Law School Confidential: A Complete Guide to the Law School Experience: By Students, for Students | Page 15 of 352

Author: Robert H. Miller | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 529 Views | Add a Review

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o offers a medium for soliloquy. Individuals reflect upon life and death, love, and other important matters in their lives while composing poems about cherry blossoms-an integral part of the ritual of cherry blossom viewing, especially in prewar Japan.

The Japanese make minute distinctions in describing the flower not only among the wide variety of species (two to three hundred domesticated and nine wild species) (Yahiro, ed. 1995: 5-114) but also in every stage of its life cycle, from buds to petals in various stages of blooming and falling. They distinguish shades of color from white to deep red, and blossoms with a single layer of petals from blossoms with multiple layers. To the Japanese the eerie sensuality of white blossoms in the night is altogether different from the radiance of blossoms against the blue sky during the day. They appreciate blossoms on young trees but also treasure old trees which continue to produce abundant blossoms. In contrast to the importance of its fruit for many Europeans and Americans, Asians, especially the Japanese, have selectively cultivated species with beautiful blossoms for viewing.4 All of these nuances are expressed in a vast array of meanings that the Japanese assign to the flower.

Chapter i examines the symbolism of cherry blossoms before the Meiji period. While the discussion is not directly related to the tokkotai, it is crucial for an understanding of what made the symbolism of cherry blossoms such a strategic choice for the state in later years. I lay out the field of symbolism of cherry blossoms. At the level of the individual, the flower represents processes of life, death, and rebirth, and the relationships between men and women as well as production and reproduction. At a more abstract level, it represents subversions of the norm-the anti-self (madness, changes of social identity) and non-reproductive sexuality (geisha, medieval temple boys), both of which negate the reproduction of the normative society.

At the collective level, although each social group in the mosaic of Japanese society has its own tradition of cherry blossom viewing, the flower also became a dominant symbol of the Japanese as a whole by the end of the Edo period. It rose to the consciousness of the Japanese during the ninth century as a result of their discourse with the Chinese, against whom they sought to establish a distinctive identity. They chose cherry blossoms in opposition to the Chinese plum blossoms, which had been espoused by the Japanese elite. Ever since, the Japanese have made strenuous efforts to construct the flower as unique to Japan. Toward the end of the Edo period (16o3-1868), the foremost authority in botany testified that the tree was unique to Japan-an opinion widely accepted at the time even though the tree is widespread outside of Japan. Cherry trees along the Potomac River, shipped in 1912 at the request of Mrs. William Howard Taft, inaugurated a long tradition of cherry tre

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Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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