【日本語版は英語版のあとです】 Like martial arts, Ikebana also has “Kata (basic forms)”.
This arrangement style is called “Jiyubana”, literally means “Free style arrangement”.
However, “Free style” doesn’t mean “arranging flowers blindly”.
It is very important to think about overall image of the work before hand; length and angle of flowers, branches, stems. Balance between flowers and vase. Also, spacing. In that sense, Ikebana is very mathematical art. 武道に「型」があるように、いけばなにも「型」はある。
【日本語版は英語版のあとです】 Morning glory was brought from China to Japan in the Nara period (710 - 794).
Many gardeners started raising and breeding them at open spaces (today's Shitaya and Okachimachi in Tokyo) after great fire in 1803.
Shortly after, many samurais also started raising morning glory as their side business and it became very popular.
Especially, the flower called "Danjuro" became very famous.
Tomejiro Naritaya, a gardener in Iriya, produced unique flower with reddish b
【日本語版は英語版のあとです】 Japan has some endemic species of lily. Dietary habit of eating roots of lily dates from Yayoi period (B.C. 300 - A. D. 300). The oldest description about lily is found in the story of the Emperor Jinmu *1 and Princess Isuzu in “Kojiki (The Record of Ancient Matters)” *2. The Emperor fell in love with the princess at the first sight when he saw her picking lilies around Mt. Miwa (Today’s Nara prefecture). Let’s move a clock in a breath forward the mid 19th cen
【日本語版は英語版のあとです】 “Kuchinashi” is Gardenia in Japanese. Literally, it means “No mouth” because it takes fruits forever to open their mouths for sowing seeds. According to common theory, legs of Shogi*1 and Go*2 boards were made after shape of fruits of Kuchinashi. It implies “Everyone watching this game, shut your mouth!” Lol Notes *1 It is similar to chess. *2 It is like board game capturing territory. 実がなかなか割れず、口を開けなかいことから名付けられたと言われるクチナシ。 将棋盤と碁盤の脚の部分は、実を象ったという通説もある。 「周りは口出し
●Happiness in Rainy Blue● In Japan, June is not only the season of the Tsuyu (rainy season), but also of the hydrangea. This plant is renowned for its beautiful purple, light blue, or white flowers (actually calyxes, or the outer parts of a flower). I’ve met many guests from overseas who had hydrangea in their gardens and all of them said, “It’s my favorite”. It is native to Japan, and its scientific name derived from Greek (hydr = “water”, angea = “vase”). T
【日本語版は英語版のあとです】 Flowers and buds. Straight stems and bent ones.
Various kinds of leaves and fruits. Taking a measure of shape and conditions of plants is very important to create Ikebana works. When I get general impression of it (about 80%), just do it. Like Yin Yan theory, two different flows of energy indwells in flower works. One is “quiet and gentle” flow representing the time I spent for thinking about the design. The other one is “active and vivid” flow meaning full
【日本語版は英語版のあとです】 Time of spring flowers ended and relay of flowers is now moving toward green season of early summer. Yamabuki; it is native to Japan, is blooming like bright sunshine before rainy season. Accoriding to ancient custom, people used rubbed leaves with hands as hemostasis patch and petals for dying clothes.
Color of Yamabuki was called “Kogane (Gold)”. In the Edo period, it was a pronoun referring to old Japanese gold coins. When people said “Here is sweet box of
【日本語版は英語版のあとです】 According to an old lunar calendar, today is the day of “Honnoji no Hen”*1. Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582) is well-known samurai who seised power during battle ages of Japan. Among Japanese, he is very famous for his tyranny and religious oppression; burned down Enryakuji (Buddhist temple) and battle against other sects of Buddhism. However, I guess his act was based on his principle to protect Shinto (its traditional rituals and customs) from menacing Buddhist temp
【日本語版は英語版のあとです】 I saw his name and paintings for the first time during my visit of Kakunodate, Akita prefecture. Also, learned the word of art genre “Akita-Dutch-ish painting”*1. Naotake Odano (1750-1780) was a samurai and artist. He is the one who draw pictures for “Kaitai Shinsho*2” that almost everyone remember his work printed in textbooks of history back in our school days. His paintings also made a significant influence on works of “Ukiyo-e (wood-block prints)” artists
【日本語版は英語版のあとです】 Back in 1863, the mission of samurais returned from western Europe and brought bulbs of tulips to their motherland. Tulips are like symbols of westernization of Japan. The person printed on today’s 10,000 bill was one of the members of the mission (Yukichi Fukuzawa, second from right in the black & white pic). Things they saw and learned in Europe had a big impact on Japanese history and society. Gregorian calendar was one of them. On 9th of Novembe, 1872, the
【日本語版は英語版のあとです】 This is a story about discord of Minamoto brothers*1 back in 1185. Yoritomo (the first Shogun who founded Kamakura Shogunate) ordered his soldiers to capture his younger brother Yoshitsune and his lover Shizuka Gozen.
The couple had to separate from each other in mountains of Yoshino (located in today’s Nara prefecture) because lady couldn’t pass through the mountains due to strict custom in this era. Unfortunately, Shizuka was caught by the soldiers and sent
【日本語版は英語版のあとです】 Compared to other flowers, wisteria doesn’t take up water well. Therefore, sake is added to water when we arrange wisteria as Ikebana work. Sake sterilizes germs around stems and provides nutrients to wisteria. According to Niigata Nippo as of today (what a coincidence!), Northern Culture Museum in Niigata prefecture announced that they will produce sake made from rice, wisteria yeast and etc. in the next spring. What a nice interdependent relationship! Pics: