Need help deciphering this

So, I’m part of a group that portrays the samurai at the time of Takeda Shingen to bring that part of the japanese culture closer to people. And on one of our yoroi-Boxes there’s this family crest that looks a bit like a stylized christmas tree. Unfortunately our last member who was present at the foundation of our group died two years ago, so we can’t ask them anymore where they got it from (we might have it listed in some documents but there’s like a lot and infos are all over the place -.-').
My dad recently found it in an anthology of army flags of 170 samurai-families from 1624-1644.

So far I got:
小笠原 can be found in as おがさわら or おがさはら as a last name.
But I can’t find the 4th and 7th kanji (radicals seem to be “narwhale” and “spoon”?) and the rest is really ineligible.
Any one of you got an idea what it might be?

If you want to zoom it in, here’s the link: 御馬印. 巻6 - 国立国会図書館デジタルコレクション


I can’t help with the kana because that is too difficult for me to parse also, but the 4th and 7th kanji look to be alternate forms of 左 and 佐 to me. Ogasawara is definitely a clan, either way, and that was the crest they used. Not sure who 左衛門佐 would be, since nothing comes up in search results, really, but I am assuming it to be somebody’s name.㔫#Japanese


In Buddhists texts, I often see 无 which is a simplified variant of 無. I think that it is considered a radical sometimes, but not by WK. (crooked heaven radical) I have seen in written in slightly different forms, and I have seen it used phonetically, but I need to dig around in books. I will search through my paper dictionary too.


小笠原 左衛門佐 – Ogasawara Saemon-no-suke. Wikipedia’s article on the Koga Domain says 左衛門佐 was the “courtesy title” of Ogasawara Nobuyuki (小笠原信之), who was daimyou of Koga 1612-1614 (and died 1614, I think) and also of Ogasawara Masanobu (小笠原政信), daimyou of Koga 1614-1619 before moving on to other things, eventually dying 1640. (So given the dates covered by the anthology you link to, it must mean Masanobu.)

(I just got lucky with google searches – in particular he’s in the index of the English-language “O-umajirushi: A 17th-Century Compendium of Samurai Heraldry” which is in Google Books and comes up in searches.)

It sounds like your box is just marked with the Ogasawara crest in general, not this guy’s specifically, though.


There’s a regular (native) on that’s very knowledgeable and can read this kind of calligraphy. I would ask there.


Thank you all so much for your help and info! It really helps a lot. :slight_smile:


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