This animation symbolizes the government changeover that followed the Boshin War. The first crest (3 leaves) belongs to Shogun Tokugawa, the subsequent crest (chrysanthemum) belongs to Crown Prince Mutsuhito who would later become Emperor Meiji.
In episode 6 of Blood and Tears, Usaburo received the gift of a small hand towel decorated with a print of contemporary actor Ichikawa Yaozo III. The print depicts him as the lead character from the traditional kabuki play, Treasury of Loyal Retainers (忠臣蔵 Chûshingura).
In Blood and Tears episode 7 (09JUL), Usaburo gives O-Hatsu a small lacquered storage box, called inro, bearing his family crest.
Episode 12 (13AUG) of Blood and Tears includes a map detailing troop movements during the Battle of Ueno. This graphic started with a woodblock print of Edo published in 1858—part of the Japanese Historical Map Collection housed at the C.V. Starr East Asian Library at the University of California, Berkeley.
The Battle of Ueno took place on May 15, 1868 (lunar date) at the Toeizan Kaneiji Temple complex on Mt. Ueno in Edo. Pro-imperial troops, spearheaded by the Satsuma and Choshu domains, launched an early morning attack
Blood and Tears is set during the Bōshin War, a tumultuous civil conflict that ends with the dissolution of Japan’s centuries-old governance by military families, the samurai.