Convention Top Ikebana International Ninth World Convention 50th Anniversary
Essence of Ikebana Opening Ceremony Demonstration Meeting Culture Program Exhibition Banquet
Ikebana Exhibition
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Member Power

Two brief ceremonies heralded the opening of the Exhibition.

A presentation ceremony for the Ikebana International commemorative stamps was held outside the Exhibition in the lofty Uzushio space. Honorary President H.I.H. Princess Takamado received the stamps from Mr. Masaharu Ikuta, then President of the Japan Post, who stated, "Taking the occasion of this World Convention, Japan Post is happy to issue two commemorative stamps in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Ikebana International. The stamps illustrate the gosho-guruma and Rokkakudo of Kyoto, both of which are deeply related to ikebana."

The Tape Cutting to open the Exhibition was done by H.I.H. Princess Takamado. This simple ceremony, made without speeches and fuss, officially made the Exhibition accessible to the public. It also symbolically opened the wellspring of intense creative energy of the Exhibition to flow out into the world. And what creativity! The sheer quantity of ikebana artistry - 288 members, iemotos of 33 schools, 5 ikebana associations, honorary representatives of embassies from 14 countries - makes the World Convention a major artistic event of our planet.

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Works ranged from grand compositions of daunting complexity to minimalist sculpture. And everything possible in between. Creation of a vast, complex work composed of many different elements and contrasting materials and of a composition of only a few bits of bamboo and withered apples - both involve artistic courage of a high order.

Ikebana by six schools exhibited in the hotel lobby allowed all hotel guests to enjoy the floral artistry.

Strolling through the hubbub of ikebana artists from throughout the world creating their contributions to the Exhibition, the question that demanded attention over and over was: Where did all these flowers and materials - this astounding variety and quantity - come from? However it happened, the materials used and the range of vases and containers employed themselves represented the grand vision and sensitivity and skill of ikebana and the passion for and devotion to ikebana of all who participated.

Comparing ikebana from different schools and from different countries was enlightening. One could have tried to analyze where school or style influences end and cultural factors start. And conclude that such considerations are rhetorical. Each work had its own voice and expressed the artistry of its arranger.

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The Exhibition was honored on October 27 by the visit of Her Imperial Majesty Empress Michiko. Her Majesty's careful and directed attention to ikebana from so many countries and by so many people reflected her gracious interest in cultural matters, warm heart, and delight in art, for which she is famous and loved.


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Photos of the Exhibition had to be done when the aisles were free of spectators. But watching the crowds flowing through the aisles had a special quality. The attention of attendees, their pleasure and interest, what attracted and what did not speak to them, and what awed them, all reflected the fact that the Exhibition was one of the pillars of the Convention.

The Exhibition was disassembled in the evening of October 29. On the final Convention day, where once were isles of color and art, where the energy was strong enough that one seemed to float rather than walk, there were now only bare carpet and hard structural pillars. It felt as if a friend had been lost.

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