Monthly Archives: August 2013

Azami Press – Custom Martial Arts Certificates, Seals, and Logos

Custom Martial Arts Certificates, Seals, and Logos

Hello! My name is Scott Kays, and I’m the founder of Azami Press, a design and print service that provides traditional Japanese certificate services for martial arts practitioners and instructors.

As a martial artist for the last twenty years, I have a very close connection to this field and understood on a very personal level the significance of commemorating milestone events in your students’ training. If you would like to issue your students traditionally styled diplomas and certificates, we can help.

We also specialize in the design of logos and Japanese seals, as well as short phrase translation and transliteration (in the case of foreign names) into Japanese.

We are personally endorsed by Yokota Kousaku Sensei, head of the Asai Shotokan Association International, and honored to be the exclusive supplier of seals and certificates for his organization. We also work in collaboration with Marcus Hinschberger of and Tōkon uniforms.

In 2008, after having studied the martial arts for 15 years, I was honored to open my own traditional Japanese dōjō and begin taking on my own students. When it came time to start issuing some of them certificates, I felt it was important to do so by commissioning documents rendered in a traditional Japanese style. I also wanted something of a high standard of quality as these certificates were intended to commemorate milestones that were very important to my students and to me.

What I found was that I basically had two options: (1) commission each certificate to be individually hand-brushed by a Japanese calligrapher or (2) purchase generic certificates in larger quantities with varying levels of quality. In my mind, the former choice would give me the quality and personal touch I was looking for but just would not fit realistically within the budget of my small school, and the latter choice was too generic for my taste and not worth the risk of ending up with something of inferior quality. That last part is very important. You would be surprised what’s out there. I recently had a native Japanese customer tell me that he was once training in a dōjō where he noticed a Japanese/English certificate hanging on the wall. It caught his eye because the Japanese portion of the document was nothing more than text copied from a Japanese beer advertisement! Imagine finding out that this was the text on your black belt diploma!

So, being disappointed with the available options but not willing to accept defeat, I decided to do what I do best: create the better option myself. I knew what I wanted and had the knowledge to make it happen, so why not? This resulted in my creating individual traditional Japanese certificates for my students as they moved through the ranks and eventually caught the attention of a fellow martial arts instructor who is a good friend of mine.

This friend asked if I might consider creating a design for him. Not one to turn down a challenge, I accepted and ended up creating something that he was very pleased with. When he saw the finished product, he made a comment that took me in a whole different direction. He said, “You know, I bet there are a lot of other instructors out there who are looking for this type of service. There’s obviously a need out there.”

So, I decided to give it a shot. I established a business plan, set up a website, and Azami Press was born!

That friend of mine was absolutely right! Our growing customer base proves on a daily basis that there is definitely a need out there for this type of service, and as we continue to offer a quality product with a high degree of customization at an affordable price, we continue to meet that need.

When you place an order with Azami Press, your project will be handled from start to finish by people who are very knowledgeable in the fields of both linguistics and martial arts. This is an indispensable combination with regard to this particular type of printing project. You may be able to find an online or local print shop who can print certificates, but will they be able to typeset them in Japanese? Will they know the traditional conventions of Japanese certificates? Will they know the difference between the various styles of writing and what is appropriate for a given application? How about traditionally styled seals? Will they know how to compose them properly or how to use the archaic fonts so commonly seen on these seals, which are difficult to read even for native Japanese speakers? How about the subset of Japanese terminology that is really only used in the specific field of the martial arts?

A print shop that can boast this specific combination of skill sets is truly unique indeed. Unfortunately, this combination is also absolutely necessary in order to ensure that this particular kind of project gets done right. We at Azami Press know graphic design, printing, linguistics, and the martial arts. We possess all of the skills necessary to produce exactly what you’re looking for in a traditionally styled Japanese certificate, seal, or logo.

To top it all off, Azami Press can also come through on all of the claims mentioned above even if Spanish is your native language (or that of your students). We are just as competent in Spanish as we are in English, and we hold ourselves to the highest of linguistic standards.

Additionally, we operate in a small business environment, which means that not only will you be speaking and/or corresponding with real people instead of an automated service, you will actually be in direct communication with the very people who are personally handling the administration and/or design of your project.

Azami Press was set up with the specific goal of servicing those martial arts schools and organizations that would like to issue traditional Japanese certificates sealed with traditional Japanese seals but who lack the large budget that is necessary to pay a professional calligrapher to hand-brush each certificate or hand-carve every seal. This is not to detract from the incredible craftsmanship possessed by calligraphers and other artists. However, the reality is that a lot of small martial arts schools and organizations cannot afford to pay for such a labor-intensive skill every time they need to issue a document.

We use several fonts that simulate the calligrapher’s brush rather than having each project crafted by hand. We make no claims that this is in any way superior to a hand-brushed certificate, only that it still produces a very aesthetically appealing, traditionally styled document or seal but without the hefty price tag.

The most important thing to remember is that this is your project, and our goal is to produce a finished product that looks the way you want it to look. We will answer your questions and most likely offer advice and suggestions along the way in case you’re curious about what would make your project look and feel more traditional. However, since these documents and seals will most likely serve to represent your school and to certify, validate, and/or commemorate a very special point in your students’ training, this should ultimately be something with which you are satisfied.

Please, do not hesitate to contact us with any questions that you might have.

We offer the following services with more to follow in the near future. Please, click on the heading for each category to view more detailed information on each service.



Fully individualized certificate: $30.00

Printed custom template: $30.00

Electronic custom template: $100.00

Additional copies of printed custom template: $6.00 each (bulk discounts apply)

Phoenix border blank (text weight): $5.00 per sheet (bulk discounts apply)

Phoenix border blank (cover stock): $6.00 per sheet (bulk discounts apply)



Rubber seal (hanko or wariin): $50.00 (up to 2½”x2½” for hanko and ¾”x2¼” for wariin)

Rubber seal (daihyōshain): $100.00 (up to 2½” diameter for daihyōshain)

Electronic seal (hanko or wariin): $25.00

Electronic seal (daihyōshain): $50.00

Red ink tin (paste-style ink): Price varies by size

Red ink pad (liquid-style ink): Price varies by size



Vertical retractable vinyl banner: $250.00
Logo Design

Full logo design: $100.00 (approx.)
Logo revision or touch-up: $60.00 (approx.)

Short Phrase Translation: $20.00
Name Transliteration: $10.00


Other Services

We offer other services, as well, such as screen printed T-shirts and embroidered patches. Pretty much any design we do on paper or on a stamp can also be screen printed or embroidered. If you're interested in T-shirts, patches, or any other custom ideas you may have, don't hesitate to contact us. We can probably work with you to produce exactly what you're looking for.