From left: Toko Shuka Okada, Keiko Yoshu Miyahara and Yumiko Toka Inouye pose in front of the arrangement “Time Movement” on Nov. 4 at the Sogetsu L.A. Branch ikebana exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum.

A dragon, a Phoenix and the unmistakable yellow of Pikachu were all featured at the annual Sogetsu ikebana exhibition held last weekend at the Japanese American National Museum.

The Sogetsu School of Ikebana was started in 1927 by the founder Sofu Teshigahara, who questioned the traditions of ikebana and preferred to respect the freedom of individual expressions. “Anytime, anywhere, by anyone” — and with any materials — is the creed of the Sogetsu School.

Kitajima Group’s arrangement inspired by the anime series “One Piece.”

Toko Shuka Okada explained that Sogetsu utilizes materials besides just flowers. Her Igano Kabamaru arrangement features bright red bell peppers, cactus, baby’s breath and origami shuriken.

The theme for the exhibition was anime and the flower arrangers were inspired by some of the most famous Japanese anime, including “Spirited Away,” “Doraemon,” “One Piece” and “My Neighbor Totoro.”

Toko Shuka Okada’s “Igano Kabamaru” (pepper, lemon, baby’s breath, cactus, old tree, origami shuriken).

Keiko Yoshu Miyahara’s “Rose of Versailles” gave the essence of the romantic manga, with Marie Antoinette depicted in bright fuchsia roses.

Kazumi Keien Kitakon created “Sweet Pikachu” with eucalyptus, carnations and craspedia.

Yumiko Toka Inoue’s “Dream” (purple leaf cherry plum, baby’s breath).

Perhaps the most arresting arrangement was  “Time Movement,” created by the Miyahara Group of Keiko Miyahara, Yumiko Inoue, Toko Okada, Yuko Watanabe, Mihoko Morishige, Tomoko Adams, Mariko Ide and Kyoko Amemiya. Going from left to right, the large arrangement of leaves and branches flows from bountiful green to yellows and finally dried branches and decay. 

In the vibrant arrangement was a meditation on animation and movement itself and its power to inspire.

Kazumi Keien Kitakon’s “Sweet Pikachu” (eucalyptus, carnation, craspedia)

For more information on Sogetsu, visit

Photos by GWEN MURANAKA/Rafu Shimpo

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