こにちは！ First I would like to thank you for this great course. I'm very happy that I'm going to 日本 Japan this summer. やった！ Anyway, I would like to ask you a question. I'm a black belt and I have my own seal 印 with my name, so I can stamp diplomas or certificates. As I have my name in kanji 漢字 I don't know if its nicer for a Japanese if I use my name like: 1) リチャ一ド ヴァスケス or 2) 理察德 維世格士 or 3) In plain old english The second question, if the seal is of any use there. Well, I'm going to keep studying Japanese. じゃ、また明日！
Name, better in kanji or katakana?. Use of seals in Japan.
February 19, 2010
February 22, 2010
Seals in Japan are used primarily for important (legal) documents. Family Registry (equates to about the same as Birth Certificate in USA), big contracts, leases, deeds, etc. There are two types of seals, there are your official seals that are unique and only represent you yourself. These are locked up in secure areas until they are actually needed (I forget the specific place it's called where they store them, but they're kept secure to prevent Identity theft). Following these big important seals we have more generic seals which are used for much less important tasks and may be just kept around the house as they're replaceable and etc. Finally they have just your signature, which is the least formal agreement binding method. (Next to じゃんけん and pinky swears). I may be forgetting or misinterpreting some info I got from a friend who lives in Japan so don't treat my info with 100% validity until Sayaka confirms or dispels it. As far as using your name in English vs. Katakana vs. Kanji. By far writing your name in Katakana or Kanji will be easier for Japanese to read than in English. Now the decision between Katakana vs. Kanji is solely up to you as after all it is your name and how you will be referenced while in Japan (unless you ask them politely otherwise, and even then IDK how easy it is to socially change your nickname in Japan). As for me, I adore kanji to no end. I go so far as to say it infatuates me. So that was one reason why I wanted my name entirely in kanji. On top of that my name was very long in katakana... English: Derek Fuerstenberg Katakana: ファーステンベーグデレック I found it annoying to type and to pronounce my katakana name so I sought a kanji translation/transcription. A good Japanese friend of mine on my Japanese diary suggested that for my first name I use 出礼句 （でれいく） for my first name which is a transcription of my English. The major problem I had with the katakana version was that it was so long, so a transcription didn't work, instead I went for a translation and found out Fuerstenberg is German for prince mountain (using babel fish). I then translated prince mountain into Japanese to get 皇子山（おうじやま）. In the end: English: Derek Fuerstenberg 片仮名：ファーステンベーグデレック 漢字:皇子山出礼句 Which as you can see is much shorter and probably a lot easier to pronounce than my katakana name. So again it's up to you... if you like kanji and want a (usually) shorter name go for it. Whether you transcribe or translate your name is up to you as well. Just remember it's YOUR name so write it how YOU want to.
February 23, 2010
こんにちは！ リチャ一ド ヴァスケスさん。We're very happy to hear you are enjoying Rocket Japanese. We are delighted to have you on board with us. Yes, in Japan - we use seals in our daily life just as you may use your signature in your own country. So, if you plan on living in Japan (making bank accounts, renting and such) you will need an official seal, as Derek-san has mentioned and a un-official one, for other situations such as... when you order a post to be sent to you, usually, the post person will ask for your seal. In such case, you can use the un-official one. If you are a foreigner, you can choose to have your seal made in ENGLISH, KATAKANA or KANJI. However, please be aware that some institutions (ie. banks) may only accept ones in KATAKANA or ENGLISH. Please make sure with these institutions first. -Sayaka :P
February 23, 2010
Hello Sayaka, Quick question on the Katakana/English only bank institutions. If you legally changed your name to the kanji variant of your name then would they still require that? Or if in the future you go through the process to acquire Japanese citizenship and you make your official name in Kanji, then would they still require Katakana or English? Thanks, Derek
February 24, 2010
Hi Derek-san, I believe if you do change your name to Kanji officially, then that would be your official name - as in, spelling (with kanji) so all your documents will need that official seal on. But please ask individual bank institutions and the government for more precise info on seals! Arigato! :P
February 25, 2010
どもありがとうございました You are very kind. It's very interesting the fact that in Japan seals are still in use... a lot of use. I suppose I'm somewhat "romantic" because I prefer using my name in Kanji ^^ I have to practice how to write it. バイバイ！ 理察德 ^^