Design Office in Whitianga, New Zealand

Structure of Kamon

It is common for families of the same surname to inherit the same kamon. However, as descendants increased, it became necessary to distinguish them. For that reason, people began to distinguish between kamons, add frame, partly remodeling and dividing them. There are cases where one kamon creates 60 changes so much.


付加(Fuka) means addition


[ 輪(Wa) means ring ]

太輪(Futowa), 丸輪(Maruwa), 中輪(Nakawa), 細輪(Hosowa), 糸輪(Itowa), 毛輪(Kewa), 二重輪(Nijyuwa), 三重輪(Sanjyuwa), 子持ち輪(Komochiwa), 石持ち(Kokumochi), 州浜輪(Suhamawa), 菊輪(Kikuwa), 藤輪(Fujiwa), 源氏輪(Genjiwa), 竹輪(Takewa), 鐶輪(Kanwa), etc.


[ 角(Kaku) means sharp edges ]

平角(Hirakaku), 隅立て角(Sumitatekaku), 垂れ角(Tarekaku), 隅切り角(Sumikirikaku), 撫で角(Nadekaku), 隅入り角(Sumiirikaku), 雁木角(Gangikaku), 鉄砲角(Teppokaku), 石持ち隅立て角(Kokumochisumitatekjaku), 六角(Rokkaku), 八角(Hakkaku), 寄せ角(Yosekaku), 組み合い角(Kumiaikaku), etc.


改造(Kaizo) means reorganization


[ 陰陽(Inyo) means yin and yang ]

The manner in which kamons are drawn changes, and the Yin and the Yang are distinguished.


[ 裏表(Uraomote) means inside out ]

The viewpoint of seeing the plants are changed. In the case of flowers, the kamons drawn as seen from the back have calyxes attached to the flowers.


[ 単複(Tanpuku) means singular and plural ]

When drawing petals, it usually draws “single”, but in some cases it draws “double”.


[ 鬼(Oni) means…There is not meaning to match in English. ]

Kamon with sharp lines of leaves and flowers.


[ 画風の模倣 means imitation of style ]

There sre designs of kamon imitating the style of a famous painter 尾形光琳(Ogata Kōrin) who was active in the early 1700s.


[ 観点の変化 means change in perspective ]

It is a design that I saw the motif from directly beside and directly in front.


[ 上下(Jyoge) means top and bottom ]

The shape of motif is inverted upside down. They are called “Agari = rising”, “Sagari = falling”. Ex: 上がり藤(Agari-fuji), 下がり藤(Sagari-fuji) etc.


[ 角度の変化 means change in angle ]

Squares crest placed horizontally is called a “平(Hira)”. It is call it a “寄せ掛け(Yosekake)” shape when it is slightly inclined, and It is called a “隅立て(Sumitate)” when it is tilted to 45 degrees.


[ 折り(Ore)・捻じ(Neji) means Fold, twist ]

The folded shape of a leaf or wing is called “折り(Ori)” or “折れ(Ore)”. leaf or petals are twisted and bent shape is called “捻じ(Neji)”.


[ 結び(Musubi) means knot ]

The one drawn in a shape that ties motif is called “結び(Musubi)”.


[ 別の紋の形に真似る means imitate the shape of another motif ]

There are many kinds of this kamon. Kamon to be imitated is 桐(Kiri -paulownia- ), 巴(Tomoe), 蔓(Tsuta -vines- ), 蝶(Chō -butterfly- ), 九曜(Kuyō), 菱(Hishi), 片喰(Katabami), 車(Kuruma-car-), 杏葉(Icyo -ginkgo- ), 浮線綾(Fusenryō), etc.


合成(Gousei) means combining

There are kamons that Increasing the number without changing the shape of the motif and kamons that made by combining with other kamons.


[ 対い(Mukai) means face to face ]

“対い -Mukai- ” is the kamon where two identical motifs face each other. There are kamons called “向かい -Mukai- “, where one motif faces the front. The reading is the same but the kanji (Chinese character) is different.


[ 抱き(Daki) means hug ]

Two isomorphic motifs are called “抱き(Daki)=hug” in the form of hugging each other by crossing at the bottom.


[ 並び(Narabi) means line ]

Two or more isomorphic motifs are lined up is called “並び(Narabi)”. Ex: 並び矢(Narabi-ya), 並び鷹の羽(Narabi-takanoha), 並び柏(Narabi-kashiwa), etc. However, only in the case of 杉(Sugi)=cedar, it is called “二本杉(Nihonsugi)”


[ 違い(Chigai) means difference ]

The kamon where the motifs intersects diagonally at the center is called ” 違い(Chigai) “. In the case of kamon of “鷹の羽(Takanoha) =falcon wing”, there is a shape with the right on the top and the shape with the left on the top.


[ 重ね(Kasane) means overlap ]

Overlapping a part of the same motifs is called “重ね(Kasane)”.


[ 盛り(Mori) means putting ]

Three identical motifs are called “盛り(Mori)” in the shape of a letter of 品.


[ 寄せ(Yose)・離れ(Hanare) means gather, separate ]

The shape that gathers three identical motifs towards the center is called “寄せ(Yose)”, and the shape which pulls outwards to the contrary is called “離れ(Hanare)”.


[ 頭合わせ(Atamaawase)・尻合わせ(Shiriawase) means head-to-head, back-to-back ]

The shape that gathers heads of three identical motifs towards the center is called “頭合わせ(Atama-awase)”, and shape that gathers buttocks of three identical motifs towards the center is called “尻合わせ(Shiri-awase)”.


[ 追い(Oi) means chase ]

Two or more isomorphic motifs follow each other with their heads and tails in contact, and those that are rounded are called “追い(Oi)”.


[ 持ち合い(Mochiai) means…There is not meaning to match in English. ]

Two or more isomorphic motifs are combined and the form shared a part of them is called “持ち合い(Mochiai)”.


[ 繋ぎ(Tsunagi) means connection ]

A form that connects three or more isomorphic motifs is called a “繋ぎ(Tsunagi)”.


[ 子持ち(Komochi)・入れ子(Ireko) Komochi means to have children, Ireko means nesting ]

A large motif wraps a small motif of the same shape, or a small motif snuggles up to a large motif is called “child,” and in the case of a kamon of 枡(masu) is called “入れ子(Ireko)”.


[ 他の紋との組み合わせ means combination with other kamons ]

A kamon made by combining different motifs is called a “合成紋(Goseimon)”.


分割(Bunkatsu) means disaggregation

[ 割り(Wari) means split ]

A motif is divided and the kamon made by repositioning the part is called “割り(Wari)”. There are them from “division into two” to “division into eight”.

省略(Syoryaku) means abbreviation

A kamon of omitting and using part of 合成紋(Goseimon) originally using two or more motifs.


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