Hanakotoba literally translated means “word flower”, and is the Japanese “language of flowers”. In this practice, plants are given codes and passwords that evoke the emotion inspired by the physiological characteristics and colors of the flowers, according to Wikipedia.
There is a clear relationship between the color of flowers, the most distinctive and resplendent expression of color in the natural world, and its meaning to each individual’s and/or cultural experiences of the color. This can be deeply personal. Artists have long associated moods, feelings and emotions with certain colors. Blue for example, is associated with feeling calm and cozy, while in western culture it represents masculine competence and quality. Blues and purples can also evoke feelings of apathy. Yellow is associated with anxiety. For others, the color yellow can mean warmth, as is the case with orange and red. The color white symbolizes purity and innocence in the west, while it can represent mourning in some eastern traditions.
Though the scientific research behind it is limited, colors may impact a person’s stress level, blood pressure, metabolism, and eye stress, according to Kendra Cherry in About.com’s “Color Psychology”.
The Chinese advanced the practice of chromotherapy for healing (source: Kendra Cherry, About.com’s Color Psychology), and here are sample associations between colors and their healing properties:
Red was used to stimulate the body and mind and to increase circulation.
Yellow was thought to stimulate the nerves and purify the body.
Orange was used to heal the lungs and to increase energy levels.
Blue was believed to soothe illnesses and treat pain.
Indigo shades were thought to alleviate skin problems.
Pink expressed the light, quiet, sweeter side of love
Below are some of the flowers and their HanaKotoba meanings. See if the chromotherapy meanings or their cultural associations of color match up at all with the Hanakotoba meanings:
Scientific Name– Japanese Name– Romaji– English Meaning–
アマリリス Amaririsu Amaryllis Shy Amarylis Flower
アネモネ Anemone Anemone Sincere Anenome Flower
紫苑 Shion Aster tataricus Remembrance
躑躅 Tsutsuji Azalea Patient/Modest Pink Azalea
ブルーベル Burūberu Bluebell Grateful
椿 Tsubaki Camellia (Red) In Love, Perishing with grace Camellia Japonica
Camellia Japonica Nobilissima
椿 Tsubaki Camellia (White) Waiting
カーネーション Kānēshon Carnation Fascination, Distinction, and Love
桜 Sakura Cherry Blossom Kind/Gentle Cherry Blossom
黄菊 Kigiku Chrysanthemum (Yellow) Imperial
白菊 Shiragiku Chrysanthemum (White) Truth Chrysanthemum
Four Leaf Clover
(四つ葉の) クローバー (Yotsuba no) kurōbā Four-leaf clover Lucky
水仙 Suisen Daffodil Respect
天竺牡丹 Tenjikubotan Dahlia Good taste Dahlia
雛菊 Hinagiku Daisy Faith
勿忘草 Wasurenagusa Forget-me-not True love Forget-Me-Not
フリージア Furījia Freesia Childish/Immature
梔子 Kuchinashi Gardenia Secret love
鷺草 Sagiso Habenaria radiata My thoughts will follow you into your dreams
ハイビースカス Haibīsukasu Hibiscus Gentle
忍冬 Suikazura Honeysuckle Generous Honeysuckle
紫陽花 Ajisai Hydrangea Pride
アイリス, 菖蒲 Ayame Iris Good News/Glad tidings/loyalty Japanese Purple Iris
ラベンダー Rabendā Lavender Faithful
白百合 Shirayuri Lily (White) Purity/Chastity
鬼百合 Oniyuri Tiger Lily Wealth Tiger Lily
朝顔 Asagao Morning Glory Willful promises Morning Glory
水仙 Suisen Narcissus Self-Esteem
パンジー Panjī Pansy Thoughtful/Caring Orange Peony
雛芥子 Hinageshi Poppy (Red) Fun-Loving
紅薔薇 Benibara Rose (Red) Love/In love
薔薇 Bara Rose (White) Innocence/Silence/Devotion White Rose