Japanese people generally love cherry blossoms. Through the four seasons many various flowers bloom in Japan, but cherry blossoms (or Sakura in Japanese) is special among them.

Since spring is usually first ushered in by the plum flowers to announce the end of a cold & hard winter, it was the favorite flower of the ancient Japanese a thousand years ago, like in ancient China (which was one of the bases of Japanese culture).  But after the medieval times when Japanese culture matured, the word “flower”, without any mention of a specific kind, has come to mean Sakura.

Some of the reasons for this are as follows: since ancient times there has been a custom of holding blossom-viewing picnics in Japan, and sakura-lovers, including emperors and rulers eagerly planted many cherry-blossom trees.  Therefore some famous sakura-viewing sights have appeared in places like Yoshino, Nara and along the bands of Sumida River, Edo (Today’s Tokyo).  Furthermore, as to the breeding of sakura trees, developing trees with beautiful blossoms has been emphasized over trees bearing delicious fruits.  Also the spread of Buddhism, of which one of the core beliefs is [Everything is transient], and traditional Japanese thought based on the belief that everything has a spiritual power (animism), caused the Japanese to prefer sakura, which bloom all at once and die of at the same time, to plum blossoms which bloom little by little but for a longer time.

Not to mention old masterpieces by famous poets which expressed the brilliant vitality of sakura which is resurrected every year even though the flowers bloom for one week only, these have touched a chord with most Japanese people and still influence them to this day. Sakura blossoms have become a symbol of the Japanese sense of beauty.

This April, the Japan Foundation’s Library’s theme will be sakura blossoms, which get all of Japan abuzz from March to April every year. We try to answers questions such as: what is the cherry blossoms and what does this flower mean for Japanese people through different mediums!

Open Library: Saturdays 16th & 23rd April 2016 10am – 4pm

Small Workshops for Japanese Games:

Saturday April 23, 2016  from 11am -4pm

@JF Cairo Library

Origami, Igo & Shogi

No need for Registration + Admission free

Language: Arabic , English and Japanese