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Sogetsu Ikebana was born of a desire to encourage the expression of individual creativity through innovative flower arrangement, without the constraints of following rigid patterns. The core belief of school founder Sofu Teshigahara was that when arranged, “flowers become human,” taking on the spirit and personality of their arranger. More than 90 years on, his commitment to free and open expression has been faithfully passed down by his successors, winning enthusiastic followers around the globe.

Subsequent leaders of Sogetsu have followed Sofu’s example of seeking inspiration through frequent collaborations with artists of all genres. They have also tried their own hand at art forms besides ikebana — pottery, calligraphy, stage directing and more. The third head of Sogetsu, Hiroshi Teshigahara, had some success as a film director.

His second daughter, Akane Teshigahara, who succeeded him as Sogetsu’s fourth leader in 2001, has worked with practitioners from the worlds of dance, music and contemporary art, as well as made her own pottery as she explores the limitless possibilities of ikebana.

Under the school’s four leaders, an impressive range of artwork has found its way to the organization’s headquarters, Sogetsu Kaikan, forming the renowned Sogetsu Collection. In this feature, Akane Teshigahara has selected several of the treasures in this collection and created a stunning flower arrangement to accompany and enhance each work in a celebration of spring.

“Sogetsu flowers complement any space, while also transforming it,” Teshigahara says. In testimony to the verity of that claim, her arrangements breathe a fresh scent of spring into the intense atmosphere exuded by these works of art, old and new, Western and Eastern.

“Whenever I step into a space to arrange some flowers, I begin working from whatever inspiration I feel there. If you do that, something good is bound to emerge,” Teshigahara adds. “Ikebana reflects one’s spirit. The same vase and the same flowers will yield a completely different expression depending on the time, the place and the person engaged in each arrangement, and that expression is what moves people’s hearts. That is the fundamental ethos of Sogetsu Ikebana.”

For more insight into Japan’s culture, arts and lifestyle, visit int.kateigaho.com.

PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)