A sword-shaped creeping woodsorrel leaf on a circle.
This is how woodsorrel leaf look like.
My family tombstone in Japan.
『丸に剣かたばみ文』が描かれた布地/A sword-shaped creeping woodsorrel leaf on a circle printed on fabric
【COLOUR】Dark navy, white
ENGLISH: Meaning & history of MARUNI KEN KATABAM (A sword-shaped creeping woodsorrel leaf on a circle)
In Japanese, this family crest is called, ‘Maruni ken katabami’.
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
katabamistyle 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
katabamihave 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 theSource: https://history.stackexchange.com/questions/14178/meaning-of-samurai-crest-symbol
marunikatabami, other variations exist for the
katabamicrest. This includes the
kenkatabami(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.
Variation of this pattern
katabami crest: used by clans including the Nitta, the Hida, the Nakajō, the Taga, the Aki Fukuhara, the Sakai, the Shinshi, the Odachi, the
Okada, and the
the seven flowered
nanatsu katabami crest: used by the Chōsokabe clan.