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Ikebana arose from early Buddhist offerings and grew throughout the fifteenth century into an art form with many styles and schools. Special consideration was given to the choice of plant, vase, placement of the branches, and the relationship¤ of those branches with their environment and the chosen vase. Empty spaces, which form a part of the composition, were also dealt with creatively. In this way it differs from other known floral arrangement arts.

The most popular styles are Sogetsu, Ohara, and Ikenobo.


The Sogetsu school was established in 1927 by Teshigahara Sofu. He was one of the leaders who ensured that the traditional Ikebana became an art form. He was succeeded by his daughter Teshigahara Kasumi. The third leader was Teshigahara Hiroshi, the famous film-maker; his daughter succeeded him and is the present leader.

Sogetsu is based on the notion that anyone, anywhere, and at any time, can create ikebana with whatever material that happens to be available to them. This means that those who practice ikebana must be creative in their use of material. This means that ikebana is not merely a repetition of preselected flowers.


Because he found the Ikenobo school to be too rigid and formal, Ohara Unshin broke with the school in the middle of the Meiji period¤. He founded the Ohara school in 1895 and used even western flowers in his pieces. He introduced the Moribana style, which makes use of low vases. There are two key basic forms in ikebana: the Moribana style and the Heika style, which uses cylindrical vases.


Ikenobo is the oldest school in Japan. The oldest leader was the Buddhist monk Ukenobo Senkei, who lived in the middle of the fifteenth century. Various generations of monks became famous for their flower arrangement, and ikenobo was the start of Ikebana. The headquarters of the Ikenobo school is still located at the site where it all started: the Rokkakudo Temple in Kyoto, Japan. Changes in traditions and lifestyles have brought about an evolution in the Ikenobo style.


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