Group claims China to be origin of cherry blossoms
A Chinese industry group has asserted that cherry blossoms originated in China, a claim that will likely rankle Japan and even South Korea.
He Zongru, executive chairman of the China Cherry Industry Association, said the claim is backed up by the Sakura Taikan, an authoritative almanac published by Japan’s Bunka Publishing Bureau in 1975.
An entry in the Sakura Taikan indicates that Japan’s first cherry blossom had arrived in Japan from Chinese territories adjacent to the Himalaya Mountains during the Tang Dynasty more than 1,100 years ago, He was cited as saying by the Southern Metropolis Daily on Monday. Japan has long been synonymous with cherry blossoms and South Korean media has repeated claims in recent days that the Somei Yoshino, Japan’s most prized cherry blossom breed, originated from South Korea’s Jeju Island.
South Korean reports also claimed that the traditional custom of enjoying the fleeting beauty of the blossoms in full bloom originated from South Korea as well rather than Japan.
“We don’t want to engage in a war of words with Japan and South Korea but simply want to state a fact: many historical records prove that cherry blossoms originated in China. As Chinese, we have the responsibility to make more people aware of this history,” He was quoted as saying by the paper.
“Simply put, we have no problem with the fact that cherry blossoms flourished in Japan after being introduced from China,” He said, insisting, however, that South Korea did not have any place in the argument.
The association official, clearly intent on drawing attention to cherry blossoms in his own country, said he hoped to see China as the home of the flower further develop it as part of the nation’s soft power.