Hanahaki Disease is a fictional illness wherein the victim coughs up flower petals because they have been suffering from one-sided love.
It also has several variations and is used in both happy and tragic stories.
The signs and symptoms of the disease are summed up by intense discomfort, with flowers blooming in the heart and lungs, and then coughing them up.
The only treatment for their condition is for their beloved one to return their emotions, or if the victim dies.
In certain cases, however, “Hanahaki disease” may be cured by surgery, in which romantic feelings of the victim often vanish. In fandoms, it mainly appears in Boys’ Love, also known as Yaoi (fictional male homosexual romance) fanfictions.
The term “hanahaki” comes from the Japanese words “hana”, which means “flower”, and “hakimasu”, which means “to throw up”.
“Hanahaki disease” has been popularized in animes, mangas and other similar media in East Asia (Korea, Japan, China) and has only been used by Westerners for a few years.
The “Hanahaki disease” trope was popularized a certain shoujo manga (category of manga/anime marketed to girls), titled Hanahaki Otome, or The Girl Who Spit Flowers in English.
The manka was created by Naoko Matsuda, and was released in 2009, amassing popularity and setting the trend of “Hanahaki” fanart at the same time.
Despite the aforementioned comic, the exact and true origins of the phenomenon are unknown.
The concept of the “Hanahaki disease” started to spread outside of the fandoms as well – many people liked the idea behind it and created a wide variety of fanart depictions, as well as music, poetry, etc.
“Hanahaki disease” is especially common within anime and manga fandoms due to its propensity for discomfort, pain and overall romantic tension.
The ailment has been approached from a wide variety of stances, with depictions of its stages, presumed cures as well as surgery appearing on fanart of sites like Imgur, or DeviantART.
“Hanahaki disease” was first defined on Urban Dictionary on March 24th, 2017, and since then, the popularity of the trope has been steadily rising online.
In 2017, tags and mentions about “hanahaki” shot up on sites like Pinterest, Reddit, as well as the Ao3 forums, further spreading the popularity of the trope.