While these are just some of the many symbols attributed to the cherry blossom tree, they hold particular significance within Japanese history. Masses of cherry blossoms are cloud-like, romantic, beautiful and very transient. The full blooming of the cherry tree lasts only a couple of days. Because of their quick and impressive beauty followed by sudden demise, Japanese Kamikaze pilots used their image to symbolize their own fatal devotion to Japan during WWII. Each pilot would paint a cherry blossom on the side of his plane to symbolize the intensity and ephemeral nature of life. During this period of time, the Japanese government encouraged the notion that these warriors’ souls were reincarnated in actual cherry blossoms. The Imperial Japanese government has also used cherry trees in much the same way that other imperialistic nations have planted flags in occupied territory. Cherry trees were planted as a way of claiming space. Although the blossoms are ephemeral, a tree is forever!
Special Guest Blogger: Jonathan Leger is a member of the Garden Writer's Association and a gardening enthusiast. You can check out his website where he shares his passion for the unique plants of the world.