Friday 24 April 2020

Shoso's talk will be online

24 - 27 May 2020: Dr Shoso Shimbo will present a paper, “Nature in Ikebana: Beyond sustainability” online at the Asian Conference on Arts and Humanities.


Western culture, in particular the Modernism Art Movement has had a significant influence on ikebana since the Meiji period. To discern an aspect of cultural transformation in Japan this study focus on the works by several ikebana artists and theorists in 19th and 20th centuries who contributed to develop radical free style ikebana with the influence of Modernism.

There is an argument that under the influence of Modernism, there was a shift in the view of what ikebana symbolically represents from universal structural orders to life energy. However, both of these views were implicated in the classic ikebana text, Senno Kuden (1542), where the author discussed his approach in terms of creating ikebana for a deeper appreciation of nature. This concept of ikebana as a representation of life energy did not begin with the reformers, it has been around since the early stages of development in ikebana and deserves more attention.

This study suggests that, after encountering Modernism, it became necessary for ikebana artists and theorists to reconsider the defining features of ikebana in the light of the differences in the perception of nature in the West and in Japan. Rather than accepting Modernism as a whole, they selectively adopted some elements of it to develop free style ikebana that embodies reemergence of the original approach to nature in ikebana.