Saturday, 10 October 2009


Hiroki Ohara, the present and fifth headmaster of the Ohara School had this huge seasonal arrangement in a basket at the Takashimaya Department store in Shinjuku, Tokyo, during the yearly exhibition of the Ohara School Tokyo Chapter.
The first moribana exhibition was in 1897 and in 1912 the Ohara School was established by Unshin Ohara. He was succeeded in 1916 by his son Koun who developed teaching techniques for moribana.
Houn Ohara the third headmaster took over from his father in 1938 and under his leadership the school became internationally known.
His famous ikebana exhibit in September 1945 just after the end of the war was followed in November of 1945 by a joint exhibition with the Sogetsu headmaster in Kobe.
Houn's son Natsuki was born in 1949, he became headmaster designate in 1972 but unfortunately passed away in 1992. His legacy to the school is the very elegant style of Hanamai or "flower dance", and Hana-isho a style that is suitable for contemporary houses.
At this month's exhibition in October it was interesting to see the use of modern furniture and artwork from many countries as a backdrop to the Hana-isho exhibits. In the same way as I learnt many things from Japanese flower arranging concerning what can be used in combination with what and what should be displayed at a certain season, the same can be applied for other cultures and these new styles will encourage cultural exchange and mutual understanding for the coming generations.
By exporting ikebana, interesting containers and concepts have been imported and have been incorporated in ikebana. In some ways I was rather disappointed with this trend but I can see that it is necessary to arouse interest in the younger generation, and from there the original styles will also be appreciated.
Ohara School 5 generations:
1st Headmaster Unshin Ohara
2nd Headmaster Koun Ohara
3rd Headmaster Houn Ohara
4th Headmaster Natsuki Ohara
5th present Headmaster Hiroki Ohara
My rendition of Hanamai

Hanamai by Professor Kudo

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