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4th Term Master in Ikebana
Instructor of Ohara School of Ikebana
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Russell Bowers holds an Instructor Certification and 4th Term Masters Certification from the Ohara School of Ikebana in Japan. He began practicing Ikebana in 2008. He is a Vice President of the Ohara School of Ikebana Massachusetts Chapter. He is a Board Member of (N.A.O.T.A.) North American Ohara Teachers Association, a member of Ikebana International Boston Chapter, a member of the Japan Society of Boston, the Fenway Garden Society in Boston MA and the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University in Boston MA. He has traveled to Japan several times to study Ikebana and has participated in numerous demonstrations and conferences to promote Ikebana. He has a sincere appreciation for Japanese culture & arts and practices Aikido & Zen meditation.
In 2008 Russell was practicing Aikido (A Japanese Martial Art) and Zen Meditation at Zenshinkan Dojo in Worcester MA under head instructor Robert Caron Sensei. Russell suffered a series of shoulder injuries which required some time off from Aikido practice. He always appreciated the flower arrangements at the dojo located in the showmen (small alter at the front of the practice area). They seemed to give a positive energy to the space transforming it from a mere gym to a beautiful and authentic Japanese dojo. So with some time off and Ikebana classes offered at the same location he began taking classes from Yoshie Takahashi Sensei (4th Term Master of Ohara School of Ikebana). He was immediately hooked. Creating flower arrangements can be very enjoyable, at times challenging and they can reveal so much about what is going on inside your own heart and mind. Similar to the art of Shodo (Japanese Calligraphy) when you observe the calligraphy you can see if someone has confidence, if they are seeing all the detail or if they are terribly distracted. This is why Ikebana can be a great compliment and a reflection of yourself when practices along with Zazen. Currently Russell studies under Hiroko Matsuyama (1st Term Master) in Cambridge MA.
Ikebana (the Japanese Cultural Art of Flower Arrangement) can trace its roots back over 2000 years to the Buddhist practice of flower offerings. As Buddhism spread across Asia from India, through China and Korea eventually landing in Japan around mid 500AD (538 -552AD). The first to practice Ikebana in Japan were the Buddhist monks, and over the centuries they began refining the art and developing forms and techniques for creating a variety of Ikebana. Ikebana continued to primarily be a religious practice until 1425AD when the aristocracy of Japan began to take great interest in the Japanese cultural arts and would create elaborate, strict form arrangements and hold viewing parties to show off their knowledge and skill in the art. In 1460AD, Some of the earliest known documents recording the form and practice of ikebana can be traced back to the Ikenobo school, in Kyoto Japan. From 1480-90AD the Higashiyama Art Period (A kind of Japanese Renaissance) brought the Japanese cultural arts to the forefront which included Ikebana (Flower Arrangement), Sado (Tea), Noh (Theater), Potery, Gardening, Architecture, etc. In 1587AD, japan went into about 250 years of isolationism in a reaction to the western trade and influence that began affect their society and culture. At the end of this period, the practice of Ikebana began to not only be practiced by and aristocracy, but it became a household practice as well.
In 1912AD Unshin Ohara, the first head master of the Ohara School of Ikebana established his school, with a focus on western flowers and materials that were becoming more available in Japan, he developed the Moribana form. Moribana (盛花) or (Piled Up Flowers) was the first style of Ikebana to be created in shallow containers (Suiban). Up until that point all Ikebana were made in tall containers, such as a vase. Koun Ohara, the second head master, developed clear teaching methods and form classifications for the Ohara School arrangements. Houn Ohara, the third head master, was known for his numerous demonstrations especially in post war Japan and made Ohara School into an international organization. Natsuki Ohara, the fourth head master designate, developed the Hanamai and Hana Isho forms of Ikebana that are now the beginner curriculum for Ohara students. Hiroki Ohara, the fifth head master, a prolific artist leads the organization today and has developed the Hana Kanade form of Ikebana.
School, Company & Organization facts:
Ohara School of Ikebana Massachusetts
North American Ohara Teachers Association
Boston Ikebana, Masaru LLC
Other People in the Organization
Hiroko Matsuyama, 1st Term Master of Ohara School of Ikebana
The leader of the Ohara School of Ikebana Massachusetts Chapter and President. Hiroko Sensei started practicing Ikebana in high school and was granted her 1st term Master degree (as the ikebana instructor) in 1995. In 1997 Hiroko Sensei moved to Boston from Osaka, Japan. Hiroko Sensei is a member of Ikebana International Boston Chapter and NAOTA (North American Ohara Teachers Association). Hiroko Sensei teaches Ohara Ikebana primarily for instructors in Cambridge MA, and demonstrated her Ikebana in the New England area.
Yoshie Takahashi, 4th Term Master of Ohara School of Ikebana
The Co-Leader of the Ohara School of Ikebana Massachusetts Chapter and Vice president. She started practicing Ikebana in middle school, and was granted her 4th Master degree (as the ikebana instructor) in 2010. In 1995 Yoshie Sensei moved to the United States from Japan. Now Yoshie Sensei teaches Ohara Ikebana at the Zensinkan Dojo in Worcester.
Ikebana Career and Accomplishments