Each clan had a family crest of its own and these crests were widely displayed on war flags, armors, helmets, swords, kimonos, roof tiles, curtains and even on the sidelines of the tatami flooring.
Most family crests had different colors that influenced the color choice of the samurai armors.
Initially only the samurai clans had a family crest. During the late Edo period almost every large family had a family crest that must be worn on the right and left sides of the kimono.
The crest that looks like 3 swirls, mitsudomoe, is the common crest in Japan. It is used on the roof tiles of shinto temples , on taiko drums and on some samurai armors. The 3 commas or 3 swirls symbolize 3 separate entities: man, earth, god. It is also used to represent Hachiman, the shinto war god.
Today some of the old family crests are reflected on famous company logos such as the Mitsubishi logo which has some roots in the founding family’s crest.