What is the most representative symbol of Japan? There are several answers to this question. We are not talking about Japanese calligraphy, katakana, or Japanese kanjis, but a recognized and famous emblem. Often derived from the Chinese world, the culture and Japanese history are so vast that one can in fact find many well-known symbols, very characteristic of the land of cherry blossoms. And besides, the cherry blossoms will they also be included in this ranking?
Moreover, if you want to become more familiar with the Japanese universe, we suggest that you take a look at our japanese clothes .
Without further ado, here are the 11 most representative symbols of Japan .
Geishas (芸 者), in Japanese, refers to women with artistic skills. She wears a sumptuous everyday kimono , heavy makeup and lush hairstyle. The accessories most commonly added to her outfit are the fan or the umbrella.
To become geisha , a woman must first study in a school specially designed for this purpose. In such a school, they learn various dance and craft techniques, and they are also taught general culture classes and the conduct of important ceremonies. All the decorative layers worn by a geisha are intended to separate her from the surrounding reality. The artistically imbued woman thus becomes not only a living symbol of japanese art , but also a symbol of mystery, wisdom and hidden beauty.
Kimono are the traditional japanese clothes par excellence ! It literally means "thing carried on oneself". It has been an integral part of Japanese culture for thousands of years and represents a heritage recognized in the eyes of the world. Dress a kimono is a Japanese art which interests more and more Western tourists and becomes an essential activity in Japan.
In the past, wearing a kimono made it possible to identify the social class of the person who wore it. Indeed, donned by all, there were dress codes of the kimono. The colors indicated social class or marital status. The garment represented to itself a whole symbolic and featured social messages.
To familiarize you even more with this traditional custom, we have already made an article that teaches you everything (or almost) about the japanese kimono .
In Japanese, Sakura (桜) means cherry blossom . It is therefore not without reason that Japan is called the land of cherry blossoms. Each year in late March and early April, the trees produce thousands of spectacular pink buds, which give petals absolutely sublime. That is why the Japanese celebrate this occasion with a custom special called hanami (花 見), which literally means "to look at flowers".
At this time, the flowering is perfect, the prices of hotels and plane tickets increase significantly and many tourists travel to arrive in the footsteps of the cherry blossoms, in a Japanese garden for example. This asian symbol particular reminds people of the youthful, fleeting nature of life and also indicates that spring is coming soon.
Cherry blossoms always give a chic look. To completely fit into an atypical genre but still very sublimated, this Kimono Cardigan is perfect, accompanied by its cherry blossoms and Koi carp.
The samurai were ancient Japanese warriors completely devoted to their ruler, their emperor. They were guided by honor and unwritten code bushidō (武士道 - the path of the warrior). They have won all the imperial recognition due to them by the force of their bravery. They never parted with their primary weapon, the Katana , which symbolized their constant will to fight and was in itself the very soul of the samurai. These Japanese warriors are a symbol of courage, loyalty and perseverance.
In fact, the art of cultivating dwarf bonsai (盆栽) originated in China, but today it is considered one of the symbols of Japan. It is because it is in the land of the samurai that the breeding of bonsai has become a very widespread oriental tradition. Their image is found on many tourist souvenirs, clothes, paintings, and of course in the Japanese gardens , as well as in other public spaces. They can sometimes even be found in temples or one sanctuary . Bonsai has a meaning of happiness and fortune, and helps to create an atmosphere Zen.
Manga (in kanji: 漫画) is quite simply a japanese comic . This form of storytelling is extremely popular in Japan and often brings big profits to the creators of these comics. The most famous stories are often made into movies or TV shows and are broadcast around the world. There are many different types of manga.
Some comics feature pretty funny topics, while others explore more serious topics. One of the types of manga the most popular is the josei-manga (女性 漫画). The content of these comics is primarily aimed at mature girls, as they primarily explore common issues of japanese girls . Whether you are at Tokyo , Kyoto , or anywhere in Japan, you will feel the manga fiber around you!
If you like manga, you must surely know Demon Slayer, the new anime whose popularity continues to climb. Cosplay is also very popular in Japan!
Fuji (富士山) is one of the most emblematic from Japan. It is not only a mountain, it is also an active volcano. It is also the highest peak in the country (3,766 m above sea level). Being inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List confirms its beauty. It is one of the best sites to make a trip to japan .
Unsurprisingly, despite the vastness of the terrain surrounding the mountain, as well as the many tourist trails nearby, it is quite difficult not to meet other tourists in the area. At the height of the tourist season, reaching the top requires long queues, but the marvelous view after the ascent is well worth it.
For the Japanese themselves, the Fuji is a sacred mountain and every citizen of Country of the rising sun should visit him at least once in his life. Whoever manages to climb to the top can consider himself a great man. For Buddhism, ascension is a metaphor for the path to enlightenment.
The Japanese are strongly attached to their traditions , their culture, their customs, but also their superstitions. This is why in Japan, one can meet images of cats almost everywhere. Why cats? Because, according to the Japanese, they bring good luck and prosperity. The citizens of the Land of the Rising Sun are particularly fond of maneki-neko (招 き 猫). This is the Japanese cat with raised paw figurine.
This type of figurine is often placed at the entrance of restaurants or shrines, where it "welcomes" visitors, and is also sold as a tourist souvenirs various. While visiting Japan, it's a good idea to acquire one of these figurines to see if feline luck really exists!
Just like the bonsai mentioned earlier, origami (折 り 紙) is originally from China. However, once again this art form became very popular in Japan and it was there that it really started to flourish.
Origami is therefore strongly associated with Country of the rising sun . These amazing paper figurines, often arranged and handled in an extraordinary way. When assembling these paper shapes, you should never use scissors, glue or other decorations. This is the real phenomenon behind origami art : it's about creating works of art using only your hands, paper and creativity. Special origami museums can also be found all over Japan.
To get an idea, and try to make it, you can simply visit the Wikipedia page which includes sublime origami representations and even a tutorial in pictures!
In terms of animals, we could have spoken of Koi carp or snakes, but this is the japanese crane ( tsuru - 鶴) which caught our attention. It is a symbol of happiness, loyalty and longevity. Superstitious Japanese people use this symbol on different occasions as a sign of good luck. It is most often encountered in the form of origami, and crane figurines are often part of wedding decorations. This symbol is intended to indicate the indissolubility and eternal happiness of the newlyweds. Moreover, the Japanese believe that a person who assembles 1000 origami cranes will see their dream come true.
The patterns made from Japanese cranes are particularly successful. Take for example this Japanese sweatshirt which is simply magnificent!
The Japanese also have their own matryoshka (Russian doll). Her name is daruma (ダ ル マ 達磨) and is a kind of statuette doll, she wobbles when touched, but never topples over and quickly regains her balance and initial position. This particular trait of the doll serves as a real-life reference and suggests that one can always stand up, just like a daruma. However, darumas are blind, that is, they have eyes but no pupils.
When a Japanese sets a goal in his life, for example, a professional or educational goal, he paints a pupil on the left eye of the doll. daruma , so she always looks towards that goal. Once the goal is reached, the doll owner can paint the second pupil on the right eye. Then the ceremony daruma-kuyō takes place, during which the doll is burned and the owner can buy a new, larger one, so that his wishes and dreams can come true more.
To sum up, there are many interesting customs and superstitions in the Japanese culture . Most of them are very positive and relate to luck in people's lives. Thanks to this, it is arguably easier for Japanese people to overcome various challenges and problems, because they think they deserve happiness. Because they've been growing bonsai for years, have assembled over 1,000 origami cranes, or have a maneki-neko cat in their pocket, of course. Maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to get a little closer to good fortune using one of the Japanese symbols?