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Kiri (Paulownia) - Japanese patterns and symbol explained

With pale purple flowers blooming in early summer paulownia (Kiri in Japanese) is the symbol of the Japanese government and it is often used in high range family crests.



Paulownia is also called Princess Tree from the practice of planting seeds when a couple has a daughter. By the time she is ready to marry, the tree has also grown to maturity.


The tree is then cut and made into a cabinet (tansu) as a wedding gift. Paulownia tansu is commonly used for the storage of kimono as it can absorb humidity and preserve silk.

Kiri is the lightest wood in Japan. It's less likely to break, it's insect-fire-water resistant, therefore high-quality furniture and instruments (kotos, biwas) are made by this material.

Kiri is featured in the 500¥ coin, the highest valued one. It is also often associated with haiku because paulownia hold 5-7-5 buds, as the syllables of poems.



Consult the complete list of Japanese symbols HERE


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