Hatsudate shiki guests (from left) included Consul General of Japan Koichi Ito, Misako Ito, Reyna Kaneko, Sean O’Harrow and Dr. Robert Huey.
Hatsudate shiki guests (from left) included Consul General of Japan Koichi Ito, Misako Ito, Reyna Kaneko, Sean O’Harrow and Dr. Robert Huey.

Chadö Urasenke Tankökai Hawaii Association hosted a traditional Hatsudate Shiki, or first tea of the year, on Jan. 20 in the Seiköan Tearoom at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i.

Special guests included Consul General of Japan in Honolulu Koichi Ito and his wife Misako; former Hawai‘i Gov. George Ariyoshi and his wife Jean; Dr. Robert Huey, former director of the University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa’s Center for Japanese Studies; Jason Ito, first vice-chair of the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Satoru Izutsu, retired dean of admissions for the University of Hawai‘i’s John A. Burns School of Medicine; Reyna Kaneko, president of Japan-America Society of Hawaii; Jacce Mikulanec, president and executive director of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i; Dr. Dennis Ogawa, professor of American Studies at UH-Mänoa and president of Chadö Urasenke Tankökai Hawaii Association; and Sean O’Harrow, director of the Honolulu Museum of Art.

The teishu, or tea ceremony host, Chieko Shimauchi, and hanto (assistants), Shigeyo Tanaka and Diane Kishimoto, explained the symbolism of the décor within the teahouse. Each object, she said, was specifically selected for the new year.

With Kishimoto translating in English, Tanaka explained that the scroll hanging in the tokonoma alcove contained kanji that translates to, “God’s light shines on heaven and earth.” Hanging next to the scroll was a bundle of willow to invite merriment to the gathering.

Each teacup was also unique in its design. The guests were encouraged to enjoy the artful teacups from all angles.

Following the tea ceremony, the guests were treated to an osechi ryöri lunch of traditional Japanese New Year’s foods.

It was announced during lunch that the Urasenke Hawaii Association will host a monthly tea gathering, or tsukigama, beginning Sunday, Feb. 24, to encourage sharing of the joy and beauty of chadö with as many people as possible. Those new to the tradition of chadö were encouraged to invite family and friends to the tsukigama.


WHEN: Sunday, Feb. 24, with seatings at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Each seating can accommodate 15 guests.

WHERE: Seiköan Tearoom, Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i.

COST: $30 per person, which includes a light meal, tea and sweets. Parking is available for $5 with payment by credit card only.

To reserve a seat, contact the Urasenke Hawaii office by email, urasenke.hi@gmail.com or call 923-3059 by Feb. 17.

Note: Seating on a chair can be arranged if the attendee cannot sit on the floor. Call ahead so that a chair will be provided for you.


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