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Imagawa Yoshimoto (Japanese Daimyo)

Last modified: 2004-12-11 by phil nelson
Keywords: daimyo | japan | imagawa yoshimoto |
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Born: 1519
Died: 1660

[flag of Imagawa Yoshimoto]
by Jaume Ollé

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About the mon

The image centered in the flag is a most popular mon (Japanese family crest) called kiri (Paulownia).

The paulownia bears a heavy load of legendary and historic significance. According to Chinese legend, the mythical phoenix, bird of immortality, alights only in the branches of the paulownia tree when it comes to earth and eats only the seed of the bamboo. Intricate depictions of the phoenix-paulownia-bamboo were worked into Chinese textiles on the basis of this legend. As an explicitly imperial crest, the paulownia ranks only slightly behind the chrysanthemum and both are usually taken as the dual emblems of the Japanese throne. This association developed gradually and was formalized only in the early 13th century when the emperor Godaigo conferred both the chrysanthemum and paulownia crests upon Ashikaga Takauji founder of the Ashikaga line of shoguns, who held nominal military control over Japan for the next century and a half. While maintaining their original family crest of two parallel lines, the Ashikaga shoguns, beginning with Takauji himself proceeded to use the paulownia as a mark of favor of their own. A number of powerful Daimyo who gave their support to the Ashikaga were rewarded with the right to wear the prestigious paulownia and from time to time on the paulownia crests conveyed a heady aura of both legitimacy and power. In the 16th century the brilliant and maverick Toyotomi Hideyoshi claimed his control over the land and was granted use of paulownia by the throne itself. Hideyoshi used this as his own family crest. By the late feudal period, so many families had come to use the paulownia through conferral, inheritance, or subterfuge that a weary phoenix would have been able to alight on neary one-fifth of the warrior population of Japan. The paulownia was drawn in the center of speech stand when PM S. Koizumi made his speech at U.N. in October 2004
Nozomi Kariyasu, 2 October 2004