Baptiste Tavernier


Kamon Database – Gegyo Figure: Roof gable decoration. 懸魚 A gegyo is a decorative wooden board used to cover the ridge and purlin ends on a roof gable. It is believed that gegyo were originally carved in the shape of fish as a charm against fire, and were introduced to Japan from China. For more information about Gegyo, follow this link.Read More →

Maru ni Chanomi

Kamon Database – Chanomi Figure: Tea seed. 茶の実 The Chanomi mon must not be mistaken with the Tachibana mon, which looks similar. It is said that the Tachibana mon was designed first, then later transformed to create the Chanomi emblem. There isn’t much literature about these kamon, and only about a dozen clans (Murata, Souma, Mita…) ever chose to use it. For more information about Chanomi, follow this link.Read More →

grave with kamon

Nowadays, many Japanese people, or people from Japanese descent, have lost track of their family insignia. When they try to find their kamon, they generally have only one clue left: their family name. So how can someone know his family emblem? The surest way to find out is to look for the family chōchin and the Family tombstone. To know more about this, follow THIS LINK.Read More →


Several people have asked me how kamon were designed and drawn in the past. Well the answer is with ink, rulers, compasses and a bit of free hand drawing. Since most kamon are based on circles and symmetries, the ability to divide a circle in 2, 3, 4, 5 or more equal parts is very important. To give a quick idea of kamon geometrical complexity, I attached with this post some pages from a 19th century Bukan (mon encyclopedia) that give some insight in the way mon were created. Translating the text would be too difficult, but illustrations are worth a 1000 words, so IRead More →

Konoe Botan

Kamon Database – Botan Figure: Peony. 牡丹 The peony was brought to Japan from China around the 9th century. In China it was called the “king of flowers” and thus Botan mon became one of the most authoritative insignias after the Kiku, the Kiri and the Aoi. The first house to use a peony as kamon was the Konoe at the beginning of the 13th century. For more information about Botan, follow this link.Read More →

Maru ni Chigiri

Kamon Database – Chigiri Figure: wood joinery. 榺 The chigiri  is a Japanese dovetail wood joinery. As an insignia, the Chigiri mon is rather ancient. The Ogasawara clan was using the chigiri as one of their emblems. For more information about Chigiri, follow this link.Read More →

Futamata Daikon no Maru

Kamon Database – Daikon Figure: raphanus sativus (white radish). 大根 The Daikon mon is a rare insignia. It was seen in the past as an auspicious symbol. The Honjō and the Tomita clans used to bear the white radish emblem. For more information about Daikon, follow this link.Read More →

Maru ni Kumo

Kamon Database – Kumo Figure: cloud. 雲 The cloud is a rather rare insignia, often used by priests or as a sacred ground’s emblem. Some famous temples in Kyoto, like the Tōji Temple, use the Kumo mon. For more information about Kumo, follow this link.Read More →