I learned Ikebana and European floral designs and have both licenses as an instructor. I am teaching European floral arrangement and also Japanese Ikebana at my school. Therefore I believe I am in a position to make a fair comparison between these two floral arts.
When I was at a high school in Japan back in 1960’s, learning floral designs automatically meant learning Ikebana which is a typical Japanese traditional floral art. I started learning Ikebana at that time. In these days, Ikebana was pretty popular as one of mandatory things which should be learned and acquired by young women who were not yet married. It was generally considered that learning Ikebana was not only learning how to make floral decorations but also learning a daily manner as a Japanese woman. Maybe this point of learning and earning a manner is one of the biggest points different from European or Amerian floral arrangement. During a period of 1980’s, European floral arrangement became very popular especially among young generation. And gradually population of people who learn Ikebana has been gradually decreasing. Nowadays when young people say “floral arrangement” , it means European floral arrangement. Even if they do not use the terminology of “European Floral Arrangement”, the term of “Floral Arrangement” automatically means European flower arrangement. By way of using two different term (“Floral Arrangement” and “Ikebana”), they distinguish the difference between these two floral arts. One of the reasons why Ikebana has become not so popular (in Japan) as used to be COULD be as stated below:
1. It took so long to get a certificate. Students had to continue learning Ikebana for a long period of time. Usually it took a
few years in Japan until they got a certificate. Especially the certificate as an instructor took a long perriod of time.
2. For big events such as weddings, European style floral arrangement COULD be preferred rather than Ikebana decoration.
3. There were lots of ambiguous customs which were difficult for young generation to clearly understand. In additiona to
officially announced fee, there were additional payments which were customary ones paid to a instructor or headquarters
of a school or organization. In short. the regulation about fee was not very clear and not so organized. It COULD be
“changed” from case by case. Some students were not very happy with this kind of ambiguous “rules”. (This kind of
situation was found not only in Ikebana world but also in any other things when it comes to learning something or any
fee related to buddhism event or buddhism temple/priest.
After European style of floral arrangement became popular in Japan during 1980’s, they became to know that students did not have to stick to traditional customs or ambiguous “rules” or conditions and the way of making arrangement was EASIER in a sense compared with Ikebana. Plus this newly introduced floral design can be used at various occasions and situations
in spite there were lots of ponts which were different from Ikebana.
Take items used for making floral arrangement for instance, Ikebana uses “Kenzan” which is a kind of needlepoint holder. Uncountable number of needles are put on the heavy pad made of iron. Flower stems should be inserted onto Kenzan. This item is not disposable. On the other hand European floral arrangement uses what is called “oasis” which is chemical foam to hold flowers and this item is disposable. Flower stems should be inserted into oasis. Using oasis is much easier than using Kenzan. When it comes to containers/vases, Ikebana often uses what is called Suiban which is a flat type of container specifically designed for Ikebana. European floral arrangement never uses this kind of container. Since Ikebana uses Kenzan, this kind of flat type of container is more convenient for arranging flowers.
As shown in the above, there are several different points between Ikebana and European (or American) floral arrangement. Not only the way of decorations but also the items/utensils used for arrangement are different. Nevertheless, there are still lots of people who are keenly interested in learning Ikebana. Most of people who would like to learn Ikebana are interested in learning something traditional or typical in Japan. In compliance with request from students, California Flower Art Academy offers a program and courses specializing in Ikebana arts as shown below:
A. Ikebana Short Seminar Program ($98): The fee covers not only tuition but also flowers, Kenzan and Suiban as well.
B. Ikebana Arrangement Elementary Course ($210): The fee covers not only tuition but also flowers. However the cost
of Kenzan and Suiban is not included. Students can buy these items at a classroom by paying $30.
C. Ikebana Arrangement Intermediate Acourse ($245). The same condition as above for the lesson fee.
If you are interested in learning Ikebana arts, we can help. For further information or questions, feel free to contact email@example.com