Custom Master Rank Certificate

Martial Arts certificates can be a work of art and a source of inspiration in addition to being a method of documenting student and instructor progress.

At Takase Studios we take great care in working with you on both the translation and layout to create a custom master certificate that is just right for your school. We provide the individual attention and work directly with you to create just the right certificate.


Once you are completely satisfied with the sample design, Master Japanese Calligrapher Eri Takase will create the master certificate and a separate sheet with matching kyuu and dan ranks. This hand-lettered master certificate along with the matching sheet of ranks will be mailed to you and so there are no other charges.


Standard Certificate Layout

Shown above is a standard certificate layout. As is customary with Japanese, the certificate begins on the right with the lines written vertically. The certificate is then read from right to left.

A) Certificate. This is commonly either ninteisho as shown here or simply sho. Both mean Certificate.
B) School Seal. This is the location for the school seal. The school seal is always square and formal using the tensho or seal script.
C) Student Name. On the master certificate, this area is left blank for the instructor to fill in the student’s name.
D) Rank. This area is reserved for the rank being awarded. At Takase Studios we provide a separate sheet in a matching font a list of all the dan and kyuu ranks.
E) Award Text. Typically this follows a pattern of “This certifies that the person on the right has satisfied all of the requirements MARTIAL ARTS STYLE/SCHOOL for the specified rank.”
F) Date. Dates may be entered in English numbers. Here the date is shown completely in kanji.
G) Issuing Authority. Depending on the situation this may show only the school name or a second line may be used to show the parent association.
H) Instructor (s). Typically one or more instructors, their title, and seal are placed in this final area on the left.

Custom Layouts Welcome 

Japanese certificates are well defined and have a long tradition. This guides both the wording, the border, and the layout. While this is appropriate in many cases, each certificate is an individual work and has particular requirements that must be met.


Nishiyama 10th Dan Certificate by Eri Takase

Custom 10th Dan Certificate by Master Eri Takase

In some cases, English needs to be added to the certificate. Unfortunately, Japanese Calligraphy and English calligraphy are very different. In these circumstances, we recommend working with the copy company to include a suitable font and layout for the English.

Issues involved in translating names to Japanese are discussed in these reproductions of Master Takase’s column in Martial Arts Insider Magazine: How To Write Names in Japanese

We do provide two sizes of pre-printed golden phoenix blank certificate paper. However, if you have your own border or paper this is perfectly fine and we would just need to know the inside dimension for the Japanese text.

To create the master certificate, we use an interactive process where we send you samples of the translation, layout, and fonts and based on your feedback make adjustments as necessary. This way you have complete control over the certificate design and you will know exactly what the certificate says and how it will look.

All you need to begin is to place the order and generally let us know the following (refer to sample above):

E) Award Text
E) Martial Art Style
G) Issuing Authority or Association
G) School Name
H) Instructors/School Founder and formal titles

That is it. We would then work with you on the translation of the elements and begin with samples of how the certificate might look. We would continue this until the certificate is just right and based on the final sample we create the final master certificate which is mailed to you along with the kyuu and dan ranks.

TSC001_small16 1/2″W x 11 3/4″H
(other size available)


“I received the certificate package yesterday. Everything arrived in perfect condition, your packing was excellent. I am thrilled with everything! You did a great job and I am completely satisfied. Your calligraphy is true art and I am certain all my students will be able to appreciate their rank certificates in that way. The extras you included will be very helpful, thanks for being so thoughtful.”

Robert Bessler, Shidoshi
West Michigan Budokan
Kalamazoo, Michigan