Iemoto Kimura-Sösho from Kyöto prepares the first cup of tea, which was offered to the spirit of Sen no Rikyu.
Iemoto Kimura-Sösho from Kyöto prepares the first cup of tea, which was offered to the spirit of Sen no Rikyu.

Omotesenke Domonkai Hawaii held a memorial tea ceremony in honor of its founder, tea master Sen no Rikyu (1522-1591). The April 13 ceremony was held in the Seikoan Tea Room at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i.

Iemoto (grandmaster) Kimura-Sösho, the 15th grandmaster in the Omotesenke Domonkai line, came especially from Kyöto to perform the tea ceremony.

The program was attended by Takayuki Shinozawa, deputy consul general of Japan in Honolulu; Japan-America Society of Hawaii president Reyna Kaneko; Jacce Mikulanec, president and executive director of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i; and Faye Shigemura, president of the United Japanese Society of Hawaii.

The first serving of tea was offered to the spirit of Sen no Rikyu, whose image hung from a scroll in the tokonoma (alcove where items of artistic and symbolic appreciation were displayed). Guests were presented a light pink sakura-shaped sweet treat, followed by green tea served in a ceramic teacup.

The history of Sen no Rikyu and his philosophy were profiled in an informational pamphlet provided to the guests. It noted that Sen no Rikyu is known not only in the world of chanoyu, or tea ceremony, but also because he was the tea master to Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582) and Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598). Chanoyu holds an important position in Japanese cultural tradition and the Omotesenke school has preserved its traditions, which are perpetuated today by the present 15th generation iemoto, Yuyusai Sosa.

“Rikyu’s ideal of ‘wabi-cha’ is not a beauty that is directly visible to the eye, but a beauty that lies in an atmosphere and is visible to someone seeking spiritual satisfaction. In other words, it is a beauty that is perceived by the heart rather than the eye. Wabi-cha is based on the ideals of Zen and waka poetry, matured in its own way against the background of Japan’s natural features to become the basis of Omotesenke style chanoyu.”

The guests were presented a special bentö at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Omotesenke tea member Kazuko Ishikawa offers tea to guests. A wall hanging of Sen no Rikyu was placed in the tokonoma to honor him as the tea master who established the basics of tea ceremony.
Omotesenke tea member Kazuko Ishikawa offers tea to guests. A wall hanging of Sen no Rikyu was placed in the tokonoma to honor him as the tea master who established the basics of tea ceremony.

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