In memory of Mr. Seizo Hayashiya [July 2017]

Fuden-An: Leaves from a Tea-Journal

In memory of Mr. Seizo Hayashiya [July 2017]

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

The first half of 2017 passed quickly and we are already beginning the second half of the year. This year many people connected to the tea ceremony passed away. The death of Mr. Seizo Hayashiya was particularly saddening for me.

I heard the news of his passing on the first of April when I was preparing at home for a graduation ceremony scheduled for the next day. I remember being both unsurprised and confused, and at the same time stricken by a great sense of loss.

In fact, I had seen Mr. Hayashiya two weeks before his passing. I knew that his health had deteriorated little by little since last year, but that he was still working at a fast pace. When I asked him to take care of his health by reducing his workload, he replied with a smile: 'Yes, I know, I know. But you take care of yourself as well, Sojitsu-san.'

He used to call me “Sojitu-san” or “Sojitsuro”. Prior to this last meeting, Mr. Hayashiya had attended the first tea ceremony of the year. He seemed appreciative of the calligraphy “Hougejaku” made by the monk Kougetsu and he was particularly happy when he heard the green bamboo vase was made by me. He had lost some weight, but he behaved as always. Later, as he canceled two tea ceremonies, Tenjinkai and Enshu-ki, I began to worry about his health. Later, I learned that he was hospitalized.

Meanwhile, I saw Ms. Taka Akanuma in Tokyo in March. She told me that Mr. Hayashiya was thinking about the commemoration of my late father scheduled for April 24th and that he was now treating himself at home. I was very busy at the time but I wanted to see him and serve him tea, considering that he might not have been able to attend any of his favorite tea ceremonies recently. On the evening of March 16th, I visited his house with my eldest daughter Akiko.

Mr. Hayashiya was the best friend my late father made through tea ceremony and he always treated my two daughters and me with great affection. Whenever he saw my two daughters, he called them tenderly by their first names, “Akko-chan, Yuko-chan.”

I did not have a clear idea of Mr. Hayashiya's state of health. But I quickly chose some tea materials that I thought would please him into a tea basket.

I arrived at his house and found him in his drawing room. He says he is mentally healthy but lacks physical strength. As we continue our conversation, he begins to speak normally. I offer him some tea. When I removed the tea bowl from the carrying box, despite the fact that we were in a dark room and both sitting a fair distance from one another, it was impressive that Mr. Hayashiya could immediately recognize the bowl and said: 'This is an excellent Katade’. After tasting half of the sweet snack and the tea I had prepared for him, he said with a big smile 'Your tea is always excellent'. Afterwards, I offered him hot water in a Shonzui-style porcelain bowl.

Just as we left, Mr. Hayashiya said to me, “I am disappointed but it will be difficult for me to attend the public symposium on the 26th. I am looking forward to the next exhibition of tea materials.” I told him that I would come back to see him and he said, finally: 'Well, that might be a bit difficult'. And that was our last meeting.

I still have a lot to write about him, but I will stop for now. Mr. Hayashiya really was an outstanding personality.

My condolences go out to everyone that knew him.