“Bloom as flowers of death.”

Cherry blossoms are an enduring metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life. I collected the flowers in 2017 spring. Whenever I went running during that spring, I gathered the cherry blossom flowers and petals on my way back.

Hanami is a long-standing Japanese tradition of welcoming spring. Also known as the “cherry blossom festival,” this annual celebration is about appreciating the temporal beauty of nature. People gather under blooming cherry blossoms for food, drink, songs, companionship and the beauty of sakura (cherry blossoms).

During World War II, the symbolism of the cherry blossom was used as a propaganda tool not just to stoke nationalism and militarism among the populace but helping to motivate the Japanese people to sacrifice their lives for their country and emperor. Japanese Kamikaze pilots would paint cherry blossoms on the sides of their planes before embarking on suicide missions. The falling cherry blossom petals came to represent the sacrifice of the country’s youth, women and old men in suicide attacks