Cherry blossoms have become extremely popular tattoo motifs in the Western world within the last ten years or so. Many people don't realize it, but cherry blossoms have been enduring and important symbols in Japan for several centuries.
Anyone who was born and raised in Japan is sure to have a strong - and positive - reaction when presented with the image of a cherry blossom tattoo. What is it about these delicate blooms that attracts people so much? Several different points come into play. Before delving into their symbolism, though, it helps to get a firm grasp about how important they are in Japanese culture.
Sakura In Japan, cherry blossoms bloom on trees called sakura. There are more than 200 different varieties of sakura, and their blossoms are anxiously awaited throughout Japan all year long.
Although sakura are wildly celebrated in Japan, they are also indigenous to several other East Asian countries including China and Korea.
Still, most people associate sakura with Japan. If you ever visit the country, you will quickly be pelted with images of cherry blossoms everywhere you go.
From fine china to cheap tourist t-shirts and tattoos, cherry blossoms abound almost everywhere.
Sakura Zensen In America, we're all familiar with the overzealous weatherman who interrupts regularly scheduled programming to warn us about tornadoes, thunderstorms and other natural events. In Japan, they have regular weather forecasts - and they have cherry blossom forecasts, too.
Indeed, the entire nation watches the cherry blossom front, or sakura zensen, with bated breath. After all, the blossoms are only around for a limited window of time, typically a week or two. Therefore, hanami parties must be planned based on the sakura zensen.
The Symbolism of Cherry Blossom Tattoos
As a result of Japanese culture, one of the main representations of cherry blossoms is the idea of transience. In body art, the cherry blossom can represent an ephemeral or fleeting concept or idea.
Now that you have a small idea about the importance of a cherry blossom tattoo in Japanese culture, and why they are so highly esteemed, it should be a little easier for you to understand why people choose to adorn their bodies with them.