TITLE: Blooming Cherry Blossoms, Falling Cherry Blossoms: Symbolism of the Flower in Japanese Culture and History
SPEAKER: Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney
EVENT DATE: 04/02/2009
RUNNING TIME: 71 minutes
Just as cherry-blossom time comes to Washington, D.C., the Library of Congress presented a lecture on the symbolism of this cherished flower in Japanese culture and history.
Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney, holder of the John W. Kluge Center Chair of Modern Culture at the Library, discussed "Blooming Cherry Blossoms, Falling Cherry Blossoms: Symbolism of the Flower in Japanese Culture and History."
The cherry blossom, Japan's national flower, has been cherished by the Japanese people from ancient times to the present. In her illustrated lecture, Ohnuki-Tierney discussed the flower in some if its various symbolic manifestations, from the procreative power of young women to the militaristic representation of men as warriors, who were in times past commanded to "fall like beautiful cherry petals after a short life," as exemplified by the kamikaze suicide aviators of World War II.
Speaker Biography: Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney is the William F. Vilas Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where her research focuses on various symbols of Japanese identity. Her books include "Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers" (2006); "Kamikaze, Cherry Blossoms, and Nationalisms: The Militarization of Aesthetics in Japanese History" (2002); "Rice as Self: Japanese Identities through Time" (1993); and "The Monkey as Mirror: Symbolic Transformations in Japanese History and Ritual" (1989).