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Japanese Mon / Crest info wanted.


bmoore1322
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Okay this Mon / Crest is on my favorite Nihonto in my collection right now, I'm not bringing up the subject matter of the sword, but I need to know if anyone has any idea how to identify the Mon / Crest on my sword.

 

It is on my sword in two places, if I can identify the family of it, it would help me with the research of this Nihonto.

 

 

Seems to be fashioned in Bamboo leaves.

 

 

thank you

Brian

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Mon mean very little as the Edo period went by. Almost anyone could adopt any mon they liked...by the Meiji period, there is little correlation between a mon and who used it. It's not a family indicator that can be traced to people like we expect.

 

Brian

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Brian,

How do you have a name?

You have a mon that was originally for a family/clan way back when. However in later times, by which times your fittings had been changed numerous times...almost anyone could adopt that mon, and put it on anything they liked. So it is very unlikely your sword was carried by anyone from a Takanaka clan. There is no research that you can do to get back to an owner..it could have been anyone with even a passing link to an old family. Basically, unless you have a documented sword with original fittings that is probably a Koto and has paperwork showing who passed it down to who over the years..there is nothing a mon is going to tell you. It is a misconception that a sword with mon will tell you who owned it.

 

Brian

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Hi Brian,

 

what the (other) Brian is trying to say, is that during that last 200 years, almost every Japanese family has adopted a mon. If you see a mon for example originally used by the takanaka clan, today or by the time your nihonto was mounted, this mon could been used by someone who has nothing to do with the takanaka clan and who carries a different name (Yamamoto, Kato, Ikarashi etc.). Knowing the name of the mon is a good thing, but unfortunately it will not help you on your research.

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Hi Guys

Does Brian's undoubtedly correct argument in relation to Edo/Meiji mon also apply to the mon we see on Gunto fittings?

I'm thinking about those mounts attributed to known military officers with the family mon.

 

I know that in many cases the "family" mon was defaced /removed ( I've got an example) but I'm assumig there are also fully documented surrender swords to look at.

My interest is piqued by the Gunto mounts ( very good quality and in excellent condition) that came with my shinto Sadatsugu katana. The tsuka has a silver mon of the famous Maeda clan (or a sub family).

 

Regards

Tony

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I would like to add a bit of information to Big Brian's post above. According to the research from Professor Rubinger and his book on literacy in Tokugawa Japan, the use of Surnames and Kamons among villagers and merchants, etc exploded in the last 50/75 years of the Tokugawa Bakufu. Then in Meiji, all bets are off as everything was for sale to the west.

 

The use of these heraldic emblems was strictly controlled until this point, but this does not mean that there was abuse of the system, I am not so naive, but I would not say that the entire Tokugawa period was a free for all on Kamon adoption.

 

Now, to the other Brian's kamon, they are very correct, unless you can trace it back to an owner, you just know who the original kamon belonged to.

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...Does Brian's undoubtedly correct argument in relation to Edo/Meiji mon also apply to the mon we see on Gunto fittings? I'm thinking about those mounts attributed to known military officers with the family mon. ......

It may be of some interest that I tried to trace back a GUNTO in very well preserved mounts, containing a 55 cm BUNGO blade in acceptable condition. The KASHIRA had a silver FUJI MON (Wisteria), and I asked the NBTHK for help (back in 1985 or so). I told them I was prepared to hand the blade back to the family.

 

Their reply was that unless there was a tag with a familiy name and troop unit attached to the blade it would be impossible to find out the former owner or family as the MON was so widespread in use.

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My little handbook of Japanese mon lists no less than 96 families that used this mon in the Edo period, the Takenaka being the most famous, it notes that more than 200 families (they mean families that count) used variations of the take mon during the more two hundred years of Tokugawa rule.

 

If you have an object with more than one mon on it, it may be possible to connect it to a particular generation of a particular family as the main house, the mothers house and the particular generation could be represented by mon. For this you need a copy of the Taisei Bukan which is a who's who of Edo-jidai Japan...

-t

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