2 user 2 critic
The history and art of ikebana, a centuries old Japanese art of flower arrangement and a look inside the Sogetsu School of Ikebana, where the director's father Sofu Teshigahara worked as the grand master of the school.




Credited cast:
Tomoko Naraoka Tomoko Naraoka ... Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sofu Teshigahara Sofu Teshigahara ... Self
Learn more

More Like This 

Hokusai (1953)
Documentary | Short | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A documentary about the life and art of wood-block artist Katsushika Hokusai.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Stars: Yoshi Katô
Tokyo 1958 (1958)
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Eight filmmakers collaborate with Teshigahara to bring a newsreel-style snapshot of Tokyo in 1957-58, when it had eight and a half million people and was the largest city in the world. The ... See full summary »

Directors: Susumu Hani, Yoshirô Kawazu, and 7 more credits »
Stars: Donald Richie
White Morning (1965)
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Follows Ako, a 16 year old Japanese girl, as she spends time working in a bakery and going out with her friends.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Stars: Miki Irie, Teruko Hasegawa, Yoko Matsushita
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A private detective is hired to find a missing man by his wife. Contradictory evidence and the lack of clues soon render the case as virtually unsolvable, as the detective grows more and more frustrated.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Etsuko Ichihara, Osamu Ôkawa
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

An entomologist on vacation is trapped by local villagers into living with a woman whose life task is shoveling sand for them.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Stars: Eiji Okada, Kyôko Kishida, Hiroko Itô
Pitfall (1962)
Crime | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A man wanders into a seemingly deserted town with his young son in search of work. But after a bit of bad luck, he joins the town's population of lost souls.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Stars: Hisashi Igawa, Sumie Sasaki, Sen Yano
Gô-hime (1992)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Chronicles the trials and tribulations of Oribe, the successor to tea-master Rikyu, Usu, his gardener, and Princess Goh, who attempt to balance artistic expression and duty amid political intrigue in feudal Japan.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Stars: Rie Miyazawa, Tatsuya Nakadai, Toshiya Nagasawa
Rikyu (1989)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Legendary tea master Sen no Rikyu is faced with his warmongering lord's unrealistic pretensions.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Stars: Rentarô Mikuni, Yoshiko Mita, Tsutomu Yamazaki
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The work of Catalan architect Antonio Gaudí, as seen by Japanese New Wave director Hiroshi Teshigahara.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Stars: Isidro Puig Boada, Antoni Gaudí, Seiji Miyaguchi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Un film en quatre épisodes présentant des adolescentes choisies parmi les plus représentatives de leur pays et de notre temps, en Italie, en France, au Japon et au Canada. En dépit des ... See full summary »

Directors: Gian Vittorio Baldi, Michel Brault, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Michel Aracheguesne, Bernard Arcand, Nadine Ballot
Zatôichi monogatari (1974–1979)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Blind masseur Zatôichi travels from town to town gambling, drinking, and fighting off the local gangs.

Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Shintarô Akatsuki, Renji Ishibashi
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A Vietnam veteran deserts from the US Army while on leave in Japan.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Stars: Keith Sykes, Reisen Ri, Kazuo Kitamura


Traces the history of ikebana, flower arranging: its origins, its formalization 500 years ago, the emergence of the rikka or standing flower style with its heaven-earth-man trinity, and the influence of Rikyu's simplicity. Enter the modern era, embodied at the Sogetsu School, where flower arranging is taught alongside modern sculpture and pottery. We visit a weekend class of flower arranging with novice and experienced students evaluated by a master, Sofu Teshigahara, the director's father. Then we watch the master prepare for his annual one-man show. If life is an unceasing spiritual journey, says the narrator, then art gives us the courage to go on. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Short

User Reviews

Cultivating images
18 November 2011 | by chaos-rampantSee all my reviews

Buddhist practice has produced the most refined art integrated with a worldview that I know of, a work in form that strives to embody the practice of seeing the world as it unveils itself truly. There is no clutter, the baggage of self and thought. The result is not consciously cultivated with beauty like we strive to do here, where things are meant to stand the test of time, rather a space for unmediated soul to pour.

(only the masters of Soviet montage have come close for me, even if just a little, with their experiments – rooted in Chinese calligraphy no less – to discover an eye unfettered by narrative that constructs the world by seeing, but they lasted for barely 10 years before Stalin and the censors scattered them to the four winds).

At any rate it is not art such as we know here, but a practice of meditation.

So the effort is for a work that resonates with images and a world from them as they arise and disappear; for creation that mirrors asymmetry, imperfection, vital emptiness. Every step taken on the Noh stage is a step taken to purge ego with movement, not merely to represent but to actually embody transience. A calligrapher's imperfect brushstroke draws, reveals from the perfect-centeredness of what in Zen is understood as the 'heart-mind', a heart that minds.

Ikebana is the most self-referential of these practices, a way of actually cultivating abstract beauty. But of course the effort is to cultivate inside, and trust the hand to arrange a reflection outwards. It is a practice carried out in silence, and what better way to embody transience than to chose raw materials for perishability?

So a beauty cultivated fully in the knowledge that it will come to pass, itself a visual space for contemplation. These are the beauties of Buddhist art.

I'm writing all these by way of introduction because there's little background or insight into the actual practice in the film we have here. It is mostly a tour around the school of Sofu Teshigahara, Hiroshi's father, with snippets of both students and the sensei at work.

Inadvertently the essence of ikebana has been perverted many times over. Aristocrats in feudal Japan used it as an ornamental pastime for reflecting status and opulence, constructing in lavish scale. The great tea-master Rikyu restored it back to Buddhist grassroots and moved it to the tea-room - this is called chabana, I have briefly tried my hand in it with workmanlike results. But the tea-room is another story, a wonderful story.

What Sofu pioneered in his Sogetsu school, which continues to this day under his daughter's tutelage, was traditional ikebana welded together with modern ideas about sculpted space. Misshapen branches are structured together with beams of wrought iron, or blocks of solid rock are made to stand in awe-inspiring balance.

There are many arrangements presented here, some great, some not so great. It's worth seeing for these alone, especially if you have a vested interest in the above.

But as a film? It is short and no doubt an opportunity for the son to get valuable film practice while promoting his father's work, but as film it is ordinary. You'll understand more about ikebana by identifying it in Hiroshi's films, asymmetric arrangements of visual space from emptiness and misshapen elements.

Eventually he gave up film to take up his father's school, and only sporadically returned thereafter to make films about Gaudi and Rikyu himself. I suggest you pick up the thread there.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 2 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

15 May 1957 (Japan) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Seinen Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Recently Viewed