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What is this red flower that appears in many Japanese Anime?

彼岸花 (Higanbana) / 曼殊沙華 (Manjushage)

Why this flower appears in many Japanese anime/movies?

When you watch Japanese Anime or Movies such as Tokyo Ghoul (東京喰種) and Spider Lily (リコリス・リコイル), you might notice that the same red flower often appears.

Do you know what the flower is and what does it mean to Japanese?

The flower is 彼岸花 (Higanbana), also known as 曼殊沙華 (Manjushage)

The red flower is Cluster Amaryllis or Spider Lily  (Lycoris radiata) and called 彼岸花 (ひがんばな/ Higanbana) in Japanese.

It is also known as 曼殊沙華 (まんじゅしゃげ/ Manjushage) and the name 曼珠沙華 is originally from Sanskrit.

There are white and yellow ones besides red ones.

Kanji: 彼岸花

Hiragana: ひがんばな

Romaji: Higanbana

Kanji: 曼殊沙華

Hiragana: まんじゅしゃげ

Romaji: Manjushage

What does the flower mean to Japanese people?

The higanbana is highly poisonous, so traditionally people plant it at grave sites to avoid animals such as mice and moles from damaging graves.

That’s why the flower reminds Japanese people of grave sites or death, and it is used to make a specific scene in anime/movie  macabre.

It is even called 地獄花 (じごくばな/ Jigokubana/ Hell flower) or 死人花 (しにんばな/ Shininbana/ Dead mans’ flower).

Where to find the flowers?

In addition to grave sites, you will find the flowers at Buddhist temples which often have some graves.

The flowers are also planted at fields to avoid animals, so you could find them at many locations in countryside.

Of course you can find them at botanic gardens and parks.

Some places have Higanbana festivals around September and October and you can enjoy beautiful scenery.
Kinchakuda Manjushage Festival (巾着田曼珠沙華祭り) in Saitama Prefecture.
It is toxic, so don’t bite the flowers.