The cherry blossom is Japan’s national flower and is synonymous with the word flower. Generally, the cherry blossom is a felicitous symbol. Yet there is also a dark side. To old-time samurai, there was no greater glory than to die on the battlefield like scattered cherry blossoms. Resplendent in full bloom, cherry blossoms seldom last more than a week, and they are easily swept away with one strong wind, a fleeting beauty that suggests purity and transience.