Advice about using hanko stamps online in Japan

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This week I had to use my Hanko stamp, a stamp used in place of a signature in Japan, for two things; one an invoice, and one a receipt.

I had been told that you don’t need to print these out, that you can just put a .png image of your stamp in red where you would normally stamp it on actual paper. At least in practice.

Turns out you can and you can’t. For the receipt, it worked fine and I didn’t need to do anything else. For the invoice, I was told it had to be done on real paper and then scanned and emailed in. Long story short, they ended up sending me a physical letter to stamp and then send back in the mail. Much more trouble than it’s worth (well, it’s not a small amount).

I can be slightly to blame for this though. For the invoice I think I accidentally sent back an excel file rather than a .pdf, if I had sent in a .pdf they probably would not have noticed, and I would have been ok.

Japan has some ridiculous rules that can really do your head in (don’t get me started on their primitive banking practices). But if you keep in mind a few tricks, there are ways around some parts. You just have to be a bit cognizant of things.

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