Superstar ikebana master Shogo Kariyazaki has flower power

The Star 2
June 9, 2015


Every season has its special and captivating blooms. And Shogo Kariyazaki, renowned Japanese floral arrangement master, says he does not play favourites with flowers.

“I love all seasons and every season has beautiful flowers,” said the soft-spoken Kariyazaki.

He regards nature as beautiful, no matter what season. He sees the beauty of falling autumn leaves or trees with branches devoid of flowers or leaves in winter. For he knows that the cold season will not last long.

Spring will certainly come. And he anticipates sakura or cherry blossoms to be in full bloom back in his homeland.

Kariyazaki, from Tokyo, is known for his huge and extravagant floral arrangements, bold style and unique colour sense.

“The size of the flowers does not matter,” said Kariyazaki, who explained that he could work easily on flowers and additional materials for his floral arrangements, whether small or big.

“Flowers are selected to suit the time, place, occasion and even mood,” said Kariyazaki, who was in Malaysia at the invitation of the Japan Foundation.

Surprisingly, Kariyazaki does not even give a name to his floral arrangements, unlike most artists.

He prefers to let the admirer see the beauty of the flowers themselves. Everyone is free to interpret what each floral arrangement means to them.

“How does this creation (of yellow orchids, sunflowers, birds of paradise and baby’s breath) appeal to all of you?” he asked at a media session at Kampachi Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur, where he gave a demonstration of ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement.

MCSHOGO-08-683x1024 MCSHOGO-12-683x1024

Ikebana is not just about putting together multi-coloured blooms; it also places emphasis on the use of stems and leaves. This form of flower arrangement also takes inspiration from shapes, lines and forms.

General manager of Kampachi, Chiharu Yabe, who acted as Kariyazaki’s interpreter, said the latter put his feelings of the moment into his big floral arrangement to convey warmth, happiness and energy. “And there is no limit to the number and types of flowers in his arrangements.

“Kariyazaki is a superstar back in Japan,” said Yabe. “His flamboyant style and outspoken way have captured the hearts of many people. His collaborations have taken him around the world.”

She added that he loves to share his knowledge and teach others about ikebana. Kariyazaki was excited to meet the Malaysian media to conduct a hands-on session on floral arrangement.

Kariyazaki also showed off his floral arrangement skills at a fund-raising event at Kampachi Pavilion which was attended by over 100 guests. Kampachi Restaurants Sdn Bhd raised RM20,800 in support of athletes from Special Olympics Kuala Lumpur, who will be participating at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles in July.

According to Kariyazaki, anything can be inspiration for his ikebana works.

“I love playing the piano. My flower arrangements can be inspired by music or food, ambience, culture and even buildings,” he said.


His works can be seen at Meguro Gajoen, a multi-cultural community space in Tokyo, which was the first wedding complex built in 1935. Also known as the Palace of the Dragon King, Meguro Gajeon is filled with works of art and Kariyazaki’s flower installations every autumn. In all, he has done 16 installations there.

Kariyazaki, who ventured into kimono designing in 2006, incorporates music and fashion in his exhibitions and floral arrangement shows.

A much sought after talent, he has held exhibitions in Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok, Amsterdam and many other cities. He works with local leaders of towns and cities by holding flower expositions which bring renewed interest to special buildings.

His famous works include the Floral Red Carpet at the 5th International Rome Film Festival in 2010.

A regular personality on TV and radio shows, Kariyazaki regards ikebana as a form of self-expression and a creative channel to produce something with his hands.

“In Japanese, ikebana means living flowers. I always tell people that it’s about creating beautiful living art.”

Kariyazaki loves being surrounded by blooms. And when he takes a bow after showcasing his floral arrangements, he is grateful for his fame, thanks to flowers – his joy and source of adulation.