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“Family Crests of Japan,” is a comprehensive presentation on a subject that reveals much about Japanese values, but few people give much thought to. Both a guide and art catalog, the book helpfully groups kamon (family crests) into easily understandable categories.

Like the heraldic crests of medieval Europe, kamon placed on garments, palanquins and ox carts were first used to identify the families of court nobles and their retinues of servants and banner men. Over time, their usage percolated down to the warrior class and, finally, to commoners.

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