When you are making a contract in Japan, they usually use a seal rather than a signature.

On the other hand, when you are making a contract in other countries, they usually seal the deal by signing at the end.

Many would wonder “Why are Japanese the only one who uses a seal and not a signature?”

In this article, we would like to explain why a seal is a necessity to Japanese people.

The Difference Between Seal and Signature


To get straight to the point, the validity of the seal and signature are the same.

So, how are they different?

Attorney Settlement

The seal and signature are most different during a settlement with an attorney.

When a person plan to make a contract with a sign, the subject must be present at that moment.

However, most people do not know when or where they will be asked for their signature.

Some may even get asked to sign something during a trip overseas.

During those moments, making a contract may not go as smoothly.

This is when the advantage of having a seal can be seen. As long as you have the seal of the subject, it does not matter who will stamp the seal, so its easier when you are making a contract.

For instance, when a parent plans to handle their child’s bank account, it is only possible if you have the child’s seal, right?


There are two types of signing, which are signature and registration.

When registering, it is possible to have a substitute do it for you, however, most cases will need a signature from the subject.

Each persons signature differs from one another, so even if you try to copy someone’s signature, it will get busted in no time.

And so, seals are more trustworthy because less people try to forge or steal it.

The Role of the Seal

sign in Japan

During a very important contract, a signature stamp is used. However, for a minor contract, writing your name and stamping with a regular seal is fine.

In both cases, you must be sure that you agree on all the terms and agreement before stamping the seal!

A contract that uses a seal is a contract with strong declaration of intention and a substitute is not considerable.


While a seal is a very convenient tool to seal an agreement, its use is very strict and a substitute is never considerable.

Both the seal and signature has their own advantages and disadvantages, however, Japanese people prefer the convenience and the strong indication of one’s intention that the seal has and so they plan to keep on using this instead of signatures.

A contract where both parties confirm each other’s terms and agreements before stamping the seal is truly a Japanese-like manner!