Once a cherry blossom starts to open up, all of blossoms will be at their peak before long, and it gives us somehow unreal state of mind.
And, even when people undergo their hardship, looking up to see these transient blossoms brings brightness into their hearts and appreciating their short lives makes people feel special sentiment.
Cherry Blossoms ( sakura ) have been one of major material of Tanka poem from ancient days in Japan, e.g. being expressed in "manyo-shu"The Anthology of Myriad ［Ten Thousand］ Leaves, compiled in the 8 century. And of course it is still continuing to be written suggesting some theme in genre of modern tanka.
In this time of year I often remember a tanka composed by Kanoko Okamoto(1889~ 1939), about 100 years ago.
( image from website)
This tanka expresses not only nature of cherry blossoms but also Kanoko's passionate life. I've ever read that when she faced with her quite difficult situation, her partner and a cartoonist, Ippei Okamoto, let her intimate two boyfriends live with them to encourage her. Their intense way of living exerted influence on their youngest son, Tarō Okamoto, by necessity.
As an avant-garde painter,Tarō Okamoto designed 「太陽の塔」,( Tower of the Sun ) for a symbol tower of world exposition that was held in 1970 in Japan.
This year(2011) is 100th anniversary of his birth.
(image from website )
Ten years later of the event, so-called "Bubble economy " term started and it lasted nearly a decade in Japan. In the midst of the bubble economy, Machi Tawara(1962~ ) who is a forefront of colloquial tanka poem wrote about transient nature of cherry blossoms like this.