Life in every breath, that is Bushidō
Cherry blossom is an omen of good fortune and is also an emblem of love, affection and represents spring. Cherry blossoms are an enduring metaphor for the fleeting nature of life, and as such are frequently depicted in art.
"Hanami" is the centuries-old practice of picnicking under a blooming sakura or ume tree. The custom is said to have started during the Nara Period (710–794) when it was ume blossoms that people admired in the beginning. But by the Heian Period (794–1185), sakura came to attract more attention and hanami was synonymous with sakura. From then on, in tanka and haiku, "flowers" meant "sakura." The custom was originally limited to the elite of the Imperial Court, but soon spread to samurai society. Under the sakura trees, people had lunch and drank sake in cheerful feasts.
In Japan cherry blossoms also symbolize clouds due to their nature of blooming en masse, besides being an enduring metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life,an aspect of Japanese cultural tradition that is often associated with Buddhistic influence, and which is embodied in the concept of mono no aware. The association of the cherry blossom with mono no aware dates back to 18th-century scholar Motoori Norinaga. The transience of the blossoms, the extreme beauty and quick death, has often been associated with mortality. There is at least one popular folk song, originally meant for the shakuhachi (bamboo flute), titled "Sakura"
In its colonial enterprises, imperial Japan often planted cherry trees as a means of "claiming occupied territory as Japanese space".
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