Focus on Ichiyo

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The Ichiyo School was founded in 1937 by sister and brother, Ichiyo and Meikof Kasuya.  Akihiro Kasuya was born the third son of the second Headmaster, Meikof, in Tokyo in 1947.  He became the third Headmaster in 1983 and quickly established himself as one of the favorites among the upcoming Iemoto generation because of his creative style. He maintained the position of Headmaster until he passed away in January, 2019.  On January 20, 2019, his second son, Naohiro Kasuya, was installed as the fourth Headmaster and has established himself as an artistic flower master who is in great demand for demonstrations and workshops both in Japan and abroad. In addition to his teaching schedule he enjoys displaying his creative works at solo exhibitions in grand homes and buildings of the past and offers artistic support for movies and TV programs.  He is also passionately involved in collaborative works with artists of different fields.  

Ichiyo instruction is taught through progressive and systematically organized textbooks developed by Meikof Kasuya and further expanded by Akihiro Kasuya and Naohiro Kasuya.  Beginning with a thorough study of basic essential forms, students are gradually encouraged to express imagination and feeling through personal interaction with the materials. Students can soon understand the philosophy of the school that flower arranging is most truly fulfilling when it is a reflection of one’s self.

The container reminded Executive Master, Elaine Jo, of Mt. Fuji and was the inspiration for this arrangement. The container is very bold, so she chose hydrangea in a matching color for mass and added upward moving line to give a sense of reaching for the sky. 

This ikebana arranged by Ichiyo Master Jeanne Houlton is an example of using a support system other than a kenzan. Supported by a glass ball in a deep blue glass bowl, jasmine and tulips provide triad color combinations. The overall style of the arrangement shows dynamic negative space with the jasmine positioned in a continuous circle with no ending. This suggests to Jeanne that the practice of ikebana has no ending and is a life long pursuit.

Ichiyo student, Shirley Bludau, Houston Chapter, created this playful arrangement with washi paper fans. The upward fluttering movement of the colorful fans creates energy and a whimsical feeling. At the same time, baby’s breath harmonizes with the lightheartedness of the arrangement.

The Tokonoma is an ancient architectural design for a space along a wall in a castle or large space. It was raised a few inches off the floor to display flower arrangements, paintings on scrolls, incense burners and other similar items. Today, nearly every Japanese home has a small tokonoma or alcove to display art.  Iemoto Akihiro designed the hana tsuitate (translated as flower screen) to replicate the tokonomo. This is a diagonal compound arrangement using xanadu leaves and hydrangea in a cloud basket, with xanadu and lilles in rocks, representing earth.  The hana tsuitate is used as a frame for the design. Thanks to Marilyn Hoskins, Omaha Chapter, for this lovely design.

Another Ichiyo sensei from the Atlanta chapter, Pragati Chaudhry, created this arrangement in a glass container.


Atlanta Chapter member and Ichiyo Master, Iwalani Barbazon’s unique bamboo container and beautiful spring flowers kept calling her to do an arrangement. The cascading spirea and the bright red azalea blossoms told her they would look best in a hanging form.

In ikebana, plant material is usually used in its natural form, that is plant material is used in the way it grows in nature. However when material is reshaped by a persons’ hands, it is said to be in an unnatural form. Weaving plant material for use in Ichiyo arrangements is an unnatural form. It gives a three-dimensional effect in which the lines of plants overlap with each other.  Associate Master Myrtle Halsall from the Jamaica Branch shares her interpretation of  weaving using pandanus with  orchids in a u-shaped container.

This spring arrangement by Junior Master Suzanne Dillingham uses glass to accentuate the beautiful lines of Red Twig Dogwood. Additional materials:  Rhodendrum branch with bloom cluster  and  masses of lime green euphorbia blossoms.  The glass gives it a feeling of being suspended in air.

Bamboo is a popular material used in Ichiyo designs. This one by Master Janet Knowlton, uses two containers with bamboo being a focal point.