January 15th, 2008 at 1:00 am (Uncategorized)
Many flowers have secret meanings and in Japan the language of flowers is called hanakotoba. Flowers make excellent gifts for girls and guys and can be used to send subtle or overt messages to someone. Knowing the meanings can also help aspiring manga-ka choose appropriate flowers to draw into their backgrounds.
Most Japanese greeting cards still use hanakotoba correctly. Unfortunately many people, even in Japan, donâ€™t know hanakotoba or wrongly assume that all the Japanese meanings are the same as the Western meanings established during Victorian times.
Love is a tricky thing and but flowers can help express certain feelings. The yellow rose means ‘friendship’ in Japan and is a great gift for friends on Valentineâ€™s Day or birthdays. Itâ€™s also very useful when someone has a crush on you and you want to let them down easy. It means the same thing in America, so itâ€™s a nice way of saying â€œLetâ€™s just be friends.â€
Different colors of the same flowers change the meaning in hanakotoba. While red roses mean â€˜loveâ€™, pink roses mean â€˜happiness,â€™ and white roses mean â€˜silence,â€™ â€˜innocence,â€™ or â€˜devotion.â€™ A red camellia means â€˜being in loveâ€™ but a yellow camellia means â€˜longing.â€™
Red tulips can stand for trust, pride, or pity. Yellow tulips represent one-sided love and dark blue or purple tulips show mourning for the deceased. White carnations mean â€˜engagement to be married,â€™ but other carnations can mean negative things like â€˜refusal,â€™ â€˜disdain,â€™ or even â€˜disappointmentâ€™ (which I somewhat understand as I am usually disappointed if I get carnations, the cheapest flower around).
Other flowers that represent facets of love are often drawn in the background of manga. Daisies mean â€˜faithfulâ€™, forget-me-nots mean â€˜everlasting or true loveâ€™, and lavender means â€˜you are always in my heart.â€™ For some reason in hanakotoba the cactus flower means â€˜lust.â€™ Mistletoe means â€˜single and lookingâ€™ so itâ€™s no wonder people kiss under it at Christmas time.
In Japan people serious about love give a primrose, which means â€˜desperately in love.â€™ If your crush has no clue about your feelings, or maybe doesnâ€™t think you are serious about them, this is the flower to use. Itâ€™s also a good one to send if youâ€™ve asked someone out and they havenâ€™t answered you yet.
Lotus flowers arenâ€™t given as gifts because they mean â€œfar from a loved one.â€ In ancient times women used to cultivate them in their yards while their lover was away to let potential suitors know that they were unavailable.
If you want to let someone know that you hate them or will get revenge for what they have done to you, give them an orange lily. It is a popular flower for rivals in business to send to each other. Also it is not unheard of for brides to receive orange lilies on their wedding day from ex-lovers or women who wanted to marry the groom themselves. White lilies, on the other hand, mean â€˜purityâ€™ and are often used in funeral services because white is the color of death and mourning in Japan.
Flowers with Personality
There are some flowers that represent personality characteristics that make great signatures for manga characters. Pansies are flowers for a caring person and show their (and your) thoughtfulness. Violets represent honesty and can show someone you appreciate their candor.
Jasmine is perfect for someone who is graceful or friendly. If you think someone has good taste, choose a large dahlia. Shy people are represented by an amaryllis and sweet people deserve a lily of the valley. Nature lovers would appreciate one of my favorite blossoms, a magnolia.
Red poppies are seen as â€˜fun-lovingâ€™ flowers in Japan. Associations with opiates aside, they are linked to cheerful people and could be given to outgoing friends. White poppies are used to celebrate events and orange poppies mean â€˜success.â€™
Sending a Message
Honeysuckle is a good thank you for someone who has been generous towards you. Bluebells mean â€˜gratitudeâ€™ and are a good way to thank anyone. If you want to wish someone good luck, give them a clover which is considered lucky in hanakotoba. The white anemone is a flower thatâ€™s excellent for many situations because in Japan it means â€˜sincerityâ€™. Anytime you want to express sincere feelings, the anemone will work well.
A flower to give politicians, royalty, or any other people in powerful positions is the edelweiss. In Japan it means both â€˜courageâ€™ and â€˜powerâ€™ but it is also known as the flower of eternity because even when dried it looks about the same as it does alive. Giving it to someone lets them know that you hope they continue to be in power forever.
The daffodil is the perfect flower to give to bosses, teachers, older relatives, and public figures because it means â€˜respectâ€™ in Japan. A nice gift for co-workers is verbena, because the flower means â€˜cooperationâ€™. Ambrosia flowers mean â€˜piousâ€™ in Japan and would be appreciated by anyone in the clergy.
Freesia is a beautiful flower that comes in a variety of colors that is found all over Japan. The flower means â€˜childishâ€™ and is often given to someone who acts immature as a gentle criticism.
The azalea is a pretty little flower that often comes in larger bouquets. In Japan the flower means â€˜patienceâ€™ and itâ€™s good to give someone if you want to let them know you will patiently wait for them or you will be patient with their decisions or behaviors.
The sweet pea is a flower of goodbyes in Japan. It is nice to give to a friend who is moving away, or a coworker who is leaving for another job. It is meant to mean goodbye forever, with positive feelings toward the other person. Donâ€™t use the sweet pea when breaking up with someone unless itâ€™s a very amicable separation.
A morning glory is a creeping flower that is often used in anime and manga because in Japan it means â€œI will keep my promiseâ€ and we all know how many promises childhood friends and samurai make.Which flower represents you best?