At the end of Japan Week, on June 20, the Ann Arbor Downtown Library (AADL) held a special Letterpress Lab on premodern Japanese crests and invited Paula R. Curtis from the Department of History to give a short lecture on their history and background. Much as with heraldry in medieval Europe, Japan has a long tradition of crests of various patterns and designs. Beginning around the eleventh century courtiers and religious institutions began using crests (often of plants, animals, natural phenomena, or geometric designs), and their use proliferated with the rise of warriors in the medieval period, eventually spreading to commoners as well.

AADL, in consultation with Ms. Curtis, ordered twelve plates of Japanese crests, ranging from famous warlord family emblems and the imperial chrysanthemum to powerful ocean waves and sacred chickens. The Letterpress lab drew dozens of attendees from the local community for the talk and activity, during which Ms. Curtis explained the historical background and cultural symbology of each crest. The library now owns the plates as a part of their permanent collection. Anyone wishing to experiment with the crest plates can use their printing presses at AADL Letterpress Labs, every Wednesday at 6pm.