RE: Rocky Reborn
Went to the bank, spent time filling out forms and blah, blah, blah. Those living in Japan or other parts of Asia probably use an inkan or seal when completing documents. Instead of signing papers, you stamp them with an engraved stamp that has your name on it. The stamps are carved in wood or stone. You use a red ink pad and then stamp whatever document.
Originally, I had to create a seal because my bank wouldn't accept my signature as a legally binding agreement. So to open an account, I had a stamp made. These days, however, most banks will accept a signature from foreigners as a legal agreement.
Most Japanese people have several seal — three or more is not uncommon. You might have one stamp registered with the government, then another for daily use, like if you need to stamp a delivery form, and then another for the bank.
I've always thought that a signature is harder for forge, but folks here say seals are. Though, the thing that has always worried me: How can you prove who used the stamp?
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