National Emblems or Imperial Seals or Government Symbols are present in almost each and every country. It is a way to give uniqueness and honor to a person or a position or a state. No one else is allowed to use it. Japan has two major emblems, one for the Royal Family and the other for the Government of Japan.
The Chrysanthemum flower is a symbol of Japanese Royal Highness, the Emperor and his family. Only they can use the Seal and the royal order or decree is called the “Chrysanthemum Order”. The Chrysanthemum Seal is called “Kikumon” in Japanese. The Imperial Chrysanthemum Seal generally has 16 petals which represent the authority of the Emperor and it is present on the badges of every Diet (Parliament) member and also on Japanese passports. However, the 14 petal Chrysanthemum Seal is used by the other members of the Royal Family. We all know that Japan has the longest serving Monarchy in the world much like the British Royal Family and Thai Royal Family.
The Imperial Seal or the Chrysanthemum Seal alludes to the ‘Chrysanthemum Throne” which the Emperor of Japan is entitled to just like the Queen of England has the ‘Coronation Chair’ from which she usually gives speeches. The Korean Royal Family, much like the Japanese Royal Family, use the Plum Flower as Imperial Seal.
In Japan, the Government Seal is a ‘Paulownia Seal’. For those of you who don`t know what the Paulownia is, let me break it down for you. Paulownia is a flower native to North America and North Asia. It may look like Sakura or Hibiscus but it is not.
If you are a bit into surfing, you would know that the wood of this tree is generally used to make surfboards. The Prime Minister of Japan uses the Paulownia Flower Seal in his decrees and this is the official emblem of the Government in power.