日本を象徴する花「菊」 Chrysanthemum, a flower that symbolizes Japan


A chrysanthemum flower casually printed on a Japanese passport. “Chrysanthemum” is considered to be the national flower of Japan along with “Sakura”. (From Kojien) Right now, I’m drawing “chrysanthemum”, so I did a little research and summarized it.


In Japan, there is no national flower stipulated by law, but the flowers that are widely familiar to the people, and the “cherry blossoms” and “chrysanthemums” as the emblems and symbols of the imperial family are considered to be the national flowers.

日本の「菊」の歴史 History of Japanese “chrysanthemum”




Chrysanthemum was originally an exotic species native to China, but it can also be said to be a flower rooted in Japan.

It is said that the reason why it took root is that it was easy to grow because there are many similarities such as planting in spring, growing in summer, and viewing in autumn, like rice that has already been cultivated since the Yayoi period.

After taking root, many varieties are born in Japan that are reimported to China.

時代 Era出来事 Event使用 Use
Nara period
Introduced from China to Japan
Drinking as medicinal / liquor
Heian period
Called “Four Gentlemen” along with plums, bamboo, and orchids
To a flower that symbolizes a noble person
Imperial court:
Chrysanthemum Flower Feast, Double Ninth Festival, Chrysanthemum Festival
Frequently used as a design / symbol
For events and watching the flowers
Kamakura Period
Emperor Go-Toba loves the chrysanthemum design
Maki-e furniture patterns / ornamental items around the aristocrats
To watch the flowers
Edo Period


Varieties multiplied, breeding, fairs
Reverse imports to China, also exported to Europe
Boldly designed for kosode and Noh costumes
To watch the flowers / design
Meiji period
Large varieties birth by the tendency to seek a large-flowered
To watch the flowers / design
“16 petals 8 layers chrysanthemum” officially established as the imperial emblem
Coat of arms

秋を代表する花「菊」Autumn flower “chrysanthemum”



Originally, chrysanthemum, but it is a flower to represent the autumn, as “Sakura” is used to handle a variety of things other than the spring, “chrysanthemum” also been around for the full year.

Although it is a flower that is so popular, it is said that autumn is of course desirable to wear as a Japanese kimono.


Further, since the Fair of chrysanthemum still in the fall has been held in various parts of Japan, I think in many people who have had a look.


A chrysanthemum show held in front of the treasure hall when I went to Nikko (Japan) in the fall

伊勢神宮内宮でも開催されていた菊の品評会 Chrysanthemum show held at Ise Jingu Naiku in Japan,Mie



“Spring” and “autumn” are called “spring and autumn decisions” and “competition between spring and autumn” to compete for the superiority and inferiority of the seasons, and have been traditionally practiced in Japan for a long time.

There are descriptions in Japanese old books”Kojiki”, “Manyoshu”, “Murasaki Shikibu Diary”, “Eiga Monogatari”, etc.



By the way, there is no phrase in “Manyoshu” in the Nara period that describes chrysanthemum flowers.

It is said that chrysanthemums first appeared as autumn flowers after the Heian period, and the fact that Emperor Go-Toba used the chrysanthemum pattern during the Kamakura period was inherited and became the emblem of the imperial family.


Looking at Japanese art, kimono, and furnishings, there are many spring and autumn designs in the four seasons. It’s hard to say which one is inferior, and I think they haven’t come to a conclusion. Therefore, considering the history and Japanese culture comprehensively, I think that it is difficult to narrow down the national flower of Japan to the “cherry blossom” of spring.

蒔絵・工芸品のモチーフとしての花「菊」Flower “chrysanthemum” in lacquer work “Maki-e” and crafts”Kogei”


From the Suntory Museum of Art “Zawatsuku Japanese Art” Exhibition (2021, Photographable)


When lacquer work developed in earnest as a traditional craft unique to Japan after the Heian period, the motifs drawn were flowers, birds, and sansui that are naturally familiar to us. “Chrysanthemum”, together with the development of Makie from came to Japan, to the spring of the cherry tree, it has been loved as a design to represent the autumn.


There are various types and names of chrysanthemum-shaped plates and patterns.

  • 菊花(きくか):花びらのみ
  • 折枝菊(おりえだきく):花が枝に付いている
  • 立菊(たちぎく):真っ直ぐ立って咲く
  • 一重菊(ひとえぎく):花弁が一重のものを指します。
  • 八重菊(やえぎく):花弁が複数重なっているものを指します。八重とは多数の意味。
  • 菊尽くし(きくづくし):一重と八重の小菊が咲き乱れた文様(着物に多用)
  • 菊水(きくすい):菊を浸した水を飲むと延命するという言い伝えから文様化されたとそうです。
  • 万寿菊(まんじゅぎく):饅頭のような形をしているので「万寿」の字が当てられたそうです。別名「光琳菊」とも言われ、単純化された菊。

・Kikuka: Only petals
・Oriedakiku: Flowers are attached to the branches
・Tachigiku: Stands straight and blooms
・Hitoegiku: A single-layered petal.
・Yaegiku: A chrysanthemum with multiple petals. Yae has many meanings.
・Kikuzushi: A pattern in which small chrysanthemums with single-layer and double-layer petals are in full bloom (often used in kimono)
・Kikusui: It is said that it was patterned from the legend that drinking water soaked in chrysanthemum will prolong life.
・Manjugiku: It is said that the character “Manju” was applied because it is shaped like a bun. Also known as “Korin chrysanthemum”, it is a simplified chrysanthemum.


It is familiar to Japanese people and is not unusual, but it is common for Chinese and Western patterns to have legendary motifs such as dragons, phoenixes, lions and hawks. In the midst of this, the Japanese design of observing and drawing pictures by looking at each and every small piece of ordinary nature is said to be peculiar.


Also, in Japanese history, seasonal landscapes and sights do not end with just appreciating, but appear in literary works such as waka poems and stories. As a result, the feelings born about the seasons were confirmed by many Japanese people, and it can be said that the Japanese aesthetic sense was established and accumulated. In line with this, various things that are familiar to nature are used in the design of lacquer work and crafts, and they are left as cultural properties to be known and confirmed, and are passed down to future generations.


I read back this reference and remembered that things that are commonplace as a Japanese person are very rare from the outside.

参考文献 References

  • 淡交別冊 愛蔵版No.76『茶席の蒔絵 漆と金のおりなす華』.淡交社,2019
  • 弓岡勝美『着物文様事典いろは』.PIE BOOKS,2010
  • 徳川美術館図録 秋季特別展『日本の意匠–春秋の彩り–』,1989
  • 筧菜奈子『日本の文様 解剖図鑑』.(株)エクスナレッジ,2019
  • 青人社編『日本の文様』.PIE,2013


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