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A Case Study on Ikenobo: Abstract

This thesis is dedicated to...

People who wish to bring true peace to this world,

The Japanese people, who have created and possess such a great culture,

All living things.

We are all one.

Mari Katsui

Can Japanese Culture Contribute to Sustainability for Peace? A Case Study on Ikenobo


There is much in Japanese culture that is unique.

One thing is that we have many very long-lasting corporations and organizations; for example, there are seven Japanese organizations that have been in existence for more than 1,000 years.

One of the best-known of these 1,000-year-old organization is the flower arrangement school, Ikenobo.

Japan has more 100-year-old, 200-year-old, and 300-year-old companies than any other country in the world.

In order to survive such a long time, these organizations have ridden the waves of a changing world, and flexibly adapted to constantly fluctuating conditions.

In other words, they have some kind of sustainability that has allowed them to exist, and flourish, for such a long time.

I believe the source of this sustainability lies in Japanese culture, and that it can be connected with, and contribute to, sustainable peace.

The aim of this research was to discover the basis of this sustainability in Japanese culture and to explore how it can be applied to the search for sustainable world


Through studying the 1,000-year old Ikenobo, interviewing people in Ikenobo and others who are related to Japanese culture and peace, and collecting secondary

data from various sources, I have been able to strongly confirm that Japanese sustainability contains elements of peace.

For example:

  • Since olden times, Japanese have had a sense of being connected with nature, of being a part of nature.

  • Japanese society is based on trust and support of others through cooperation.

  • Influenced by its geography and history, Japan has developed a unique aesthetic sense and strong work ethic.

These factors have made Japan one of the safest countries in the world, and created a society in which the 80% of the population believes that they belong to the middle

class. But even though Japanese people live in such a peaceful situation—not just in

the sense of the absence of war, but also in the sense of safety, order, and cleanliness—they are not really conscious of this “peace” in their daily lives.

They take it for granted.

In order to contribute to the world, we Japanese need to have greater awareness of the peace we enjoy and the wonderful elements of our culture and, based on this awareness, take actions that can help lead to peace.

to be continued...



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