Teshigahara Sofu (勅使河原蒼風)

Sofu TESHIGAHARA (December 17, 1900 – September 5, 1979) was the founder of the Sogetsuryu school of flower arrangement. He founded the Sogetsuryu school of flower arrangement in 1927. He is the father of Kasumi TESHIGAHARA and Hiroshi TESHIGAHARA. Sofu TESHIGAHARA was the grandfather of Akane TESHIGAHARA, the current head of the Sogetsuryu school of flower arrangement.

Biography and Personal Profile
Sofu championed many new techniques in flower arrangement and following a the success of a personal exhibition in Paris in 1955 was lionized as the `Pablo Picasso of flower arrangement' in the French magazine Figaro and TIME magazine in the US etc. Some critics were also of the opinion that his work was not that of a flower arranger but rather, that of an artist. In the eyes of flower arrangement circles of the day, overlooking important forms in favor of free-form styles was considered heresy. However, when the French avante garde critic Michel Tapié visited Japan in 1957 he gave rave reviews about Sofu's creations and introduced them to a wider audience leading to increased interest from overseas and greater awareness of his work in Japan. Salvador DALI was deeply impressed by Sofu's personal exhibition and invited to his home where Sofu created objects in driftwood, and there are images showing DALI and Sofu have a friendly chat.

Sofu maintained that `Ikebana is living sculpture` and can be said to be the very first person to take Ikebana to the wider world. After WWII, he taught Ikebana to wives of US military officers, such as General Macarthur. In 1952 Sofu started with a one-man exhibition in New York and then tirelessly held exhibitions and displays in various countries around the world.
His demonstrations were in the Sogetsu school form in front of an audience and as the displays faced the audience, he made the arrangements from behind the display, so called `backwards Ikebana.`
He was awarded a French cultural award in 1960, the légion d'honneur award in 1961 and a Japanese government fine art award in 1962. His creations were not limited to Ikebana; his output extended to sculpture, painting and writing.

He noted as follows.
What would become of us if there was not one living plant? '
Whichever way you view it there would be no flowers.'
That being the case, what would there be to be arrange?'
If there were rocks, I would arrange rocks, if there was soil, I would arrange soil.'
It is also notes in In his book, `Kadensho` (Floral Book). When flowers were difficult to get hold of, he turned his hand to using other media for his creations. As Sofu said the following words, when flowers are incorporated into Ikebana creations, the flowers become one with the Ikebana artist, laying bare the artists persona. "When flowers are arranged, they cease to exist as flowers." "When they are arranged, they become people."

Extract from Sofu TESHIGAHARA's 'Fifty rules of Sogetsu.'

Rule 49: The four principles: novelty, movement, levels and balance. The three Requirements: Line, color, soul.

Rule 50: Visual impact, skill of hand without undue bias.

History of Succession of the Sogetsuryu Leadership

First Generation: Founder Sofu TESHIGAHARA 1927 - 1979

Second Generation: Kasumi TESHIGAHARA 1979 - 1980

Third Generation: Hiroshi TESHIGAHARA 1980 - 2001

Fourth Generation: Akane TESHIGAHARA 2001 -

On Feb 15, 2009 Sofu's wife Hama TESHIGAHARA passed away aged 105 years old.