Tag Archives: Japanese family crest

三つ巴

14 Aug

Do you know the Chinese yin-yang symbol?

Chinese yin-yang

Chinese yin-yang

It’s meant to symbolize how opposites complete everything.

Life and death. Male and female. Good and evil. And so on.

Many people in the West think that that symbol is used in all of Asia.

But it’s Chinese.

Other Asian countries have similar ones, though.

In Korea, they use a similar symbol but without the two contrasting colored dots. And their symbol is usually red and blue.korean-yin_yang

This symbol is on the Korean flag.

Flag of South Korea.

Flag of South Korea.

In Japan, the closest symbol to these is the 「三つ巴」 (“Mitsudomoe“).

Japanese 三つ巴

Japanese 三つ巴

There’s also a less-common version with two tomoe like the Chinese and Korean ones above…but it’s still uniquely Japanese. It’s called 「二つ巴 (“Futatsudomoe“):

Japanese 二つ巴

Japanese 二つ巴

In Japan, the mitsudomoe is more common than the futatsudomoe. It’s often seen on 提灯 (Japanese paper lanterns) and 太鼓 (Taiko drums).

I took this photo of a 三つ巴 on a 提灯 (paper lantern) with my cell-phone.

I took this photo of a 三つ巴 on a 提灯 (paper lantern) with my cell-phone.

Japanese 太鼓 drum

Japanese 太鼓 drum

It also can be seen as a 家紋 (Japanese family crest).

Here are a few common 家紋 (Japanese family crests)…the mitsudomoe is amongst them:

家紋

家紋

Japanese appreciate simple and less-flashy designs. So, 家紋 (Japanese family crests) are much simpler than colorful European family crests.

A European family crest

A European family crest

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