When Blossoms Fall - symbols & imagery

The symbols and imagery in When Blossoms Fall include:

Lilies: Often symbolise purity and renewal. In the story, they could represent the characters' desire for a fresh start or to cleanse the pain of their past. They might also be used to signify remembrance, often placed on graves and in memory of those lost, which could tie into the themes of history and memory within the story.

Moon: Traditionally associated with femininity and cyclic change, the moon might symbolise the phases of the characters' lives and the inevitable changes they go through. It could also represent the dualities within the story—such as the contrast between the public face and private feelings or the divide between cultural identities—much like the moon has its bright and dark sides.

Kimono: Represents cultural identity and tradition. Michiko's wearing of the kimono at the consul general's cocktail party symbolises her adherence to Japanese customs amidst the Australian setting.

Culinary Skills: The meals Michiko prepares are not only sustenance but also a form of communication and cultural expression. They serve as a bridge between her Japanese heritage and her present life in Australia.

Red Rice: The traditional Japanese celebration of a girl's first menstruation, symbolising fertility and womanhood. Yuri's rejection of this symbol signifies her internal conflict with her cultural identity.

Manga: Reminiscent of Yuri’s father, it becomes a symbol of unresolved history and the personal impact of national narratives on individual lives.

The Kamikaze Spirit: Mentioned during Tokugawa’s dialogue, this symbolises a glorified view of Japan’s past and the contentious nature of war memory and national identity.

Comfort Women: The imagery associated with the testimony and documents serves as a symbol of the silent suffering endured by women and the complexities of reconciling a painful past with national pride.

These symbols and images work together to weave a narrative about identity, memory, and the experience of being caught between cultures. They highlight the characters' personal struggles against the backdrop of broader historical and cultural themes.

Discussion question