Flowers from Japan
by Barry Marshall on June 28th
Japan is the home of a colourful selection of indigenous flowers, including the beautiful yellow chrysanthemum, cherry blossom, Japanese lotus, azalea, snow willow, hydrangea and camellia. Surprisingly, however, Japan is not the home of a large commercial flower industry. Indeed, the majority of flowers sold in Japan itself are imported from various other countries, particularly the Netherlands, Malaysia and Australia. Japan's domestic flower trade relies so heavily on exports primarily as a result of financial cost and freshness of produce. Notwithstanding this, Japan's commercial cut flower industry remains successful at an international level, particularly among European countries.
In fact, Japan exports a range of commercial cut flowers, such as yellow treasures, chrysanthemums and magnolias, all of which are routinely celebrated at the annual Japanese Flower Festival that occurs each April. Although Japan's commercial cut flower exports do not penetrate established markets in the Netherlands and other such countries to any great degree, they do offer a niche interest to many nations that are keen to learn more about Japanese culture. Indeed, the Japanese way of life is revered in many countries for its complex yet relaxed approach, which comprises deep spirituality and awareness of the natural world.
In fact, it is specifically the Japanese culture that attracts the most interest in the country's commercial cut flowers. Ikebana, for instance, is the Japanese art or discipline of arranging flowers. Whilst flower arranging may seem no more complicated than popping flowers into a vase, Ikebana involves a much deeper connection between humanity and nature. Indeed, the spiritual aspects of Japanese culture and the practise of Ikebana in particular help to promote the country's commercial cut flowers abroad. Accordingly, the Japanese lotus is popular in foreign markets, whilst the chrysanthemum and cherry blossom are thought to be national flowers of Japan.
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