“A corpse is buried beneath that beautiful cherry blossom tree.” As the cherry blossom season rolls around, you might have heard someone say that before. Most cherry blossom’s flowers are a pale pink, yet amongst them, some bloom with vivid red flowers instead.
You may have done this experiment at school yourself as a child. You take a white flower, place it in water with red dye, and eventually the flower turns red. If you bury a body beneath a cherry blossom tree, the tree will feed off that blood, and its flowers will turn red.
In the past, there was a particular cherry blossom with different colour flowers to the rest. When the residents dug it up, they found a skeleton buried beneath it. However, the average human body only has about 6.4 litres of blood, which is by far not enough to cause all the flowers of a single tree to change colour.
It’s said that people started to spread this urban legend thanks to Kajii Motojiro’s short story “Beneath the Cherry Blossom Tree.” The very first line of that story begins, “There’s a corpse beneath that cherry blossom tree!” It was perhaps this one sentence that started the whole thing.