A Personal Symbol of Empowerment
In Japan, seals in general are referred to as inkan or hanko. The first evidence of writing in Japan is a hanko dating from AD 57, made of solid gold and belonging to the Emperor. At first, only the Emperor and his most trusted vassals held a hanko seal, as they were a symbol of the Emperor’s authority. Noble people began using their own personal hanko after 750 AD, and the Samurai began using them sometime in the Middle Ages. At the time, the Samurai were permitted exclusive use of red ink for their hanko impressions. Modernization of these seals began in 1870, and the hanko finally came into general use throughout Japanese society.
Traditionally, inkan and hanko are engraved on the end of a finger-length stick of stone, wood, bone, or ivory, with a diameter between 25 and 75 millimeters (1 and 3 in). Their carving is a form of calligraphic art. The most common form of this calligraphic art is the Japanese Kanji — the Chinese script.
They are still used in Asia for professional and personal purposes. Most requiring registration with local government offices much like a trademark.
Many of the Takata masters have used their own Hanko seals to authenticate their Reiki certificates for students. This makes it harder for charlatans to claim lineage that they have not acquired legitimately. Rev. Beth Gray is one of the people who used her personal Hanko on graduation certifications (Beth Gray Certificates). This practice has inspired many practitioners to follow in the footsteps of the Takata Masters.
Today’s practicing Masters choose to use the Kanji version of “Rei Ki” as their Hanko (seen on the left). Others use words to represent their personality, a special phrase, or their personal name (such as the Kanji of SpringWolf displayed above).
The use of a hanko in Reiki can create a connection between the Reiki practitioner and the Reiki origins in Japan. It can be used as a sigil during Reiki sessions to connect to healing energy. It can also be used as a symbolic seal during attunements. They can be a source of self promotion, pride or personality. They can be seen in email signatures, decorations on web pages and even as tattoos.
If you are interested in your own Hanko, I suggest the following websites:
- Japanese Kanji Dictionary – A Japanese to English translation
- Japanese Connection – Quality Handmade Hanko seals
© 2012 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. Springwolf Reflections / Springs Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.