Flowers have a very high importance in the Japanese culture. Most of us eared about Cherry blossom. Indeed, each flower is a symbol and has a meaning.
Cherry Blossom: Sakura
The symbol of Japan.
It expresses beauty, sweetness, gentleness, and its short life symbolizes the ephemeral nature of beauty.
The specificity of sakuras is to be blown by the wind during full bloom. They don’t wilt, and die beautiful. What explains how those flowers are also linked with Bushido, the moral code of Samourais.
Imported from China, this noble flower fascinated the imperial family, till becoming the symbol of the empire.
in Japan, the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum is the highest order. The imperial throne is called the throne of Chrysanthemum.
This flower is on coins, passports, …
It symbolizes longevity. When white, it’s purity, truth.
In Japan, it’s considered as the queen of the flowers.
With its beauty at the end of a rigid and straight stalk, it means courage and honnor.
Chinese Plum / Japanese Apricot: Ume
Like Japanese Cherry, it belongs to Prunus specy.
Its blooming start at the beginning of the year, and its flowers may appear under snow.
Its flowers are pink or white, close to Sakura’s, with rounder and shorter petals.
They express elegance, fidelity, longevity.
Easily recognizable with its yellow heart and stamens, its meaning varies with color. Its blooming announces the arrival of spring.
Red, it’s about love.
Yellow, it’s about nostalgia.
White, it’s means waiting.
Pine is very meaningful in Japan. Here are few examples among others.
It’s used at new year (kadomatsu) pour decorate entrance doors, like an auspice of prosperity.
In the Shinto beliefs, the Kamis (gods and goddesses) come down from heaven on pine branches.
Pines are used to delimit temples, push back negative energies and bad spirits.
Because of its lifetime and resistance, it’s also naturally associated with longevity.
Bamboo: Take, and its leaves: Sasanoha
Bamboo is very important in Japan, since used in multiple ways in daily life, for years.
It grows fast, and thus means prosperity.
Because of its natural features, it represents together strength, adaptability, flexibility, longevity, resistance.
The leaves (Sasa specy) are associated with quietness.