Samurai banners

This page is unfinished - AO, march -04

Takeda troops defending yamashiro (mountaintop castle)

Takeda troops defending yamashiro (mountaintop castle). The banners on the tower are taken from an Edo-period woodblock print of the 2nd battle of Kawanakajima (so are historically doubtful), the large orange-and-white banners with black Takeda mon (crests) are flown from Shingen's Tsutsugasaki mansion in Kofu in the film "Kagemusha" - so are probably equally historically incorrect! The banners the troops themselves are flying are historically well founded and one can clearly make out at least troops wearing the white half-moon and star on a red field of the Obu clan, as well as the red, open octagon of Obata Masamori. The ashigaru using a nagae yari (long spear) from the tower has a Takeda mon on his jingasa helmet.

Mon (family badge), flags and colours

The colour of the mon itself was never specified. The colour for flags were specified, and flags often had mon on them.

The 5 colours usually used on flags were red, blue, yellow, black, white. Other colours (like silver, gold, lime) were also used but not as frequently.

According to Dr. Stephen Turnbull the general rule was:

There are, however, a lot of known flags having different colour schemes so I don't really feel his "general rule" is worth much - IMO it is perhaps more misleading than helpful.

The Takeda mon can be seen at the top of this page (four diamonds arranged as a diamond). The colours it would be presented in was, for each unit under a Takeda goshinrui-shu "family member", apparantly decided by the colour scheme on the uma jirushi (personal banner) that particular individual had chosen for himself. So Anayama Nobukimi (Takeda Shingen's son-in-law) - whose uma jirushi was some black circles and border on blue - used a black-on-blue takeda mon for his troops, and Takeda Nobukado (uma jirushi white takeda mon on blue) used white mon on blue.

Non-family Takeda generals - including close, hereditary retainers from the "go fudai karo shu" group - used their own design on the banners of their troops. For many of these we can assume their uma jirushi, unit standards and sashimono back banners would have had the same design. However, we have information on several commanders who used different designs, or different versions of the same general design.

Heraldry glossary

Heraldry frequently seen during the sengoku period:

Types of heraldry more usually, but not exclusively, seen pre-sengoku:

Other terms related to heraldry:

Old stuff I have to move

Somewhere here I should add stuff about

Sanada Nobutada

This sashimono back banner was presented to Sanada Nobutada by Takeda Shingen himself ("Samurai heraldry").

Sanada Nobutada's personal sashimono
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