Sogetsu Los Angeles Branch History

The Sogetsu School of Ikebana has been active in the Los Angeles area for over 40 years.


The Sogetsu history in Los Angeles began in 1959 when Mme. Riho Tanaka held a Sogetsu workshop. In the same year, Mme. Tanaka and her students produced two large exhibitions at the Datsun Hall in Carson, co-sponsored by Nissan Motor Company.


Prior to the opening of the Sogetsu Los Angeles Branch, headmaster Sofu Teshigahara visited Los Angeles in 1972 and headmaster Hiroshi Teshigahara came to Los Angeles in 1984.


In Spring of 1985, Sogetsu headquarters in Japan official established the Los Angeles Branch as part of its North American Overseas Division. Mme. Riho Tanaka was appointed the first founding Los Angeles Branch Director.


In 1986, the inaugural banquet, exhibition and demonstration of the Los Angeles Branch was held at the New Otani Hotel in Los Angeles. 200 guests were in attendance. Sogetsu headquarters sent Mr. Toshiyuki Ohki to assist with the workshop.


In 1988, the third annual Sogetsu Ikebana exhibition was held at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena. The following year, the fourth annual exhibition was held a the South Coast Botanical Gardens in Palos Verdes.


From 1990 through 1993, the annual exhibitions were held at the Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia.


From 1994 through 2002, the annual exhibitions were held at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Los Angeles.

In 1996, the 9th Annual Sogetsu Exhibition, held at the JACCC, celebrated the 70th Anniversary of Sogetsu headquarters and the 10th Anniversary of Sogetsu Los Angeles Branch. Mrs. Kiri Teshigahara, Executive Director of North America, attended the celebration. Mr. Toshiyuki Ohki, representing Sogetsu headquarters in Tokyo, demonstrated at the celebration banquet at the New Otani Hotel, Los Angeles.


From 2003 through the present, the annual exhibitions are held at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in Los Angeles.


In April 2004, an exhibition and demonstration was held at JANM during the Isamu Noguchi and Modern Japanese Ceramics exhibition.


In 2008, the Living Flowers exhibition was held at JANM from June 15 to September 7. The theme was Ikebana and Contemporary Art. Eleven members participated.


In 2008, Shunyo Okinaka, Yokou Kitajima, and Gyokushun Takeichi received Distinguished Awards at the Soryu 80th Anniversary Festival in Tokyo. An award celebration dinner was held in their honor.


Shunyo Okinaka received the distinguished NICHIRIN award, only the second overseas Sogetsu member to receive this.


The 25th Anniversary of Sogetsu Los Angeles Branch took place during April 9-10, 2011 at the Japanese American National Museum and Omni Hotel. Demonstration and workshops were conducted by master instructor Tetsunori Kawana. Two hundred sixty six guests attended the demonstration dinner, where branch director Miyako Arao presented the Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles, Mr. Junichi Ihara, with a donation for the Japan Relief Fund.


The Sogetsu Los Angeles Branch hosted the 9th North America Sogetsu Seminar in 2013. Held every four years, it’s attended by people from all over the world. Iemoto Akane Teshigahara was in attendance.