Emblem of Tokyo Olympic 2020 use traditional Japanese patterns! Do you know what are these means?


How many traditional Japanese patterns do you know?


There are so many traditional patterns here in Japan. They has special meaning each.

We are call “Monyou” about them.

So I’m going to talk about them this time 🙂


Popular Monyou and meaning


≪麻の葉文≫ Asanoha-mon

麻(asa) mean Cannabis, and 葉(ha) mean leaf. It looks similar to Cannabis’s leaf so it’s called “asanoha-mon”.

Cannabis grow strongly and straight so underwear for kids or newborn babies.

Also Asanoha-mon has mean of goodness for health so we use this Monyou for Nagajyuban(underwear of Kimono) currently.


≪石畳文(市松)≫ Ishidatami-mon (Ichimatsu)

In Edo period, a famous Kabuki actor worn this textile as a stage costume. His name was “Sanokawa Ichimatsu” so this textile became to call “Ichimatsu-monyou”



By the way, “Ichimatsu-mon” is used in emblem of Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic ^^


≪鱗文≫ Uroko-mon

It seems scale (Uroko in Japanese) so it’s called “Uroko-mon”. It came from China actually.

Uroko-mon used to use Kimonos for men but now, it’s used Jyuban(underwear of Kimono) for women.

It has mean of “protect by scale(Uroko)” so we use this textile for Obi or Jyuban(underwear of Kimono) to avoid bad luck currently.


≪青海波文≫ Seikaiha-mon

青(Sei) mean blue, 海(Kai) mean sea and 波(Ha) mean wave.

It seems a wave so it’s called “Seikaiha-mon”.

It became to use for Kimono since Edo period.




Circle eyes and thin bake. It became to drown as a chubby since Edo period.

Chidori is loved Japanese people since long time ago, you will see them on Kimonos or Obis still now.


≪矢絣文≫ Yagasuri-mon

矢(ya) means arrow. It seems arrow so it’s called “Yagasuri-mon”

Beginning of Showa period, Yagasuri was school uniform for girls.


The character of popular Manga called “ Haikarasan-ga-toru” are wearing Yahasuri also:)



≪源氏香文≫ Genjikou-mon

These are signs of Japanese Incenses. It has 5 lines each signs for 54 patterns.

These named from “Genji Monogatari” each signs.



Were these any textiles you’ve seen ^^?

I’m going to show you my favorite textiles next!



My favorite Monyou!


We able to know traditions and habits of people in old from Monyous.

I’m going to talk about Monyou like you will be interested after you knew meaning of them*


≪貝合わせ文≫ Kaiawase-mon


It’s drown pictures inside of shell as a pair for 360, and then turn it and shuffling to not able to guess what is a pair. Then you can search what is a pair. This game was very popular for nobility.

It’s called “Karuta” now. We play it in new year. But it doesn’t shell though.


It’s drown beautiful Japanese picture(Makie) so you might find them on Obi or Tomesode (kind of Kimono) often.


I found it on my Juban (kind of under wear of Kimono)^^


≪片輪車文≫ Katawaguruma-mon


Katawaguruma-mon is seen Kimonos of summer often.

In Heian period, wheel of an ox carriage for nobility dunk in a river to avoid too dry it. Katawaguruma-mon was born that scenery.


It’s my one of the favorite Monyou!

I have summer kimono with Katawaguruma-mon^^


≪唐草文≫ Karakusa-mon


Actually Karakusa-mon is a popular as a food for a robber but it is very luck charm Monyou!

It is arabesque pattern inspired by vines, which are vigorous plants.


≪紗綾形文≫ Sayagata-mon

It is one of the famous Monyou called Sayagata.

It is drown on Kimono or Juban since Edo period.


≪宝尽くし文≫ Takarazukusi-mon

It is a Monyou of treasures. These pattern has special meaning each other.



如意宝種(Nyoi houshu)・・・any dreams come true

打出の小槌(Uchideno kozuchi)・・・avenge and dreams come true


隠蓑(Kakuremino)・・・protect us

丁字(Chouji)・・・use it to make medicine or incense.

宝鍵(Houyaku)・・・key for treasure box

巻物(Makimono)・・・symbol of knowledge

分銅(Fundou)・・・symbol of riches


Which treasure do you want to have? For me,ummm I will take Nyoi housh and Uchideno kozuchi maybe…lol



Recommend Monyou goods 


≪鱗文≫ Uroko-mon








≪麻の葉≫ Asanoha-mon




In conclusion


How was this topic? Were there some Monyou you’ve seen before?

Actually There are over 300 patterns in Japan…so many!!!

These Monyou I talked were only part of them. So if you found any Monyou, please try to check it about what that meaning:)