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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 , 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: YAMA = mountain (three mountaintops); 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 mountain + ISHI Stone = IWA 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 and the KATAKANA 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.
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 , which it is also called GAGO-IN , while the SHUBUN shows the surname.
Some works even carry yet another seal in the upper right corner, which is called KAMBO-IN 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.
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.
"I know nothing but contentment."
"Where there is laughter, happiness will reside."
"Harmony – respect – purity – simplicity"
Have I sparked your interest? Contact me.