Before writing a story about schools
of Japanese Ikebana, I think it better to define the term of "school"
used in this section. The school of Ikebana ("Ikebana Ryuha" in
Japanese) means a group of Ikebana artists who follow the same style of flower
arrangement developed by the founder of a group.
As we often find factions or cliques
in the world of politicians or statesmen, there are so many schools (Ikebana
artist groups) in the Japanese Ikebana world. Some of them are big and well
established having a very long history. Some of them are small. Some are young
and they have a short period of history. No matter which group or faction it
is, the origin is almost the same and there are so many similarities in the
main concept although we find a slight difference reflected in the way of
Among uncountable number of Ikebana
schools, we often hear following names:
Ikenobo, Koryu, Sogetsu-Ryu,
Ohara-Ryu, Misho-Ryu, Saga-Goryu, Enshu-Ryu. It is said that Ikenobo is the
oldest school of Ikebana and its foundation goes back to approximately 500
years ago (although the origin of Ikebana goes back to the 6th century).
In addition to above mentioned
schools, there are uncountable number of schools and it is difficult (and MAY
not make sense) to decide which is better and which is more influential because
from person to person the way they evaluate floral art is different.
A well established school has so
many "derivatives" which were formed by artists who span off from the
original group and started their own new group. It looks like new groups have
been born in an amicable way of spinning off. A big and well established school
does have well over 100 "derivative" schools and most of newly
established schools are usually named after the master (original) school.
Therefore their school name often uses part of their master school's name. That
is why it is usually easy to find the historical background behind the
foundation of newly born schools.
According to my perception, some
Ikebana instructors learned European floral designs as well and adopted this
new designing method and concept in their arranging style. This has been
contributing to the development of Japanese floral art especially after 1980's.
And they have been teaching this new designs to their students and helping
promote new arrangements which were newly created from the mixture of Japanese
and European floral arts.
Getting back to the system of
school, we can find the same situation in the concept of school and its
"derivatives" in most of Japanese traditional art such as the art of
Ninja, Japanese swordmanship ("Kendo" in Japanese), the art of tea ceremony
("Sado" in Japanese) or Japanese traditional classical dance
("Nihon-Buyo" in Japanese) and Japanese calligraphy
("Shodo" in Japanese) whatsoever. Throughout a long history of art
since they were born, lots of students who mastered the art and graduated from
an original school established new schools under their own name.
The above is the situation about
Ikebana School in Japan and this may explain the reason why there are
uncountable number of floral artists and flower arrangement schools as well as
flower design instructors in Japan.
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