Where does come from?
The cherry blossom emoji was approved in 2010, as part of Unicode 6.0. Since its introduction, the emoji has seen a steady increase in search popularity, with regular spikes during springtime months when the real-life blossoms are in bloom—especially along the National Mall in Washington DC where the trees are a historic gift from Japan.
During the springtime in Japan, when cherry blossoms are in full, stunning bloom, it’s traditional to gather with friends and family for a hanami matsuri, or “flower-viewing party or festival.” The Japanese name for the cherry blossom is sakura, and represents both the rebirth and transience of life. The flower can be seen in everything from old folk songs to contemporary anime.
Spring in Japan 🌸🇯🇵 pic.twitter.com/YSMvCASlEL
— Beauty Nature (@itsbeautynature) May 4, 2018
Who uses ?
The cherry blossom emoji is widely used for actual cherry blossoms and their annual bloom. Organizations holding cherry blossom festivals like to use the emoji in their social-media names, website headlines, and posts.
A new Cherry Blossom (sakura) Forecast weather map has been released!😲For anyone visiting Japan now or in the near future, be sure to check the dates! Who else loves watching sakura trees bloom?🌸
— Tokyo Treat (@TokyoTreat) March 21, 2018
We’re almost fully recovered from an amazing weekend full celebrations & the Cherry Blossom Festival! We loved seeing all of the photos you tagged us in - keep sharing and we’ll retweet through the week! 🌸#CherryBlossomFestival #buffalo #japanesegardens pic.twitter.com/jFfrZLJCLm
— BuffaloHistoryMuseum (@BuffaloHistory) May 7, 2018
Because of its importance there, the cherry blossom emoji is also used to stand in for all things Japan.
— Isabel Armentero (@Erien27) May 6, 2018
The cherry blossom emoji also gets used like other flower emoji, often "given" to someone digitally. Other times, it’s there as a cute, stylistic pop of color in text or to underscore pink things.
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In some cases, the cherry blossom emoji is shorthand for beauty or cuteness. Someone, for instance, might tag a photo of a model or celebrity they find particularly beautiful with a cherry blossom emoji as if to say “This person is as pretty as a flower.”
It’s raining cherry blossom again 🌸
@ponysmakeup, Instagram, April, 2016
So lucky to catch the season of Shibazakura festival under Mount. Fuji 🌸🌸 worthy of the lengthy traveling time
@nay_ontheroad, Instagram, May, 2018
Behind the scenes in the Walled Garden! We hope to be able to reopen it soon! 😊🦋🐞🌸🌺
@normanbyhall, May, 2018