“Kakitsubata” and “Aoi Festival” [May flowers, Kyoto in May, visited by Ryuho Sasaoka, head of the Sasaoka school of Misho-ryu]“Kakitsubata” and “Aoi Festival” [May flowers, Kyoto in May, visited by Ryuho Sasaoka, head of the Sasaoka school of Misho-ryu]


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Ryuho Sasaoka, head of the Misho School of Sasaoka, “Monthly Flowers, Monthly Kyoto”


“Kakitsubata” and “Aoi Festival” [May flowers, Kyoto in May, visited by Ryuho Sasaoka, head of the Sasaoka school of Misho-ryu]

1919(Taisho 8), a new style using Western flowers."Sasaoka style Morika"``Mishoryu Sasaoka'' is known for inventing this. The current headmaster, Ryuho Sasaoka, is attracting attention for his activities in a wide range of fields, including not only traditional flower arranging expressions, but also collaborations with other genres such as musicals and Kyogen. Mr. Sasaoka, who lives in Kyoto, talks about the monthly flowers and Kyoto's special features for each month in his series ``Monthly Flowers, Monthly Kyo'', and in May, the series is ``Kakitsubata'' and ``Aoi Festival.''

Kakitsubata is the ``Ryuuka'' of Sasaoka, Miso-ryu.


Kakitsubata, which is at its best in May, is the ``Ryuuka'' of Miso-ryu Sasaoka.


This was during the war, when various supplies were depleted and it was considered better to grow food than to grow flowers. His grandfather, the second generation Iemoto Isaoho, thought it was important to preserve culture in such an era, and decided to grow his own flowers. At that time, I chose Kakitsubata, which is extremely difficult to navigate.


When I went to Joyo City to look for a field, he suggested, ``It's difficult for the head of the school to grow Kakitsubata, so let's grow it instead.'' He is the current honorary head of the school. It was Mr. Iwami from Tojaku Gardening. Since then, it has become possible to obtain Kakitsubata, which blooms not only in May, but also in all seasons. His grandfather frequently used this flower in ikebana exhibitions throughout the year, and he came to be known as ``Kakitsubata Sasaoka''.

It is difficult to grow the noble flower Kakitsubata.


In ikebana, there is an expression called ``the three most difficult leaves'', which are difficult flower materials to grow. Haran, daffodil, and cicada.

In the case of Kakitsubata, the leaves used must be carefully selected. Usually about 100 leaves of Kakitsubata are combined to form one plant. Disassemble the plant and select flat leaves with no twists. There are maybe 10 such leaves out of XNUMX.

Next, select five leaves, adjust their length, and reassemble them. For the two pieces in front, make a curve to create a sag and bend them. The remaining three pieces do not need to be touched too much, and support the two pieces in front.

The combination of five pieces subtly supporting each other to form a single curved surface is difficult and can easily take a beginner two to three hours to complete.


In addition, as there is a saying in an old book that says, ``The sun and moon are in harmony and purple clouds flutter,'' purple, the color of the clouds waving in the morning sky where the sun remains in the east and the moon in the west, represents the highest level of harmony between the sun and the moon. It is considered a color. In the Chinese dynasties and ancient Rome, purple was considered a noble color, as it was considered a forbidden color that could only be worn by emperors.


When I head to Kakitsubata, I feel even more nervous than usual.


It is said that when arranging Kakitsubata, the highest-ranking flower, one should be diligent and keep the place clean.

In today's world, it is quite difficult to actually practice devotion and purity, but I myself feel even more determined than usual when I head towards Kakitsubata.


When I look at the beautiful, yet dignified and noble flower, I feel that I can understand a little of my grandfather's thoughts in choosing this flower during difficult times.


Ota Shrine Kakitsubata Ota Shrine Kakitsubata

The precincts of Kamigamo Shrine, where Kakitsubata grows wild, is called ``Ota no Sawa''.

Approximately 25,000 Kakitsubata plants grow naturally. ©Akira Nakata


Flowers that have been loved since the Heian period


In Kyoto, Ota Shrine, Heian Shrine, and Kajuji Temple in Daigo are well-known places to see Kakitsubata.


In addition to the painstakingly cultivated Japanese grasshoppers, the scenery of endless purple flowers created by clusters of Japanese grasshoppers amidst a blanket of greenery is also spectacular.


The kakitsubata at Ota Shrine, which is a subsidiary shrine of Kamigamo Shrine, is especially spectacular and has been designated as a national natural monument. The Kakitsubata of Ota Shrine was even written about in a Japanese poem from the Heian period, which shows how much it has been loved by people since ancient times.

Aoi Festival is an annual festival at Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine.


Speaking of Kyoto in May, it is the Aoi Festival.

Aoi Festival is a festival that also appears in "The Tale of Genji." This is an annual festival held at Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine, and is officially called ``Kamo Festival.''

Various pre-festivals are held in May, but the highlight is the ``Roto-no-gi'' held on the 5th, which is a ceremony in which the emperor's messengers visit the Shimogamo and Kamigamo shrines. is.

On the day of the festival, about 500 people, including Kenbiishi, Kurakushi, and Myobu, wear Heian period costumes and march in a one kilometer long procession, including horses and cows.

Aoi Festival Saiodai Aoi Festival Saiodai

Saiodai arrives at Kamigamo Shrine from the imperial palace and walks through the shrine grounds with a young girl. ©Akira Nakata

The main character of the ``Roto-no-gi'' is actually the imperial envoy, also known as the ``Konoe envoy'' (actual envoys do not participate in the ``Roto-no-gi''). However, the one that attracts attention is the ``Saiodai''. In the Heian period, the Saio was chosen by the Imperial Princess, but now an unmarried common woman is chosen instead, so it came to be called the ``Saiodai''.


This year, the Saiodai had passed away as a young lady from Mibu-dera Temple, who I am close with, so I visited the Imperial Palace on the 15th and saw the Saiodai wearing the Junihitoe (Junihitoe). I had the valuable experience of doing so.


The junihitoe weighs nearly 30 kilograms, and it takes more than an hour and a half to wear it. I realized once again that although the Saio Dynasty was an elegant one, it also involved a lot of hardship.


Compared to April, which was busy with flower exhibitions, May is a month where you can relax a little. Looking at the trees turning bright green with each passing day, you will naturally feel at ease.

Ryuho Sasaoka Ryuho Sasaoka

photography by Takeshi Akizuki

Ryuho Sasaoka


Head of the Sasaoka school of Misho-ryu. Born in Kyoto in 1974. He graduated from the Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, Kyoto University. In 2011, he succeeded as the third iemoto of Sasaoka Misho-ryu. He was in charge of the floral decorations at the G7 venue held in Ise-Shima. He pursues the potential of ikebana as a performing art and has performed ikebana at official events both in Japan and abroad. She is a visiting professor at Kyoto Notre Dame University and Taisho University. She has written many books, including her recent book ``Ikebana'' (Shincho Shinsho).

Text by Masao Sakurai (Office Clover)


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