SAKURA ISM -another story-

It’s been 5 years since I started taking photos of cherry blossoms, and before I knew it, I have got caught by their attractiveness. Almost all species have evolved in various ways of surviving. Cherry blossoms, however, have chosen completely different way from others. They have attracted people and have revolutionary built up their own system to grow.
Since around the year of 800, the cherry blossoms have slowly penetrated into Japanese people’s mind. In the late 1800s, at the time of Meiji restoration, finally the cherry blossoms started the historical action. They created a new variety of cherry tree, called Somei-yoshino or Yoshino cherry with the help of people. Somei-yoshino grow faster than the original species and have a lot of flowers. They made progress to the ideal form as cherry trees. But as it is a self-incompatible, it can’t leave the same species. So, they used people’s help again, they succeeded in making their own clone and propagating all over Japan.
Somei-yoshino, which stay closer to people’s feelings, seem suspicious. What is their next aim? I took a journey for visiting a mother tree of Somei-yoshino to find the answer. I avoided the flower season this time. Because I don’t want to be taken in by that mysterious figure. By taking photographs of cherry trees without blossoms and leaves in winter, I thought I could show viewers the real cherry trees with great verve in severe winter. Also, I want to illuminate their ambitious venture that is across the centuries.

桜の花を追って5年、気がつけば私は彼らの術中に陥っていた……。

植物は種の存続のためさまざまな進化の道を歩む。だが、桜は全く違う道を選んだ。彼らは人の心を操ることで確実に繁栄できる革新的システムをつくり上げていた。 

桜は西暦800年ころから長い年月をかけ日本人の精神にゆっくりと浸透してきた。機が熟した1800年代後半、明治維新とともに彼らは歴史的作戦を開始する。人間の力を借りてソメイヨシノという新種を生み出したのだ。原種より育ちが早く多量の花を付けるとういう桜として理想形への進化を遂げる。ただし、桜は自家不和合性という宿命を持っているため同じ子孫を残せない。そこで彼らは再び人間を利用してそのクローンを生産させた。その結果、日本中での大繁殖に成功した。

不気味なまでに人間に寄り添い人の心を操ることのできる彼らの次なる狙いは何か。私はソメイヨシノの母体となった原種の古木を訪れる歴史の旅に出た。しかし、今度は花季を避けた。妖艶な姿にまた騙されてしまうからだ。花も葉もない厳冬の鬼気迫る様相を写し取ることで彼らの世紀を超えた壮大な思惑を浮かび上がらせようと試みた。