A hanko, also known as an inkan, is a stamp of your name which is used in Japan the same way as a signature, to sign off on documents and forms. The stamp is designed and engraved for an individual person, then registered with the local authorities before it can be used to sign official documents, making it difficult to forge. For important contracts, such as ones to rent an apartment, you will definitely be required to have a hanko.

Despite the official nature of the hanko, rules about the design of the seal are actually fairly loose. It has to contain an element of the owners name, but apart from that you’re free to be quite creative. Thanks to this, there’s a whole range of awesome character design hanko seals that can be ordered. You may be thinking there’s no way you could roll up to your bank with a Pikachu signature stamp, but these Pokemon designs are officially recognised by many major banks and postal services in Japan (full list of these can be found online).

After already releasing stamp designs encompassing Pokemon from the Kanto, Johto and Hoenn regions, fans of the fourth generation of will be happy to know the Sinnoh region Pokemon are on their way. It's the generation that brought out fan favourites such as Piplup and Lucario, and added the super popular Eeveelutions, Leafeon and Glaceon.

There’s 107 new designs to choose from.

After picking out your favourite Pokemon, you can also select from three different fonts to add your name into the design.

Once that’s sorted, you can choose from the self-inking type, which can be used at work or to accept packages, or the more traditional wooden style of hanko which is accepted at financial institutions.

With all the regions that have been explored so far, there’s 493 Pokemon designs to choose from and they surely won’t stop until all Pokemon can be caught in hanko form. If you want to catch one for your self, there’s an official website called Pokemon Hanko where you can peruse, although the Sinnoh region designs are only available for preorder as of yet.

By - Jess.