Japanese Family Crests – Kamon

  • Family crests used to be very important in Japan.
  • Each clan had a family crest of its own and these crests were widely displayed on war flags, armors, helmets, swords, kimonos, roof tiles, curtains and even on the sidelines of the tatami flooring.
  • Most family crests had different colors that influenced the color choice of the samurai armors.
  • Initially only the samurai clans had a family crest. During the late Edo period almost every large family had a family crest that must be worn on the right and left sides of the kimono.
  • The crest that looks like 3 swirls, mitsudomoe, is the common crest in Japan. It is used on the roof tiles of shinto temples , on taiko drums and on some samurai armors. The 3 commas or 3 swirls symbolize 3 separate entities: man, earth, god. It is also used to represent Hachiman, the shinto war god.
  • Today some of the old family crests are reflected on famous company logos such as the Mitsubishi logo which has some roots in the founding family’s crest.

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