About Ikebana - Rikka


Rikka style was established in the Muromachi period, in the 15th century. It is said to be the foundation of Ikebana, from which Shoka, Moribana and Nageire styles evolved.


As you may remember from my brief "History of Ikebana", there are two varieties of Rikka, the traditional Rikka Shofutai and the more modern, Rikka Shimputai.

Rikka Shofutai

Rikka Shofutai is the most formal style of Ikebana and has a distinctive character, which expresses the beauty of natural landscape.

This classical type of Rikka follows strict rules and uses special techniques such as wiring. It consists of nine main stems or parts applying different characters, length, angles, and directions of materials to construct a harmonious, scenic natural landscape.

Rikka Shofutai whitebeam

These nine main stems are Shin, Shoshin, Soe, Uke, Nagashi, Mikoshi, Hikae, Do, Maeoki. These are also known as yakueda.
Rikka Shofutai celosia Each yakueda has a particular function and point of departure from an imagined vertical line running through the center of the arrangement. This point of departure is called de. Each yakueda also has a particular insertion position on the kenzan (pin holder).
The height, length and position of each yakueda responds to or supports another. The harmony of height, width and depth is one of the most important factors to consider. Apart from these nine main stems, additional stems, called ashirai are also required for completion.

The vase in Rikka usually is 20-30cm in height and should open out at the top.  The stems should appear as a clean, single , vertical line rising from the centre of the kenzan.  This is called Mizugiwa, literally translated as water's edge.

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Rikka Shimputai

Rikka Shimputai, was introduced by the current Head Master in 1999. This modern Rikka style allows more of the arranger’s expression, thoughts and creativity because it is released from the rigid rules and form seen in Shofutai.  For example, Rikka Shimputai does not have fixed points of departure. Rikka Shimputai Agapantus

Instead of having nine main stems seen as in Shofutai, two contrasting main parts construct Rikka Shimputai, these are known as Shu and Yo. Usually two or three sets of Shu and Yo with ashirai are used in a single arrangement. The important factors to consider are contrasting materials, colour, quantity and texture of the materials.

The distinguishing characteristics of Rikka Shimputai are brightness, sharpness and striking or conspicuous appearance. These are similar to Shoka Shimputai, although Rikka Shimputai has a more relaxed feeling and fresh appearance. Rikka Shimputai Anthurium
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