Origins of the Mitsubishi emblem

“Mitsubishi” is a combination of the words “mitsu” and “hishi.” “Mitsu” means three. “Hishi” means water chestnut, and the word is used to denote a rhombus or diamond shape. As customary, “hishi” is pronounced “bishi” when it forms a latter part of a word, hence the combination of “mitsu” and “hishi” reads “mitsubishi.”

Mitsubishi logoPhoto by Toto Ong.

Yataro Iwasaki (1835-1885), the founder of the old Mitsubishi organisation, decided on the three-diamond mark as the emblem for his company. The mark is said to be an arrangement of two family crests; the three-oak-leaf crest of the Yamauchi family, Lords of Tosa, where Yataro was born, and the three-tiered water chestnut crest of the Iwasaki family.

Mitsubishi logo evolution

Mitsubishi companies have secured nearly 5,500 registrations for the three-diamond mark in more than 140 nations.

Info from Mitsubishi.

Car related: The story of the Michelin Man.

7 responses

  1. Too many details in a logo makes “noise.” Therefore, simple and elegant designs are much better. Just look at Nike’s logo, almost no details but still fantastic. This Mitsubishi logo has the same level of development.

  2. The Mitsubishi logo is one of my all-time favorites and I’ve loved it ever since I was a kid. It led me to Japanese heraldry which is chock full of elegant logos used for centuries by samurai clans on banners and kimonos. Many of those crests influenced Japanese corporate logos today.

  3. I always thought it was for the Mitsubishi airplane company that made the Mitsubishi a6m5 zero or zeke. It had 3 propeller blades which make up that emblem. But that’s what I thought, not saying I’m right.

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