How about making a stamped impression of it so we can read it?
徳重 (とくえ) Tokue [surname]
徳重 (とくしげ) Tokushige [place, surname]
徳重 (とくじゅう) Tokujuu [surname, given name]
徳重 (のりえ) Norie [female given name]
徳重 (のりしげ) Norishige [surname, given name]
looks like a Signature stamp... The chinese have these. After signing a document it is stamped.
So it is in the old chinese culture.
Wife is chinese. And my many trips to china as been an education.
Just my thoughts.
I specialize in M1 carbines and Lugers.
this is a hanko, which is used as an official signature on any official documents in Japan. After my father-in-law passed away, his secretary, who was entrusted with his hanko, and several of his executives used his hanko to embezzle funds from his estate.
LIFE'S LOSERS NEVER LEARN FROM THE ERROR OF THEIR WAYS.
I had a hanko myself when I worked in Japan for a few years. It was one of the last things I turned in to my employer before leaving the country so they could close out accounts, etc.
Bob, unfortunately your father-in-law's experience is an all too common thing in Japan. Seems that family members steal the money quite often. Fortunately it didn't happen to my wife because her father divested and divided everything while he was still alive. Oooooo..... stories I've heard! The division of family fortunes can be extremely bitter -- so much so, my father-in-law refused to participate when his mother died, and said his siblings etc could have the money. Of course his wife was not too understanding. Funny they don't use lawyers much over there.
Daikoku-Ten, the patron saint of Farmers, Wealth, Food, and Good Fortune.