Conferment Ceremony of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays on Ms. Atsuko Bersma, Senior Instructor of the Sogetsu School of Ikebana (2019 Autumn Conferment of Decorations)

On January 15, the Conferment Ceremony of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays on Ms. Atsuko Bersma, Senior Instructor of the Sogetsu School of Ikebana, was held at the Ambassador’s Residence.
Over the last 50 years, Ms. Bersma has continued to manage classes on ikebana in eight different countries around the world, and has instructed more than 450 students on Sogestsu-style ikebana and Japanse culture. Ms. Bersma has furthermore played a central role in the founding of the Belgian branch of Ikebana International, which aims at the instruction and the organizing of exchanges of ikebana beyond the different schools that exist in Belgium, and became the organization’s first President. Ms. Bersma was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, on the occasion of the 2019 Autumn Conferment of Decorations, for her efforts in spreading Japanese culture through ikebana.
During the ceremony, Ambassador Shimokawa awarded Ms. Bersma the Patent of Decoration and Badge, and spoke in his congratulatory address about Ms. Bersma’s achievements, how she became fascinated by the creativity of the Sogetsu school, and how she continued to study and teach. The Ambassador further talked about the importance for Ms. Bersma of using all five senses when practicing ikebana, and about her motto “Friendship through Flowers”. Together with the family members, friends and students of Ms. Bersma, the Ambassador then went on to congratulate her on the decoration.
In a word of gratitude, Ms. Bersma thanked her family for assisting her in her teaching of ikebana over many years, and talked about her wonderful encounters and nurtured friendships through ikebana. Ms. Bersma’s friends, koto player Ms. Aki Sato and saxophone player Ms. Yuina Takamizo, performed the song “Spring Sea”, adding grace to the celebrations.

The website of Ms. Atsuko Bersma:
http://www.tonsen.jp/ikebana/


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