A japanese man said to me: “We Japanese like cherry blossoms and dislike roses”.
I don’t want to discuss the japanese soul or aesthetic. But this words were an interesting sum up of both things. I always asked myself why are japanese gardens looking so different. The have a pond, gras and flowers. All you have in a european garden too. The difference has to be in somewhere in the details and I cannot explain it. It is the same with japanese styled room. You can say if they were designed be a real Japanese or an European. Something is different with the aesthetic of Japanese.
Japan is the country formed by of Buddhism and Sinto ideas. Both religion honour the ancestors. And compared to the christian religion they seem to be more comfortable with death and afterlife, somehow. Samurai always were styled. No one liked the idea to end up as a unclean dead body.
But back to the roses. Roses wilt at the stem. It is like they are despirately try to stay alive. Cherry blossoms are falling easy and beautiful at the moment of most beauty, in the middle of their life. It is like they don’t want to hold out to the last possible moment. They don’t wilk. They fall white and clean. Their life is short but powerful in their impression.
Therefore the cherry blossom is center of japanese aesthetic. It is like the German saying: “To stop if it is the best.” (it really loses in the translation). For the japanese the cherry blossom is a symbol of perishabililty but also for a new start. With the cherry blossom spring is starting in Japan. But also a new school year. We know this from Manga and Anime. Goodbye from former class mates or meeting new frieds (and first love) at the a new school; and the cherry blossom in the background. So cheesy. But also, so Japanese.
The roses that holds to the wrong values.
The cherry blossom as the symbol of begin and end.
We can find a similar aesthetic in the movie Samurai fiction. In an interview I saw, the author Hiroyuki Nakano talked about the (only) two female characters, Koharu and Lady Okatsu. He said that there are two moments of beauty in a female life. Koharu represents the first moment. She is young and unmarried. Lady Okatsu is a woman in her prime. The second moment of beauty. If you follow the idea of cherry blossom. it is only logical, that she dies. She will not wilk.