Ikebana School: Sogetsu

Modern life is reflected in Sogetsu Ikebana with emphasis on individual expressions. Natural and manmade materials are widely used, often in unexpected ways.

Sofu Teshigahara, the founder of the Sogetsu School of Ikebana, was born in 1900. He was the first son of Wafu Teshigahara, an ikebana artist, who trained Sofu in ikebana since childhood.

As he practiced and taught ikebana, he came into conflict with a milieu where ikebana was seen as the continuing attempt to recreate the existing forms. Why should it always take the same form in spite of being arranged by very different people? Why didn’t it reflect their individual lives? He left his father’s school when he was twenty six and founded the Sogetsu School in 1927, where he developed his way of teaching creative ikebana. In 1929, the Sogetsu School held its first exhibition at the Sembikiya in the Ginza. His modern style of ikebana made Sofu’s reputation overnight. From this base, he produced work after work exploring the borders of ikebana, overthrowing the common sense of ikebana and the concept of containers and materials.

In 1930, Sofu Teshigahara participated in drawing up a “Manifesto of New Ikebana”, a radical document influenced by the avant-garde movement in Europe. It denied the existence of fixed forms and announced that ikebana would, from then on, became one of the contemporary fine arts. He travelled and exhibited around the world, making live-long friend with Miro, Dali, Gaudi and Tapies. Time magazine described him as the “Picasso of Flowers.”

After Sofu’s death in 1979, his daughter Kasumi Teshigahara became the second Iemoto. She passed away shortly thereafter and was succeeded by Hiroshi Teshigahara, the third Iemoto of Sogetsu School in 1980. Hiroshi was a well respected film director and well known for creating spectacular bamboo installations. He died in the spring 2001. His daughter, Akane Teshigahara, succeeded him as the fourth Iemoto. As was her father, she is a powerful installation artist who believes that ikebana must be incorporated in all aspects of contemporary life.


Sogetsu School of Ikebana