Western culture, in particular the Modernism Art Movement has had a significant influence on ikebana since the Meiji period. While ikebana like other traditional art forms was under the influence of the Japanese fascism in 1930’s, it was this period that ikebana has undergone a cultural transformation that is closely related to a redefinition of ikebana, incorporating a reconsideration of the attitude to nature in Japan. This study focuses on the works by several ikebana artists and theorists in 1930’s who were particularly conscious of the influence of Western culture on ikebana.
There is an argument that under the influence of Western culture, there was a shift in the view of what ikebana symbolically represents from universal structural orders to life energy. However, these external and internal views were both mentioned in the classic ikebana text, Senno Kuden (1542), where the author discussed his approach in terms of both process and product of creating ikebana for the deeper appreciation of nature. This concept of ikebana as a representation of life energy did not begin with the reformers, it has been around since the early stage of development in ikebana and deserves more attention. This study suggests that, after encountering Western culture, it became necessary for ikebana artists and theorists to reconsider the essence of ikebana that reflects the differences in the perception of nature in the West and in Japan.
Shoso Shimbo, RMIT University, Australia