Sogetsu San Francisco Branch celebrates 50 years
San Francisco Bay Area Chapter #31
Joan Yusui Suzuki (Sogetsu) began her study of ikebana in Tokyo and received her first teaching certificate at the age of 16. After her return to the US, in 1953 she began teaching in San Francisco and also assisted her mother, Shunei Uchida who introduced Sogetsu to the Bay Area. She was the first Sogetsu Advisor for SF BA Chapter #31. In 1968 Mrs. Suzuki was awarded the Model Teacher Award (Mohan-Sho) and in 1973 Sofu Teshigahara, Sogetsu's Founding Headmaster, conferred the highest rank of the school, Riji, on her. Suzuki Sensei was inducted into the Bunka Hall of Fame in 2012 for her contribution to Ikebana and in 2016 received a commendation from Consul General of Japan, Jun Yamada and in 2019 received a commendation from Taro Kono, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Japan, in recognition for contribution and promoting friendship between the U.S. and Japan through ikebana. In 2017 she received the Overseas Honor Award from the Sogetsu School. Suzuki Sensei is a charter member of I.I. Chapter 31 and advisor; charter member of ITF and Past President; Director Emeritus for Sogetsu SF Bay Area Branch and active teacher and demonstrator locally and out-of-state.
Ron Brown brings innovative, inspiring enthusiasm to Ikebana audiences and his students. His journey in Ikebana began as an outgrowth of his interest in ceramics and the utilitarian use of ceramic vessels for esthetic purposes. He began his studies in Sogetsu Ikebana in 1979 with Burleigh Fedanzo. In 1986 he became a student of Shuko Kobayashi, with whom he studied until Kobayashi-sensei’s retirement. In 2007, Ron became a student of Kika Shibata, and continues to study with her today. Ron holds the rank of Komon. He demonstrates and exhibits throughout California and beyond. His travels have taken him to Panama City, Panama; Sao Paulo, Basil; Ashville, North Carolina; Arizona and Florida. He has been a member of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter for 40 years and has held many positions throughout his long association with the organization. He has served twice as President from 2012 to 2016 and again from 2018 to 2020. Ron is the Director of the Sogetsu San Francisco Bay Area Branch and a member of the Sogetsu Teacher’s Association in Tokyo. He is also on the Board of the Ikebana Teachers Federation where is serves as Recording Secretary.
Yoshiko Williams began studying Sogetsu Ikebana with Soho Sakai Sensei in San Francisco. She has visited Japan often and studied with Tetsunori Kawana and other master teachers in Japan and the US. She has participated in very large Sogetsu Annual Exhibits in Tokyo, often with the Kawana Group. She holds the Riji rank and teaches in the San Mateo area. She is a member of Ikebana International San Francisco chapter, Sogetsu San Francisco Bay Area Branch and Ikebana Teachers Federation. She has participated in the bi-annual and annual flower shows for the above 2 organizations. Yoshiko is also a member of AIFD (American Institute of Floral Designers) and an annual participant of the Bouquets to Art exhibition in San Francisco. She enjoys teaching and participating in events to share and connect with people.
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