23 April 2019
Viewing cherry blossoms is a popular pastime in Japan. Photo: Bloomberg
Viewing cherry blossoms is a popular pastime in Japan. Photo: Bloomberg

China wades into debate on origin of cherry blossoms

China found itself unable to keep silent as a debate heated up recently among netizens in Japan and South Korea over where cherry blossoms originated, am730 reported Tuesday.

He Zongru, chairman of the China Cherry Industry Association, said at a news conference in Guangzhou Monday that the trees originated in China.

Citing Sakura Taikan, an authoritative almanac published by Japan’s Bunka Publishing Bureau in 1975, He said Japan’s first cherry blossom arrived in that country from Chinese territory adjoining the Himalaya Mountains during the Tang dynasty, more than 1,100 years ago.

“We have no problem with the fact that cherry blossoms flourished in Japan after being introduced from China,” he said.

But He said South Korea did not have any place in the argument.

“As Chinese, we have the responsibility to make more people aware of this history,” he was quoted as saying.

A story published March 11 by Daily Sports, a South Korean newspaper, said Japan’s famous Somei Yoshino variety of cherry trees originated on Jeju Island.

The newspaper said that while that had been confirmed by some Japanese scholars, the Japanese can’t stop bragging about being the home of the variety.

Japan gave 3,000 Somei Yoshino plants in 1912 to Washington, which began to hold an annual cherry blossom festival a century ago.

The South Korean claim has angered Japanese netizens, who call their neighbors “shameless” and “totally stupid”.

Chinese have criticized the South Koreans for claiming in the past that they created feng shui, Chinese characters and the Mid-Autumn Festival, just to name a few shared aspects of the two cultures.

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