Shimazu Yoshihiro was a part of the larger Shimazu Clan. The Shimazu clan were the daimyō of the Satsuma han, which spread over Satsuma, Ōsumi and Hyūga provinces in Japan. The Shimazu were identified as outsider daimyō families and were one of the few clans to retain continuous power and wealth during the Edo period. Through military conquests and strategic alliances, Shimazu Yoshihiro was able to reap trade benefits, especially through their conquering of Ryūkyū Kingdom. Because of this, the Shimazu were one of the only daimyō family to control an entire foreign country. The loyalty of their officers and retainers was also notable during this time, as that also contributed in their ability to continue ruling consistently as well as their innovative battle tactics that helped keep larger clans at bay from taking over their domains.
Bold – Light – Outlined – Colorable
Each variation is included in the symbol’s file package.
Japan main description
The Japanese family crests or Mons have a similar role as the English family crests. The Japanese family crest symbols, or Mons are a coat of arms used to represent families and individuals, and more recently, businesses and institutions. There is little known about the origin of these crests and the Japanese family crest symbols, but it is commonly believed that the tradition started as a fabric pattern to identify aristocratic families and individuals. It eventually evolved to being used in battles, and then became a common way of identification, even for commoners. In terms of design, there were no hard and fast rules. There seemed to be a general consensus to use a roundel that would encircle some sort of figure when designing Japanese family crest symbols. This could be a plant, a man-made shape, a natural or celestial figure as one part of it. Other mon used religious symbols, kanji, and other shapes in their design as well. The mon was also designed to be monochromatic, and colors were generally eschewed.
For commoners, however, the use of the mon, or the Japanese family crest symbol was tricky. If they had none, they would either adapt the mon of their patron or organization, or failing that, used what would be considered inappropriate mons, or developed their own altogether. The usage and choice of mons came with their own rules and were largely dictated by social customs - and its usage was monitored and enforced. For example, it was considered inappropriate to use a mon or Japanese family crest symbol already in use by someone else, and especially offensive if held by someone of a higher rank. If a situation such as that occurred, the lower-ranking person would have to change their mon or Japanese family crest symbol in order to avoid any offense or wrongdoing. Mons held by the ruling Japanese clans were legally protected and could not be used by others.