On February 22, 2017, the arrival of flowers marked an early start of spring at the Official Residence of the Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles. The Japan Flowers and Plants Export Association provided fresh cut flowers flown in directly from Japan that Wednesday morning, just in time for three schools of ikebana to practice their craft for the afternoon’s demonstrations.
After welcome remarks from Consul General Akira Chiba, the Ikebana Teachers Association of Southern California President, Mrs. Gyokusen Arao, introduced the presenters—four teachers each from the schools of Ikenobo, Ohara, and Sogetsu. Each school created three pieces for the audience to experience for a total of twelve unique ikebana arrangements later situated in several locations throughout the residence, perfect for pictures and a little meditation.
“Ikebana,” which can be literally translated as “living flowers,” is the Japanese art of flower arrangement, with Ikenobo being the oldest of the three schools present, having been founded in the 15th century and characterized by its narrow “foot.” Ohara, founded in the nineteenth century, is typically characterized by the moribana style which utilizes wide, shallow containers. The youngest school celebrating its ninetieth year, Sogetsu, is typically known as the contemporary school of ikebana whose philosophy states that anyone can enjoy arranging ikebana anywhere, anytime, with almost anything.