47Ronin Watch Strap's Logo: 4000 years of Japanese Traditional Stamp Craving

47Ronin Watch Straps

When you look at 47Ronin's logo, I am sure you see "47" but do you know that below it is "浪人" (Ronin) the Kanji character in its ancient Chinese font? This logo comes  from a handcrafted stamp (hanko), carved out from wood, a master piece by the hands of a Japanese craftsman in Kagoshima, Japan. 

 

47Ronin Watch Straps

47Ronin logo stamps comes in a very nice box.

Sandwiched between nondescript shops in the city of Kagoshima, it might be difficult to spot the humble shop front of 永長印房 (Nagaosa Printing), a specialty stamp carving business.

47Ronin Watch Straps

A photo of Nagaosa-san and I in front of his shop in Kagoshima.

While on a business trip to Kagoshima to meet travel industry experts to discuss plans to promote Kagoshima travels in Singapore, I visited Nagaosa Printing. The shop owner who greeted me was an elderly man in his seventies. Beyond his wrinkles and slight frame, Nagaosa-san was still bright and energetic.

47Ronin Watch Straps

Some very elaborated hand-carved stamps on display inside the shop.

47Ronin Watch Straps

Apparently, Nagaosa-san’s family has been in this line of business for many years and Nagaosa-san himself is a 3rd generation stamp carver. As personal stamps (or hanko) are used to verify official documents and are easily replicable, his family was tasked by government bodies in Kagoshima to check the authenticity of stamps on documents. This is certainly telling of Nagaosa Printing’s expertise! Unfortunately, Nagaosa-san will also be the last generation of stamp carvers in his family as there will not be anyone else who will continue this craft.

47Ronin Watch Straps

Nagaosa-san starts to design the stamp by drafting out Kanji characters in their ancient fonts using brush and ink.

47Ronin Watch Straps

I had a hard time wondering which design to choose from. LOL

In an age of rapid technological transformation, stamps are considered archaic and impractical, only existing for cultural value. Although personal seals or hanko are still used for signing official documents (e.g. opening a bank account, law documents, etc…), this practice is soon to be overhauled.

47Ronin Watch Straps

Nagaosa-san shows me this very very old booklet full of records of his company and the hanko industry's history, all the way to his grandfather's era.

For instance, in 2016, MUFG announced that online processes put in place will eradicate the use of hanko. The creeping up of digitalisation inevitably demands such practices to be abolished in favour of a paperless society. In such a society, the sunset industries of stamp carving, along with other traditional Japanese practices like kimono weaving, will probably exist only for cultural preservation and tourism novelties.

47Ronin Watch Straps

This is an old group photo fo all the stamp crafters in the whole of Kyushu area.

The stylised characters drawn up by Nagaosa-san captured exactly what 47Ronin was about – trendsetting, unique and one-of-a-kind. This was a feat done by someone with years and years of practice and expertise.

47Ronin Watch Straps

Nagaosa-san rolls up his sleeve and starts to work. One hand is securing the the wood block firmly while the other hand holds the carving knife, dancing gracefully over the wood block.

47Ronin Watch Straps

The carving knives and tools.

47Ronin Watch Straps
An old newspaper cutting of Nagaosa-san's interview in 1990, that is 29 years ago.
47Ronin Watch Straps
Pieces of wood blocks for hanko stamps, suitable to bank use, it says.

47Ronin Watch Straps

There are also hanko stamps made from exotic animal bones and horns. 

47Ronin Watch Straps

These high class black hanko stamps are made from buffalo horns. 

47Ronin Watch Straps

Hanko stamp carving is a creative craft which you can simply have any design, font, and shapes on a little piece of wood. 

47Ronin Watch Straps

So, this is how 47Ronin Watch Strap's logo came about. 47Ronin logo is unique, one of its kind in this world, created by generations of dedicated craftsmen, with centuries of combined skill, knowledge, and creativity. More importantly, it is created with the craftsmen's spirit, with the end customer in mind, and devotion in providing a perfect piece of craft to the user. 

All these craftsman spirit and preservation of tradition are also very much embraced by us at 47Ronin Watch Straps.

 47Ronin Watch Straps

If you are interested in having a personal hanko stamp for yourself, or to create a unique logo for your brand, do reach out to us and we can provide you a unique piece from Nagaosa Printing from Kagoshima, Japan. (contact hi@47ronin.co)

 

47Ronin 浪人 Watch Straps are designed & handcrafted piece by piece with exotic materials from various part of Japan, such as leather, Kimono fabric, Japanese print, and interesting materials.

Interested in our watch straps? 

Feel free to contact us for any enquiry at: hi@47ronin.co 

Show us some love on Instagram @47ronin_watchstraps 

Visit our website for more information and regular updates on new releases

 

 

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