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
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.
I've seen some other Usui lineage masters who 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
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, we suggest the following