Cherry blossoms and Japan’s soft power

Japan scores a cultural diplomacy success during cherry blossom seasons. Japan is known to use cherry trees as a gesture of goodwill, and Tokyo’s flower power diplomacy was in full bloom as visitors reveled in the famously short-lived beauty of the blooming pink and white cherry petals in key cities like Taipei and Washington.

In Taiwan, it’s a measure of the enormous cultural clout Japan wields on the island, second only to China in its impact. Japan’s 50-year rule over Taiwan was marked by brutal crushing of scattered resistance as well as economic development, but the Taiwanese still has generally favorable impression of their former ruler.

Japan plans to also plant its trees in dozens of other cities across the United States including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

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