ITALY: Flower to Mussolini

To most Orientals as to most Europeans a chrysanthemum is only a chrysanthemum. But there are two outstanding exceptions. In Japan, it has been the "Sacred Flower" for more than 1,000 years. No Japanese except royalty may use the full or 16-petal chrysanthemum device, but with fewer petals the chrysanthemum figures in countless Japanese designs, supposedly lucky. In Italy, however, to present a living man with a chrysanthemum is to wish him bad luck, for chrysanthemums are considered ideal flowers for graves.

Last week, short-sighted Japanese Emperor Hirohito, the not-too-alert Son of...

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