Haiku And The Japanese Cherry Blossom I Oxford Open Learning


    Haiku And The Japanese Cherry Blossom

    Now we’re properly into spring, there is only one thing for it: I need to write about Japanese cherry blossom. It isn’t just that cherry blossom is a Japanese thing – after all, we see it all over the UK, its pretty pink and white petals covering gardens and parks. But, in Japan, the season is known as Sakura. From March through to May, people gather in different places to marvel at the beauty of what cherry trees can offer. In fact, people travel far and wide in Japan (and beyond) to follow the cherry blossom season. It is so stunningly beautiful it is easy to see why.

    Locals and visitors who are fortunate enough to experience Hanami (the ability of enjoying the fleeting beauty of blossom) will travel to different places to see with their own eyes the way nature changes. The season does not last long – after a week or so, a lot of the blossom falls to the ground and the trees are less colourful. Interestingly, cherry blossom symbolises human life, transience and nobility. People love it so much that they often hold parties to celebrate the offerings that nature provides.

    Inspiration For Haiku

    You may not know that the haiku, a very short Japanese poem, traditionally consisting of a total of 17 syllables, with 5 in the first line, 7 in the second and 5 in the third,  is usually focused on nature. This form of poetry is particularly well-known for focusing on the seasons. It is fascinating to think that haiku has been a popular form of poetry since the 9th century! Bear in mind, though, that many translations from Japanese into English do not seem to follow the 5-7-5 rule due to the languages having quite different sounds. If you would like to to read some great examples of the traditional Japanese haiku, Basho Matsuo is a particularly famous writer of them. One example of his work is given below, capturing the essence of the cherry blossom season perfectly:

    A lovely spring night
    suddenly vanished while we
    viewed cherry blossoms

    (Source: https://theculturetrip.com/asia/japan/articles/haiku-poetry-about-japans-cherry-blossoms)

    So, if you are looking for something to write as the evenings get brighter and longer, maybe have a go at haiku. And if you are interested in the wonderful cherry blossom season in Japan, perhaps you could write about that.


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