Kanji of the Day: 六 (ろく) roku (six)

六文銭 (rokumonsen) is the family crest of the Sanada clan (真田氏), who dominated the Matsushiro domain (modern Nagano prefecture) during the Sengoku and early Edo era. Those of you who have ever played the video game series, Sengoku Basara (戦国BASARA) or Sengoku Musou (戦国無双), will probably know Sanada Yukimura (真田幸村); the guy in the red outfit who wields two spears. Yes, he was from the Sanada clan and also was my brother’s favorite character to play.

Anyways, so why did 真田氏 choose 六文銭 for their family crest? What does it mean?

The direct translation of 六文銭 is “six Mon coins”, and  Mon is the ancient Japanese currency used in 13th century.  In the Japanese Buddhist believes, it is said that the dead must cross the Sanzu River (三途川) in order to get to the other side, the afterlife world. The original belief was that there was a bridge over the river so that the dead can walk across, however, the story changed after a while, and now it is commonly believed that the dead pays 六文銭 (six coins) to the steersman to cross the river on a boat. This is why people put 六文銭 in a casket at Japanese funeral; so that the deceased can reach the afterlife safely.

So the Sanada clan choose the 六文銭 for their family crest in order to show that they are devoted, and are not hesitant to sacrifice their lives for a worthy cause.

Cool, right?

Do you know your family crest? What does it mean? Let us know!

[prw username=”kanjilicious” boardname=”六” maxfeeds=”40″ divname=”myList” printtext=”0″ target=”newwindow” useenclosures=”yes” thumbwidth=”100″ thumbheight=”200″ showfollow=”medium”]

Post by nanami

Comments are closed.