In both scale and appearance, Cherries resonates a toy-like quality that heightens its sense of kawaii, the cuteness that has become cultish in contemporary Japanese illustration. Beyond the veil of kawaii and the suggestive sexual imagery, echoed in the cherries' voluptuous forms, Murakami's expresses an awareness of the complex historical, social and economical links between Japan and the West is rooted in his training in nihonga, a style created to preserve traditional artistic techniques during the Meiji era. After centuries of Sakoku (cherry blossom), the policy of enforced isolation, Japan had been flooded by external influences at the end of the Nineteenth Century. A new wave of foreign influence crashed over the nation in the wake of the Second World War and the ensuing occupation by American forces. The reconstruction of Japan came at the cost of much of its ancient heritage, which Murakami feels was destabilised and often supplanted with aspects and imitations of American culture, best demonstrated by the animation industry which out-Disneyed Disney. Murakami's paintings embrace the new world of capitalism, of technology, of anime, of geek chic, of manufacture, of television and of Pop in order to forge a new Japanese culture tailored to this new age, and this new synthesis is perfectly encapsulated in Cherries.