What is “Hanko” in news recently?

The Hanko is a personal stamp of Japan. It is equivalent to signature in other countries. The tradition is gaining criticism in Japan post COVID-19 period.

What is the issue?

Japan is adopting work from home culture aggressively in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the age old Hanko tradition of Japan is forcing the employees to go to the office premises for security reasons.

Hence, the Hanko tradition is being criticized in the country widely.


Hanko stamping is essential in Japan for several transactions. There are specific types of Hanko stampings such as circular and square. They are mandatory in bank documents, government authorization and even in several day to day activities.

The Stamp is set wet by an ink pad called ‘Shuniku’. The mark that it leaves on document is called ‘inkan’


The use of Hanko is a two millennium old tradition that was used to identify individuals that are involved in government agencies. Baiwen is also a Japanese seal. It has red background and white characters.




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