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MARUNI-KENKATABAMI (A sword-shaped creeping woodsorrel leaf on a circle)/丸に剣かたばみ

Meaning of family crests/家紋の意味

⬆︎Right-middle pattern next to Vegemite/オーストラリア名物のベジマイトの右に位置するデザインです


⬆︎A sword-shaped creeping woodsorrel leaf on a circle/丸に剣かたばみ文


⬆︎My family tombstone in Japan/川畑家の墓石です


⬆︎Woodsorrel leaf/カタバミの葉(出典:










Marunikenkatabami/A sword-shaped creeping woodsorrel leaf on a circle



In Japanese, this family crest is called, ‘Marunikenkatabami’.

Literal meaning of ‘Marumi Ken Katabami’ is ‘A sword-shaped creeping woodsorrel leaf on a circle’ in Japanese.

(…and this is my own family crest!)


This crest is called a marunikatabami (丸に片喰 or 丸に酢漿草). The design is an encircled creeping woodsorrel flower. As such it is considered a variation of the more primary, and popular, katabami (片喰) crest, which is the same minus the circular border.

The creeping woodsorrel grows extremely well as a wild weed; it is known for being difficult to uproot once it starts growing. The katabami style crests originated from taking this property as a symbol for “propagating the family with many offsprings“. Medieval Japan (and today too) had a very strong belief in continuing the family line; thus, it is easy to imagine why this became a popular design of crests. Later on, the three leaves of the katabami have also been interpreted as symbolising mercy, wisdom and virtue.

Because there was no limitations on how a clan chose their crests, the popular ones are shared by a great number of different families. Sometimes this happens when several clans descended from the same lineage; but often it is the result of nothing more than people picking the same design. This led to variations of the base design being adopted; both by clans wishing to make theirs more unique, as well as by individual members or branches of the same clan, in order to mark internal differences.

Apart from the marunikatabami, other variations exist for the katabami crest. This includes thekenkatabami (剣片喰), which adds “leaves” to the flower indicating swords for a more military flavour, and the nanatsukatabami (七つ片喰), famously used by the Chōsokabe clans. Collectively the Katabami style crests are one of the five main crests of feudal Japan.


From left to right:

  • the plain katabami crest: used by clans including the Nitta, the Hida, the Nakajō, the Taga, the Aki Fukuhara, the Sakai, the Shinshi, the Odachi, the Wada, the Kido, the Nakazawa, the Okada, and the Hosokawa Reizei.
  • the sword ken katabami crest:, used by clans including the Ukita, the Mimura, the Toshima, the Yamada, the Utanokami Sakai, the Yaku, and the Kayama.
  • the circled maru ni katabami crest: used by clans including the Naruse, the Hirose, the Adachi, the Itabe Okano, the Chimura, the Irie, the Tōdo, and the Morikawa
  • the circled sword maru ni ken katabami crest: used by clans including the Nakamura, the Hirano, the Shibuya
  • the seven flowered nanatsu katabami crest: used by the Chōsokabe clan.



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