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Cherry Blossom Tattoos: Their Meaning

Updated on April 1, 2011

Cherry Blossom Tattoo Designs

Cherry blossom tattoos has become a very popular choice for women these days. It seems to be the number one design request for tattoo aficionados as well as first timers alike. There is a constant demand for distinct cherry blossom tattoo designs. This can be because of the inherited symbolism and meaning of the cherry blossom in both Chinese and Japanese cultures.

Since a tattoo is such a very personal thing and that they say a lot about the person, it is very important to get the right tattoo for the right reason.

However few people know the exact meaning and symbolism of the cherry blossom.

You will be surprised to know that the meanings in Chinese and Japanese society are actually quite different from one another.

cherry blossom tattoos
cherry blossom tattoos

Cherry Blossoms In China

Chinese society see the cherry blossom as a symbol of power, particularly of the dominance of the feminine persona. This could mean a blossom tattoo is ideal for you if you are a strong willed woman who values her liberty and freedom or if you have recently come out of a difficult relationship.

It also stands for love if you are coming from the Chinese herbal lore approach.

cherry blossom tattoo design
cherry blossom tattoo design

Cherry Blossoms In Japan

In Japanese culture there is often a link between the blossoming of cherry trees and the Buddhist concept of "mono no aware" which refers to the reverence for life, the transience of being and the sadness at the passing of things. This is because cherry blossoms only appear on trees for short times before they fall to the ground.

This association with mortality is highly symbolic in Japan and has been used in traditional art there for many centuries along with more recent manga or anime. This link may however make a tattoo of cherry blossoms unsuitable for some. Alternatively, it may give you renewed appreciation for the fragility of life and help you make the most of your brief time on this Earth, while bringing you a different perspective on the hard times you may face; knowing that they will not last forever.

cherry blossom tattoo meaning
cherry blossom tattoo meaning

Things to Consider

While it is true that there are many different varieties of cherry blossom, many people do not appreciate just how different looking they can be. In fact, the most common cherry tree in Japan is Somei Yoshino which has largely white blossom with only the faintest hint of pink on the petals.

Other popular choices do have very much more pink in their blossom and it is these that you will more commonly see as tattoos. But still, this is something you will have to think about when getting your tattoo. You should do some research, find pictures of tattoos other people have had and decide which you prefer. It might depend on your skin tone; those with pale skin will definitely want a more pink design whereas tanned or olive skinned people should think about paler pink or white flowers in their designs.

You should also think about how much of the branch to integrate into the overall tattoo design. Realism would dictate that you have a fair bit of branch with flowers clumped together along it but it will probably come down to both personal taste and where you intend the tattoo to be.

cherry blossom meaning
cherry blossom meaning

Getting It Done

If you have decided upon a tattoo incorporating cherry blossoms you should be very selective over whom you get to apply the design to your skin. Japanese art is very intricate as is the cherry tree itself so you need somebody who has experience in this type of tattoo. Make sure you talk over with them exactly what you want and don't be afraid to ask for amendments to their initial drawings so that the finished article is something you are happy to live with for the rest of your life.


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