Ikebana International

Ikebana International (I.I.) is a non-profit organisation that promotes mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and other countries through ikebana. Founder Ellen Gordon Allen's (1897–1972) dream was to unite the nations with "a veritable garland of flowers surrounding the world with beauty and binding us together in real and lasting friendship". The motto “Friendship through Flowers” developed out of that dream. In 1965 the Japanese government awarded Ellen Gordon Allen the Order of the Precious Crown, fifth class for I.I.’s work in helping to spread Japanese culture around the globe and promoting peace.

The honorary president is HIH Princess Takamado.

Ikebana International is the umbrella organisation and not a school of its own. Rather, it is a community of interest of different schools and practitioners, consisting of people of different nationalities. Many of the members have undergone years of training to become masters. Some schools place classical ikebana at the forefront of their teaching programmes, others prefer modern forms, and many combine both styles.

Ikebana International organises a world congress in Japan every five years. Regional Conferences are regularly advertised and held in all regions by the respective Regional Groups with financial support from headquarters.

Membership is open to all persons interested in the art of flower arranging and other Japanese arts, regardless of their knowledge of ikebana.

HIH Princess Takamado, Honorary President of I.I., surrounded by chapter presidents, at the World Congress in Okinawa on April 14, 2017

Members receive:
- 3x a year the illustrated magazine (in English) from the Tokyo headquarters with detailed information about Ikebana International activities, filled with beautiful pictures of flower arrangements by masters of the different schools as well as fascinating reports about the multifaceted art and culture of Japan.

- Newsletter with reports on the activities of the different chapters of I.I. and news from the headquarters with a greeting from the President

- Members' area and online shop

- Invitations to the world congress and regional conferences

- Discounted participation in workshops and events

- Networking opportunities with members around the world

More information is available on the homepage of Ikebana International: ikebanahq.org

Ursina Früh and Monika Nussberger during their demonstration as part of the member demonstrations at the World Congress


The organisation was founded in 1956 by Ellen Gordon Allen in Tokyo with the motto "Friendship through Flowers". To date, around 200 regional groups, so-called chapters, have been established worldwide. They are divided into seven regions (Asia, Africa, Australia/New Zealand, Europe, Middle East, North and Central America and South America).

The three Swiss I.I. chapters in chronological order of their founding are:

Further reading