The Japanese Tea Ceremony: A Living International Museum of Arts in Everyday Life

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Japanese tea ceremony (Chanoyu) has served as a safe depository, so to speak, of precious arts and skills that might have gone extinct otherwise. It has preserved, developed, and refined the method of consuming powdered green tea (matcha), which was introduced to Japan from Zen monasteries of Song China (1127-1279) but has since then ceased to exist in China. Likewise, the delicate art of incense ceremony is said to have not survived without being adopted into Chanoyu. Furthermore, various objects of fine art and folk art, produced domestically and internationally, are flexibly employed as tea utensils - from several hundred-year-old calligraphic scrolls of Chinese Zen monks to simple Vietnamese bowls of the 14th century, to lacquer boxes from Thailand, to celadon porcelain vases of Korea, to cloth woven with designs originated in the Mughal Empire, to Dutch ceramic jars, and to Venetian glassware. One might call Chanoyu a living international museum of arts that uniquely gives new life to artifacts by active, innovative use. No matter how precious and valuable the utensils may be, guests are allowed to hold them in their hands, drink tea from them, or appreciate them from a close range. Utensils, carefully selected for each occasion and a specific season by the host, form an exquisite harmony enhancing each other's beauty in a subdued environment. The outcomes of this practice are an enhanced awareness of the aesthetic, a sense of respect for things that we use, and a meditative quality of mind that sees timelessness here and now." The audience will be invited to participate in a demonstration of Chanoyu, which is often called "living Zen."

Keywords: Japanese Tea Ceremony, Tea Utensils, Demonstration of the Tea Ceremony, Living Zen, Chanoyu
Stream: Other
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in English
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Dr. Midori McKeon

Professor of Japanese, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, San Francisco State University
San Francisco, California, USA

Dr. Midori McKeon was born in Japan. After graduating from the University of Tokyo, she pursued graduate studies in the United States, receiving both her M.A. in English and her Ph.D. in Japanese Literature from the University of California at Berkeley. She teaches Japanese culture and literature at San Francisco State University. Her interest in Japanese tea ceremony was inspired by an authentic Japanese tea room (chashitsu) that her university received as a donation. Nearly a decade of dedicated practice of chanoyu (tea ceremony) has earned her an official certification by Omotesenke of Kyoto, Japan. Ometesenke is the main family that has transmitted the teaching of the great tea master Sen no Rikyu (1522-1591) for over 400 years. Dr. McKeon is an active member of the Northern California Omotesenke Domonkai and holds annual tea ceremony events at her university.

Mrs Eiko Mouri

Vice President, Omotesenke Domonkai of Northern California
San Francisco, California, USA

Mrs. Eiko Mouri is a certified teacher of Chanoyu (tea ceremony) in the Omotesenke tradition. As the Vice President of Omotesenke Domonkai of Northern California, she has worked closely with the Omotesenke headquaters in Kyoto, Japan, and has energetically led projects to promote tea culture and to reach out and engage younger generations. In addition to offering private lessons at her residence, she teaches a college course on the tea ceremony. At the conference, she will give a demonstration of Chanoyu and invite the audience to participate in the ceremony as tea guests. Japanese sweets and tea will be served.

Jennifer Tusa

Member, Northern California Omotesenki Domonkai

Miss Jennifer Tusa has been practicing the Omotesenke tradition of Japanese tea ceremony for 15 years. She has participated in Omotesenke's special training session for young people held in Kyoto, Japan.

Ref: A09P0667