A hand-drawn cherry tree with a Japanese atmosphere

A hand-drawn cherry tree with a Japanese atmosphere [free illustration material]

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I want people all over the world to think that the culture of their home country is “nice”. I am involved in Hiyori’s activities with the aim of “continuing to pursue Japanese culture because I like it” rather than “inheriting it because it is ephemeral”.

By the way, today I would like to talk about “Sakura” , the name of which comes to mind right away when speaking of Japanese flowers !

1. Cherry blossoms where “God” resides
Do you know the origin of the name Sakura? There are various theories, but the influential one is

“Sa” stands for “sa god,’ ‘ which means “the god of the rice paddies,’ ‘ and “Kura,” which means the pedestal on which the god sits , and is derived from “the tree where the god of the rice paddy dwells  .” It seems that.

In addition, farmers have long used cherry blossoms as a guideline for agriculture. When the buds had grown about seven times, they began to sow the rice, and when the flowers were in full bloom, they prayed for a good harvest under the cherry blossoms. In the summer, when the cherry blossoms turn green, a cicada drizzle envelops us, and preparations for field farming begin. It is said that in the rituals to pray for a good harvest, the way the flowers bloomed was used to foretell this year’s harvest.

In this way, cherry blossoms have been cherished as a calendar for farmers to know the subtle changes in the seasons each year .

2. Reason why Japanese people are fascinated by cherry blossoms
So why has the cherry blossom been an object of worship since ancient times? I think there are two other reasons for this, in addition to the beauty of cherry blossoms.

The first one is the feeling of longing for spring . Overcoming the long closed winter, the long-awaited spring. Plants and animals regain their vitality, and people’s hearts become brighter. Cherry blossoms bloom beautifully and warmly, as if to express their hearts.

The second is the “transience of life” . Even before the cherry blossoms bloom, we wait impatiently for three minutes to bloom, five minutes to bloom, seven minutes to bloom. had completely finished the best time to see.. Have you ever had such an experience? “I don’t know what tomorrow will bring.” This “ephemerality of life” and “remaining regret” is probably the main reason why it fascinates us.

3. Waka poems that use cherry blossoms

Among the waka poems that use cherry blossoms, the one that is well known is the one written by Narihira Ariwara in Kokin Wakashu. “If there were no cherry blossoms in the world, the heart of spring would be soothing.”

Spring is originally a peaceful season, but people wait for the cherry blossoms to bloom and worry about them falling. It is said that people are not calm because of cherry blossoms, and the splendor of cherry blossoms, which has the power to stir people’s hearts, and the affection for cherry blossoms are painfully expressed. This song can also be taken as an abstract representation of the inside of men and women.

4. Japanese cherry blossom viewing culture
I’ve talked about cherry blossoms at length so far, but in fact, until the Nara period, cherry blossom viewing was “plum blossoms” . In the Heian period, envoys to the Tang Dynasty were abolished, and a national culture that emphasized the original culture of Japan developed. Emperor Saga became the first person to spread cherry blossoms . Since Emperor Saga loved cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms gradually became the focus of cherry blossom viewing.

One last thing. Speaking of cherry-blossom viewing, “three-color dumplings” are indispensable . These three colors actually represent three seasons.

White is “light winter snow”
Pink is “faint cherry blossoms in spring”
Green is “fresh green in early summer”

The reason why there is no autumn seems to be the humor of the dumpling shop, which says , ” No matter how much you eat, you will never get tired of it, so you will thrive.”

Everyone, did you know more about cherry blossoms? I myself was surprised that even one flower has such a long history and culture. This year, I think it was difficult to see the cherry blossoms with everyone, but I hope that we will be able to spend time together under the cherry blossoms.

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