Cherry blossoms are symbolic of uniqueness.
The “Kojiki,” a compilation of oral accounts of the origins of Japan, was commissioned by Empress Gemmei. The Tang Dynasty of China was at its height of cultural, economic and military influence. The empress, threatened by Chinese culture seeping into the country, sought to establish a unique Japanese identity that proved Japanese culture developed autonomous to other regions. Thus, the book described what came to be known as the “Japanese spirit.”
While the Chinese prize the plum blossoms, the aristocracy of Japan raised the cherry blossom to new status. The ritual of hanami — elaborate cherry blossom viewing ceremonies and celebrations with singing, dancing, and drinking — began at the imperial courts, practiced by elite classes, but commoners also celebrated in rural areas.