At the end of the year[DEC 2018]

Fuden-An: Leaves from a Tea-Journal

At the end of the year[Dec 2018]

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

We only have one month left before the end of the year Heisei 30 (2018). Next year will be Heisei 31, but since we will be transitioning to the next era during the lunar year, this year will be the last time we have a year-end of the Heisei era and there is something special about this.

I had wished that the name of the next era beginning next May would have been announced already but regrettably this is not the case. According to media reports, once the name of the new era is made known, the public’s attention would switch from the reigning to the succeeding emperor. I think, however, this consideration is based on a groundless fear. How could one imagine that the Japanese public would suddenly lose respect for the Heisei era once the new name is made public? It is even less imaginable that the reverence the public has for the present emperor would diminish. I suspect that there were concerns that the media, for commercial reasons, would overly promote the name of the new era. This seems to be just an attempt at shifting the blame on the public.

One of the reasons I would have liked to know the name of the new era is related to the calendar. Some calendars and notebooks have adopted the Christian era for next year. This is understandable since printing takes some time. But what is unfortunate is that we call the next year 2019 and the year of the Olympic Games 2020. I accept that the Olympics and Paralympics are dated in the Christian era for the simple reason that it is an international event. But January 1st of next year will be the first day of Heisei 31. The Japanese are an impressionable people. In a sense, they can be described as flexible. But when it comes to expressing their opinion, this temperament may act as a disadvantage. For this reason, it is necessary to ensure all Japanese people are aware of the name of the new era.

Be that as it may, there is no point in lamenting what has already been decided. As far as I am concerned, I am determined to preside over the last Heisei 30 Tea Ceremony of the Year and welcome the Heisei 31 New Year.