Inkan Registration

In Japan, Inkan, imprint of seal, can be often used as the stamp of authentication or confirmation.
If you are a resident in Japan and Residence card holder, you can register your own Inkan at the city/ward office of your residence address. Those who register their own Inkan can receive Inkan-shoumei-sho, Inkan Certificate, at the city/ward office. Inkan Certificate is to confirm whether the imprint of seal on the documents is surly the person’s registered inkan and to certify the holder/registrant of the inkan.

There are some rules of Inkan to be registered. The rule may be different depending on the city/ward, so you should confirm them what inkan can be registered at the city/ward office.
Generally, the most popular inkan would be round shape with a diameter of 16.5 – 18mm, full name in case of Japanese male, first name only in case of Japanese female, sirname in Katakana in case of non-Japanese.

Inkan to be registered

  • Size: within a square with sides 8mm – 25mm. No limitation for the shape.
  • Letters: registered full name, first name, sir name, or combination of sir name and an abbreviation of first name.

In case of you are a foreign national, generally, you can use your name in alphabet or your katakana name in the registry of resident registration. You cannot use the combination of alphabet and katakana.

Inkan not to be registered

  • Made of rubber or materials which can change the shape easily.
  • Nonstandard sizes of Inkan.
  • Blurred imprint.
  • Imprint without a rim/border.
  • Extremely designed and/or hardly recognized as the person’s name.
  • Including letters other than the person’s name (e.g. date of birth etc.).
  • Inkan which is already registered by other person.

【1】 Inkan Registration

In order to register your Inkan, you need to go to the city/ward office where you have registered your residence address and apply for the registration in person. The registration is completed on the same day of application and you can receive the Inkan Certificate after that.

[What to bring]

  • Hanko/Seal to be registered.
  • ID such as Driver’s License, Ju-ki Card or Zairyu Card (Residence Card).
  • Registration fee (the amount varies depending on the city/ward office, generally about 0yen – 200yen per registration.)

【2】 Issue of Inkan Certificate

You can receive Inkan Certificate at the city/ward office on the same day of application. No need to bring your registered hanko.

[What to bring]

  • Inkan Card (Inkan Touroku-sho)
  • ID such as Driver’s license, Ju-ki Card or Zairyu Card (Residence Card).
  • Issuance fee (the amount varies depending on the city/ward, generally about 300yen per a copy).

【3】 Information Stated on Inkan Certificate

The following information is stated in Inkan Certificate.

  • Inkan (imprint of the seal)
  • Registration number and date of registration
  • Name in full
  • Date of birth
  • Registered residence address
  • Gender

The format of Inkan Certificate varies depending on the city/ward.
Inkan Certificate has no date of expiry. However, in most of the case, you are required to provide the Certificate issued within 3 months.  

(October, 2017)

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