Japanese Culture in South Florida
Ikebana and the Tea Ceremony
Local artist Mieko Kubota practices the ancient Japanese traditions of ikebana (flower arranging) and the tea ceremony. Ikebana is a disciplined art form in which the arrangement is a living thing that reflects the artist’s interpretation of natural forces. A master ikebana artist with over 50 years of experience, Kubota has an eclectic style. Her designs incorporate found objects, experimental containers, native plants, and tropical flowers. Kubota is also skilled in the centuries-old Japanese tea ceremony, a choreographed ritual of preparing and serving the powdered Japanese green tea called matcha. The ceremony is not simply about drinking tea but also aesthetics and communication between the host and the guests. Kubota is an expert traditional artist whose passion for maintaining and sharing her cultural customs was recognized in 2010 with the Florida Folk Heritage Award.
Find out more about her and the cultures of South Florida by visiting HistoryMiami Museum’s Archives and Research Center, home of the South Florida Folklife Collection. The collection, available to the public, consists of 30 years of cultural research conducted here, including photographs, audio and video recordings, and field notes. Contact the museum at 305-375-1623 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Japanese Cultural Festivals at Ichimura Miami – Japanese Garden
This tiny park on Watson Island, next to Jungle Island, began in the 1950s when Kiyoshi Ichimura, founder of Tokyo-based Ricoh Company, Ltd., donated $300,000 plus objects and people to create a Japanese garden in Miami. Later, landscape architect Lester Collins Pancoast and architect Thorn Grafton worked with the Japanese Consul and the Friends of the Japanese Garden to redesign and reconstruct the garden, which is free and open to the public. Three times a year, the garden hosts free festivals celebrating Japanese culture, featuring ikebana, origami, calligraphy, storytelling, music and taiko drumming, and sometimes cosplay and martial arts. friendsofjapanesegarden.com
Jan. 15 – Winter Festival
May 14 – Spring Festival
Nov. 5 – Fall Festival (7-5-3 Celebration for children 7, 5 and 3)
Haiku Master + Japan at O, Miami Poetry Festival
Save the date – Tue., April 25 – for haiku as you’ve never experienced it before, plus Japanese food and drink at the incomparable Kampong in Coconut Grove. Kit Pancoast Nagamura of the award-winning NHK World TV program Haiku Masters will join us for this annual collaboration for O, Miami with edible South Florida and The Kampong. Look for details at omiami.org.