These emblems are more personal than a birthstone, and more inclusive than the family crests of Japan’s noble houses.
Much like the European coat of arms, Japanese families of a certain standing have a kamon, or family crest. But while the kamon is unique to the family, and shared by all of its members, Japan also has a set of emblems that anyone can claim, since they’re tied to your birthdate.
These emblems are called hanakomon, literally, meaning “personal flower emblem.” The complete set consists of 366 marks, as Leap Day is properly represented. Considering that Japan didn’t adopt the 365/366-day Gregorian calendar until the late 19th century, hanakomon can’t boast as lengthy a history as kamon, but they still incorporate traditional Japanese design aesthetics for an elegant and stylish look.
Flowers both indigenous to Japan and ones originating in other nations can be found among the hanakomon, and a handful of artist workshops offer textiles and interior items prominently featuring the crests. One such outlet, the website for The 366 Days of Hanakomon even has interactive calendars that let you see all of the emblems at a glance, with further information such as the flower’s name in Japanese and associated meaning revealed by clicking on a specific day.
If you’re looking for a unique and personal gift, 366 Days of Hanakomon’s English website can be found here.