Ikebana International

Ikebana International is a non-profit cultural organization dedicated to the promotion and appreciation of ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging. The late Ellen Gordon Allen founded the organization uniting the peoples of the world through their mutual love of nature and enjoyment of ikebana. The dream has now spread to over 50 countries with more than 170 chapters and membership of approximately 10,000 persons.

Ikebana International does not teach any single type of ikebana, rather it is an interest group made up of people of many nationalities who enjoy ikebana and other arts of Japan. Some schools of ikebana stress classic styles, others focus on contemporary forms, some are naturalistic, and some are blends. Each of the hundreds of schools of ikebana, i.e., Chiko, Enshu, Ichiyo, Ikenobo, Kozan, Ohara, Ryusei-Ha, Saga Goryu, Shinpa Seizan and Sogetsu, takes its own approach to arranging flowers.

Following our motto “Friendship through Flowers,” we hope to increase peace and mutual understanding throughout the world by sharing our interest in ikebana.

Traditional Arts of Japan

Ikebana is one of the traditional arts of Japan. Some others are:

  • Bonkei, miniature landscapes
  • Bonseki, sand landscapes
  • Bonsai, miniaturized living plants
  • Hanagatami, pressed dried flowers
  • Origami, paper folding
  • Sumie, Oriental calligraphy

Ikebana has been practiced for more than 600 years. It was brought to Japan by the Buddhist priests in the 6th Century and was developed from the Buddhist ritual of offering flowers to the spirit of the dead. By the middle of the 15th Century, with the emergence of the first classical styles, Ikebana achieved the status of an art form.

Basic Designs

The basic designs in classical arrangements are fixed with certain rules, which must be followed. The following are a few of the designs.

  • RIKKA – Original standing form of ikebana, the style that developed from the early Tatebana.
  • NAGEIRE or HEIKA – A vertical ikebana style, freer and less formal developed in the 15th Century.
  • MORIBANA – “Heaped-up flowers”, an arrangement in a shallow container often representing natural scenery.
  • FREESTYLE – 20th Century modern design using all forms of plant life, living or dead alone or incorporated with manmade materials.
  • KAK-BANA – Hanging flowers.
  • CHABANA – A simple arrangement using one or two flowers and branches for the Tea Ceremony.

Ohara Style arrangement