In a previous issue, I proposed that one reason for the declining popularity of Ikebana could be that its history as an artistic hobby is not compatible with capitalism. In short, you cannot make money with Ikebana.
Some people might say, “What’s wrong with that?” Others may say, “Why can't we change Ikebana?” Rather than getting into an argument about such issues, I would like to focus more on what Ikebana is today.
Normally Ikebana artists gain some income from teaching and creating displays. Teaching is usually the main source of income, but there are few teachers, especially outside of Japan, who can make a living from teaching Ikebana.
There are not enough students who keep studying for a long period of time. Very few students study Ikebana long enough to become aware of its spiritual aspect. Tuition fees are much cheaper here than in Japan but some students are still not happy. After all, Ikebana cannot promise any financial reward in the future, which makes Ikebana less attractive for some students.
There is another negative factor in teaching Ikebana outside Japan, which I mentioned last time. In Japan learning Ikebana used to be a status symbol to show your financial and personal status.
In many societies, including Japan today, money is valued more than personal growth or spirituality. In these circumstances, it is hard for Ikebana to be popular, even if you promote it as a way of self-cultivation. We have to realize that the declining popularity of Ikebana is related to the global trend of secularisation.