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Elements Of Japanese Design: Handbook Of Family Crests, Heraldry & Symbolism Paperback – August 1, 1990


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Elements Of Japanese Design: Handbook Of Family Crests, Heraldry & Symbolism + Japanese Design Motifs: 4,260 Illustrations of Japanese Crests + Family Crests of Japan
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Weatherhill; New edition edition (August 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0834802295
  • ISBN-13: 978-0834802292
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #986,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Dower first encountered Japanese family crests while working as an editor and book designer. His interest in them led him to devote several years to collecting and classifying them.

More About the Author

John W. Dower is professor emeritus of history at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His interests lie in modern Japanese history and U.S.-Japan relations. He is the author of several books, including Ways of Forgetting, War Without Mercy, Cultures of War, and Embracing Defeat, which received numerous honors (including the Pulitzer Prize).

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By AxeTopher on October 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
I didn't realize the true value of this book until a year after I had initially read it.
It's a great book about Japanese crests. The pictures are clear and very sharp. There are a lot of kamon in the book, but not as many as others, so I put the book down...my mistake!
The book is filled with descriptions of the meanings and significance of each kamon! Mr. Dower writes of where the crest orginated when it is used, what season it is associated with, what meaning it has if associated with other motifs, etc. With the text and pictures one can actually recognize and understand the symbolism in Japanese art, kimono, etc. I can now tell what season it is in Japan by just looking at the kimono people wear or the tapestry hung on the wall (if the people who wear the kimono, hung the tapestry, etc. understand the symbolism...which many now don't :(...)!
There is also a short history of the kamon in the beginning :) The story of how the author came upon the illustrations for the crests is very interesting, too!
But...this book will not tell you the surnames that go with the crest. Granted, it will tell you of some of the really famous names that go with some of famous kamon, but not all of them.
I think this book is a must for anyone who is really interested in Japanese culture. (The other books on kamon I have are just for people interested in kamon.) I have loved it so much that the binding is coming apart...
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Merrily Baird on May 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
John Dower's study of Japanese crests and heraldry benefits from the same lucid writing and impeccable research that this MIT historian has brought to all of his work, including his recent National Book Award study of postwar Japan. The illustrations are excellent and the introduction, in particular, should be required reading for all those interested in Japanese history, heraldry, and samurai practices. It is just as valuable for those with a more generic interest in how heraldry has been used over time and across cultures.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. Hayashi on August 10, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Incredibly indepth coverage of Japanese family crests; a wealth of information on the subject. Detailed designs give rise to much inspiration to artists and crafters who enjoy Japanese history and culture.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Borland on August 3, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am very pleased with this book and with Amazon's service. The subject of Japanese family crests and "kamon" designs is summarized very well by the author. As a hobbyist/artist, I find this book to be a very worthy addition to my design library.
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