Among the various discourses portraying Japan as a unique and homogenous country, one especially worthy of consideration is that Japan is “the land of the cherry blossom.” Along with a large number of cherries growing in the wild, the Japanese have, from ancient times, made efforts to cultivate their favorite cherries, producing and multiplying garden varieties. Already in the Heian period (794–1185), when some classic anthologies of poetry were compiled after the establishment of the Imperial Palace in Kyoto, the imperial houses of many distinguished aristocrats decorated their gardens with choice specimens of cherry tree. The cherry flower has been one of the foremost objects of the nation’s admiration ever since then. In early springtime, after the dark and dreary winter months, cherry blossoms burst open almost at once to full bloom with vivid white flowers, thus symbolizing the nation’s vitality as well as the purity of life. The way in which the petals of cherry trees leave their calyx when still fresh and at the height of their vigor and beauty as if not afraid to die, unlike all other flowers whose petals cling to their calyx until they wither and rot, is also believed to represent the samurai spirit.