The alternative for seals, the hand written monograms, has been passed down since the Heian era. The hand written monograms developed while this became one of Japan’s originals and is also one of the only unique cultures that Japan is proud of
Currently, the Japanese Cabinet minister will use this to sign cabinet meeting settlements. Politicians, people in the financial world and government services love this refined taste of art.
More specifically, the Prime Minister, Diet members, prefectural governors, municipal governors, legislators, including various ministries and agencies,self defense forces, upper air executives in various organizations, religious circles, educational circles, and people involved in the art,culture and tradition world, such as the head school of tea and flower arrangement, enterprises, corporation representatives, executives, doctors, lawyers, accountants and other first class people widely use this seal.
It is said Kao originally began when the Taiho Rule was established in the year 701. The manner for signing official documents are recorded.
At the signing ceremony it was required to write your official rank, position, surname and name.
What is noticed here is the handwriting for official ranks, positions and surnames were written differently from first names. First names were carefully written only by the person himself / herself using square style of printed typeface.
This type of signature will change to Kaisho font to Sousho font over time and eventually will be called “kao.”
From the middle of the Heian era, soshotai font personal signatures became popular so that signatures could not be forged. This is the beginning of “kao.” At the beginning of the Edo period “kao” was used for public documents and private documents. Here, we will introduce “kao” representing each era.