Hanawachigai is a type of wachigai-mon (emblem with geometric design), which is a Japanese family crest. It is also called "shippo wachigai" ("seven treasures" wachigai), "jippo shippo" (ten directions, seven treasures) or "tamawachigai." It is a design made of hanakaku (a flower design) placed in the center of shippo (a geometrical design with circles intersecting a circular frame), and it is identical to "shippo ni hanakaku" (shippo with hanakaku) crest.
It was originally introduced to Japan from the (Asian) continent. It was isolated from "wachigai," which is a chain-like yusoku design pattern (traditional design motifs of court nobles), and used as kuruma-mon (pattern of wheels or rings) in the Heian period. Since the Edo period, designs with two intersecting rings were specifically called "wachigai," and therefore, "wachigai pattern with kara-hana (Chinese arabesque pattern)" came to be called "hanawachigai."
Incidentally, kanawa-mon, which resembles wachigai-mon, is a design based on the circular part of gotoku (three or four-legged kettle stand), and the line used for the design is thinner than that of wachigai-mon.
Examples of use
Since Yoshikiyo SASAKI of the Izumo-Genji clan used hanawachigai-mon as his family crest, his descendants such as the Oki clan, the Enya clan, Yoshiyasu SASAKI, the Takaoka clan, and the Sase clan also used it.
Though unrelated to the families above, KO no Moronao of the Ko clan and the Jo (Taira) clan, the direct descendant of Akitajo no suke (provincial governor of Akita-jo castle), also used hanawachigai-mon. The Akizuki clan of the Takanabe domain, Hyuga Province, also used hanawachigai-mon as its ura-mon (secondary family crest used at informal occasions).
Wachigai refers to a design that consists of many intersecting circles, and in yusoku-monyo (traditional design motifs, used either in single units or repeated to create patterns, based on designs from Heian courtly decoration) has a similar pattern called shippo. "Shippo tsunagi" is a pattern made by removing hanakaku from hanawachigai motif and arranging the motif in a repeating pattern.
In ancient times, this motif was called "shiho tasuki" (cross-bracing in four directions) then the name changed from "shiho" (four directions) to "shippo."
Because shippo tsunagi is a pattern of repeating motifs of many intersecting circles that symbolizes endless peace and happiness, it was used as a design of auspicious omen representing "treasures from all over the world" and "infinite fertility and family prosperity," and it was used in family crests as well as on backing paper of byobu (folding screens).
There are several variations of shippo tsunagi, such as "hana shippo," which is a shippo pattern with a flower motif in the center, "toridasuki," which is a shippo pattern with a combination of birds and hanabishi motifs, and "yabure shippo," in which the shippo pattern is interrupted. In addition, a shippo tsunagi pattern called "hoshi shippo" also exists.
According to "Muryoju-kyo" (Sutra of Immeasurable Life) in Buddhism, "shippo" means "seven treasures of gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal (quartz), giant clamshells, coral, and agate," which represent treasures from all over the world, and in "Hokke-kyo" (Lotus Sutra), they are "gold, silver, lapis lazuli, pearl, giant clamshell, maikai, and agate." However, the connection between this shippo pattern and the Buddhist term "shippo" is unknown.