Red roses for love, the rose as June’s flower of the month… Although I have an avid interest in everything botanical, before becoming immersed in Japanese culture, I can’t say that I actively engaged with the meanings of flowers beyond the most popular ones above. But, in Japan, as well as sharing similar meanings as those found abroad, flowers have also been bestowed with their own unique cultural definitions. What’s more, this hana kotoba, or flower symbolism, is so widespread that it can be a useful shorthand for conveying a message to another person.
Read on to discover how flower symbolism can help you master the always delicate art of gift-giving in Japan!
Flowers to Give Thanks
In Japan, pink roses are seen as high in quality and have several meanings, such as graceful or ladylike. But, perhaps the most dominant one is giving thanks! Luckily there is a wide variety of pink roses to choose from in terms of color (salmon or peach or dusty, etc.) and variety (Eden Rose, Blush China Rose, Queen Elizabeth Rose etc.) so it is easy to personalize this gift.
Japan also ascribes multiple meanings to baby’s breath, such as purity and innocence, but a common one is thankfulness. Pair these delicate flowers in a bouquet with pink roses and you will have a present with entirely consistent floral symbolism. What better way to show someone your appreciation than by gifting this power duo!
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