The members of the Ikebana Teachers Association of Southern California displayed their annual Japanese flower arrangements as part of the 77th Nisei Week Festival.
The current organization represents accredited teachers with mastery of their practice from three main schools of ikebana, Ikenobo-, Sogetsu- and Ohara-ryu. This year, close to 30 arrangements were displayed at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center’s Doizaki Gallery in Little Tokyo.
Keeping with their Nisei Week tradition spanning 70 years, the Ikebana Teachers Association and its predecessor organizations have historically displayed beautiful arrangements using fresh floral and natural plant materials for the enjoyment of enthusiasts and supporters. It has generated much popularity over the many years that the teacher’s guild has displayed their creations.
Floral materials ranging from those found abundantly in Southern California to other plants with more exotic origins far from North America are selected to make arrangements that convey the harmony between man and the universe, and to display the beauty found in nature. Several hundred visitors were received at this year’s exhibit over the two days at the JACCC.
Each school or “ryu” has its own unique styles, techniques and specialized ways that differentiate them from each other. Yet the common unifying principles of ikebana include the appreciation of seasonal materials, minimalism to enhance and highlight the floral subjects, and the use of branches and other related accents to enhance the elements of nature.
In the Doizaki Gallery, the individual arrangements were displayed in alternating order of Ikenobo, Sogetsu and Ohara styles for the viewing public to compare and contrast unique materials and original designs created by these professionals, some who have taught this classical art form for many decades. Yet, the evolution of ikebana can be seen in contemporary styles, new varieties of floral materials and unique vessels and containers that have modernized a classical practice that date back to 7th-century Japan.
The traditional art of ikebana now draws a multi-cultural, multi-generational following that includes international chapters located in all corners of the world. Nisei Week draws a diverse crowd, many of whom can be seen viewing various cultural exhibits. Ikebana, or “kado” – the way of the flowers – has help spread cultural appreciation and extended friendships that are witnessed annually at the Nisei Week ikebana teachers’ exhibition.