• As the number of COVID cases in Japan rise, the Hanko tradition is coming under fierce criticism, with industry leaders demanding that the tradition be abandoned.
• The Hanko is a personal stamp in Japan, that is equivalent to a signature in other countries, and is an essential part of several transactions.
• Small-sized and circular or square-shaped, the stamp is wet by an ink pad called ‘shuniku’, and the mark that it leaves on a document is called ‘inkan’.
• There are specific types of the Hanko that are used for authorizing different kinds of transactions, such as those requiring registered seals, bank documents, and for day-to-day use.
• The use of the traditional seal can be traced back to almost two millennia. Even today, the Hanko remains popular in Japan.
Mains Paper 2: International
Prelims level: HANKO