After 1,800 years of use by select individuals, jitsuin finally came into general use throughout Japanese society about 1870.
For personal use, there are at least four kinds of seals. In order from most formal/official to least, they are: jitsuin, ginkō-in, mitome-in, and gagō-in.
A jitsuin is an officially registered seal. A registered seal is needed to conduct business and other important or legally binding events. A jitsuin is used when purchasing a vehicle, marrying, purchasing land, and so on.
The size, shape, material, decoration, ink color and lettering style of jitsuin are closely regulated by law. Rules governing jitsuin design are so stringent and each design so unique that the vast majority of people entrust the creation of their jitsuin to a professional, paying upward of $20 and more often closer to $100, and will use it for decades. People desirous of opening a new chapter in their lives—say, following a divorce, death of a spouse, a long streak of bad luck, or a change in career—will often have a new jitsuin made.