(Published: 2024/6/5)

You need Japanese Hanko (Inkan/Stamp/Seal)?

When setting up a company, one of the things you need to prepare is a company hanko (Inkan/Stamp/Seal), although it is becoming less and less necessary to have a hanko, it is still customary in Japan.


Depending on the quality of the hanko (e.g. material) and the number needed, it may cost between JPY 10,000 and 20,000. They can also be bought online. Unless you lose it, you only need to buy it once. When setting up a company, it is common to ask a judicial scrivener to set up the company, and they may also buy the hanko together (you pay for it later).

Types of hanko

Representative hanko/Daihyoshain (Jitsuin)

This is the most common company hanko and will always be made. This hanko will be officially registered at the Legal Affairs Bureau. It is generally round in shape and, as a matter of detail, must fit within a square of no more than 3 cm. The hanko is used when signing contracts and in other important situations. Therefore, care must be taken to ensure that it is not lost. If a company wants to have only one hanko, this hanko should be made.

Bank hanko

As the name suggests, this hanko is used at banks. It is used when opening a bank account or making bank transfers. In fact, it is possible to use the representative hanko (daihyoshain) as a bank hanko without making a bank hanko. However, in general, bank hanko is often separated. This is because there is a high risk of loss if the representative hanko is taken outside each time a bank transfer is made, and it is considered safer to use a separate hanko. However, these days, due to the spread of online banking, people do not visit bank counters as often. Therefore, some people are of the opinion that bank hanko does not need to be created.

Square hanko (Kakuin)

A square-shaped hanko is mainly used to stamp sales invoices. It improves the appearance of the invoice and may give a professional impression, but it is not always necessary. It may be used if invoices are printed and sent by post, but as invoices are often created as PDF files these days, it is not necessary in such cases. (In addition, many Japanese invoicing software have a function to stamp this square hanko as digital data.)


When you establish a company, you need a hanko. Basically, there is no problem if you have a single representative hanko (jitsuin). However, it can be helpful to show that you have a good understanding of Japanese customs. If this is the case, you may want to consider having more than one hanko. Also, keep your representative hanko (jitsuin) in good order so that you do not lose it.