"It is often present as an understory plant in shady woodlands." 
"A. palmatum has been cultivated in Japan for centuries, with the selection and propagation of specific cultivars dating back almost 400 years, to the early 1600’s. Natural variation in Japanese maples, coupled with observed mutations and cross pollination in cultivated specimens resulted in the emergence of 200 cultivars in Japan during the Edo period (1603-1867). However, many of those cultivars were destroyed during the two world wars, especially in the 1940’s. During the wartime era, the Japanese maple stands were cut down for firewood, and the land utilized for food production. Only since the 1960s has interest been revived in these trees.
When Swedish doctor-botanist Carl Peter Thunberg traveled in Japan late in the eighteenth century, he returned with drawings of a small tree. He named the species palmatum after the hand-like shape of the foliage, similar to the centuries old Japanese references kaede and momiji, to these trees.
The cultivars from maples found in Japan and nearby Korea and China are of great interest to bonsai enthusiasts and have long been a subject in art.
It also has medicinal benefits. Preparations from the branches and leaves are used as a treatment in traditional Chinese medicine." 
"Currently, numerous varieties are available commercially at garden centers and other retail stores in Europe and North America, and are very popular for ornamentation." 
 Yale University. (2015, February 04). Retrieved January 05, 2021, from https://naturewalk.yale.edu/trees/aceraceae/acer-palmatum/japanese-maple-42