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Sakura

Kanji for the Cherry blossom

The cherry blossom is Japan’s national flower and the synonymous with the word flower. Generally, the cherry blossom is a felicitous symbol. Yet there is also a dark side. To old-time samurai, there was no greater glory than to die on the battlefield like scattered cherry blossoms. Resplendent in full bloom, cherry blossoms seldom last more than a week, and they are easily swept away with one strong wind, a fleeting beauty that suggests purity and transience.

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A poem about cherry blossoms

Japanese fondness for the cherry blossom

Written by Saigyou(1118~1190), a poet of the late Heian period noted for his verses on cherry blossoms. Saigyou did indeed die in the second month of the lunar calendar and cherry trees shade his grave.

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Flowers, Birds, Bleeze, and Lunar

A symbolic term for the beauties of nature

A symbolic term embodying the beauties and wonders of Japanese nature. Since ancient times, nature has always been a familiar and friendly blessing to the Japanese, and this concept of nature is readily understandable in view off the Japanese islands’ temperate climate and abundant rainfall. The ancient agricultural society’s need to know when to plant, cultivate, and harvest its crops has sharpened the Japanese sensitivity to seasonal changes, heightening their awareness of minutiae of nature, and giving rise to a wide variety of arts and customs embodying this sensitivity.

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Nishiki-goi (Colored carp) kanji

Japanese colored carp

The carp’s annual upstream fight to get to its spawning grounds–in ancient legends its climb up waterfalls to turn into a dragon–symbolizes a male child’s healthy and vigorous growth and acceptance into society. The colorful nishiki-goi are ornamental carp bred over centuries, and Japanese nishiki-goi are today known the world over.

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