What we must do now

Fuden-An: Leaves from a Tea-Journal

What we must do now

KOBORI Sojitsu (the 13th Grand Master of the Enshu Sado School )

In the world of Japanese tea ceremony, Shimotsuki (November) is when we practice both kuchikiri (the ritual of making tea after opening a new pot of stored tea) and robiraki (the ritual of using the irori, or sunken hearth). This moment which marks the arrival of a new season is so significant in the world of tea, it is often referred to as the New Year of tea ceremony and is a time when all of us involved in tea ceremony must shape up.

Originally, the Japanese created their culture (including but not exclusively tea ceremony) by living and progressing in harmony with nature. It is the responsibility of those who live in Japan today to pass this culture on to the next generation.
These last two months I have written mostly about what the Japanese athletes had to say after their performances at the Olympics. The point I was trying to make was that instead thinking of themselves first and foremost, these Japanese athletes displayed gratitude to those who supported them and their heritage.

However, it cannot be said that this applies to Japan recently. This is because it has become common knowledge that outside of Japan, yielding to others and respecting others claim to their rights is hard to find. We must recognize that this is how we will have to continue living our lives.

I do not want to be political but I believe the Japanese need to be more firm. When I was born, ten years had passed after the end of the second world war and it was a time when most houses were not financially well off. Families would slowly accumulate one of the 'three C's, cars, coolers and color televisions, year on year and became more prosperous after the Tokyo Olympics. During this period, the Japanese still had their dreams.

After this, as the economy grew, the Japanese began to lose what was once spiritually important to them and prioritized economic growth. Material possessions flooded Japan and changes appeared within the household. TVs, telephones and recently computers became possessions which each and every one of us had at least one of. It was good that we became prosperous but we were all losing something at the same time.

If we are to return to the way we used to think of not wanting to discomfort others, then we must remain firm. I believe tea ceremony could play an important role in reeducating ourselves of this way. Accepting and including each and every way of life and living in harmony with these is the path we need to both take and be proud of.

We must be confident that there is no one in the world which respects and protects its ancestors as much as the Japanese. And with this confidence, we must continue to live in this global world.
'There's no need to say so explicitly' is not a phrase we can use that often in this world. I believe we must continue to learn from each other if we are to speak from our heart and with pride.