Talk:Seal (East Asia)

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Words and merger[edit]

The word chop does not come from Malay, it comes from Hindi where is has the exact meaning and is usually pronounced as

Inkan should be merged here because these are essentially the same things, devised from the same tradition, and only differentiated by the different languages. We've already included Japanese in the lead, why not create a new section from that article? --Jiang 06:01, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

  • T'will be a good idea and save space. --CharlieHuang 13:14, 8 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Some might object to grouping that under Seal (Chinese). Keyword being "Chinese". Other than that, I don't see why not. They are for all intents and purposes almost identical.
    -- Миборовский U|T|C|E 23:26, 8 November 2005 (UTC)
  • How about changing the title from Seal (Chinese) to "Seal (Oriental)" or "Seal (Eastern)"? Oriental/Eastern being broader terms that apply to the region and culture/s in general, since Japanese and Korean usage is also mentioned. Eilu 13:59, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
  • No. (IMHO.) Japanese and Korean usage of the Chinese seal does not differ significantly and is essentially the same as Chinese usages. What Japanese today use are still Chinese seals. Besides, Eastern and Oriental are too generic. -- Миборовский U|T|C|M|E|Chugoku Banzai! 23:28, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

Whereas the other article called it "inkan", this article does not call it "yinzhang". "seal" is english. We can argue that "Chinese", a "mere" disambiguation, refers to "Chinese characters". --Jiang 00:25, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

Character seals[edit]

"迴文印 ??? Character Seals: Same as the personal name seal, but the family name and personal name is seperated by the word 印. Sometimes used in writing (i.e. to sign a preface of a book)."

Why are there question marks? What is the difference between this and a Personal Name seal? --Jiang 00:31, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

  • I don't know the translation of that word yet (I think it means "return"), so I put question marks. It is not the same as the Personal Name seal as stated, coz the word 'yin' seperates the family name and personal name, e.g. Xu Yin Yongyu. Kong Yunbai's book clearly states that it is seperate from your average Personal Name seal.

--CharlieHuang 11:28, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

It's not really "return" - more like "revolving". Basically 迴文印 characters are read in an anti-clockwise (i think) fashion whereas other seals are up-down up-down. See [1] --Sumple (Talk) 05:22, 14 March 2006 (UTC)


Searching for "Chinese chop" should point to this article (currently returns "no page with that title" with most relevant search result being chop suey). A lot of people probably call it that, or assume that a Chinese seal is called a chop. Eilu 02:36, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

Done. -- Миборовский U|T|C|M|E|Chugoku Banzai! 02:58, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

Types of Seals clarification[edit]

Types mentions "Zhuwen" as having red characters, example is labelled as "Hongwen." Which term is correct or are both acceptable? (I know Hong is red and wen is words but not sure regarding Zhu; is this an alternate prononciation?)

Also, can someone find a picture of the "another type" which is mentioned as being both zhuwen and baiwen together? What is this called? I've never encountered one; may need further verification. Eilu 13:50, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

It should be Zhuwen. My bad. -- Миборовский U|T|C|M|E|Chugoku Banzai! 23:25, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Yes, the correct term is Zhuwen. Zhu means crimson or red in Chinese. As for the 'other type', I do have a seal I carved in that style, but I would stick it up when I get into the mood. The red and white type is called "Zhubaiwen Xiangjianyin". I'll type it up soon. --CharlieHuang 17:49, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

I've added two photos and two more categories of Japanese inkan/hanko: "gago in" and "ginko in". The paragraphs on "jitsu in" and "mitome in", I expanded to include design rules and more examples of uses, and added a little information about the tools used in making them. Hope you like the changes.

I'd like to ask any of you living in Japan if the smaller, more abbreviated "mitome in" used for initialling changes in documents or informally acknowledging receipt of office paperwork go by another name, and whether the large extremely official seals used by high ranking government officials and high ranking representatives of businesses are known as jitsu in and lumped together with jitsu in used by individuals? Sethnessatwikipedia (talk) 18:35, 1 October 2008 (UTC)


Much of the article, as it is now, seems to dispense with a lot of advice and commentary about the purchase and quality of seals. I'm not convinced this kind of advice belongs in an encyclopedia article. There's information among the commentary that might be worthwhile, though. For example:

...The worst are ones carved with English characters in conjuction (the artist do not take these seals seriously and are often deemed tacky). For a good seal to be made, one must first be very sure of what kind of seal they want, what characters they want to carve, the approximate size, price range, etc. Good seal carvers are difficult to find, and their prices can be steep, especially if one wants a seal carved out of hard and precious stones like jade. There are sources on the internet that have seal carving services. You also have to talk to the carver carefully about the design you want to get your money's worth.

There's also care-oriented commentary in the paste section which (if kept) might better belong in the care section. I'm not sure that commentary about "Chinatown," which is vague anyway (Chinatown, where?), is really useful, or that the advice on fixing the paste is necessary.

There are also a lot of grammatical errors, but I didn't want to fix something I'm not sure belongs. I thought I'd bring up my view on the talk page before I try to do anything like remove a whole bunch of text that someone's in love with. JFHJr () 16:41, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

  • I have removed this, since it looks redundant on review (if you buy a bad product, there's nothing you can do about it):
In buying paste, it can be difficult since they are sealed and you cannot try them out. Most pastes sold in Chinatown can be inferior. Sometimes, they are too dry, or the silk strands are to short, therefore, when pulling the seal out of the paste, chunks of the paste comes off. The imprint is very blotchy, and not very clear, like there is a lack of oil or cinnabar. These can be corrected if one has caster oil or cinnabar at hand, but trying to fix it yourself is a bit of a hit-and-miss job. Good paste should hold together after being mixed with a spatula, bad paste disintegrates after being stired.
Neutral advice would be better here. Rather than where to buy good paste, how to handle paste (eg with a spatula) and how to fix paste with castor oil and cinnabar. Also, it would be nice if the photo of the paste were identified as silk or plant paste and even better if there were photos of both. -April 14, 2006
As for the rest of the article, it seems fine to me. Yes, it's an encylopaedia, but that doesn't mean we can't be fully informative (we have plenty of space). If someone has bought (or planning to buy) a seal comes forth to this article, much of the information should not be confinded to history and descriptions, but also contain instructions of use and care if need be. We need to be thorough. It's not like we are teaching people how to play a musical instrument or something. --CharlieHuang 18:14, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
I'm a bit confused about the space issue in light of your comment at the top of the page. Instruction manuals sure are nice, though. Wiki's a good resource for many things that way. I just wasn't sure it was encyclopedic in the usual sense. Anyway, the article is very informative. Thanks! JFHJr () 13:26, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

just as a matter of writing style, an encyclopedia should be a collection of facts and information. it shouldn't sound like instructions or recommendations. the same content could be worded as "x is generally done this way", avoiding "you" and "one" construction. Appleby 19:03, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

Appleby, that was another big concern of mine. I've tried to clean it up a bit. Hopefully it will continue to improve. JFHJr () 05:04, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
  • OK. After re-pairing some vandalisms, I've reduced it thus far. I've removed the 'instructions' and hopefully the remaining stuff is deemed as 'information of how seals are used'. --CharlieHuang 17:28, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
looking much better, i think. could still be tightened up, & maybe a infobox table for all the various names? Appleby 18:04, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

The first few paragraphs and massive tables are excessively sino-centric, without letting the readers know that there will be Japanese and Korean sections later on in the article. An even slightly lazy reader may conclude after reading several paragraphs that the article is exclusively about China's seals. Shall we amend the first few paragraphs to give more hope to people interested in Japanese and Korean varieties? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sethnessatwikipedia (talkcontribs) 18:39, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

Peer review?[edit]

Do you guys think we can submit this article to peer review and then hopefully FAC? -- Миборовский U|T|C|M|E|Chugoku Banzai! 03:03, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

Not True[edit]

"Most people in China possess a personal name seal." This is not true.

Personal seal usage in China[edit]

I am not sure if personal seal's usage in China can be considered widespread. I live in US now, but back in China, no one I know carried their seals with them. It's more ceremonial than otherwise, you would use it on a formal occasion. For daily stuff like bank withdraw, you just need signature and present your ID.

It is still used by government and corporations. It's not difficult to find official stamped documents. --Voidvector 23:13, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Owners are NOT the only ones with access to their seals. My fiancee's mother (Taiwan) has taken possession of several of her banking/investing seals and has hidden them, preventing her from accessing considerable sums of money. She even took out a life insurance policy in her daughter's name, pretending to be her daughter, naming herself (mother) as the beneficiary. Fraud and forgery. My fiancee is meekly paying the premiums. My fiancee is 35 years old, never been married and is general manager of a successful chain restaurant in Taipei. It's all about control. Princedavid54 (talk) 05:31, 11 March 2011 (UTC)princedavid54

Article title[edit]

I feel that since this article covers seals and their usage in Korea and Japan, we should rename the article to reflect that. Something like "Seals (Asia"? Kerowyn Leave a note 06:55, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, just saw the discussion at the top of the page. I still think that the title should be changed in the interest of accuracy. Kerowyn Leave a note 06:57, 27 January 2008 (UTC)


"Inkan" is used in the article without ever being explicitly defined. Is it just another word for "hanko"? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:45, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

More or less. The words are generally used interchangeably. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 17:14, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
Nihonjo is mostly right, imho; based on my personal experience (8 years as an amateur inkan carver & professional translator in Japan) there's almost a complete overlap in the meanings, and perhaps 90% of the time they can be used interchangeably. However, "inkan" is slightly more general and slightly formal speech, or refers to the more formal types, while "hanko" is slightly informal speech and tends to refer to the less-formal types. This is not quite as pronounced as the difference between introducing one's spouse as "my better half" or "the old ball-and-chain". Sethnessatwikipedia (talk) 18:19, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
Professional translator and inkan carver? lololol They are two totally different words. A jitsuin, for example, is an inkan. Your ginkoin can be a hanko. As well most certainly, your mitomein. A mitomein hanko, for example, can be purchased at a 100 yen shop. Whereas one's jitsuin inkan must be custom made, with one's full name, and legally registered with the local municipal. As you can see, quite different. This is why the jitsuin inkan is often called "legal inkan" or "real inkan". In short: inkan=official / hanko=just a stamp. Cheers. (talk) 23:31, 6 September 2014 (UTC)


Would Chinese character seal or Seal (Chinese characters) be an acceptable compromise name? Because that's their defining characteristic, and even in Japan and Korea seals use almost exclusively Chinese characters. (Hiragana/katakana/hangul seals do exist, but are quite unusual.) Jpatokal (talk) 07:39, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

I guess Wengier moved it back at this because of seals in East Asia are generally inscribed with "Chinese characters", but I also disagree with the idea of the title containing "Chinese characters". Nowadays in South Korea, seal with hangul is getting widely used for making personal or official purposes instead of hanja such as bills, bank documents or company seals. I believe North Korea would do the same since they discarded to use hanja for writing system). Therefore, Seal (Chinese) and "Seal (Chinese character)" could not hold such info. Seal (East Asia) seems to be good to me. --Caspian blue (talk) 12:00, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
Not to mention (increasingly) Latin script as well. How about Seal (stamp) or Seal (chop)? Bendono (talk) 08:01, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
This Chinese innovation has spread widely, especially in East Asia. The article includes important information about seals not only in China, but also in other places. I support renaming the article to encompass its contents. The present name, "Seal (Chinese)," is not broad enough. Fg2 (talk) 11:26, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
My main problem with the article's name is that the article inkan, which solely relates to the seals as used in Japan, redirects to this article, but the title of this article does not seem to reflect that at all. --TorsodogTalk 16:12, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps something like Name seal or Name stamp would work? ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 17:20, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  • support move away from sinocentric name. The current use of "Seal_(East_Asia) seems like an ideal description. Calling it "Chinese" is an accurate description of its origin, but not its current geographic distribution. It's worth noting that Korean and Japanese seals often do not use ideographs ("Chinese characters"), instead using Korean letters (Hangul), Roman letters (ABC...), and Japanese phonetic characters called "Kana". The Chinese historic origin of these seals is simply too small a portion of the overall description; I'd expect a person searching for info about Korean or Japanese or Vietnamese chops to pass over an article entitled Seals_(Chinese) and keep on hunting. Sethnessatwikipedia (talk) 18:28, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
  • support move away from sinocentric name. At least in Japan, you can use a wide variety of scripts. Not only Chinese. I don't know where that rule came from. Or if that is the rule in other nations. But in Japan, there are at least four commonly used scripts, apart from script variations. (talk) 00:16, 6 September 2014 (UTC)

Character direction[edit]

OK, I don't know much about this, but it would be good to have some info on the direction into which the characters are written. I've seen seals with the 印 in any of the four quadrants, which is slightly confusing. Is there a rule about this? This site has them at the bottom left, while another one at (a pretty cool seal generator) puts them at the top left. The only comment so far about this is the rotating characters seal with its anticlockwise chars, but it would be good to have some sort of explanation about the order (clockwise, anticlockwise, N-shaped, Z-shaped, etc) and the starting points. Anyone? JREL (talk) 20:05, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Depends on the country and the person. In Japanese, like Chinese I think, you traditionally read from right to left and up to down. In Japan, you can put the characters whatever way you want. Or not use characters at all. As for inserting "印", I have never seen that before, and it looks retarded. (talk) 00:22, 6 September 2014 (UTC)

三文判 "sanmonban"[edit]

I saw this Japanese term used for a cheap inkan. Maybe it should be added to the article? Additionally, from where does it derive? Mo-Al (talk) 16:56, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

See 三文判. Bendono (talk) 17:52, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
FWIW, I asked a friend in Japan if there was a more specific name for the type of seal referred to in the Mitome in (認印) section of the article by, "Most Japanese also have a far less formal seal used to sign personal letters or initial changes in documents; this is referred to by the also broadly generic term hanko." He said that if someone was pressed to come up with a name for that type of seal, they might say Sanmoband (三文判), but that the term Sanmoband really just refers to an inexpensive off-the-shelf seal and that those far-less-formal seals are, in fact, just a type of Mitome in. I do, however, think that the term is worth mentioning in the article and have boldly added it in the appropriate place. TransporterMan (talk) 16:00, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

Kanji for Ginko in and issue regarding Gago in[edit]

I have been bold and added the Kanji for Ginko in with a high degree of certainty (because it appears at, but I did not add the kanji for Gago in, which I'm fairly sure is 雅号印, because I found it odd that it doesn't appear on the ja.wikipedia page (which I think uses 落款 for the Gago in type of seal). Can someone who is bilingual add the right Kanji for Gago in? TransporterMan (talk) 14:04, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Further research indicates that 雅号印 is correct for Gago in. Rakkan (落款), which is used in the ja.wikipedia article, means "a signature," which in reference to an artwork can include the artist's real-name seal, plus the artist's Gago in pen name seal, plus other information, but the pen name seal itself is a 雅号印. I'm going to be bold again and add those Kanji to the article. TransporterMan (talk) 15:06, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

Seeking Consensus: mitome in subsection revision[edit]

I am proposing the following clarifying revision to the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth paragraphs of the mitome in section of the article (additions in bold, deletions struck out):

A mitome in's form is governed by far fewer customs than jitsu in and ginko in. However, mitome in for business use adhere to a handful of strongly observed customs. The size is the attribute most strongly governed by social custom. It is usually the size of an American penny or smaller. A male's is usually slightly larger than a female's, and a junior employee's is always smaller than his bosses' and his senior co-workers', in keeping with office social hierarchy. To violate this custom would be roughly equivalent to a Western company's junior employees parking in a senior employee's reserved parking spot. The mitome in always has the person's family name, and usually does not have the person's given name (shita no namae). It is often round or oval, but square ones are not uncommon, and rectangular ones are not unheard-of. They are always regular geometric figures. They can have red lettering on a blank field (shu bun) or the opposite (haku bun). Borderlines around their edges are optional.
[Paragraph moved] Most Japanese also have a far less formal seal mitome in used to sign personal letters or initial changes in documents; this is referred to by the also broadly generic term hanko. They often display only a single hiragana, kanji ideograph, or katakana character. They are as often round or oval as they are square. They vary in size from 0.5 to 1.5 cm wide; women's again tend to be smaller than men's.
Plastic mitome in in popular Japanese names can be obtained from stationery stores for less than US$1, though ones made from inexpensive stone are also very popular. Inexpensive Such inexpensive prefabricated seals are called 'sanmonban' (三文判?), and are unacceptable for business use. Prefabricated rubber stamps are unacceptable for business purposes.
Mitome in and lesser seals are usually stored in inexpensive plastic cases, sometimes with small supplies of red paste or a stamp pad included.
[Original location of moved paragraph]

I am seeking comments, rather than being bold, because I'm not certain that the addition of "for business use" in the first paragraph quoted above and the elimination of the reference to "rubber stamps" in the third paragraph are appropriate. Though I did not change it, I also wonder if the statement, "though ones made from inexpensive stone are also very popular," in the third paragraph doesn't refer to the do-it-yourself-kit seals mentioned later in the article; if so, then those ought to be acceptable for business, I would think, since they are custom-made.

Comments from individuals having personal experience with mitome in would be particularly welcome. TransporterMan (talk) 17:18, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

Proposal abandoned after additional research indicated that parts of proposal were of doubtful accuracy.TransporterMan (talk) 21:53, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Seal of Wikipedia[edit]

So what would a seal for Wikipedia look like? Dread Lord CyberSkull ✎☠ 03:18, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

It's at the top left of every page... (talk) 16:23, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

Seal (emblem) topic[edit]

Is there a reason why this article is a different subject from Seal (emblem)? It appears to be the same, just with regional examples. Also, the Japanese and Korean sections are unreferenced. A merge may be worth discussing? Widefox (talk) 22:09, 7 May 2011 (UTC)


Scheme of Chinese Seal, Seal paste, and technique to use them.

Yug (talk) 10:08, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Copyvio allegation on Seal_(East_Asia)#Seal_paste[edit]

This section is plagiarized, word for word. I am not knowledgeable enough to rewrite it but it comes up in a quick google search. Someone please fix it. (talk · contribs)

I've moved this from article to talk page. Please state where you think it's plagiarised from (this makes checking easier) and be careful they didn't take it from here. Andy Dingley (talk) 11:30, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Illustration from Walters Art Museum[edit]


Korean - Seal with Lion - Walters 543028 - Mark A.jpg

be a good illustration for the Korean section? Zipzipzip (talk) 19:42, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Repeated undiscussed renames[edit]

OK, just stop now. 8-( We've gone from


and now

The last one also has the problems that it broke all the inbound wls to the double redirect (OK, a bot caught it later) and the name now breaks WP:MOS for the capital S on "Seal". The name is also now plural, contra to WP:MOS.

Both of these renames are also, IMHO, a poor move as they are against the principle of using name disambiguation (the "(East Asia)" part) to make inline linking to the page easier from other pages. A longer, conversational, name like this can't be used as easily from an inline wikilink like,

"The Han Emperor applied his [[seal (East Asia)|]]."

to give an easy link without having to hand-write a long-winded piped link like

"The Han Emperor applied his [[Official Seals in East Asia|seal]].".

Andy Dingley (talk) 10:24, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

Indeed, the name "seal" is most common and concise, and "(East Asia)" is a sufficient disambiguator. Besides, this article is about a specific kind of seal and not about seals in general in East Asia. --Cold Season (talk) 11:08, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
I agree that the undiscussed moves are problematic, and I would support moving back to Seal (East Asia), for concision and minimal disambiguation as Cold Season mentioned above. Any other editors care to weigh in and discuss? Wilhelm Meis (☎ Diskuss | ✍ Beiträge) 15:02, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

I have reverted the moves. Please submit a formal move request if you would like to move the page from its long-standing title.--Jiang (talk) 21:03, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

I moved the page to Official Seals because I thought that there were some special animal seals that I never heard of in East Asia. I feel that there should be a clarification somehow. I usually moved pages before without a discussion, so I moved it. Please discuss clarifying the article. Also, the seals in this article about Japan and Korea appear to be descendants of the Chinese seals, there should be information about that in the article or they could be separated.--Hipposcrashed (talk) 01:58, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

実印-Must be square-never round[edit]

Mine is round. And fully legal. How do you explain that? (talk) 00:06, 6 September 2014 (UTC)

Can we remove this fallacy about Hiroshima from the page? Or at least note that Hiroshima does not make the rules for Japan? Each jurisdiction is different. Which is strange, BTW. No Japanese person can do business in Hiroshima, until they go out and get new inkan that are square??? (talk) 23:37, 6 September 2014 (UTC)