The practice of Ikebana started hundreds of years ago in the temples of Japan. The placing of offerings at temple altars had been a practice in Japan since very ancient times in both the Shinto and Buddhist traditions. This included the offering of flowers to honor and please the Gods, Saints, Ancestors and Spirits. Eventually the monks and priests making these offerings began to arrange them in ways which they felt were both pleasing and that represented the beauty of the natural world.
Over time this became the practice of Ikebana, spreading from temples to the homes of nobles and wealthy merchants eventually coming to be enjoyed by people from all walks of life in Japan as we know it today. Over this time a number of different styles and approaches to ikebana have become formalized into specific schools each with their own particular practical skills, aesthetic sensitivities and tools. Sogetsu Ikebana is one of these and is the school of ikebana that I have been studying for many years.
In 1927, when everybody believed practicing ikebana meant following established forms, Sofu Teshigahara recognized ikebana as a creative art and founded the Sogetsu School. Anyone can enjoy Sogetsu Ikebana anytime, anywhere, using any material. You can place Sogetsu Ikebana at your foyer, in you living room or on your kitchen table... Sogetsu Ikebana enhances any hotel lobby or banquet rooms, shop windows and huge public spaces. It will suit any kind of space, occasions, Japanese or Western and enrich its atmosphere.
The Japanese art of flowers is attracting unexpected attention in the world. In order to meet such an expectation, Sogetsu school has created Sogetsu textbooks to help people around the world learning Sogetsu Ikebana. The textbooks are available in both English and Japanese. These are the textbooks my curriculum are based on.
I have been studying ikebana since 1998 in Silicon Valley, California. I started taking Sogetsu ikebana classes just once a week. Over time I learned different ways to arrange fresh flower and unconventional materials, and I started seeing the arrangements in a different way. After a while, I have eager to know more about Sogetsu Ikebana, and I want to learn more. I have the pleasure of attending private classes with Kika Shibata Sensei at her studio and in public school, as well as participating in various exhibitions, festivals and workshops both online and in person. I also had the great privilege of taking workshops with the Headmaster Akane Teshigahara from Sogetsu Tokyo Japan headquarter during Sogetsu North America seminar in Honolulu Hawaii in 2019.
My professional background and original university degree was in Business Marketing, and I worked in high-tech industry for over 20 years. I made a lot of good friends whom I kept contact with.
Through continued study I have received five certificates and teacher certificate from Sogetsu Ikebana School, Tokyo Headquarter, Japan. As I earned my teacher certificate, I also received my flower name "Kiraku" from my Sensei Kika Shibata, which is what I named my ikebana business "Kiraku Ikebana". I teach my students the curriculum of the official textbooks provided by Sogetsu School. I can also offer informal instruction in Ikebana on request (though informal study does not contribute to certification).
The Ikebana of Sogetsu has been changing along with the times and social needs, brings the beauty and comfort of flowers in many different occasions such as window displays, hotel lobby, and stage art, as well as just enjoying at home. I offer Ikebana arrangements to local business and events, as well as restaurants and personal occasions.
My hope is to help you start an ikebana journey that will bring you great joy and excitement for years to come. By offering study tailored to each student, you can pace your learning in a way and mode that suits you. After studying with me, you will have a sound appreciation and understanding of what ikebana is and some foundation skills and knowledge that will enable you to make ikebana arrangements that you can enjoy at home or in your workplace.