Shimane: Hanko maker squeezes 108-character name onto seal

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A hanko seal bearing the long name from the rakugo comic story “Jugemu” is shown alongside a ¥1 coin for comparison.

MATSUE — A hanko seal manufacturer in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, has made a seal bearing a 108-character name.

The fictitious name comes from the classic rakugo comic story “Jugemu.” To many Japanese people, the first thing they think of when it comes to long names is this popular story, in which a doting father of a newborn baby boy gives the child a name combining all the words of good omen others have told him. The little boy ends up having an incredibly long name — Jugemu Jugemu Goko-no-surikire … and so on and so on — which leads to a fine mess.

The Nagae Inshodo hanko seal company and shop engraved the seal with the whole name, which comprises katakana and hiragana characters as well as kanji that add up to 108 characters. The seal measures just 1.2 centimeters across, and its elaborate craftsmanship has garnered much praise on social media.

The company, founded in 1970, is opposed to moves to ditch the country’s centuries-old hanko culture, and since last year has been tweeting about hanko craftsmen’s skills and posting other hanko-related information. When the company posted a photo of a hanko engraved with 87 characters, the tweet received a reply saying the company should try its hand at “Jugemu,” a challenge it accepted.

Each character on the seal is about 1 millimeter in diameter. The company’s Twitter account received many comments applauding the feat, such as “It’s amazing that it’s totally legible.” The company has also started selling the Jugemu hanko for ¥19,800 each.

“We can engrave any name,” a representative of the company said proudly.