Reader Mail

Preserve the hanko tradition

Regarding the story “Rethinking the need for personal stamps, seals” in the Feb. 23 edition, I’m concerned about eliminating personal stamps (inkan), and seals (hanko) in the near future.

Compared with a signature, both inkan and hanko seem to be a little archaic and impractical in a digital society. Moreover, now that we can get hold of them easily, they are indeed unreliable, as shown in this article.

However, it is true that the hanko is a kind of unique cultural asset. The elaborate skills in crafting them are surprisingly precious. It is sad that the number of craftsmen is rapidly decreasing.

We have long pressed them on important official documents. Just before that physical act, we have made an important decision, such as getting a job, marriage, divorce and so forth. That is, it reflects our will as we live our lives. This is why the custom should be preserved and handed down to future generations.

Also, in this aging society, the digital divide is one of the main obstacles. Many seniors have difficulty trying new ways, so they could become frightened by such a dramatic change. Thus, I think tradition needs to outweigh digitalization in this case, despite all the drawbacks to this approach.

We need to be more flexible when determining what is necessary or unnecessary.

MIEKO OKABE
YOKOHAMA

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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