Cherry Blossoms (sakura)
Cherry blossoms are used extensively in the anime world. These trees are classified under the family Rosaceae and grow wildly in the mountainous regions of Japan. These species of cherry trees are appreciated more for the beauty of their blossoms rather than other cherry blossoms used for their fruit. The wood can be used to make furniture and carvings. The form and color of the blossoms have long symbolized traditional values of Japanese purity and simplicity. Because it flowers briefly then scatters, they have also come to symbolize the ephemeral nature of beauty.
Historically in the Helian period, 794-1185 AD, cherry blossom flower viewing parties (hanami) were popular among the aristocracy and by the Edo period, early 17th century, the custom spread to the common people. Today, picnicking and drinking with friends and family beneath the flowering cherry blossoms remains a popular rite of springtime in Japan.
Sakura is the most common Japanese female character’s name. The most beloved is the Sakura from Card Captor Sakura/Tsubasa Chronicles. With the growing popularity of Naruto in the United States, the second Sakura to come to mind is pink-haired and has a complex over Sasuke. She becomes much stronger and useful post-time jump. There’s also the sword wielding Sakura from Sakura Wars (Sakura Taisen), the short and blond Sakura from Da Capo, the purple haired Sakura from Fate/Stay Night, and even Sakura from Street Fighter Alpha.
(’cherry, flowering’ & ‘hanami’ Japan an Illustrated Encyclopedia. 1993)