms, revealing their meaning also to nn-asians intuitively. (Example: 山 YAMA = mountain (three mountaintops); 目 ME = eye (just turn it by 90 degrees and you can recognize it despite it's squared form)

But most of the characters are more complex, consisting of two or more parts that give the meaning or pronounciation and create a notion (e.g.: YAMA 山 mountain + ISHI 石  Stone = IWA 岩 rock)

Chines is also very different to japanese in grammar and phonetics, leading to the developement of two sets of a syllable alphabet, the HIRAGANA 平仮名 and the KATAKANA 片仮名 to cover all the spoken syllables of the japanese language. The latter is nowadays mostly used to write non-japanese words, while HIRAGANA is used for japanese words that have no KANJI and for grammatical elements like particles. Both syllable alphabets were developed out of phonetically identic KANJI.

Korea early went its own way of language and found an own script system (HANGUL or HANGEUL), that include the full phoneme stock of the korean language and consists of elements, that are combined logically. There are some KANJIs being used in korean too, but only a few. Also, the reading direction adapted ti the western standard.

If you want to learn more about it, you can find wikipedia entries abut this topic in my link list.


Odori - Dance


Odori - Dance


Odori - Dance

Ying and yang

For the ying-stamps (negative, jap. HAKUBUN) the characters are carved out of the surface and appear white in the seal. The counterparts, the yang-stamps (positive, jap. SHUBUN) show red characters in a characteristically broken border. Since a HAKUBUN is easier to make, the prices will differ to some extend. Please make sure to indicate your preference when ordering.

There are mixed types of seals as well, combining both positive and negative, but they are an exception. On artwork from China or Japan you will often find a pair of seals, the HAKUBUN to the middle left under the dedication, the SHUBUN beneath that. The HAKUBUN carries the pen or first name of the artist, GAGO 雅号, which it is also called GAGO-IN 雅号印, while the SHUBUN shows the surname.

Some works even carry yet another seal in the upper right corner, which is called KAMBO-IN 関防印 or moodseal, showing a motto or a phrase the artist likes very much. This seal can be either SHUBUN or HAKUBUN. What matters most is how it emphasizes the overall composition of the work.


YING = negative, shadow


An unusual mixed form


YANG = positive, light


Furthermore, you can buy fitting accessories for your personal stamps. Find what you need in the pricelist. In this video I show the use of a stamp square.


Red ink pad in black, red or clear case

Set Standard

Pad and plastic square

Set Deluxe

Leather pad and handmade wood square

Brocade case

Small to middle size, big cases on request

Synthetic leather pouch

for big stamps up to 5 cm width

Synthetic leather pouch

Slim case for stamps up tp 1,5 cm width

"I know nothing but contentment."

Motto of the tea cult master Sen no Rikkyu

"Where there is laughter, happiness will reside."

Japanese saying

"Harmony – respect – purity – simplicity"

The four principles of the tea cult


Have I sparked your interest? Contact me.



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