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 The Somei-Yoshino cherry blossom is the most commonly seen and most popular form of sakura in public places in Japan. This is a later flowering species.

IN BLOOM

Somei-Yoshino cherry blossom

 

By LINDA INOKI

This perfectly still Spring day bathed in the soft light From the spread-out sky, Why do the cherry blossoms So restlessly scatter down?

— Ki no Tomonori

 

From the “Kokinshu, (Collection of Ancient and Modern Poems),” compiled by Imperial order in 905. Translated by Donald Keene, Anthology of Japanese Literature (Grove Press).

Since ancient times, fragile cherry blossoms have perfectly symbolized mono no aware, a sweet, sad awareness of the transience of life. Wild cherries from the Yoshino mountains near the old capital of Nara gave rise to hundreds of varieties. The Somei-Yoshino, cultivated in Tokyo in the 19th century, is now the classic cherry blossom of Japan.

The Japan Times: April 5, 2001

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