About the Chapter Ikebana Schools
Our chapter currently represents four schools.
Ikenobo School of Ikebana
With each new ikebana arrangement, Ikenobo continues a tradition of creativity that began over 550 years ago. IKENOBO is based in Kyoto, Japan, at Choho-ji (Rokkaku-do) Temple, a temple said to have been founded by Prince Shotoku.
The Japanese word IKE means“pond”, while the word BO means “a priest’s hut”. Suggesting a priest’s hut next to a pond, the two words combine in the name of the family that has headed this school of Ikebana, IKE-NO-BO. Succeeding generations of priests were famous for their skill in arranging flowers, and Ikenobo thus became “the origin of Ikebana”
Ikenobo’s current 45th generation Headmaster, Sen’ei Ikenobo, believes that the possibility of creating new Ikebana depends on the desire to refine one’s own character, a spirit that has been passed down to us as the essence of Ikebana itself.
Sangetsu School of Ikebana
The Sangetsu School of Flower Arranging was established on June 15th, 1972, inspired by flower arrangements of Mokichi Okada (1882-1955). Okada was an artist, philosopher, and humanitarian who believed in the transforming quality of art as a means to awaken the inherent beauty within each individual.
Okada flower arrangement expressed his great love of nature in their simplicity and naturalness. His style of arranging, preserved in a series of color photographs, formed the basis of the School and serves as the model for Korinka - the advanced level and essence of Sangetsu.
The Sangetsu means "mountain moon." The name was taken from the beautiful teahouse, Sangetsu-an, which was constructed in the gardens Okada created in Gora, Japan.
Okada did not propose specific techniques for arranging flowers, but gave guidance on how to make an arrangement that retains its life forces and is an expression of nature.
Shofu School of Ikebana
Sogetsu San Fernando Valley Branch
The Sogetsu San Fernando Valley Branch was established in 1996 when it was granted Study Group status by the Sogetsu Ikebana Foundation in Tokyo, Japan, as part of its mission to spread the practice of Sogetsu Ikebana throughout the world. Over the next ten years membership expanded and, in 2006, we were promoted to Branch status. One of the requirements we must meet each year is to present one public exhibition. Our most recent exhibition, which included live demonstrations, took place at The Japanese Garden in Van Nuys, CA in September 2012. We also exhibited our work as part of a Mother's Day event at the Garden in May 2013. The Branch holds an annual New Year's Luncheon as well as workshops on a variety of themes for its members throughout the year.
Kyoko Kassarjian, the Founder and current Director of the Sogetsu San Fernando Valley Branch, is an internationally recognized and award-winning Ikebana artist who began studying Ikebana 60 years ago. She has been granted the highest degree, Riji, by the Sogetsu School in Tokyo. Mrs. Kassarjian has been teaching Ikebana for over 25 years and is a member of both the Sogetsu Teachers Association in Japan and the Southern California Ikebana Teachers Guild in Los Angeles. She currently teaches public classes for beginners through advanced students at UCLA Extension in Westwood and Pierce Community College Extension in Woodland Hills.
Ohara School of Ikebana
Unshin Ohara founded the Ohara School of Ikebana in the late nineteenth century in the Osaka-Kobe area when Japan opened itself to the world. Influenced by the Western culture, he developed a style of ikebana that was to express the beauty of natural scenery. He searched for ways to arrange the brightly colorful western flowers that were being imported into Japan. The basic philosophy of the Ohara School is to observe nature well and emphasize the seasonal qualities, growth process and the beauty of the natural environments. The design forms of the Ohara School include: Moribana, Hana-isho, Heika, and Hanamai. Moribana is arranged in a flat container (suiban), Hana-isho is a form of ikebana that can harmonize with the contemporary homes of today. Heika is ikebana arranged in a tall vase with a narrow mouth, and Hanamai is ikebana that expresses the three-dimensional, sculptural beauty of plants.
The moribana style, unlike the vertical or standing style of the past, used a flat plate-like container called a suiban and the flowers were piled-up freely in the arrangement. Moribana was the first step and the fore runner in modern ikebana. It was subsequently adopted by most other ikebana schools and has now become the main stream of the entire Ikebana world. The Ohara School is now led by fifth Headmaster Hiroki Ohara and claims more than one million members worldwide.
Senkekogi School of Ikebana
Under the reign of Shogun Jishouin Yashimasa (1435-1490), a monk named Dokken Murata Nansei at Shoumyo Temple in the southern part of Kyoto was the person who established what is called the “tea ceremony”. He won the favor of Shogun Yoshimasa and was presented with a framed calligraphy “Jokouan”. He was called Jokou since then.
One of the pupils of Shouou, the fourth successor of Jokou, was Rikyu (1521-1591). Rikyu mastered both Shouou’s and Douchin’s schools. He added Kaujoue (one of Buddha’s philosophies) to the art of flower arrangement and established the “Senkekogi” school. The sixth successor from Rikyu, Gyokumyousai Machida Shuha, was a pupil of Hisada Souzen. Shuha also learned from Zuiryusai Sousa and became one of the high-ranked pupils of Sousa. The eighth successor was Gakkosai Gakuou, a doctor in Kyoto. Ounsai Mano Rodou became the ninth successor in the early Tenmei era (around 1800). Since then, Senkekogi became very popular not only among warriors, but also wealthy merchants in the Chikuzen area in those days. Until the Taisho era (1912-1926), Senkekogi was also called Gakkosai.
Senkekogi is one of the most traditional flower arrangement schools with more than 400 years of history. Its predecessor, Rikyu, advocated that we should arrange flowers most gracefully and simply by harmonizing the current thought and classical beauty.
Sogetsu School of Ikebana
In 1927, when everybody believed practicing ikebana meant following established forms, Sofu Teshigahara recognized ikebana as a creative art and founded the Sogetsu School. Anyone can enjoy Sogetsu Ikebana anytime, anywhere, using any material. You can place Sogetsu Ikebana at your door, in you living room or on your kitchen table. Sogetsu Ikebana enhances any hotel lobby or banquet room, shop windows and huge public spaces. It will suit any kind of space, Japanese or Western and enrich its atmosphere.
Sogetsu Ikebana is not restricted by “fixed styles” and allows us to make our original expression freely. Sogetsu Ikebana has been extending its range from home to shop window displays, on stages, and in various venues to provide us with the beauty and healing powers of plants.