SAKURA(Cherry Blossom) is very beautiful and its beauty certainly draws very strong attentions from overseas people. But SAKURA is much more loved by Japanese.
ULTIMATE BEAUTY FOR JAPANESE
SAKURA has historically been the ultimate beauty for Japanese. It is written in many books since the ancient times.
Japanese have aesthetic sensitivity that highly values transient beauty. SAKURA in full bloom that lasts only several days become all the more attractive for its short life.
Japanese feel like SAKURA has endured all the pains through the hot summer and the frozen winter, then finally blooms in spring. It seems as if a hard life story is shown to us. Someone may compare to their hard lives.
I am digressing, but there is another thing considered to be a transient beauty by Japanese.
It's fire work in summer. It is sung in the recent song titled "UCHIAGE-HANABI (skyrocket firework)" as "bloomed in the night sky in a moment and disappeared silently". It definitely sounds transient with the ultimate beauty.
People go and see the fireworks with Kimono, which can make the Hanabi day very special for them and get synchronized with the beauty continued from the ancient times. Although this feeling may sound strange to non-Japanese, they are always our specials in summer.
SWEET & BITTER MEMORIES
SAKURA is considered a symbol of the beginning of a new life. For children starting school and new graduates starting new jobs, April's cherry blossoms suggest a bright future. On the other hand, it is also farewell from friends, parents and family. SAKURA reminds Japanese people of their past "so sweet and yet so bitter" memories. We sometime feel sad when we see SAKURA blooming.
HOW WAS "SAKURA" NAMED?
There are several traditions on the origin of the name of "SAKURA". The most famous story written in the oldest Japanese history book titled "Kojiki" says that "SAKURA" derived from the name of the female deity called "Kono-Hana-Sakuya-Hime". It literally means "This-flower-bloom-princess".
Every spring, she rode on haze and scattered the seeds of SAKURA blossom from Mt. Fuji. She is enshrined at Asama Shrine (another name, Sengen Shrine) where Mt. Fuji is regarded as the object of the god.
Her interesting story is written in the same book. She was so beautiful and suspected by her husband, "Ninigi" about the real father of her babies. To verify her innocence, she set fire to a room, and gave the birth to three babies in the burning room, because they should never die if they are Nigigi's children (unbelievable!).
She finally got 3 babies safely. One of the babies was named Hoori. His grand child is the Emperor Jinmu, the first Japan Emperor. The emperor family are relatives of Japanese deities! A very political point?
As shown above, Japan deities were not always noble. They act like we do. Maybe more than we do.