Ikebana originated with Ikenobo, beginning in Kyoto, Japan. Passed down through generations of the Ikenobo family and from teacher to student, Ikenobo has spread throughout Japan and around the world for over 1,000 years.
The Chicago Chapter was founded over 50 years ago by Senior Professor Ikka Nakashima. She is the second woman ever to receive the highest honor given outside the Imperial family, The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays. The Emperor of Japan personally presented her with this award in Tokyo for her tireless service in promoting Japanese arts and culture.
The Japanese Culture Center offers virtual and in-person workshops and classes at the introductory and intermediate/advanced levels in the Ikenobo style with Charles Harris Sensei.
Learn more about our Ikebana Ikenobo program here.
Charles Harris Sensei
Professor Charles Harris is the leader of the Chicago Chapter of the Ikenobo Ikebana Society, a role which he assumed at the request of Professor Nakashima in 2010. The Chapter holds regular exhibitions at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago and the Chicago Botanic Garden. He is passionate about sharing ikebana with those not frequently able to access Japanese cultural arts. After Professor Nakashima’s passing in 2014, her collection of tea and ikebana implements, kimonos, obi and other cultural items were donated to the Japanese Culture Center. Professor Harris serves as Curator of this extensive collection and is also is a recipient of the Japan America Society of Chicago’s Cultural Achievement Award.
Ikebana Ohara Ryu
The Ohara School of Ikebana was founded by Unshin Ohara when he explored the fields and mountains and tried to develop a style of Ikebana that would express the beauty of natural scenery, while incorporating Western-style flowers, creating the Moribana style. The Japanese Culture Center offers several virtual workshops, classes, and information sessions for those looking to learn about and explore a more modernized style of ikebana.
Learn more about our Ikebana Ohara Ryu program here.
Yuko Inoue Darcy Sensei
Inoue Sensei came to the Chicagoland area from Japan and has been teaching Ohara Ryu in Chicagoland for over 15 years. She is a member of and certified instructor in the Ohara School of Ikebana, both here in the US and Japan. Ms. Inoue is an active lecturer, exhibitor and demonstrator traveling nationally and abroad. Besides teaching at the Japanese Culture Center, she oversees active study group in Sofia, Bulgaria. Her principal teachers are the late Hougyoku Hirai, the late Kazuko Ernst, and Houhatsu Takeuchi. Inoue Sensei was also an Aikido student under late JCC founder, Aikido and Zen Master, Fumio Toyoda.
Upcoming Ikebana Programs
Ikebana Ohara Ryu Virtual Introductory Workshop on June 23rd
Ikebana Ohara Ryu Virtual Introductory Class on June 30th
Shodo is the Way of the Brush or Japanese calligraphy. It is an artistic way of writing the Japanese language using brush (fude) and ink (sumi). This form of writing with a set brush stroke order allows for a creative way to produce works of art.
There are different calligraphy styles: kaisho (correct writing) described as deliberate and clear strokes similar to newspaper print, gyousho (traveling writing) seen as a semi cursive style, and sousho (grass writing) the flowing cursive style. Often tied with meditation, the mind is cleared to let the letters flow out with little effort. This state of mind is called “mu shin” or “no mind state.”
Hekiun Oda Sensei
Oda Sensei created the calligraphy used for the Ikebana Walk logo and is a representative of the prestigious Genshinkai, based in Kobe, Japan, holding the highest level of instructional certification (Shihan). He also is a recipient of the Japan America Society of Chicago’s Cultural Achievement Award and has had a gallery space in the Uniqolo on Michigan Ave.
Mr. Oda was grew up in Kobe City, Japan, and began studying shodo at the age of 5 under the Goun Katsura. Having relocated to Chicago in 1990, Mr. Oda has demonstrated large brush Shodo and held many exhibitions throughout the Chicagoland area and the US.
His art is a reflection of his heart and he expresses his form through his powerful and bold strokes. After he moves his brush, there is no going back.
Learn more about our Shodo program here.
Ty Yamamoto Sensei
Mr. Ty Yamamoto is a Chicago-based filmmaker, photographer and Japanese language teacher with a passion for origami or the art of folding paper. From childhood, Mr. Yamamoto has loved folding various, intricate paper creations. Mr. Yamamoto has been teaching virtually at the Japanese Culture Center, since the 2020 and has shared his art with hundreds of students, as well as, various universities and businesses worldwide.
Learn more about our Origami program here.