The Omotesenke Domonkai Hawaii held a special tea ceremony on Sept. 21 in the Seikoan tearoom at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i. The ceremony, called Tennenki, was held in honor of Iemoto Joshinsai (Tennen Sösa) VII (1705-1751).
The program celebrated Joshinsai’s legacy and his role in establishing the foundations for Omotesenke with a chatö, a tea offering to the spirit of Joshinsai. The hosts and guests then participated in two of the Seven Exercises, or Shichiji-shiki, established by Joshinsai that are still practiced in Omotesenke today.
The first exercise was kazucha (number tea) in which the order of guests who drink tea is determined by a lottery, similar to a “lucky number” drawing.
For the next exercise, hanayose (flower offering) wicker panels were set out with a variety of empty baskets and vases hanging on them. A few baskets and vases were also placed in other areas in the room with a variety of cut flowers and greenery set out on trays. Guests enjoyed taking turns selecting flowers and arranging them in their favorite empty vessels.
The attendees then enjoyed viewing the flowers while talking with each other over tea and a bentö lunch.
The Shichiji-shiki consists of kagetsu-shiki (drawing of flower and moon cards), saza (sitting), cha-kabuki (tea kabuki), mawarizumi/hanayose (charcoal rotation/flower offering), mawaribana (flower rotation, ichi ni san (first, second, third) and kazucha.
The informational handout provided at the tea ceremony noted that, “The underlying goal of all the seven formalized methods of tea preparation is not only to learn specific tea procedures, but also to engage ourselves in spiritual training to gain an insight into what the practice of tea is really about.”