Words Used in Ikebana

A quick refresher for those old and new. Note: This list will be updated as needed, but the following list and definitions of commonly used words associated with the art of ikebana are current as of October, 2014 .

Cha: Tea

Chabana: Simple flower arrangement for the Tea Ceremony

Chanoyu: Tea ceremony

Compote: Footed flat container which adds height to the flower arrangement

Dai: Wooden base on which a container stands for a finished look to the flower arrangement

Driftwood: See Weathered Wood

Free Style: Style does not require asymmetric form or three main stems. Allows free choice of material, container and design. Not limited by rules but adheres to principles

Hana: Flower

Hana-dome: Holders such as the needle-point holder or metal holder; also referred to as kenzans

Hasami: Ikebana scissors.  There are two types of scissors used in ikebana. One has a crescent-shaped handle and the other has a more traditional looking handle. Used in cutting branches and flower stems. A serious ikebana practitioner’s most valuable tool.

Hikae: “earth”. The name given to the shortest of the three main stems in any Sogetsu School arrangement.

Ichiyo: Modern school of ikebana founded in 1937

Iemoto: Headmaster of a school of ikebana

Ikebana: Art of flower arrangement. Comes from ikiru (to live) and hana (flower) which gives us the meaning of “living flowers”. This is used as the general name to all Japanese flower arrangement.

Ikenobo: Name of the oldest school of flower arrangement in Japan

Kadomatsu: Arrangement of pine, bamboo, paper and rope made from rice straw

Kadai: Base used beneath the flower arrangement to protect the surface, but also to give dignity and emphasis to the arrangement

Kakebana: Hanging wall flower arrangement

Kenzan: “Sword mountain”. Heavy based metal pinholder (strong, sharp steel needles) or frog used to support flowers and branches. Comes in various shapes and sizes

Kenzan Naoshi: Small tool used for straightening bent kenzan needles/pins

Koryu: Classical school of ikebana founded in 1900

Matsuri: Festival

Mitsumata: Dried, stripped and bleached mulberry branches used mainly in free style arrangements. Has a unique form and branching structure where it branches in sets of three

Moribana: Flower arrangement in a shallow, flat-bottomed container

Morimono: Arrangement using vegetables and fruits. No water

Nageire: Usually an informal flower arrangement using a tall cylindrical, square or bottle-shaped vase

Ohara: Modern school of ikebana founded in 1895

Rikka: Formal classical style arrangement dating from the 16th century and symbolically representing a landscape. Also, the oldest recorded style of ikebana

Seika: Formal classical style arrangement dating from the 18th century

Sensei: Teacher

Shin: “heaven”. Name given to the longest and most important of the three main stems in any Sogetsu School arrangement

Soe: “man”. Name given to the secondary and medium-length stem of the three main stems in any Sogetsu School arrangement

Sogetsu: Modern school of ikebana founded in 1926

Suiban: Flat, shallow container of various shapes, such as round, oval, rectangular or triangular

Taisaku: Huge, modern freestyle flower arrangement

Tokonoma: Alcove used for display in a traditional Japanese room where you can usually find an ikebana arrangement

Ukibana: Floating flowers

Usubata: Bronze container for rikka style

Washi: Type of paper made in Japan with fibers from the bark of trees like the mulberry and gampi tree

Weathered Wood: Treated or weathered pieces of trees or roots. Wood can be bold with an interesting structure and can be used in many positions