Dojang (도장) is the korean word for ‘personal seal’. It is usually made of wood, stone or other hard materials. It serves as a form of identification and as a valid signature. In the past, only the seals were used in signing important documents. Though hand signatures are accepted today, seals are considered more formal.
My husband had two dojangs -one made of jade stone (with his name in Hanja, Chinese characters) and the cheaper one made of wood (with his name in Hangeul). Sad to say,the jade dojang has been misplaced. I don’t have any idea where the jade dojang is right now. Andy forgets and misplaces many things! Urgh!
Koreans are still practising the use of dojang up to this day because… uhmmm they’ve been used to it for like a hundred years? From the time of kings and queens..hehe!^_^
I had my dojang when I arrived in Korea few years ago. I was so excited to have one. I chose the “kikay” style with flower design.
Traditionally, dojangs were hand carved, more tedious than typing the characters in the computer. Thanks to the one who invented the engraving machine, ajushi didn’t have a hard time making my dojang.^.^
Ajushi let me choose the font style to be used in my dojang.
My name in Hangeul : 조라니 인 (Jolani-in)
The “인” (in) there means “seal”.
To officially use your dojang, go to your district (gu) office and register it. You have to fill out the necessary form and you’ll be given a certificate of seal registration (인감증명서). If you don’t register your dojang in your local district office, it is merely a novelty item. 🙂
The registered dojang is called ‘ingam'(인감). Make sure to keep your ingam in a safe place. I mean, guard it with your life because anyone who is in physical possession of the ingam can use it even in your absence. So I can go out and buy a real estate property in Andy’s name or sell his properties without him knowing. LOL.
A dojang can also be a good souvenir to bring home. You can find them almost everywhere. Get one for yourselves when you visit Korea. 🙂