Kihō

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Posts by Kihō

Resource: Electronic Kuzushiji Dictionary Database

June 8, 2014 - 2:44 pm

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Posted in Classical Japanese, Literature | No comments

Translating historical Japanese manuscripts can be challenging for a variety of reasons. One is that, despite the thousands of characters Japanese has to start with, historical writers weren’t content to just write them clearly. Japanese cursive uses “kuzushiji” (崩し字), or broken characters, hiragana or kanji that have been heavily stylized in any number of different […]

Primary Source: Kenmon Shokamon

June 5, 2014 - 12:29 am

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O-umajirushi is great for an idea of what mon were like in the Momoyama period, but what were they like before that? There are few earlier sources for mon other than depictions of battle scenes and similar. One that I have found, however, is Kenmon Shokamon (見聞諸家紋), which translates to “Various Observed Family Crests”. It’ss […]

Link: O-umajirushi

July 19, 2013 - 10:40 am

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Preparing for teaching a class at Pennsic (my first!) on Japanese heraldry, I’ve been gathering some good sources for figures. One of the best primary sources for Sengoku-era heraldry is O-umajirushi, a collection of heraldic displays printed somewhere in 1624–1644. Contrary to some sources, all six scrolls still exist, and I just discovered they can […]

Link: A Roll of Japanese Armory

June 12, 2011 - 10:57 pm

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Just found an article that’s apparently been up for a while on the Academy of Saint Gabriel where the illustrious Solveig Throndardottir discusses family crests: A Roll of Japanese Armory. It’s short, but it features several pages of mon from the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, which is handy for those seeking a wider selection […]

Hut in Progress

June 5, 2011 - 1:21 am

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I’ve long planned on making a hut based on the one described by Kamo no Chōmei in his An Account of a Ten-Foot-Square Hut, and I’ve finally put some actual time into building it. Chōmei, after a political failure, fled the capital to become a Buddhist hermit, and while doing so wrote an account of […]

Link: Wax-resist Dyeing

June 2, 2011 - 12:21 am

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I just found a cool description of Japanese wax resist (“batik”) dyeing (rōketsuzome/ろうけつ染め) at Blue Lotus. This way of adding a design to cloth goes back to the Nara period (710–794)(ja.wp:ろうけつ染め) and is one technique that was used to put designs such as mon on kimono. This is something I’ve been wanting to experiment with […]

Link: Samurai Heraldry: Flags and Standards of Samurai Armies

December 27, 2010 - 12:31 am

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It’s still a while before the lunar New Year, but I hope those of you with modern holidays are enjoying them. Perhaps one of these winters I’ll actually girl up to building a Sei Shonagon-style snow mountain. I just wanted to follow up my recent link post on samurai banners: some more banner depictions by […]

Two Mysterious Mon

December 13, 2010 - 12:34 am

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Finishing off the provincial samurai mon, I have two flower designs that I haven’t been able to find elsewhere and haven’t figured a convincing explanation for viagra pharmacie en ligne.(KJ:7) Flower variations are probably the most common type of mon, so it’d make sense that there were variations that didn’t catch on, but the specific […]

Mon of the Week: Bowl with Chopsticks

December 5, 2010 - 10:49 pm

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The basic bowl-with-chopsticks design, simply a circle above two horizontal lines, was first used as a seal in ancient times. It is associated with a tale about the founder of the Narita family: faced with a battle after running out of provisions, he visited a shrine, ate the offering of rice left there, and proceeded […]

Mon of the Week: Knot

November 28, 2010 - 7:13 pm

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Continuing with the provincial samurai mon, we have this simple depiction of a knot.(KJ:7) This is not just any knot, however. This knot is called “agemaki” (総角) and auspiciously symbolizes the four directions. It is hung above sumo rings, and was used on samurai armor both for decoration and as a structural component.(Samurai Weapons) For […]