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    The Japanese Connection releases its new product, the digital hanko


    The Japanese Connection releases its new product, the digital hanko. This low cost version of the traditional Japanese seal is designed for email and online display, as well as inclusion in printed materials.

    (PRWEB) February 16, 2005 -- The Japanese Connection announced today the release of its digital hanko site: http://www.thejapaneseconnection.com/digital_hanko.htm. The new product is based on the concept of the traditional Japanese seal or chop, which Japanese adults use as a signature. The digital hanko comes as a pre-formatted series of digital images, easily used for both print and online. Included is a high resolution design professional's JPEG which can be used to place into brochures, business cards, and stationary. Other images include JPEG and GIF images appropriately sized to be quickly and easily inserted into email signatures, onto websites, or into your favorite web forums as your avatar (personal image next to your forum posts).

    The hanko was formally introduced to Japan in 701 AD, but was available only to those in positions of high authority, such as Samurai. At that time, the common people of Japan were not allowed to have family names nor own hanko. However, in the mid-19th century, hanko use and family names were made available to all. Today, the hanko is indispensable in Japan for use in signing everything from a telephone bill to a birth certificate.

    "The digital hanko is in no way intended to replace the traditional hanko," says Mark Falge, The Japanese Connection's Director of Online Marketing. "The physical hanko that we sell continues to have increased appeal in the West and our mission has always been to work towards creating wider awareness of the best Japanese traditions in order to help preserve them. A lot of people who have contacted us, wanting to own one of our hanko, have purchased the digital hanko instead because they like the [$34 US] cost and versatility of a digital image. Many people haven't been able to buy the traditional seals because of the price barrier, but I think the digital hanko changes that."

    "The digital hanko is a new twist on the old, beloved tradition of the hanko," says company founder, Ben Falge. "We are getting a lot of positive feedback because our translators are as accurate as ever, and our artists are coming up with some beautiful designs. I think we're just beginning to realize that the purely digital format will allow for some interesting features that may not have been possible to carve into wood or stone. People also like the fact that the digital hanko delivers in only a few days."

    The Japanese Connection has been operating online since 1999 and carries a wide array of traditional Japanese arts and crafts products in addition to the hanko and digital hanko, including shoji screens, shakuhachi flutes, kimono, yukata, washi paper, calligraphy, and Japanese name translation calligraphy. There is also a discussion forum, where those interested in Japan discuss Japanese arts, culture, politics, living, etc.

    The digital hanko retails for $24 [price as of May 15, 2005 is $34] US for a single, high resolution image, and $46 [price as of May 15, 2005 is $56] for a suite of 6 images, pre-formatted for email, online, print, and forum avatar use. For more information on The Japanese Connection, visit their site: http://www.thejapaneseconnection.com.

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