Thinking of my Sixtieth Anniversary[December 2016]

Fuden-An: Leaves from a Tea-Journal

Thinking of my Sixtieth Anniversary[December 2016]

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

We are already at the time of year when we reflect on the year past. A series of special events took place this year, including the celebration of my birthday about which I was very delighted. On September 18th I was invited to a reception in Akita and continued to travel to Aichi, Aomori, Fukuoka and Fukui-Higashi, where I was met with people who wished me their best and held ceremonial events for me.

In particular, during a tea ceremony held in October at the Hasshoukan in Aichi, eminent tea practitioners from the region prepared the thick tea session using utensils once owned by the founding father Enshu. The alcove was decorated with a painting scroll representing a hotei (traveling monk) made by Mokkei. This was accompanied by a letter indicating that this had been created by Enshu and bore the praise of Shikkei Shingetsu, who was very close to Enshu. The flower vase was a celadon of the Owari-Tokugawa family. Among the tea utensils, there was a Takatori pitcher, a tea container of the Bizen-Hashirii type, a tea bowl called tamagote-chawan which is listed in the collection book of tea utensils of the first three great masters of Enshu and the so-called Irogawari spoon made by Enshu himself.

As I already mentioned in last month’s entry, each of the Enshu utensils are beautiful on their own, but once they are selected and displayed for a particular tea ceremony, they are in harmony as a whole and become more pleasing to the eye. This is why the Enshu Tea School is called tea of Kirei-sabi, meaning refinement and sobriety.

The plenary meeting organized by the Federation of Fukuoka and held for three days starting on October 22nd for three days was very pleasant, thanks in particular to well-selected materials. The thick tea session was held at the Shofukuji temple opened by the monk Eisai who introduced Zen and powdered tea to Japan and was held after a tea offering to the gods. The light tea session was held at the Tochoji temple which was founded by the monk Kobodaishi and where children of all ages served tea, which was a first for such kind of ceremony. Needless to say, the guests were overjoyed at this spectacle. Finally, with regard to the standing tea session, it was held in the Hotel Okura reception hall. The ceiling of the room had been covered with a burgundy colored curtain, which created a special mood for the reception. Whenever a plenary meeting is organized, the federation concerned makes an effort to highlight the distinct characteristics of the region and is very pleasing to those who get to attend. Next year, the plenary will be co-organized by four federations in Enshu's hometown and I look forward to this event.

Finally, on the first day of the plenary meeting, at the request of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, we organized a tea ceremony in Okyoka hall at the Tokyo National Museum, with various CEOs of foreign companies and journalists in attendance. This event was part of a program of sports and cultural exchanges and international forums of this institution. Her Highness Princess Takamadonomiya Hisako was invited as a guest of honor as well as the Director General of the Cultural Office, Mr Miyata. During the question and answer session that followed the conference and tea ceremony, there were a number of interesting and unique questions from the mainly foreign audience which made it a very enriching experience for me.

Now that we have arrived at the end of 2016, I offer you my best wishes, happiness and prosperity.