The chrysanthemum holds a very special place in Japanese society.
The flower is thought to have been introduced into Japan in the 8th century AD.
Later the Emperor adopted the flower for his official seal, and his throne itself is known as the Chrysanthemum Throne.
The chrysanthemum crest (菊花紋章, kiku kamonsho) is often used as a design element, the Imperial Seal of Japan merely being the most famous. For example, chrysanthemum crests are often found in Japanese shrines, and also grace the Self Defense Force's Mikasa battleship.
The Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum is Japan's greatest honor, given out by the Emperor, and similar to France's Legion of Honor.
Past recipients include Prince Charles and President Ronald Reagan.
Unlike France, where the full, bushy flower can be used as an allusion to part of the female anatomy, in Japan the chrysanthemum has been used in poetry to allude to a (different but not so distant) part of the male anatomy and is a metaphor for homosexuality.
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