Unshin Ohara (1861-1916), the founder of the Ohara School of Ikebana, was born in Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture.
Unshin explored the fields and mountains and tried to develop a style of ikebana to express the beauty of natural scenery. He also searched for ways to arrange the brightly colorful Western flowers that had just begun to be imported into Japan. The result of his efforts was Moribana, the first brilliant step in modern ikebana. In 1897, the first public exhibition of ikebana in the Moribana Style was held.
The Ohara School was officially founded in 1912, and in 1916, Unshin was succeeded by Second Headmaster Koun Ohara (1880-1938), who developed and established set techniques for Moribana. Koun held ikebana exhibitions in public places like department stores, and worked hard to promote Ohara ikebana to the great mass of ordinary people of that time.In addition, he paid considerable attention to developing practical teaching methods and to the systematic classification of expressive techniques. He established clear rules and distinctions for floral styles in Moribana and Heika. He also made a special effort to address large groups of people, using blackboards and microphones and also originated methods of mass instruction like demonstrations before an audience, where he arranged flowers from behind the work so that the audience had a clear view. Almost all contemporary ikebana school have adopted the methods first used by Koun. In his own work, he broke new ground in Nature Moribana, now called landscape Moribana, with his expression of vast scenic views of Hokkaido and his depiction of the appearance of the water’s edge in arrangements of mizumono, which are aquatic plants or plants closely associated with views of water.
Third Headmaster Houn Ohara (1908-1995) succeeded his father in 1938. As soon as the Second World War was over, he began his creative activity. In November 1945, he displayed works in Kobe in the show window of the Daimaru Department Store, which had survived the devastation of war. Houn's work brought some measure of relief to the disheartened population. His Sangeiten exhibition in 1946 marked the beginnings of avant-garde ikebana and created an enormous sensation. In his one-person exhibition in 1949, Creations by Houn Ohara, the word “Objet”, a French term from surrealist art, was first used in ikebana. Through numerous personexhibitions,he continued at the forefront of modern ikebana with constantly renewed creativity. In 1964, Houn Ohara created Rimpa Arrangement, which was based on the highly decorative works of the Rimpa paintings, which flourished during the Edo Period. Representative artists include Ogata Korin and Tawaraya Sotatsu. Within the school itself, he made efforts to expand and systematize the organization. He also deserves great credit for transforming the school into a world-wide organization.
Houn's son Natsuki (1949-1992) became Headmaster Designate in 1972. Father and son held many joint exhibitions, and Natsuki embodied the future hopes and expectations of the Ohara School. He explored the possibilities of ikebana in search of richly creative forms appropriate for the new age, and originated Hanamai and Hana-isho. he was naturally expected to succeed his father, but he became ill and passed away while Houn was still Headmaster. Natsuki was posthumously named Fourth Master.
In the 21 st century, the Ohara School looks forward to further prosperity under the leadership of the young Fifth Headmaster Hiroki Ohara. Not restricted by the existing ikebana genre and norm, Hiroki Ohara's multi-faceted ikebana activities are being watched and admired by diverse cultural and artictic circles. In 2011 he created the new style Hana-kanade, which expresses the crossing beauty of the principal stems that move inwardly from their insertion points at the base using freely chosen materials.
With main offices in Osaka and Tokyo, 146 Chapters in Japan as well as 69 Chapters and 43 Study Groups out of Japan. (As of April, 2018), the Ohara School is proud of over one million students throughout the world.
Ohara Center of Tokyo (Tokyo office)
5-7-17 5F, Minamiaoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8607
Tel: 03-3499-1200 (Japanese) / 03-5774-5097 (English)
Osaka Kenshu kaikan (Osaka office)
Watanabe 6, 4 chome, Kyutaromachi, Chuo-ku, Osaka City, Osaka 541-0056
Tel: 06-6245-0863 (Japanese)