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Question Myochin Munekane armor in Leiden

niels j

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Yes Marc,


I’m still here and you find me impressed!
I really like your focus on Munechika as I also like tatami-gusoku in general.  Give me some time trying to answer your questions.

Some of the flags attracted my attention....but I will come back to that later.....




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Ok, let's start with the maedate/mon for this post.


I was combing through my books, well aware, that this "mon thing" could become sort of "mission impossible"!
First I broke down the crest into its components. Namely sumikiri-gaku and sumitate-yotsume.
Unfortunately sumitate-yotsume was quite common and widely used.  Bearing in mind the kuginuki (if it is kuginuki at all and not also meyui??), I listed as much clans/families as possible for each and then looked for intersections. Without considering the framing (sumikiri-gaku), though!


In this way three families remaining on the shortlist:


"猪飼" (Igai)
"横田" (Yokota)
"小島" (Oshima) - not sure, different writings (大島 = Ôshima)

All Tokugawa retainers.
Of course, this does not claim to be complete or absolute correct. So take it with a grain of salt!



The second approach was to look simply for a perfect match. So I hit the "big book" and thats what came out:







Drop of bitterness, no connection to kuginuki, so far....




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Thank you Uwe for spending time on this.


I agree with you, too complicated to track to a family. As you mentioned, so many Samourai used so many family crest, that unless there is a firm proof ( document), it is almost impossible to track a family crest. I am always amazed, when some antique dealers mention that this armor belong to this family just judging from the Kamon.


For me at this stage, I believe it is a bit early to discuss about a particular family. The reason why, I am looking for the clan first, it's because it narrow drasticly the search. (When we will talk about flags, I will tell you an interesting story on how I found a retainer).


Once I get the clan, I contact the local museum, and sometimes, they have the "Clan record". The beauty of those data, it that they recorded the name of the retainers, their family line, how much koku they made, which part of the city they lived, shape of their yari, etc. .......and their family crest...!! If I have the clan, and the family crest, and the record from the clan, the next step is pure luck.....but sometimes, luck is on my side....


When the clan data do not exist, I was recommend to go to the surrondings temples. Temples used to record also all birth, etc. They were acting as a registration government office.

I never had to go that far, but will keep this in mind for future search.


Another important thing, is how far local museum are willing to cooperate, and this is another story.


To get back on the maedate, I think the clan symbol is just the octogonal shape. That why on the B armor, it only shows this. On C Armor ( close up picture I sent), the kamon is inside the Clan symbol, and not a family crest as a whole. May be.


It is like the takatsuki triangle design, when high ranking samourai where allowed to put their family crest within the triangle shape of the clan. That is speculation, but could be one option.



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Hi Marc,


sorry for the long silence...


I have to go back to a previous post in order to not lose track.

Well, complete signed leather armors are quite rare and were mostly made (assembled) by the Iwai. You can find, however, a lot of signed armor parts and kabuto from this school. I should have several examples in my records, if you are interested?!



"Iwai Nagahisa"






You are lucky, research here in Europe is far more difficult and cumbersome. Especially when you can't breach the language barrier. And when it comes to museums...I know what you mean :unsure:


In terms of the maedate you posted last. For the first one I had a hit on "馬場" (Baba) and two other families. The second is depicting a "simplified" kanji ..... need some time for that!



Now to the reason why I'm interested in some of the flags....(see below :))



(Sellers picture)



PS: I have to thank you for the pictures, now added to my archive :bowdown:






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Dear Uwe,

Thank you for the search. Noted for the leather armor. Could be the reason why Munechika didn’t signed the leather one. Good learning.


if you have time for the mandate, I would really appreciate if you could have a look at it. I asked many ,many people, but no one could give me an answer about the location of this Han. I have seen quite a lot of those mandate, so my guess is that it was quite an important one....But where? I keep the faith.


Nice set you have here Uwe. I really like the Eboshi style. Now I understand about the flags. They are from the Tatsuno Han. They have record of the flags, armor of the retainer,and his name......What else....!, see pictures.

This is what I prefer in collecting armors. It is to dig to find who owns it, which period, what was his rank,etc. I am always moved when I can find something. (Not too often I have to admit.....)
During one of my search, I also found where one bakumatsu retainer of the Oka Han was living, and even his house.....


Without more information, hard to say if it is a Kamon , or the armor of a retainer of the clan. I would vote for a retainer of the Tatsuno Han.


Very nice.




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Hi Marc,


which maedate would you like to trace back?


Regarding my armor (meanwhile completed with the missing original parts), it's from the "Wakisaka-clan"! One of the "Seven spears of Shitzugatake". It is said, that only 18 gusoku of that type are extant today. I myself know about 5, more or less complete, of such armors and their remaining.....

Harima Tatsuno-han, good nose Marc :thumbsup:

Tatsuno castle came in posession of Wakisaka Yasumasa in 1672..............But I don't like to hijack the thread here!


You are right, unfortunalely it happens very seldom, that a collection item can be clearely assinged, but it's always fun to try ;-)!



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Great set Uwe,

I am interested in the shape of the last maedate I sent. The one with the “bell” inside. I have seen some of those maedate, sometime with the “~” {Ichi?} sign inside. This octagonal shape must belong to a Han. I try to find out which Han it could be.

once,I will know the Han, I will dig into the family crest of my armors. 
if I am lucky, I might find into the Han register who owned the Kamon of my armors.


A long way to go.....


Many thanks Uwe.

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Thanks Uwe.

Tough search. It won’t be easy. Thank you for your help.

Regarding the 3 families you sent me (Itai, Yokota,Oshima ) just a thought, but it there any geographical link between them or they are spread all over Japan? May be a start.

I couldn’t find any information on those families on internet.

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Very interesting Uwe. Everything can be a lead, so who knows.


Myself, I am using the following link to search for the clan .幕末維新新選組 諸藩家紋一覧 1 (bakusin.com)


I believe it is a good site for the Bakumatsu period which munechika lived. It gives ( I believe ) a good list of clan.

My assumption ( and a wild guestimate...) is that the retainer may have used the shape of the kamon of their lord as a clan symbol. They are 4 clans using this shape ( tateyama clan in Chiba ( 55pers), Yodo han in Kyoto( 400 pers) , Mori clan (226 pers) in Choshu, and Usuki han in Kyushu.  All over the country.....Great. 


Over the years, I saw few of those maedate, with different pattern inside . I am guessing that it may come from a larger clan than the others ( Yodo han with 400 pers) could be a good candidate.


The limit of this site, is actually it record the kamon of the lord in charge, but not the clan symbol itself. A concrete example of this, is if you remember a previous picture I sent on this thread, there is one flag of the tsuyama clan with the sign of the clan, and the kamon below of the retainer.

If you look for Tsuyama clan in the bakumatsu site, it shows the kamon of the lord ( matsudaira) but there is no mention of the clan symbol. And if you google it, you can barely find the tsuyama clan symbol.


Tough search Uwe...and I am prety sure one day someone will comes out of the blue, and say, " oh yes, I know this symbol, it is from the xx clan". Will see.

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I have just "tuned in" to this thread for the first time and felt quite wistful that my very brief armour collecting days are long past.


This post is quite unrelated to armour in general, but quite specific to the mon shown in Post #24 and Post #29.  Some ten years ago I briefly had in my possession a friend's wakizashi and it was sufficiently interesting that I photographed it.  FWIW and FYI the mon does appear to be identical to that in the above posts and I attach them here.


Best regards,


aka Barry Thomas

Melbourne Australia








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Too many things going on in this thread, but may I just quickly say that an armour on the right lower down on the previous page shows the 剣大 Ken-dai (bladed Dai) Maedate of the Matsudaira Lords of Tsuyama from c.1698-1868. (See attached photo, kabuto by Myochin Muneyasu’s disciple Yasutsugu.)


From 1603~1697 the 森 Mori Lords were in charge at Tsuyama, and they used both the Tsuru-maru 鶴丸 and Juji 十字 Kamon, going back to Mori Nagayoshi.


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Hi Piers,

Tamaki is the family name. Last time I met him it was about 10 years ago in Tsuyama. I lost his contact. He must be 80 or 90’s years old by now.

About the last picture you sent, not sure about the Kabuto, but for the menpo,no doubt. Same work as Munechika and the team of apprentice.

You really have a lot of information. Very impressive Piers.

was this article written in the Tsuyama local newspaper?

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And from the article , judging from the picture hanpo Kabuto,and maedate. It seems to be very In line with his “brother in arms” works.

For the rest of the armor, hard to tell from the picture.

Would be nice to have a clear view of the article if you can.

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