Explained: How a traditional practice is coming in the way of Japan’s Covid response

News: In Japan, a centuries-old ritual called “Hanko” is being blamed for impeding social distancing efforts in tackling the novel coronavirus pandemic.


  • Hanko:It is a personal stamp used in Japan that is equivalent to a signature in other countries and is an essential part of several transactions.
  • Origin: The use of this traditional stamp can be traced back to almost two millennia when an emperor from China’s Han dynasty gave a solid gold stamp to an envoy from Japan in the year 57 AD.
  • Concerns: Japan has been aggressively promoting a work-from-home policy.However, centuries-old practice is causing employees to go to their workplace as companies prefer to keep their registered stamp at the office premises for security reasons.