Japanese English

Flower arrangement / Ikebana

Japanese flower arrangement / Ikebana

TOP > Japanese culture 2 > Flower arrangement

Flower Arrangement

I will introduce 'Ikebana',Japanese flower arrangement in this page.
I is a traditional life art using cut flowers.

History of flower arrangement
The origin of flower arrangement is said to be the dedication of flowers in front of Buddha's statue which was introduced from China in 6th century. In Heian era (8-12th century) there was a habit to appliciate the flower in the bud vase.

Flower arrangement was consolidated in mid Muromachi era (14-16th century) by Senkei Ikenobo, a monk of Kyoto Rokkakudo Temple. Later the name of the monk became the name of the famous flower arrangement school. In mid Edo era (17-19th century), by the 'Iemoto' (master of the school), the style 'tachibana' was consolidated and spreaded among upper class and upper samurai worriers.。

Construction style and Tea ceremony were deeply related to the consolidation of flower arrangement. To decorate 'tokonoma' (alcove), gorgeou flowers were arranged. At the tea ceremony, simple flowers were used to decorate the tea house.

From mid to late Edo era, flower arrangement widely spreaded among common people, especially 'shoka, or seika' style. Presently flower arrangement indicates this style. At this time, many master appeared and schools were devided into many sects.

In late 19th century, flower arrangement was introduced to Europe through International Exhibition and affected the western flower arrangement. In Japan, new style were created such as 'nageire-bana' and 'mori-bana'

From the late 19th to mid 20th century, many young ladies learned flower arrangement as the essential manner before the marriage.

Recently, various materials (not only plants) were taken into flower arrangement and changed to contemporary style.

Major techniques of flower arrangement
Rikka: Using the vase of narrow neck and widely opened mouth and branches are binded by straw. Put the main branch in the center and put side branches on both sides considering the balance.

Seika: The number of side branch is less. It emphasizes the beauty of the simple line by few flowers.

Nageire: In narrow and tall vase, arranging simply by respecting the flavor of branches and flowers.

Bunjinbana: It is similar to Nageire, but Nageire has certain form. In Bunjinbana, the form and the combination of flowers and vase is free. It introduces the taste of Bunjin (man of literature).

Moribana: The modern style of arrangement using flat vase. It aimed sketching the natural landscape, making it colorful, and designing. Stopper called Shippo and Kenzan are used to fix the flower.

Jiyuka: Contemporary style, getting away from the form and traditional way, and arranging with imagination. Compositing the material by line, surface and mass. Vase is also considered as a material.

The difference between Japanese and Western flower arrangement
In Western flower arrangement they compose the flower as a design, but Japanese expresses the life of the plants on the piece. We use not only flowers and grasses, but also branches.

Western arrangement is often put on the table center, so you can appreciate the beauty from any angles. Japanese arrangemet is supposed to be appreciated from certain angle by putting on 'tokonoma' (alcove).

Arranged flower on alcove
Arranged flower on Tokonoma (alcove)

Top page

General information of Japan

World heritage in Japan!

Accommodation in Japan

Japanese food
Japanese culture (National Treasures)

Japanese culture 2 (Culture in eveyrday life)
   - Tea Ceremony
   - Flower Arrangement
   - Calligraphy
   - Kimono
   - Japanese Music & musical instrument
   - Japanese Dance
   - Comedy
   - Origami & Furoshiki
   - Games

Japanese sports

Japanese religion

Souvenir of Japan

continually updated !
Travel Diary in Tokyo

My profile


English Guiding Service


Copyright(C) Let's Travel in Japan ! All Rights Reserved