These family crests (In Japanese, KAMON) are called 'Kiku-Mon' in JAPAN.
|Saigo Takamori||Kan-in chrysanthemum|
|Chrysanthemum with water||Sixteen-petaled chrysanthemum||Sixteen- double-petaled chrysanthemum||Crane-shaped chrysanthemum||Fusen-style chrysanthemum||Fusen-style chrysanthemum blossom|
Chrysanthemum, a family including various annual or perennial composite plants, held a special place in ancient Chinese culture. People not only enjoyed their beautiful flowers, but also used them as medicinal herbs to promote longevity. After the idea was introduced into Japan, chrysanthemum came to be regarded as the noblest of all flowers.
The retired emperor Gotoba enjoyed using this pattern, and the three succeeding emperors followed suit; thus, the pattern came to be reserved for Imperial Household crests. The design, however, was sometimes granted to other persons for their distinguished service to the Imperial Household. It was only after the Meiji Restoration that the use of chrysanthemum crests was officially reserved for the Imperial Household.
The crest for the Imperial Family is the open design with sixteen double petals, while other royalty use the backside-view fourteen-petaled kind (although each royal family informally uses another chrysanthemum design). Still today the chrysanthemum is used as the official crest for the Imperial Household. (From 'Family Crests of Japan' ICG Muse, Inc.2001)