In 1789, the 39th Headmaster Ikenobo Senjo, revolutionized the art of ikebana by establishing a simple form called “shoka.” While rikka had up to thirteen different elements, shoka had only three: shin, soi and tai.
This form made ikebana available to those outside the aristocratocratic homes and wealthy Buddhist temples and could be displayed in a feature of many merchant class Japanese homes of the time, the tokonoma. This three sided alcove represents a transition from the outer to the inner world.
Shoka was so popular that hundreds of Shoka Schools sprang up with the spread of this new form. Most did not endure through time. Today, this form created by Ikenobo takes on many forms within our school.
In 1977, the current Headmaster Ikenobo Senei created a new shoka. Instead of shin, soi, tai, the three elements of traditional shoka (“shofutai”), the new shoka has three main elements called shu, yo and ashi. This new form is called “shimputai,” and represents a modern approach that incorporates change into the very structure of shoka.