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Is there a Japanese equvalent of "cursive" writing?

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Is there a Japanese equvalent of "cursive" writing?

Postby Snowflake » Thu 04.24.2008 12:53 pm

In English (and other alphabet-based, I suppose), we have "printing" (writing in block letters, each letter standing on its own, grouped together to form words) and "cursive" writing (each letter in a word flows seamlessly into its neighbor). When we "sign" documents, we generally use cursive.

I was wondering, then, if there is some equivalent to "cursive" when writing Japanese? How does one "sign" a check or legal document?
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Re: Is there a Japanese equvalent of "cursive" writing?

Postby richvh » Thu 04.24.2008 12:57 pm

Snowflake wrote:I was wondering, then, if there is some equivalent to "cursive" when writing Japanese?

Yes. There are semi-cursive and cursive styles.

How does one "sign" a check or legal document?

Usually with a hanko (official seal.)
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Re: Is there a Japanese equvalent of "cursive" writing?

Postby Snowflake » Thu 04.24.2008 8:25 pm

Thank you, Richvhさん!

Based on your answers, I did a little more digging. From what I read, it seems that good penmanship is still valued in Japan, even now when most people "write" electronically most of the time. One of my goals is to make sure my Japanese writing is proper, legible and something to be proud of.

The hanko information was interesting, too. I found a few articles on them, including a place to order them (it included pictures and prices!). Of particular interest was an article I read regarding how one should consider safeguarding one's hanko. I imagine it would be like taking care not to write your PIN on the back of your debit card.

Do people generally carry their hankos (I hope that is the proper plural) with them everywhere, in case they have to sign something like a credit card slip? Or is merely writing one's name in one's everyday kanji/katakana handwriting usually sufficient for all except big things (contracts, mortgage documents, etc.)?
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Re: Is there a Japanese equvalent of "cursive" writing?

Postby Harisenbon » Thu 04.24.2008 11:09 pm

Snowflake wrote:Thank you, Richvhさん!
Do people generally carry their hankos (I hope that is the proper plural) with them everywhere, in case they have to sign something like a credit card slip? Or is merely writing one's name in one's everyday kanji/katakana handwriting usually sufficient for all except big things (contracts, mortgage documents, etc.)?


A signature (in kanji) is often used in place of a hanko for most smalltime transactions such as credit card receipts because of the danger of carrying around and losing (or having stolen) your hanko.

However, anything semi-official such as public business, banking, insurance, etc requires a hanko, and cannot be signed off with a signature. In some cases you must also use a officially registered hanko in order to process certain documents (buying a car and insurance to name a couple).
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Re: Is there a Japanese equvalent of "cursive" writing?

Postby Snowflake » Fri 04.25.2008 9:47 am

Thank you for the additional information, Harisenbonさん!
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