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Japan's obsession with paper
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Has Achieved Nirvana
Picture of wtg
posted
quote:
For a country often depicted as the pinnacle of high-tech living Japan has a surprising and enduring obsession with paper. That might finally be changing.


https://www.bbc.com/future/art...source=pocket-newtab

I'm intrigued by the hanko. After reading the article, I feel an urge to acquire one!


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Outrage is warranted. But outrage unaccompanied by analysis is a danger in itself.

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Posts: 31331 | Location: Somewhere in the middle | Registered: 19 January 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
(self-titled) semi-posting lurker
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I'll have to read that later.

P.S. Hanko, we have them!


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My piano recordings at Box.Net: https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u

 
Posts: 15488 | Location: not in Japan any more | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
(self-titled) semi-posting lurker
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When I first started my "traveling teacher" job in Japan, I was hired in large part because I could function in Japanese. My position required me to visit all the elementary schools in the district, which was more than 30 schools when I started.

One of my jobs was to keep a record of where I was visiting when. Each school would make a monthly request to the Board of Ed, I would make the schedule once all those requests came in, put the schedule into a chart, put that on a clipboard and circulate it through the BOE so that various people could approve the schedule (this included my immediate supervisor, the person in charge of reimbursing my commuting expenses, the person in charge of elementary ed and the head of the BOE and a few others). At the bottom of the chart was a row of boxes and each of those people would put their stamp (hanko) in box designated for them. At the end, the clipboard came back to me and, having all the school visits approved, I then responded to each school's visit request.

The visit requests were set up like a form, so the top was the school's request and the bottom was the BOE's response (will attend, won't attend, change visit date to etc.) So my task here was to respond on behalf of the head of the BOE. So I circled the date or wrote it in etc., and then I stamped the bottom part of that form with the BOE head's super large and fancy hanko. It was maybe three times as a big as my personal hanko, and you have to do it just right or it doesn't come out looking right. First of all, just enough ink and not too much. Second, your hand can't shake. Third, there's a technique where you sort of put the bottom edge down on the paper and then roll the hank forward so it all touches the paper and the off, in one graceful motion.

I messed up those hanko stamps probably 90% of the time for my first year. My hand always shook! Eventually I got the hang of it, but it was always a little stressful! suave


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My piano recordings at Box.Net: https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u

 
Posts: 15488 | Location: not in Japan any more | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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A personal hanko is usually round and less than a centimeter in diameter, so like the circle it makes when you stamp it is slightly bigger around than your pinkie. Kind of like this:



Here's a sample of the way they do the big hanko, which are maybe like 1.5 to 2 inches wide:



Ok, now I guess I better read that article you linked!! Leaving


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My piano recordings at Box.Net: https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u

 
Posts: 15488 | Location: not in Japan any more | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Cash is still king; paper packaging is ornate and extensive; fax is still widely used; exchanging business cards is a mandatory professional ritual; and paperwork is endemic in business and government.


This is very true and despite various changes toward paperless options, I don't see it going away with any speed.


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My piano recordings at Box.Net: https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u

 
Posts: 15488 | Location: not in Japan any more | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Fascinating article. I’ve always wanted a hanko for my artwork, but kind of felt like it would be cultural appropriation. And a related topic: I have a fiber arts friend who has started to weave and knit with paper yarn - mad from used coffee filters from her sister, and also ones that I send her (stained with coffee or from my pigment making) that she turns into yarn. (Like the Japanese craft of kami ito - which turns washi paper into yarn). The results are beautiful. If you go here: and read her blog posts, you can see some of the results. (Think I’ve shared the link before) https://www.afieldguidetoneedlework.com/


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Smiler Jodi
http://todayatmydesk.weebly.com

 
Posts: 19506 | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
knitterati
Beatification Candidate
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Now I want a hanko/chop of my own, with my Chinese name. If only I could remember how to write it...

I don’t think paper is dead here. I have a lot of friends who are still thrilled with their Bullet Journals, and colored pens for journaling in them. And stickers.

Jodi, that is a cool yarn project from Sarah Swett!


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http://pdxknitterati.com

 
Posts: 8742 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 06 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Has Achieved Nirvana
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My late mother lived in occupied Japan as a pre-school child. Her father was a NCO so she she had a Japanese nanny. She talked a lot about being taken care of by this young woman. Her experience in Japan had a strong influence on the rest of her life.

She used to make origami. She used countless papers, made boxes of different sizes. created many kinds of animals, and especially birds she would hang over Christmas displays.

It's a happy memory. Smiler
 
Posts: 22776 | Registered: 31 March 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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