sci.lang.japan FAQ / 6. Word meanings

6.5. What is yamato nadeshiko?

The flower "nadeshiko"

Yamato nadeshiko is the name of a flower known as a `fringed pink' in English, scientific name dianthus superbus. Also known as a nadeshiko, it is a small, common, but easily distinguishable flower which grows wild. Yamato is one of the many names of Japan. (See also 3.5. What are the names of Japan?.) Yamatonadeshiko can also signify a kind of ideal woman. Some features of that kind of woman are:

During the second world war, the Japanese government promoted the idea of yamatonadeshiko as a kind of national propaganda. A yamatonadeshiko should be gentle and delicate but also be able to endure all the pain and poverty of life for her husband (a soldier) and the country, to win the war, and should always be ready to fight with halberds (or takeyari, a spear made of bamboo used when you don't have a halberd) and to die any time for her country, or to keep her chastity.

Acknowledgements

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sci.lang.japan FAQ / 6. Word meanings

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