Presented by International Society of Ikebana Research
Melbourne Ikebana Conference - International Society of Ikebana Research 36th Regular Conference
When: 4 ~ 5 PM, 12 September 2021 (Melbourne, Australia Time)
Venue: Online (Free)
Performing Japaneseness: Cultural Nationalism in Ikebana
Marlies Holvoet – PhD Candidate, Department of Language and Culture, Ghent University, Belgium
When ikebana appears in an international context, it is often presented as “The Traditional Flower Art of Japan”. But why and in what ways exactly is ikebana a flagbearer for Japanese culture and Japanese national identity? Answering these questions requires looking into the agents marking out the discourse(s), and into the roles ikebana is made to play in those discourses.
Governmental institutions and agencies attempt to define ikebana in terms of traditional Japanese cultural values, which is deemed useful for presenting Japan as a “nation of culture” to foreign audiences. At the same time, within Japan, traditional culture is claimed to be threatened by contemporary lifestyles and in dire need of preservation for future generations. Ikebana schools on their end, aim to make use of these official discourses by drawing from tradition when convenient, while on the other hand putting in efforts to continuously modernize their school images and curricula in order to keep their members invested and to attract new members. Theirs is a narrative of ikebana as an artform in constant evolution, changing with the times in order to stay relevant. In international settings, ikebana school headmasters and teachers perform the double role of representatives of their schools as well as that of cultural ambassadors for Japan.
In this presentation, I will concentrate on this interworking between the Japanese government and ikebana schools, as they are two important agents defining how ikebana is (re)presented outside of Japan today. I will illustrate the intricate and at times conflicting images of Japaneseness that are presented in contemporary ikebana stage performances, official demonstrations and exhibitions, drawing on fieldwork conducted in the US and Europe.
What is Freestyle Ikebana? - Freestyle Ikebana Movement & Contemporary Ikebana
Following the popularity of the Moribana style of ikebana in the Meiji period (1868 - 1912), Freestyle Ikebana Movement emerged in 1920’s and 1930’s. The Freestyle Ikebana Movement is significant in the process of modernising ikebana in that it was influenced by Western modernism art movements and the concept of individualism. While both Suido Yamane (1893 - 1966) and Mirei Shigemori (1896 - 1975), the two significant leaders in Freestyle Ikebana Movement, tried to transform ikebana in opposition to the mainstream nationalistic ikebana schools, they disagreed in terms of the meaning of freestyle in reference to human attitudes to nature. Regardless of their differences, their arguments are still valid and even more significant in the current era, considering our attitude to nature in practicing ikebana today.
How to Join
Please book to receive a link to join for free.
International Society of Ikebana Research (ISIR): www.ikebana.link
International Society of Ikebana Research (国際いけ花学会) is the only international academic society for ikebana researchers established at Kyoto in 2012. It has published annual peer reviewed journal, International Journal of Ikebana Studies and has organised numerous ikebana conferences in Japan and overseas.
International Journal of Ikebana Studies is available for purchase during the Melbourne Ikebana Festival. Currently available volumes are 1, 3, 5, 6 & 7. Please note that some volumes have very limited stock. Each copy costs $25.
1. Check the contents.
2. Order by email.
3. Pay and receive copies during the festival.
International Journal of Ikebana Studies will be available online from the volume 9. You will be able to access much of its research for free. Your participation in this conference is great support for the society.