Sakura: Another Meaning of the Japanese Word

When people hear Sakura (さくら), many will probably picture beautiful pink cherry blossoms in full bloom in the spring.

Yes, Sakura (桜) is the Japanese word for the cherry tree and its blossoms, but do you know it has another meaning relating to stealth marketing?

Meaning of Sakura (サクラ)

Another Meaning of Sakura

When written as サクラ in Katanaka, Sakura often refers to fake customers that mingle with real ones and allure them to buy something or give them good vibes.

In that case, サクラ is represented as 偽客 using substitute Kanji characters whose literal meaning is a fake customer.


The origin of the word dates back to the Edo period (江戸時代: 1603-1868) when Sakura referred to those who played the role of the audience in the Kabuki theater.

In return for seeing the Kabuki performance for free, they livened up the place. That was like Hanami* (花見: cherry blossom viewing), because of which they were called Sakura.

* The fake audience’s act of seeing the Kabuki for free and livening up the place for a fleeting moment was like the cherry blossom viewing in the spring.

(Reference Page: Wikipedia サクラ (おとり) )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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