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Mon, or Kamon, are Japanese emblems used to identify an individual or family. Similar to the crests or coat of arms in European tradition, mon were initially used only by aristocratic and more powerful families before becoming used by all people in Japan.
Believed to originate as fabric patterns used for clothes, seeing mon appear on flags, tents, and other battle equipment became commonplace over time. The formal attire in Japanese culture includes the mon of the family, if not the mon of the organization or lords the family would serve if they did not have their own. Over time, it is not uncommon for companies or people to create a mon to identify themselves. Still, it is considered improper or offensive to use a mon that belongs to another family, especially of higher rank, which is why we see this practice of creating a new emblem.
The use of mon has found its way to more than being an identifier for families, but many organizations use a mon, including businesses, temples, and even some crime syndicates. While there are more types of mon now than before, there are still regulations in place to maintain the tradition and history. For example, the mon held by the ruling clans of Japan, such as Tokugawa's hollyhock mon and the Emperor's chrysanthemum mon, were legally protected from unauthorized usage, to maintain the integrity and history.