Discard Everthing[February 2017]

Fuden-An: Leaves from a Tea-Journal

Discard Everthing[February 2017]

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

 The New Year had only just begun and we are now already in the month of February. How fast time flies! I wonder how you spent the first few days of the New Year. In modern society where speed is everything, we sometimes worry whether we are not keeping up or are being left behind. However, it seems important to me that we go on our own way without being distracted by large influences. In fact, what is important is balance and I feel that there are fewer and fewer Japanese who know how to maintain this balance.

Today, instead of trying to strike a balance, many people live in total apathy, act opportunistically, or behave irresponsibly. For example, I often hear that the young generation today attaches more importance to friendships than to romantic or loving relationships out of a desire of not wanting to hurt or be hurt by others. I fear that this mentality limits the development and depth of these people’s personalities. I like to watch TV soap operas, but today, few romantic shows are successful. A famous screenwriter once told me that historical or medical dramas are higher demand.

I got a little bit off the subject of my article, but what I wanted to talk about was the importance of balance. Japanese leaders of the past, including those in the financial world, were very versed in the art of tea and other cultural fields such as ancient Chinese poems and paintings. People would have different backgrounds and exchanged very freely. What I have described, however, has now become quite rare and I believe the cause is the fast pace of life. Politicians and industrialists today are reluctant to take risks due to a lack of self confidence and a fear of others opinions.

There were, admittedly, a few incidents in the news around politicians using public funds for personal hobbies but these are rare and I think that the culture of a man develops when he tries to draw inspiration from things about which he is not familiar. On the occasion of the first ceremonies of the New Year, I hung on the wall of the tokonoma a scroll on which it reads: ‘Hougejaku’ or ‘Discard everything’. The choice of this calligraphy is motivated by a goal I have set for myself this year, that of throwing away everything that I had accumulated in me. These words will stick with me as I carry on about my business this year.