Introducing some of the representative styles of Kado and Ikebana.

Introducing some of the representative styles of Kado and Ikebana.
Did you know that there are different styles of kado? Ikebana refers to flower arranging itself and can be enjoyed freely as a hobby without being bound by a style, but some kado styles offer ikebana classes.

This article therefore provides a thorough explanation of the kado styles, including the three representative styles in Japan, known as the three main styles, and the characteristics of the seven representative styles, including the three major styles. If you are interested in kado or would like to try it, please refer to this article to find the style that best suits your taste and sensibilities.

What are kado styles?

Kado was established in the Muromachi period (1333-1573) and spread as part of the education of women in the aristocratic and samurai families, and is still passed down today. Each kado style has its own grand master, and the organization that is formed around the grand master is a kado school, with each kado school having its own set of rituals and styles. Kado styles are subdivided into smaller groups, and it is said that there are more than 300 styles. The culture has branched out over its long history, and there are many styles that have something in common even though they have different names.

However, no two styles are exactly the same, as they have formed their own customs and styles over time. There are some styles that are almost unknown, so it is very important to choose the style you want to learn kado from. If you want to learn kado, it is a good idea to know what characteristics each style has and to choose the style that best suits your sensibilities and way of thinking.

Grand masters and originator(Soke) in kado

Grand masters and originator(Soke) in kado The head of a kado style is the grand master. There are grand masters not only in kado, but also in calligraphy, tea ceremony, Noh, Kyogen, and dance. originator Let's take a look at each of them.

Grand Master

The grand master is the head of each style and the person with the highest authority. The grand master is responsible for passing on the traditions and culture of the style to the next generation. The Grand masters is often hereditary, meaning that he or she is related by blood and passes down the tradition from parent to child. However, in order to preserve the style, a talented person may be adopted as a son or daughter-in-law, so it is not always passed on by blood relatives.

In the past, the tradition was passed down by men, but in recent years there have been female grand masters as well. The grand master is the head of the style and organizes the organization, instructs the students, and grants exemptions and qualifications. However, the larger the style, the more difficult the grand master becomes to meet, so the disciples often have further disciples to pass on the style's traditions and styles.

Grand Master System

Many kado styles have a Grand Master System to carry on the traditions of the style. Many traditional Japanese cultures have adopted this grand master system. However, even those styles that have a grand master, in modern times, are often run by a corporation. Also, in some styles that emphasize equality, there may be an Iemoto-like figure but he/she is not called Iemoto, so once you have decided on a style, be sure to understand how that style is structured as well.


Originator can be used in a variety of ways, but the term is often used to refer to the grand master's family, sometimes called the head family. In Japan, there is a history of the eldest son generally inheriting the family. When the eldest son inherits the family and has children, the eldest son in turn inherits the family. This is called the patriarchal system. The grand master's family is called the soke and continues as the center of the style.

On the other hand, the grand master's second and subsequent male heirs were called the "commoners" or "branch families. In some traditional cultures and arts other than kado, the term originator is used instead of iemoto. Also, in some styles, the grand master and soke are separate, each taking on a different role to carry on the tradition.

Three representative styles

Three representative styles In kado, the three representative kado styles are Ikenobo, Sogetsu Style, and Ohara Style, which are said to be the three largest among the more than 300 kado styles. If you look up kado classes, you will find many classes and workshops held by students of these styles. Even though the instructors may be different, the same style has the same customs and styles.

If you are a student of one of the three major styles, you can learn kado basically anywhere in Japan. The advantage is that even if you should have to leave the area due to moving, etc., you can continue to learn kado styles in your new location, as there will be a teacher of the same style in your new location. Because there are many teachers, there are also many classes and hours, so it will be easy to find a class that suits you. Of course, other styles have their own characteristics and charms, but if you are "completely unfamiliar with a style," try looking for a class or workshop of one of the three main styles. The characteristics of Ikenobo, Sogetsu Style, and Ohara Style, along with the other styles, are explained in the next section.

About the Seven Famous Styles

About the Seven Famous Styles The three major kado styles, Ikenobo, Sogetsu Style, and Ohara Style, and four others, Ryusei Style .The following is an explanation of the characteristics of each.

1. ikenobo

Ikenobo is the oldest style in Japan. It is the original kado style, created by the monk Senkei Ikenobo in the Muromachi period (1336-1573). It is said that the name Ikenobo originated from a monk who lived by a pond and called himself Ikenobo. Since Ikenobo is said to have created kado and Ikebana itself, it does not call itself the ◯◯ or ◯◯ style like other schools.

The characteristic of Ikenobo is to utilize nature as it is. It makes use of withered flowers, plants, and trees, and finds beauty in nature as it is. There are three types of techniques: rikka, which began in the Muromachi period (1336-1573) and expresses the scenery of mountains and rivers; shoka, which was born in the Edo period (1603-1868) and expresses the strength of nature with a few flowers and plants; and jiyuka, which is a free style that also incorporates Western flowers.

2.Sogetsu Style

This style was established in 1927 by Sofu Teshigahara, who was born into a kado family. While studying traditional ikebana, he questioned the overly formal nature of the style and created the Sogetsu Style.

Compared to other styles, the Sogetsu School has a much higher degree of freedom, and while learning techniques and knowledge, it has a reputation as a school that creates unique works that are not bound by formality and tradition. Although Sogetsu Style offers a high degree of freedom, even beginners can feel at ease as they can learn from the proper kata at first. It is suitable for those who want to create avant-garde works of modern art.

3. ohara style

This style was established in the Meiji era (1868-1912) by a kado artist named Obara Unshin who had studied at Ikenobo. During the Meiji period (1868-1912), with the influx of Western culture, the Ohara school successfully incorporated Western flowers and lifestyles into the kado style. Until the birth of Ohara Style, ikebana had been based on two-dimensional works, but Ohara Style adopted the technique of "moribana" to create three-dimensional works. It is said that the Ohara Style was the first to use a kenzan, which is used in ikebana.

4. ryusei-ha

This style was created by Yoshimura Kagei during the Meiji period (1868-1912). During the Meiji era, with the arrival of Western culture, the highly liberal style became popular. However, Yoshimura Kaisen, the third generation of the Ryusei-ha, was the one who put forth the classical approach of utilizing the plants themselves. Today, the Ryusei-ha has inherited two forms of flower arrangement: the "classical flower arrangement" established by Yoshimura Kasei, and the "free flower arrangement," which emphasizes individuality and inspiration.

5. the Saga School

This style has its roots in Emperor Saga, who loved flowers, and although it declined for a time, it was passed down from generation to generation at Daikakuji Temple, which is associated with Emperor Saga, and spread throughout Japan, especially in the Kansai region. The school emphasizes the importance of using flowers and plants as they are and expressing the feelings of the person who arranges them.

The Sagano-ryu style has no grand master, and is still passed down by the monks of Daikakuji Temple. There are two types of flower arrangement: the traditional "traditional flower arrangement" used in Shinto rituals, and the "cosmetic flower arrangement" in which flowers are arranged to express the feelings of the creator by utilizing nature as it is.


The Misei-ryu style originated in Osaka in the late Edo period (1603-1868) and was founded by Miseosai Kazuho and Miseosai Hiroho. The reputation of Misei-ryu spread as far as Kyoto, where it came to be called "Miseongoryu. It is a style characterized by the creation of the inherent beauty of flowers by the addition of human hands to the materials, and is a logical style of flower arrangement.

7. ko Style

When the eldest son inherits the family and has children, the eldest son in turn inherits the family. This is called the patriarchal system. The grand master's family is called the soke and continues as the center of the style.

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