In Japan, rather than signing a signature, it is custom to use a stamp called a ‘hanko’ to sign off on official documents.

A hanko is designed and engraved for an individual person, then registered with the local authorities before it can be used to sign official documents. According to the Japanese, this makes it much harder to forge than a signature. For important contracts, such as ones to rent an apartment, you will definitely be required to have an hanko.

The rules about the design of the seal are quite loose. It must contain some elements of your actual name, but apart from that you’re pretty free to have any kind of hanko you want.

Last year, official Pokemon stamps went on sale with designs incorporating Pokemon into the name seal, with every one of the original 151 Pokemon available as options.

But if your favourite Pokemon is from the second generation then you’re in luck. The popular Pokemon hanko are back again, adding 100 more characters into the mix from the Johto region.

These awesome seals meet the legal requirements of an authorised hanko, and are therefore recognised by many major banks and postal services (full list can be found online).

After choosing your favourite Pokemon, you can also choose from three different fonts and add your name into the design.

Another cool feature is the self-inking cases that you can buy alongside your Pokemon hanko, making them easy to carry around wherever you go just like a real Pocket Monster!

If there's one you desperately want to catch, they can be ordered on Yahoo online or Rakuten.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.