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    Glossary Term
    Insho - Stamp, Chop or Seal

    (Also "Japanese signature seals," "chops," "hanko," "in," "jitsuin")

    English Definition:
    Private or official seals or stamps engraved with the name of the office, institution or individual to which it belongs. In contrast to rubber stamps, hanko are made of stone, wood or horn.

    Formally introduced to Japan in 701 from China, hanko are small wooden, stone or horn blocks used as signatures to bind any and every legal contract in Japan. "Jitsuin," or "true seals" are registered with the local authorities and used on important legal documents. Japanese also carry personal hankos for everyday use.

    Click here to see insho made by the master craftsman, Kitaji-san.

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