Artistic Family Crests 一門の定紋

In the May 1, 2012 issue (no.24) of the Kamigata Rakugo Associations’s informational magazine Nna aho na, there is a nice feature titled “Kamigata Rakugo Storyteller Family Crests” (Kamigata rakugoka no jômon, pp. 8-9). Below is my translation of the article.


Kamigata Rakugo Storytellers’ Artistic Family Crests

Storytellers who appear on stage wear a wide variety of kimono. Solid, fine-patterned, striped… There are also kimono of various colors, quiet to extremely loud. Did you know that on some of these kimono performers also wear different crests, depending on who they are?

That’s right. These crests differ according to artistic family [ichimon]

In this issue we would like to introduce some representative crests used by Kamigata Rakugo storytellers.





Mitsu kashiwa(Triple Oak Leaf) 三つ柏. Worn by members of the Katsura Beichô (Tsukitei) and Katsura Bunshi ichimons桂米朝(月亭)• 桂文枝一門

A storyteller in the Katsura school by the name of Katsura Bunji I [1774-1816] used this crest and it has been passed down through the generations since. We know that this crest was being used in the Edo-period Bunka years (1808-1818).  桂を名乗る落語家の組である初代桂文治が用いたことから代々受け継がれてきた紋です。江戸時代の文化年間(一八〇四〜一八一八)にはすでにこの紋を使っていたことがわかっています。

Musubi kashiwa (Oak Leaf Knot) 結び柏. Worn by members of the Katsura Beichô (Tsukitei) and Katsura Bunshi ichimons.  桂米朝(月亭)• 桂文枝一門

The Musubikashiwa is a simplified version of the Mitsukashiwa [this is the crest most typically seen on kimono in these schools].  三つ柏を簡略表現したもんです。

Hanabishi (Chestnut Flower) 花菱.  Worn by members of the Katsura Harudanji ichimon.  桂春団治一門

It is said that Katsura Harudanji I (1878-1934) received this crest from the house of the founders of Yoshimoto Entertainment (today Yoshimoto Promotions).  初代桂春団治(一八七八〜一九三四)が、吉本興行(現•吉本興業)の創業者家から譲られたといわれています。

Gomai sasa (Five Bamboo Leaves) 五枚笹.  Worn by members of the Shôfukutei ichimon.  笑福亭一門

The first man to take the artistic family name Shôfukutei was Shôfukutei Gochiku I (active around the 1820s), and it is believed that he used the Gomai sasa crest because of its connection to the “five bamboos” of his name [Gochiku 吾竹]. This crest was in regular use by the early Meiji period [1868-1912].  笑福亭を名乗った初代とされる初代笑福亭吾竹(一八二〇年頃に活躍)が、その名にちなみ「五つの竹」から五枚笹を用いたといわれています。明治初期にはすでに使われていました。

Nu no ji usagi (Rabbit Resembling a Nu) ぬの字うさぎ. Worn by members of the Hayashiya ichimon.  林家一門

This crest was created by Hayashiya Somemaru II (1867-1952), the man credited with reviving the Kamigata branch of the Hayashiya school. He was born in the year of the rabbit and loved rabbits himself. 上方林家の名を復活させた二代目林家染丸(一八六七〜一九五二)が、卯年生まれでウサギ好きだったことから定めた紋です。

Kikyô (Bellflower) 桔梗. Worn by members of the Tsuyu no ichimon.  露の一門

When the late Tsuyu no Gorôbê was, in the Harudanji ichimon, promoted to the name Tsuyu no Gorô II from Koharudanji, he changed his crest to the Hishi mimasu ni katabami (Wood Sorrel in Three Boxes, 菱三升に片喰), but after this he changed the Tsuyu no ichimon crest to his master’s personal crest, Kikyô.  故•露の五郎兵衛が、春団治門下、小春団治から二代目露の五郎を襲名したときは、「菱三升に片喰」でしたが、その後、師の家紋である「桔梗」を露の一門の定紋としました。

Mitsu kumi tachibana (Three Tachibana Flowers) 三つ組橘. Worn descendants of the Tachibana line.  橘•立花系

This crest belonged to the Tokyo San’yû schools (San’yûtei, Tachibanaya, Tachibanaya [different characters]). Those in who studied in these schools in Kamigata and took the Tachibanaya name use this crest. 東京の三遊派(三遊亭•立花家•橘家)がこの紋であったことから、上方でもこれにならい、立花家を名乗る落語家が用いています。

Special Crests 替え紋

There are also special crests based on particular artistic names, used by individual performers alone. These are called kaemon.  定紋とは別に名前にちなんだ紋やある特定の落語家だけがつける紋があります。これを「替え紋」と言います。

Hishi mimasu ni hanabishi (Chestnut Flower in Three Boxes) 菱三升に花菱. Worn by Katsura Harudanji.  桂春団治

Only those named Harudanji in the Harudanji ichimon can wear the chestnut flower surrounded by three boxes.  春団治一門のうち、春団治だけは花菱を三升で囲んだ紋を用います。

Bunshi mon (Bunshi Crest) 文枝紋. Worn by Katsura Bunshi. 桂文枝

This mon is made by connecting four 文 [bun] characters in a circle. This crest was used by Bunshi I and Bunshi V. There have been variations of this crest used by others with the character 文 in their name. Included are storytellers Bunza (crest with three 文 in a circle), Bun’nosuke (crest with characters 文 and の, called Bun no maru), Bunto (crest with 文 and a chestnut flower), not to mention others.  名前にちなみ、「文」を四つ丸く連ねた紋です。初代文枝が使い、五代目文枝もときにこの紋を使うことがありました。「文」の文字がつく落語家では他に、文三(「文」を三つ丸く連ねた紋)、文之助(「文」と「の」をアレンジした「文の丸」という紋)、文都(「文」と花菱)などにも替え紋がありました。

Tsuki (Moon) 月. Worn by members of the Tsukitei ichimon.  月亭一門

This moon-shaped crest is based on the tsuki of Tsukitei, which literally means “moon pavilion.”  亭号にちなみ月をかたどった紋です。現在の月亭一門が使います。

Fukurô (Owl) フクロウ. Worn by Mori no Fukurô  森乃福郎

Mori no Fukurô II designed this crest of an owl when he was promoted to this current name.  現在の二代目森之福郎が襲名のときにフクロウを図案化して新しく作った紋です。


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