Bio & History

Kaz “Yokou” Kitajima

He is Ikky Shihan Riji of the Sogetsu School of Ikebana.  His dynamic arrangements use elemnts of bamboo, pine and wood materials as well as the most delicate flowers.

He began studying Sogetsu Ikebana under Seiyo Sato in Tokyo at age 18, graduated from Meisei University of Engineering and received his first teaching diploma from Sogetsu at age 22.  He then entered the employment of Musahiho Landscape Company, where he mastered the art of Japanese Landscape and subsequently received a degree for Landscape Design from the Japanese Government.

At age 26 he came to the United States and became a member of Ikebana International.  He was director of Sogetsu, Los Angeles Branch from 1991 to 1995 and of Nanka Ikebana Kyojukai teacher’s guild from 1997 to 1999.  In 2005 he received the Japan Agriculture Society Agricultural Achievement Award, and in 2007 the Sogetsu Ikebana Overseas Award.

At present he is the proprietor of N.K. Nursery, a nursery for Japanese Gardens, specializing in Japanese Black Pine, in the City of Industry, CA and teaches Ikebana at the San Gabriel Japanese Community Center and the Pasadena Japanese Community Center.

His activities have included stage arrangements at

  • The L.A. Music Center
  • Japan-America Center
  • Beverly Hilton Hotel
  • Norris Theater in Palos Verdes
  • The El Camino College Marsee Auditorium
  • He also assisted in the creation of floral stage displays for the Welcome Banquet and the Sayonara Banquet at the 2001 International Meeting of Ikebana International in Yokohama

He has given other demonstrations and arrangements at

  • Descanso Gardens
  • L.A. Arboretum
  • National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.)
  • San Diego Museum of Art
  • L.A. County Fair
  • L.A. County Museum of Art
  • Japanese American Cultural Community Center
  • Pacific Asia Museum
  • Westin Bonaventure Hotel
  • Regent Beverly Wilshire
  • Japanese American Museum
  • The New Otani Hotel and Garden
  • The Ritz Carlton Huntington Hotel
  • The Residence of the Consul General of Japan
  • Santa Barbara Orchid Festival