The Chrysanthemum and Meiji Jingu & Harajuku Tour, 4 November 2018

Many thanks to people who participated in the tour. On that day we welcomed 17 guests from US, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, Belgium, and Venezuela. We divided into 3 groups. It was a very mild day although slightly rained later in the morning.

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There was a special event on the Meiji Jingu Shrine that pleased our guests. Exhibition of the chrysanthemum.

Beautiful chrysanthemum flowers shown on the corridor and inside the main pavilion square attracted so many visitors there. Each one was well-taken care of by planters who pride themselves with their artistic forming of the flowers. We call the flowers, Kiku. What is significant of the chrysanthemum is the flowers are Japan’s national flower. You might think cherry blossom is the one but it is only seen in spring. But chrysanthemum is what you see all year around.

Chrysanthemum is used as emblem for the imperial family as you see on the top of Torii gate of the shrine.

It is also known to be a symbol of Japanese aestheticism which was described in renowned classic cultural anthropology book titled “The Chrysanthemum and the sword” on which the author, Ruth Benedict described as “a nation with a popular cult of aestheticism which gives high honor to actors and to artists and lavishes art upon the cultivation of chrysanthemum” in contrast with Samurai’s sword.

When someone dies, people bring chrysanthemums to funerals or graves to offer condolence. The chrysanthemums are most familiar flowers in our daily life.

When you see chrysanthemum somewhere, please remember Japanese way of art and life.

(Masa)

 

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