The aesthetic of Japanese art and culture is clean and simple, but creating its simplicity and beauty requires many years of learning. Japanese flower arrangement, known as Ikebana, is an established art culture. There are a number of schools of ikebana that each have their own views and rules when arranging flowers. For example, some schools allow only native flowers.

The common rules of ikebana are creating asymmetry and bringing Japanese beauty and nature into the artwork. The idea of laying out parts in a triangle is also shared among the many schools, as it is in artwork around the world. Asymmetry is vital to express the strength of each flower and plant. If the flowers are arranged neatly and balanced, there is no movement, therefore the art piece does not display the liveliness of nature. Similar to the purpose of Japanese gardens, ikebana displays the vast nature of Japan at a smaller scale, so that people can appreciate nature inside homes. When you look closely at naturally growing flowers, they are not all standing straight like the ones you would find at a flower shop. Some flowers are slanted or bent, and there is no concept of “front.” This is applied to Japanese flower arrangement. The flowers have to create a space and atmosphere. They also have to show beauty from all sides. This is not easy to understand, appreciate, and practice in a short period of time.

Ikebana started off as a décor for homes. During the Muromachi era (early fourteenth century), ikebana was used to decorate the living room. Since then, Japanese flower arrangement has developed with the change in design of homes. For example, the homes of samurais during the Edo period had spacious living rooms, and therefore more voluminous ikebana became popular.