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Lethal Transience

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Chapter Summary

This chapter addresses the theme of transience in three sections. The first section outlines the development of a belief that flowers generally, and sakura specifically, were sacred entities. Cultural imports and changing relationships with conceptions of nature were two significant other-worlds that resulted in Japaneseness being defined in terms of transience and sacramentality during the early twentieth century. The second and third sections compare the meanings of sakura during wartime and in the late 1990s. Texts from the late 1990s were selected because they convey about the surge of cultural nationalism that accompanied the term of Prime Minister Koizumi. Tea is an internal other, a representative icon that marks a distinctive mode of hospitality that engages with natural rhythms. The intersection of tea and sakura in a historical drama draws attention to the power of a distinctive national culture to appeal to an ideal as one means of shaping desire.

Keywords: cultural nationalism; Prime Minister Koizumi; sakura; tea; transience



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