My research project proposes a cultural study of ikebana, based on Stuart Hall’s (1997) ‘circuit of culture’ and Kristin Surak’s (2012) ‘nation-work’. Hall’s approach focuses on articulations and communication between five cultural processes – representation, identity, production, consumption and regulation. Honing in on these articulations, I explain ikebana as a multi-faceted phenomenon, and elucidate the ever-ongoing and complex processes of cultural meaning-making at various levels in ikebana theory and practice.
While covering all five of the above-mentioned cultural processes and their linkages, I focus on ‘representation’ and ‘identity’ in particular, to see how cultural nationalism (Yoshino 1992, 1996; Hein 2008; McVeigh 2004) manifests itself in ikebana, from expressions in theory to the ways of performing ‘nation-ness’ (Surak 2012) embedded in its everyday practice.
My research addresses questions of identity construction and performance (Billig 1995; Edensor 2002; Oguma 2002; Surak 2012), image building and ‘branding’ (Berger 2019), cultural ownership (Goldstein-Gidoni 2001), as well as globalization and hybridization (Befu 2003; Iwabuchi 2002; Pieterse 2009).