Ikebana  (生け花) is the art of flower arrangement in Japan, and it literally means: “living flower”. Another name for this art is the Kado (華道), which means “way of the flowers”. This naming was its original naming, and only received the naming of Ikebana during the Edo Period.

Practitioners of Ikebana are called kadoka, and the teachers are called sensei, which is the usual term to call a teacher in most arts and sports in Japan.

Diagram of works by Ikenobo Senjo
Diagram of works by Ikenobo Senjo

The origins of Ikebana can be traced back all the way to the 7th century, with one of the strong theories indicating that it was introduced by Buddhism. Back then flowers were used as offerings at altars. It was only later, during the Muramachi Period that the Japanese started to place flowers in the tokonoma, or alcove, at home. But the art of flower arrangement only reached its golden age between the middle and end of the Edo Period (18th ~ 19th century). The way of the flower reached the commoners, who started to call it Ikebana, and became popular very quickly. Before that, Kado as they called it, was an art practiced only by the aristocracy and the samurai families.

Nowadays the peaceful art of the Ikebana is not only taught by thousands of specialized schools in Japan, but also in many countries around the world.