Saturday 5 January 2013

Ikebana Today 7

Some ikebana artists may wish ikebana to be as it used to be. The tuition fees can be expensive and teachers receive gift money on many occasions. What’s more, your works are never criticized and you gain respect in society.

However, the reality is that society is becoming more and more secular. Less people are spending money on their hobby arts or spiritual activities. This is a hard environment for ikebana artists.

If my hypothesis is right, there would be two conditions under which ikebana would be able to revive itself as a hobby art today. The first is to increase the general public’s interest in spirituality. The second is for ikebana to be widely recognized as a spiritual art. 

As to the former, there is always a potential need for spiritual activities even in a secularized society. How about the latter? How can we promote ikebana as a spiritual activity? Are there any ikebana artists who can be role models? Can you meet inspiring people in an ikebana class? Are all ikebana teachers are polite, cultured and spiritual? These are the questions that all ikebana practitioners have to think about.

The International Society of Ikebana Studies (ISIS) was founded last year. The founding members include Dr Osamu Inoue (Kyoto University), Dr Zenho Kobayashi (Kyoto Women's University), and Professor Toyoaki Watanuki (Tsukuba University). I have been appointed as a Director of ISIS. This will be a very significant organization in ikebana history. The spiritual side of ikebana will be an important aspect for ISIS to look into.

I have suggested this time that the spiritual aspect of ikebana may be getting lost today. There is a person who played an important role in lessening the importance of the moral and religious aspects of ikebana and transformed it to what it is today. I’ll talk about him sometime soon.

For the New Year’s issue I chose a bright work using yellow dancing lady. Please download from my website a free ikebana calendar for 2013 using this image.