View Full Version : Rank Certificates

9th September 2002, 15:07
I have recently undertaken the task of creating a new promotion certificate for my fellow students in my Dojo. I would like the certificate to be CORRECTLY written in Japanese and somewhat traditional.
I have done some research and come up with unfortunately, very few samples.

My question to all the instructors out there is where did your Japanese language certificates come from? Do you have any suggestions for me on how I could get the correct japanese Kanji for a ranking certificate? We have a very old one that is written in Kanji, however, I can barely make it out.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

9th September 2002, 15:44
Maybe the moderators should move me to the supplies section. Sorry If I posted in the wrong area. (That's what you get for posting beofre you read!!)

Joseph Svinth
10th September 2002, 07:14
"Language" might be the place to ask, actually.

That said, unless you read kanji yourself, a problem with using kanji on a certificate or a t-shirt is that you have to trust the person writing it. It is possible, after all, that you end up with the kanji equivalents of http://www.qsl.net/ah6hy/japlish.html . I've seen some certificates like this, so I am not being at all facetious.

A secondary problem is the quality of the calligraphy itself. Basically, there is legible handwriting, and then there is calligraphy. Ideally, you should have calligraphy. Getting it, however, is not necessarily easy, especially if you don't live near communities with large Asian populations or have friends.

If you want to use kanji, then my recommendation is to only use kanji that you KNOW says what you think it says. Keep it simple, too; often less is more.

Anyway, let's say you do Goju Ryu karate. Somewhere, you beg, borrow, or steal attractive kanji reading "Goju Ryu karate." It's easily verified, and so there is no way that you'll say something with a double entendre or other unintended meaning. You scan this kanji into your computer, and then you use it as a graphic on one side of your certificate. (Insert file in Word works just fine.) Everything else on the certificate is then written in English, Spanish, French, or whatever.

In the body of the certificate, something I used to do was find a short epigram that was relevant for the person being promoted. Examples I actually used included:

1. It isn't being fast, it's whether or not you're willing. -- Glendon Swarthout, _The Shootist_

2. More is expected of a [student of the Japanese fighting arts] than of an ordinary person. -- Dave Lowry, _Autumn Lightning_

3. A man's moral fibre and his actions when confronted with difficulties are more important than his failure, or his success, in overcoming those difficulties. -- Christopher McKee, _Edward Preble: A Naval Biography, 1761-1807_


In other words, I collected quotes and then used them to say something that I thought was relevant to that person, at that time. I don't think I ever used the same quote twice.

In addition, once the certificate was made, I went to the store, bought a double matte and a steel-and-glass frame. Certificates look much better matted, and the double matte meant that I could match the inner matte to the belt color to which the student was being promoted. (White outer, green, brown, or black inner. You didn't get certificates for stripes.)

Yes, it represented some additional work on my part, but think about it -- if I think it's important to hand you something to hang on the bathroom wall right next to R. Crump's Keep On Truckin' Man, shouldn't I should be willing to spend $25 and an hour on the computer and running around town to give you something *nice* to hang on the bathroom wall, right next to R. Crump's Keep On Truckin' Man? I think so.

Don Cunningham
10th September 2002, 16:35
I just want to add that I have found some Japanese blank certificates during my last trip to Japan. These are A4 size, thus they are a bit difficult to find frames and you have to be careful when setting your laser printer. However, the pre-printed borders are in the traditional Japanese style.

Pre-printed Blank Japanese Certificates (http://www.ebudostore.com/special.htm#Blank%20Japanese%20Certificate%20Forms)

These are also expensive due to the high-cost of EMS from Japan. For the 10-certificate packs, the postage is more than the cost of the original certificates. The final price with shipping is a little more than $2/certificate. If ordering the six-pack, the price is a more reasonable $1.50 or so per certificate.

10th September 2002, 18:32
The ones we get from the Canadian Kendo Federation don't have any wise sayings or anything. They read (if I recall correctly) from right to left and from top to bottom with the following phrases: "kendo x dan" "name" "has been award this rank on" "date" "Canadian Kendo Federation". In the lower left corner there's a signature and a chop. They're done by hand. I suggest asking around at the local Japanese cultural society for someone to help you out.

Joseph Svinth
10th September 2002, 22:02
Since the question was about finding kanji, presumably these aren't nationally registered certificates. (Most of which are really cheesy, by the way; they don't even use good paper in most cases, which is astonishing considering what they charge.)

Moreover, I was assuming this was for kyu level promotions. After all, unless the registration of grade rather than just membership in the organization is required to compete, I can't think of any good reasons to register kyu-level promotions with a national or international organization.

10th September 2002, 22:28
I didn't mean to imply that he should register with a national org, I was just giving an example of how the certificates are formatted when they are issued by an organisation that does these things right (CKF is run mostly by 1st generation Japanese immigrants). If you follow the general format I layed out and get someone with decent calligraphy to ink it up, you should have a pretty reasonable certificate.

FWIW the CKF ones are on pretty nice paper, are large format and are done by hand in ink. So cheesy they aren't. For cheesy, you should see the default ones, done up by computer in english. The nice ones cost an extra $50.

Don Cunningham
11th September 2002, 15:54
This is exactly how my certificate reads from the Southeastern U.S. Kendo Federation. Simple, to the point, no extras. I like it. On the other hand, my judo licenses from the Kodokan have all kinds of flowery statements about it is in recognition of my hard study and encouragement to continue. It's in both Japanese and English, too. I posted them at the following site:

Kodokan Judo Licenses (http://www.ebudokai.com/gallery/license.htm)

11th September 2002, 18:55
Thanks for the input!
Come to think of it, I think there is a Japanese Books store in Manhattan that I bet I could get someone to help me out. Gotta look into it.

I like the blank certificates from Japan and I was actually thinking of ordering them so I think I'll give it a shot.

12th September 2002, 03:11
You can also try Honda Martial Arts on 30th Street between 6th and 7th. I think it's 6th and 7th. My memory sucks and I was just there today!!! Too much of this :beer:

12th September 2002, 03:34
Most of the Certs I have seen in Japan say something like:

This is to certify that MR. xxxx xxx has show sufficient skill to be awared Rank X in Style YYY.

Hanko of school & teacher.

At a lot of smaller schools in japan they certs are either handwritten, or often ordered at a printer.

Quiet common to get your cert 1~2 month after the test.

I think bassically any Japanese speaker with a bit of MA background could write you a good one.

Hope this helps