Cherry blossoms, which is regarded as a Japanese national flower, has been loved by Japanese people from ancient times. This element was already appeared in the books in 800s. Admiring cherry blossom has become the culture of Japan. Court aristocrats and noble people enjoyed a cherry blossom viewing party with songs and Japanese orchestra. It is the beginning of Japanese original national culture. In 1300s, during the Muromachi era, cherry blossom viewing culture became widespread into common people with the development and improvement of their daily lives. In the late of 1800s, at the time of Meiji restoration, cherry blossoms had been planted one after another all over Japan. In the rapid social changing as opening the country to the world, we needed to unite against foreign countries as Japanese. And during the World War I and II in 1900s, the cherry blossoms became a symbol of the military virtue of which they live gracefully and never be scared of death. Soldiers portrayed themselves as the life of the blossoms. Now they have still been the symbol of our spirits. Some of Japanese famous people in history showed their feelings as the aesthetic value and the impermanence to cherry blossoms in Japanese poetry called waka.
Here are some of the poetries:
Negawakuba/ Sakura no Shita nite/ haru shinan/ Sono kisaragi no /mochiduki no koro
願わくば桜の下にて春死なん その如月の望月の頃 西行
Let me die in spring
under the blossoming trees
Let it be around
that full moon of
of Kisaragi month
(translated by Burton Watson)
*kisaragi month is the second month of lunar year in Japan.
Shikisimano/ yamatogokorowo//hitotohaba/ asahini niou/yamasakurahana
If I am asked about the meaning of yamato-gokoro(Japanese spirit)
I will answer it is the blossoms of yamazakura(mountain cherry blossoms)
Shining in the rising sun
(translated by unknown)
I was strongly impressed by those waka. I think it is because I have admiration to the way of life of the blossoms deep in my heart as ancient people had. I want to express the cherry-blossom-admiration-culture in my photographs, that we all might have in our hearts. That is my will to show the viewers that we have a strong bond between our long history and the cherry blossoms.