Zakuro's name

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48 / M / Bay Area, CA, USA
Posted 5/18/12 , edited 5/19/12
Zakuro's name in kanji (西王母桃) has always been a mystery to me, and with my only relatively basic knowledge of Chinese and Japanese, I can't figure it out. Can anyone explain?

As I'm seeing it, "Zakuro" (ざくろ) is not all that unusual a Japanese name, and means "pomegranate," as in the fruit. The kanji would be 石榴 or 柘榴 (same as in Mandarin Chinese, though pronounced shi liu). However, 西王母桃 seems to at least literally refer to Xi Wang Mu (西王母), or "Queen Mother of the West," an ancient Chinese goddess, and the peaches ( 桃) of immortality kept in her garden. The peach trees are said to yield fruit only once every 3,000 years, and convey immortality on those who ate them. Does Japanese culture associate the pomegranate instead with this legend? If so, that might explain things, but in fact I can find nothing at all that states this might even be the case. Anyone have the facts on this?
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