Flowers have also been known as the symbol of expressions and messages for centuries. The existence of flowers sure is a way of nature showing its beauty. Not limited only to decorative purposes, flowers play a vital role in Japanese culture, which involves the life, art, and poetry of the country. Flowers have been used as codes and passwords as a shape of unspoken communication. According to the Japanese culture, flowers speak their own language, called “Hanakotoba”. Let’s get to know the nine delicate blooms of Japanese Hanakotoba. These blooms are camelia, chrysanthemum, daffodil, wisteria, plum blossom, red spider lily, sweet pea, sunflower, and cherry blossoms.
In Japan, camellia is known as Tsubaki. This native flower of Asia became popular in Japan during the Edo period. For decades, this dainty bloom has been used as a multipurpose gift from nature, especially in the treatment and medicinal fields. Red camellia symbolizes two different messages. It can be a device to convey your love and affection, but among the warriors and samurai, the red bloom of camellia is a symbol of noble death. Meanwhile, pink camellia represents adoration and longing feelings.
With a fresh and uplifting scent, chrysanthemums have nobility associations and have long been a part of the Japanese Imperial Family’s crest. Other than that, chrysanthemums can be found in many East Asian historic artworks and ornamentals. White chrysanthemums are used at funerals to symbolize purity, grief, and sincerity. The yellow bloom of the chrysanthemum represents cheerfulness and friendly thoughts. Yellow Kiku is often used to reject one’s romantic confession.
The typical daffodil flower has six petals and a trumpet-shaped center crown in a bright yellow or white color. Unlike the first two, the daffodil is native to Europe and Northern Africa. According to Japanese Hanakotoba, Suisen means respect and regard. This dainty bloom was first introduced to Japan around 700 years ago and has been receiving love from many ever since.
If you visit Japan in spring, trailing vines of purple wisteria blooms will be a lovely sight to see. The elegant presence of wisteria in Hanakotoba is translated as a symbol of nobility and luxury. It was prohibited for commoners to wear the color purple. Even the pattern of wisteria is considered highly fashionable in Japanese traditional clothing, kanzashi, and kimono. The fragrance of wisteria is just as lovely as its captivating look. It pleases one’s senses and easily captivates one’s attention.
Ume (Plum Blossom)
Plum blossom is a close relative of the apricot tree, that’s why another nickname for this bloom is Japanese apricots. This bloom is originally native to China, but it was also well-loved and cultivated in Japan. Ume blooms in the same period as cherry blossoms, the sight of these two flowers in their blooming period is not something you would like to miss out on. According to the Japanese Hanakotoba, plum blossom represents elegance and royalty.
Higanbana (Red spider lily)
The red spider lily is known as one of the most beautiful decorative flowers. It’s all due to the unique shape of its bloom and the bright red color of its petals. In Hanakotoba, the red spider lily is usually associated with goodbyes that came from a good intention, final partings, guidance for the dead, and a cycle of rebirth. That’s why it is quite common to use in funerals as to use them in festive events.
Suitopi (Sweet Pea)
This attractive blossom is a native to Italy and was introduced to Japan in the 20th century and has gained massive popularity ever since. Until this day, a bouquet of sweet pea is high in demand during winter and spring. Their delicate winged flowers are only matched by the scent of honey and orange blossom. Their popularity is mainly a result of a pleasant aroma and the capacity to produce a large number of flowers for the house over a long time of cutting. In the Japanese language of flower, this bloom is a symbol of goodbye.
The radiant flower of the sun, the sunflower, also plays a significant role in Japanese culture. Since it was introduced hundreds of years ago, the sunflower has sparked positivity in the heart of Japan. According to Hanakotoba, the sunflower bouquets represents radiance and respect. One of the most interesting facts about sunflowers is they always follow where the sun goes. That explains the reason why they represent respectful thoughts.
Sakura (Cherry Blossoms)
The most iconic blossom of springtime is the cherry blossom that’s also popularly known as sakura. The euphoric sight of delicate pink petals blossoming is a sight to behold. Cherry blossoms have a strong cultural significance in Japan, making the country’s national flower a cultural icon beloved around the world for reasons other than its breathtaking beauty. Cherry blossoms represent momentary beauty, the briefness of life, and a sincere heart. The beauty of this flower is often inspired by many artists as its often being pictured and mentioned in various artworks, such as paintings, movies, and poetry.
After understanding the brief surface of Hanakotoba, it has come to our understanding that flowers are more than just decorative instruments. There is more to flowers than what’s visible to the eye. Each flower should be honored and respected for its significance in representing emotional feelings through its petals, color, shape, and scent.
As a way to show comfort, convey feelings, and even beg for forgiveness, giving flowers is such a noble gesture and has been done for ages. One thing you should keep in mind is to choose the right flower that represents your true feelings. In Hanakotoba, each flower symbolizes certain feelings that work almost the same way as a code to notify others about your true feelings in an elegant, subtle, and impactful way. Sometimes, action speaks louder than words. With flowers, nothing could go wrong. Therefore, the cultural and historic reason for the Japanese language of flowers and representing emotions through flowers is exceptionally brilliant.
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