~~~ What is Ohara School of Ikebana? ~~~

Ohara Ikebana Society of San DiegoUnshin Ohara founded the Ohara School in the late nineteenth century, when Japan opened itself to the influence of Western culture. He created the Moribana Style, which later led to the School's introduction of the Landscape Arrangement. Compared with the vertical or standing styles of ikebana of the past, in Moribana, flowers are "piled up" (moru) flat plate-like containers.

In addition to Moribana, the forms of ikebana of the Ohara School include Hana-isho, Heika, and Hanamai. Hana-isho is a form of ikebana that can harmonize with the contemporary spaces where people live and work, and gives ample scope to the arranger's own individuality. Beginners start with the basic hana-isho, the most elementary stage, and what they learn at this stage is not only the elementary knowledge and techniques, but the fundamentals of Ohara ikebana as a whole. Heika is ikebana arranged in a tall vase with narrow mouth, and Hanamai is ikebana that expresses the three-dimensional, sculptural beauty of plants.

~~~ The History of the Ohara School ~~~

In 2015, the Ohara School celebrated its 120th anniversary.

Unshin Ohara (1861-1916), the founder of the Ohara School of Ikebana, was born in Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture. Unshin explored the fields and mountains and tried to develop a style of ikebana to express the beauty of natural scenery. He also searched for ways to arrange the brightly colorful Western flowers that had just begun to be imported into Japan. The result of his efforts was Moribana, the first brilliant step in modern ikebana.

In 1897, the first public exhibition of ikebana in the Moribana Style was held. The Ohara School was officially founded in 1912, and in 1916, Unshin was succeeded by Second Headmaster Koun Ohara (1880-1938), who developed and established set techniques for Moribana.

Koun held ikebana exhibitions in public places like department stores, and worked hard to promote Ohara ikebana to the great mass of ordinary people of that time. In addition, he paid considerable attention to developing practical teaching methods and to the systematic classification of expressive techniques.

Ohara Ikebana Society of San DiegoThird Headmaster Houn Ohara (1908-1995) succeeded his father in 1938. As soon as the Second World War was over, he began his creative activity. Within the school itself, he made efforts to expand and systematize the organization. He also deserves great credit for transforming the school into a world-wide organization.

Houn's son Natsuki (1949-1992) became Headmaster Designate in 1972. Father and son held many joint exhibitions, and Natsuki embodied the future hopes and expectations of the Ohara School. He explored the possibilities of ikebana in search of richly creative forms appropriate for the new age, and originated Hanamai and Hana-isho. he was naturally expected to succeed his father, but he became ill and passed away while Houn was still Headmaster. Natsuki was posthumously named Fourth Master.

Now led by Fifth Master Hiroki Ohara, the Ohara School, which claims more than one million members, is expanding its activities not only in Japan but throughout the world.

- Cited from Ikebana for Everybody, Ohara School of Ikebana