With the 10 episode of Hanayamata, everything seems to going swimmingly for Naru and the group as they are entered in the Hanairo Festival, Machi coalesces into the group, and the girls getting newfound motivation – including Naru coming up with a motif for their outfits. Picking flowers that each represent their own unique personalities, the choices are interesting ones – albeit, I was quite confounded by a few. Of course, taking a small portion of time to look up and learn about these flowers, they definitely do speak a language of their own, despite the meanings that people have bestowed to them. In Japanese, this would be called “Hanakotoba” or the language of flowers commonly known as floriography.
Tami Nishimikado (Lily)
Starting with one of my favorite characters, Tami’s personality being akin to Lily wasn’t one that I had to spend time researching, but did anyway since there were a few tidbits that I didn’t know – despite the straightforward nature. Obviously, appearing to be an ideal lady (yamato nadeshiko), lilies hold the connotation of purity, grace, and refined beauty. However, since there are different colors and types, the meaning does slightly shift. For most western based meanings: White represents modesty, orange passion, and yellow for merriment. Her passion for the club, much like Naru was born from Hana – which she learns directly from Naru the importance of friendship and having fun together. While she might not be as vocal as the other members, Tami is sort of the mood maker for the group, especially when it comes to Machi – being instrumental in repairing the broken link between her and her sister. Never able to hang out with friends, she now has the opportunity. As for modesty, even coming from a wealthy family – she does not flaunt it. Best I could do with that one.
Yaya Sasame (Rose)
Commonly associated with love or passion for most of the Western hemisphere, but much like the lily that holds myriads of subtext – the rose is nice choice for Yaya. As aforementioned, roses that are red represent passionate or enduring love, yet if white means humility or innocence, yellow expressing friendship (or jealously for the east), and pink can mean gratitude (or conversely trust). Of course, we do see Yaya go through all of these emotions: she gets jealous that Naru spends all her time with Hana (episode 3 is even entitled “jealous rose”), faces a bit of humility due to her jealously (episode 7 in making up with the two), becomes friends with the group (also the first to try to help Machi with the team’s routine), and gratitude for discovering that she has a place in the club. Innocence is an odd trait, but her tsundere personality easily makes up for that. As an extra fact, in eastern culture – whites roses are synonymous with earnest behavior and devotion – something Yaya finally was able to hold for the yosakoi club after her band fell apart.
Hana N. Fountainstand (Amsonia aka Bluestar)
Despite having one of the worst and stereotypical foreigner names, Hana’s hana (get it, hana means flower or nose for that matter….) is an easily decipherable one. The Amsonia, also know as “bluestars” or “bluehairs” are flowers native to North America (Hana is an American) and named after John Amson, mayor for Williasburg, Virginia back in the 1700’s. Today, you can commonly find them thriving in areas like New Jersey along stream banks (she is from Jersey) to rocky areas like Tennessee and South Carolina due to their hardy and drought tolerant adaption. They also make a nice deer repellent, but has nothing to do with discussion (Curse you, Mr. J). On a more symbolic level, Amsonia’s deep blue color in Western cultures is said to represent confidence, unity, and vitality. Applying this to Hana, she is main reason why the yosakoi club exist and always full confidence when she was trying to recruit members alone. Under her leadership, the club is fun and vibrant place, that begrudgingly and later willingly attracted members that love what they do. Also, it goes without saying she is very forward and energetic. Looks like Horticulture classes back in Highschool paid off. Thank you, Mr. J.
Machi Tokiwa (Sunflower)
Upright and reaching high, but burning with devoition
Like the words Naru used to describe Machi’s earnest and loyalty characteristics, so is the sunflower. Known the world over for its iconic look, sunflowers have been described as plants that are both beautiful and useful – plants of utility that provide oil, seeds, and petals that can be used in every application of life from cooking to fashion products. Called (ヒマワリ) or Himawari in Japan, they are often associated with hope and courage. Generally speaking, they also represent warmth and happiness, and adoration. Just like Machi, while she is strict and unyielding, she works hard not just as the student council president, but member of the club in order not too slow down the others upon her admission. Although, she joined due to it being fun, it is a representation of her warmer personality – just like the warmth that her floral counterpart mirrors. With most cultivars being able to grow up to 15ft, sunflowers are often said to be hard workers. I think Naru made a perfect choice!
Naru Sekiya (Cherry Blossom)
…And finally we get to Naru, a girl who first lacked confidence, but slowly develops it upon meeting Hana. At first, the cherry blossom would seem to be the opposite or nothing like Naru. Representing the transience of life, morality, and impermanence linked into Buddhist teachings. Sure, Naru’s family is just about as traditional as Tami’s, her father running a dojo and all, but that has no relation to the rest…until we look the blossom itself. Just like all flowers that take their time to bloom into beauty, Naru is also in similar state: realizing that she has plenty of time to fill her empty life with new experiences (something Hana says to her), yosakoi is something that she enjoyed and might continue to enjoy has she blossoms into more confident individual. However, like cherry blossoms representing wistful feelings upon their short-lived lives, it is a feeling that a person shouldn’t dwell since it passes with time – just like Naru’s own feelings of self-worth eroding away as a new bud takes its place waiting – developing for the approaching spring until it can display its splendor. Additionally, cherry blossoms can also mean gentle or kind sentiments – something that seems to be ingrained into Naru’s personality.