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Preserving Japan’s Thousand-Year Seal Culture! Our Message to the World

As part of administrative reforms due to COVID-19, there’s currently a movement in Japan to eliminate the custom of using personal seals. This custom is an important cultural tradition that has continued for more than one thousand years. We graciously ask for your support in order to preserve this precious culture of Japan.

US$ 3,076 Funds Raised
11% Successful Goal: US$ 27,225
people 34 supporters
watch_later 71 days left

Hello From LOHAS Stamp Shop!

At LOHAS Stamp Shop, we make and sell personal seals—an important part of Japanese traditional culture.

Our company name contains the acronym LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) because we aim to make personal seals under the theme of “A Lifestyle That Protects and Preserves the Global Ecosystem and Environment,” using eco-friendly materials and being conscious of our natural environment. 

As a company dealing with animal and plant products, we endeavor to use lumber that’s left over from thinning woods and afforestation, scrap wood, recycled thermoplastic resin, plant fiber waste, and antlers that are naturally shed and regrown by animals.

It’s through these practices that we are able to make personal seals using innovative, 21st-century materials. 

From our desire to preserve and maintain Japanese culture, as well as do business in a way that’s gentle to the environment, we put the word LOHAS in our company’s name.

 

The History of Personal Seals

The origin of personal seals, called “hanko” in Japanese, goes back more than 7,000 years, to the ancient civilization of Mesopotamia.

In those days, personal seals were made by engraving symbols onto stones and jewels, and they were primarily owned by influential people as a way of displaying status and power. 

With the passage of time, the world continued to develop and expand. Japan’s first hanko was actually a gift from a Chinese emperor during the Han Dynasty. It was a gold seal called the Gold Seal National Treasure.

In Japan, the hanko was initially used as a seal by public officials and the various regional rulers. From the Heian era (794-1185), common people also used the hanko as a means of proving their identity. Then, as it gradually spread in use, the custom of using a personal seal to stamp documents became established. 

At the start of the Meiji era (1868-1912), new reforms to the legal system created the need for seal registration, and a new style was developed. It continued to spread in use as a tool giving all Japanese citizens, including those unable to write, a way of establishing their own personal identity.

Though the personal seal is also used in China and Taiwan, Japan is the only country where, up until now, various kinds of hanko have become an integral part of daily life and culture.

Of course our seals can be used for identification purposes (in Japan), but in order for all of our different customers to really appreciate their usefulness, we also make personal seals with completely unique designs.

We even make special seals for customers who want to buy a hanko for a specific purpose, such as a friend’s birthday, a celebration, or as a souvenir of one’s visit to Japan, and so on.

Of course, we can design a seal that’s engraved with the English alphabet, but we can also fulfill our customers’ requests by converting letters into Japanese kanji, katakana, and hiragana characters! We can even create hanko depicting Japanese scenery!

 

Ex.① Olivia (alphabet)/織美阿 (kanji)/オリビア (katakana)/おりびあ (hiragana)

Ex.② Noah (alphabet)/野亜 (kanji)/ノア (katakana)/のあ (hiragana)
 


 

Other examples:

  • Michael(マイケル)⇒ (kanji)  舞氣溜  (katakana) マイケル (hiragana) まいける
  • Harison(アリソン  ⇒ (kanji)   有尊  (katakana) アリソン  (hiragana) ありそん
  • Jimmy(ジミー)    ⇒ (kanji)  慈未唯 (katakana) ジミー    (hiragana) じみー
  • Chris(クリス)      ⇒ (kanji)  玖利栖 (katakana) クリス    (hiragana) くりす
  • Brown(ブラウン) ⇒ (kanji)  武羅運 (katakana) ブラウン (hiragana) ぶらうん

Each kanji character contains an inherent meaning.

For the kanji characters used in the previous examples, we’ve chosen ones that have a good meaning and convey a positive image.

**Please note that LOHAS has chosen the kanji characters in these examples.

As an example, the meaning of these kanji: 舞氣溜 (“Michael”) is explained below.

舞-Round 氣-Power 溜-charge  The ability to recharge and focus one’s own energy and power, and even pass it on to those around them.

A personal seal is also believed to carry good luck, and from ancient times they were often blessed by the hanko artisan. Even now, Japanese parents traditionally give their children a hanko on their 20th birthday, to celebrate passage into adulthood. 

Consider getting a good luck hanko for yourself!

 

Rewards

Supporters who have committed to our project will receive a special present consisting of a personal seal case and a vermillion ink pad (for hanko use).

① Seal case (with a Japanese-style vermillion bamboo pattern)

Shuchiku (vermillion bamboo pattern) is a word that you don’t hear very often, but it refers to a unique Japanese design. Since ancient times, it’s been said to bring happiness.

Folklore says that it will bring prosperity to one’s descendants, make one successful in life, and bring fortune to the family business.


② Vermillion Ink Pad (for use with your hanko)

 

Closing Words

Because of our simple commitment to creating high-quality products, we would like people in Japan and around the world to realize how wonderful personal seals are.

It’s with these sentiments in mind that we decided to embark on this project.

With COVID-19 and other related issues, these are challenging times for everyone around the world. We at LOHAS feel very grateful to be able to deliver a product that allows customers to enjoy something from Japan.


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