The tea ceremony in Japan


The tea ceremony in Japan
The tea ceremony in Japan, also known as chanoyu (茶の湯, chanoyu?), Sadō (茶道, sadō?), Or chadō (茶道, chadō?) Is a traditional ritual influenced by Zen Buddhism in which powdered green tea, or matcha (抹茶, matcha?), is a ceremonial prepared by a practitioner experienced and is served to a small group of guests in a calm.

Chanoyu (茶の湯, literally "hot water for tea"), this usually refers to the ceremony (ritual) alone, while sadō or chadō (茶道, or "the way of tea") is the study or doctrine of the tea ceremony. More specifically, the term chaji (茶事) relates to the tea ceremony complete with kaiseki (a light meal), usucha (薄茶, tea light) and koicha (浓茶, strong tea), for approximately four hours . A chakai (茶会literally meeting around a "tea") does not include the kaiseki.

Because a practitioner of the tea ceremony must be familiar with the production and the different types of teas, with the kimono, calligraphy, floral arrangements, ceramics, incense, and a wide range of other disciplines and traditional arts in addition to the practices of tea taught in his school, the study of the tea ceremony takes many years and often a lifetime. Even to participate as a guest in a formal tea ceremony, a knowledge of sadō is required, including recommended actions, sentences to say by guests, the right way to drink tea and holding general approach in the room where tea is served.


"The tea ceremony requires years of training and practice… yet the whole of this art, as to its detail, signifies no more than the making and serving of a cup of tea. The supremely important matter is that the act be performed in the most perfect, most polite, most graceful, most charming manner possible. "

-- Lafcadio Hearn

Translation: "The tea ceremony requires years of training and practice… although all of this art, as its details, is not what to do and serve a cup of tea. The most important thing is that the act is implemented in the most perfect, the most polished, the most gracious and most charming possible. "

The tea as a beverage was introduced in Japan in the ninth century by a Buddhist monk from China, where tea was already known, according to legend, for several thousands of years. Tea quickly became popular in Japan and began to be grown locally.

The custom of drinking tea, first for medicine, and then purely for pleasure, was also widespread in China. In the early ninth century, the Chinese author Lu Yu wrote the Ch'a Ching (The classic tea), a treatise on tea focusing on its culture and in its preparation. The life of Lu Yu was strongly influenced by Buddhism, and especially by the school which later became known as Zen, and his ideas will have a strong influence on the development of the tea ceremony in Japan.

During the twelfth century, a new form of tea, matcha, is introduced. This green tea powder, which is derived from the same plant as black tea producing but not fermented, was used first in the religious rituals of Buddhist monasteries. During the thirteenth century, samurai warriors began to prepare and drink matcha. The foundations of the tea ceremony were laid.

The tea ceremony was developed as a practice of "transformation" and began to change with its own aesthetic. This is the case, especially, wabi. Wabi (侘びmeans refinement sober and calm) is characterized by humility, restraint, simplicity, naturalism, depth, the imperfection and the asymmetry that enhances the simplicity through non-ornamented objects, Architectural spaces and the celebration of the beauty that the time and attention given to the materials.

During the sixteenth century, the fact that drinking tea is spreading throughout all levels of Japanese society. Sen no Rikyū, perhaps the historical figure the best known of the tea ceremony, introduced the concept of ichi-go ichi-e, (一期一会literally "once, an encounter"), a belief that every game should be regarded as a treasure that can never be repeated. His teachings lead to the development of new forms of architecture and garden, arts and leads to the development of comprehensive sadō. The principles that transmit - harmony (wa和), respect (kei敬), purity (精sei), and tranquility (寂jaku) - are still at the centre of the tea ceremony today.

A wide range of utensils is needed even for the most basic tea ceremonies. A complete list of all items, utensils, their styles and variations could fill several hundred pages of a book, and thousands of volumes of this type exist. The following list presents the essential components:

*Chakin (茶巾), a rectangular white canvas and flax or hemp is used for the r itual cleansing of the bowl.
* Fukusa (袱纱), the fukusa is a square of silk used for the ritual cleansing of the bailer and the natsume, or cha-ire, and to hold the hot kettle and its lid. The fukusa is sometimes used by guests to protect the tea utensils when consideration (usually this fukusa is unique and is called kobukusa or small fukusa. They are thicker, patterned and often much more colorful than normal fukusa . kobukusa are kept in a kaishi (a bag) or in the breast pocket of kimono.)
* Ladle (hishaku柄杓), a long bamboo ladle with a knot at the center of the race. It is used to transfer water to and from the iron pots and containers with fresh water in some ceremonies. There are different styles used in various ceremonies, but for different seasons. A wider style is used for ritual purification followed by the guests before entering the tea room.
* Tana (棚shelves) (literally), is usually a word that refers to all types of furniture made of wood or bamboo used in the preparation of tea; tana each type has its own name. The tana vary considerably in size, style, features and materials. They are placed before the host of the tea room, and the variety of tea utensils are placed above or stored in them. They are used in very varied during each tea ceremony.
* The tea bowl (茶碗chawan), is undoubtedly essential. Without it, the tea could not be served, and could not be drunk. The tea bowls are available in a wide range of sizes and styles, and different styles are used for strong tea and tea light (tea ceremony see below). The shallow bowls, which allow the tea to cool quickly are used in summer; bowls are used in deep winter. The bowls are often nominated by their creators or their owners, or by a master tea. Some bowls older than 400 years ago are still used today, but only in special occasions and unusual. The best bowls are shaped by hand and costing extremely expensive. The irregularities and imperfections are popular: they are often placed on the front of the bowl. The bowls are broken meticulously repaired using a mixture of lacquer and other natural ingredients. From the gold powder is added to hide the dark color of lacquer and drawings are sometimes created using the mixture. The bowls repaired in this way are mainly used in November, when practitioners of tea using the ro, or home (fire), again, as an expression and celebration of the concept of wabi, or the humble simplicity.
* Tea Box (natsume, cha-ire枣,茶入れ). The tea boxes come in two basic styles different, natsume and cha-ire, through which there is a variation of shapes, sizes and colors. The natsume is named for its resemblance to the fruit natsume (jujube). It is short with a flat lid, a rounded bottom, and it is usually made of wood lacquered or untreated. The cha-ire is usually tall, narrow (but forms vary significantly), and has a lid ivory with a gold leaf underneath. The cha-ire is usually ceramic, and is contained in bags decorated. The natsume and cha-ire are used in various ceremonies.
* Bailer tea (chashaku茶杓). The bailer is carved tea party to a single piece of bamboo with a nodule roughly in the middle. They are used to bail tea box of tea in tea bowl. Broader probes are used to transfer tea box of tea in the mizuya (水屋), or area of preparedness. The various styles and colours are used in the omotesenke and urasenke.
* Whip (chasen茶筅), whips tea are carved in a single piece of bamboo. There are thick and thin for strong tea and tea light. The old chasen damaged are simply discarded. Once in a year, usually in May, they are caught up in local temples and burned at a simple ceremony called chasen koyō, which expresses the respect with which treaties are the objects of the tea ceremony.

All objects of the tea ceremony are maintained with exquisite care. They are carefully cleaned before and after each use and before storage. Some components should be handled with gloved hands.

The tea ceremony
When the tea is made with water drawn from the depths of the mind

Whose merits exceed the measure, we really what we call the chanoyu

- Toyotomi Hideyoshi

The two main schools, Omotesenke and Urasenke have evolved, each with its own rituals. There are also other lesser-known schools. Currently, the Urasenke school is the most active and most followed. Within each school, there are sub-schools where there are seasonal variations in the timing and method of preparing and enjoying tea, in the types, forms of tea leaves and tools used.

All schools and most of the changes, however, have a number of common points. The host, male or female, usually a kimono, while guests can wear kimono or formal dark clothing. If tea is served in a tea house separately, rather than in the tea room, guests wait in a garden until he will be asked by the host. They then ritually purify by washing their hands and by rinsing the mouth in a small stone basin containing water. They then headed toward the "tokonoma, or alcove, where they admire the parchment and / or other statements. Then they sit in seiza position on the tatami, in order of prestige.

The tea houses and tea rooms are usually small. The typical size of the soil is about 4 and a half tatami. The size of the smallest room can be tea for two tatamis and that of the largest are limited only by the wealth of its owner. Construction materials and decorations are deliberately simple and rustic.

A simple and light meal, called "kaiseki" (懐石), or "chakaiseki (茶懐石) can be served to the guests, followed by sake. They then returned to the waiting room covered until they are again called by the host.

If no meal is served, the host will directly serve little delicacies. The sweets are eaten with a special paper called kaishi (懐纸); each guest brings his own, often in a small decorated portfolio. The kaishi is placed in the breast pocket of kimono.

Each utensil - including the tea bowl (chawan), the whip (chasen) and the bailer tea (chasaku) - is ritually cleansed in the presence of guests in a specific order and using very specific gestures. The utensils are placed in the exact order storage in accordance with the ritual that will follow. When the ritual of cleaning and preparation utensils is complete, the host place a measured quantity of green tea powder in the bowl and add the appropriate amount of hot water and tea fouette using predefined movements.

The conversation is kept to a minimum. Guests relax and enjoy the atmosphere created by the sounds of water and fire, the smell of incense and tea, the beauty and simplicity of the tea house and decorations seasonally appropriate.

The bowl is then served to the guests of honour ( "shokyaku初客" literally the "first guest"), or by the host, either by an assistant. The social courbettes is exchanged between the host and the guest of honour. The curve is then invited to the second guest and raises his bowl in a gesture of respect for the host. The guest turns the bowl to avoid drinking on its front, a small sip drinks, whispers a sentence predefined, then takes two or three sips before wipe the board, turns the bowl in its original position and pass to the next guest while welcoming the. This procedure is repeated until all guests have made tea from the same bowl. The bowl is then restored to the host. In some ceremonies, each guest drinks in a bowl couple, but the order in which tea is served and drinking is the same.

If strong tea, koicha, has been served, the host will prepare some tea light, or usucha, which is served in the same way. However, in certain rituals, only koicha or usucha is served.

Once guests have each drank tea, the host cleans the utensils. The guest of honour will ask the host to allow guests to examine the utensils and each turn, invited examine and admire each object, including water bailer, the box tea, tea bailer , the whip tea, and, most importantly, the tea bowl. The objects are treated with extreme caution and reverence because they are often priceless, irreplaceable antiquities done by hand, and guests often use a special cloth to keep them.

The host then recovered utensils and the guests then left the house tea. The host salute to the door and the ceremony ends.

A tea ceremony can last between one hour and five hours, depending on the type of ceremony performed and the type of meals and tea served.

Chabako demae
Chabako demae (茶箱点前) is called so because the equipment is made in a special box (chabako literally tea box) and placed in it.

Hakobi demae
Hakobi demae (運び点前)) is closely related to ryū-rei (see below), but it is practised in the seiza position. The name comes from the fact that the essential utensils - the bowl, natsume, the container with fresh water, the probes, and so on. -- Are transported (運ぶhakobu) both inside and outside the courtroom tea.

Obon temae
In Obon Temae (お盆点前), hosted a tea bowl, whip, the bailer tea, and chakin natsume on a special shelf. These objects are covered by the fukusa. Tea is prepared light on the board while guests kneel on the floor in seiza position.

When Ryū-rei (立礼), the tea is prepared in a special table. The guests were seated around the same table or at a separate table. The name refers to the practice of first and last greeting at the entrance of the tea room. In the Ryū-rei, there is usually an assistant who sits behind the host and which moves stool from the host when it is or where it sits upright. The assistant also serves tea and sweets to the guests.

The tea ceremony and calligraphy
(To write)

Calligraphy plays a central role in the tea ceremony. It is used to develop a sense of serenity and peace, and to bring the man in tea to discover the beauty in the non-common. It must be simple and sober, and is sometimes replaced by a drawing of Japanese style (the name escapes me). When the tea man enters the suki-ya, it should take the time to admire the flower arrangement and calligraphy for a long time. To delve into them. It must then report on its assessment to master tea.

The tea ceremony and floral arrangements
The chabana (茶花, literally "flower tea") is the most simple style of flower arrangement used in the tea ceremony. The chabana has its roots in ikebana, a traditional style of Japanese flower arrangement, which takes itself its roots in Buddhism and Shintoism.

The chabana has evolved into a less formal style of ikebana, which was used by the first masters of tea. The style chabana is now the standard flower arrangement for the tea ceremony. According to some sources, it would have been developed by Sen no Rikyū.

In its most basic, chabana is a simple arrangement of flowers of the season which are placed in a container. These arrangements typically include some objects. The vases are generally made in a natural material like bamboo, metal or ceramics.

The chabana is so simple that frequently no more than a single flower is used. This flower invariably look to the guests, or deal with them.

Kaiseki ryōri
Kaiseki ryōri (懐石料理literally chest-stone cooking) is the name of a type of food served during tea ceremonies. The name comes from the practice of Zen monks who placed the stones at the top of their robes to avert hunger during periods of fasting.

The kaiseki cuisine is normally strictly vegetarian, but nowadays, fish and other dishes can be served occasionally.

In the kaiseki, are used only fresh ingredients of the season, prepared to highlight their taste and odor. An exquisite care is taken in selecting ingredients and types of food. The dishes are beautifully arranged and garnished, often with real leaves and real flowers, so that some dishes look like plants or animals. The aesthetic aspect is just as important as food at the kaiseki.

The dishes are served in small amounts in individual dishes and the meal is eaten by sitting in seiza position. Each meal has a small plateau. The very important people have their own coffee table or several small tables.

The kaiseki for the tea ceremony is sometimes called chakaiseki (茶懐石, cha "tea"). The chakaiseki usually includes one or two soups and three different vegetable dishes with boiled rice and rice marinated. The sashimi or other flat fish can be served occasionally, but this type of dish is quite rare.

The kaiseki is accompanied by sake.

The tea ceremony and kimono
While the kimono was to be used on a mandatory by all participants in the tea ceremony, this is no longer the case. Although traditionally formal occasions during most of the guests will wear a kimono. Since the study of the kimono is an essential part of learning about the tea ceremony, most practitioners have at least a kimono of their own and they wear when they receive or participate in a tea ceremony. The kimono dress is compulsory for students of the tea ceremony, but fewer teachers emphasize this fact. It is increasingly common for students to wear western clothes during their practice. Indeed, it is difficult to have more than one or two kimonos, because of their cost, and it is important to keep them in good conditions. However, most of the students practise in a kimono at least a few times. It is essential to learn the movements prescribed properly.

Many of the movements and components of the tea ceremony evolved with the port of kimono. For example, some movements were designated with kimonos with long sleeves, and some movements asked to move races out of the way or allowed to avoid the mess when preparing tea, when served or when drinking . Other movements were allowed to pull the kimono and hakama.

The Fukasa are stowed in the obi. The kaishi and kobukusa are stored in the breast pocket of kimono. When someone wears Western clothes, he must find other places to keep these items on him. The sleeves of kimonos function as pockets and kaishi used is stored in them.

For the tea ceremony, men typically a combination of a kimono and a hakama, but some men wear only a kimono. Wear a hakama is not essential for the men, but it gives them a more formal look. The women wear kimonos of different styles depending on the season and events. Women generally do not hakama during the tea ceremony. There are lined kimono worn by both men and women during the winter months and non dubbed kimonos are used during the summer. For formal occasions, men wear kimonos type montsuki often with a striped hakama. Both men and women wear white tabi.

The tea ceremony and seiza
The seiza is an integral part of the tea ceremony. To sit in the position seiza (正座, literally "to be seated properly"), it begins with his knees on her buttocks bases on its heels, and then the hands are placed between the knees. The top of the foot is fully in contact with the ground.

When they sit at the table, the host and guests sit in seiza position. The seiza is the basic position from which everything begins and ends in the tea ceremony. The host sits in seiza for opening and closing the door of the room tea. The seiza is the basic position to arrange and clean utensils as well as to prepare tea. Even when the host needs to change position during different parts of the ceremony, these changes of position are made in seiza position. The guests also maintain the seiza position throughout the ceremony.

All greetings (there are three basic variations that differ in the position of the hands and the magnitude with which the greeting is done) practised in seiza position during the original tea ceremony.

The tea ceremony and tatami
The tatami also has a central place in the tea ceremony. The main surfaces of the rooms of tea and tea houses have a tatami floor and the tokonoma (alcove with parchment) in the halls of tea has often also a tatami floor.

The tatami are used in different ways in the tea ceremony. Their placement, for example, determines how a person walking through the hall tea. When walking on the tatami, we tend to be unbalanced, forcing slowing to maintain a good posture right and walk slowly. Avoid walking on the joints between the various parts of tatami. The placement of tatami rooms in the tea differs radically from the normal placement. In a room using sections 4 and a half, the pans are placed in a circular pattern around a central pan. It is customary to avoid walking on the central pan as much as possible because it forms a sort of table. The utensils are placed on it to watch, prepared tea bowls are placed on the pan to serve guests.

There are dozens of real and imaginary lines running through the halls of tea. They are used to determine the exact placement and utensils for thousands of other details. When you are in the presence of experienced practitioners, the placement of utensils or does not vary so infinitesimal between each ceremony. The lines of tatami (行gyou) are used as a guide for placing and joints are used as demarcations indicating where each person must sit.

The tatami provides a more comfortable surface to sit in seiza position. At certain times of the year (during the festivities of the New Year, for example), portions of the mat where guests are seated are covered by a red felted fabric.

Studying the tea ceremony
In Japan, students who wish to study the tea ceremony, usually join what is known as a "circle" in Japan, which is the generic name of a group that meets regularly and participating in a given activity. There are also tea clubs in primary schools, colleges, colleges and universities.

Most circles tea are required by the local school tea. Schools tea often have mixed groups who wish to explore all in the same school at different times. For example, there are women's groups, youth groups students and others.

Normally, the students pay for their courses once a month which covers the course, the use of bowls of the school (or teacher), other equipment, tea itself and sweets that students serve and eat for each course. Students must provide their own fukusa, their range, their paper and kobukasa, as well as their own suitcase in which they put these objects. Students must also provide their own kimonos and accessories that go along with them.

Typically, new students start out by the more advanced students. Normally, advanced students did not speak. They speak exclusively with the professor. The first thing that new students learn is how to open and close the sliding door properly, how to walk on the tatami how to enter and leave the tea room, how to salute, to whom and when to do it, how to wash, store and take care of the equipment, how to pack the fukusa, how ritually clean the tea bowls, tea boxes and the probes tea, and how to wash and put away the chakin. When mastered these essential steps, when students learn how to behave as a guest in a tea ceremony, ie, how to keep the bowls, how to drink tea and eat sweets, how to use paper and thousands of other details.

When mastered all these basics, students learn how to prepare tea powder to use, how to fill the tea ball, and finally how to measure and whisk tea. Once these bases acquired, the students begin to practice ceremonies easiest and usually starts with the Obon temae (see above). The study goes through observation and practice, the students often do not take notes and some schools even discourage that practice.

Each class ends with the entire group receiving brief instructions by the teacher, usually on the tokonoma and sweets that were served on the same day.

Read also Chanoyu


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