Monday, June 24, 2013

Chanoyu - 茶の湯 (Japanese Tea Ceremony)

Here is the Fifth post about Japanese Culture, 茶の湯 (Chanoyu/Japanese Tea Ceremony).
This is also a well known Traditional culture from Japan. 

So, What is Chanoyu?

Chanoyu (茶の湯) or sadō, chadō (茶道) also called the "Way of Tea" or has been referred as the "Japanese Tea Ceremony" for many years, but the word literally means 'hot water for tea'. The simple art of Chanoyu is really a synthesis of many Japanese arts with the focus of preparing and serving a bowl of tea with a pure heart.
Tea was first introduced to Japan from China with Buddhism in the sixth century. The Way of Tea is influenced heavily by Zen Buddhism.
It wasn't until 1191 that tea really took hold in Japan with the return from China of the Zen priest, Eisai (1141-1215). Eisai, the founder of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism in Japan, introduced powdered tea and tea seeds that he brought back with him from China.

While it may seem easy to make a satisfying bowl of tea and be courteous to your guests, seeking perfection in these small acts of hospitality requires a focused and deep understanding of much more than tea. And by practicing the tea ceremony, the participants engage in a meditation on the present, and on respect and harmony among people.

The tea room itself provides some clues as to the true nature of the ceremony. The tea room at the Japan House was built with great care to convey the style and functionality of a genuine Japanese tea room. By removing unnecessary ornamentation from tearooms, typically reducing the decor to a single scroll on the wall and a flower arrangement designed to harmonize with the garden outside. Everything else in the room was functional.

The typical garden and building for the Tea Ceremony

There is a special room for chanoyu, it is called chasitsu, a room which floored with tatami. It has a low ceiling; a hearth built into the floor; shoji screens; an alcove for hanging scrolls and placing other decorative objects. It also have several entrances for host and guests.


Chanoyu teaches four fundamental principles known as wa kei sei jaku, intended to be not only the core of the tea ceremony, but a representation of the principles to incorporate into daily life. Guests enter through the garden, which is carefully designed to put them in a peaceful frame of mind and convey the idea that man is a being surrounded by nature.

The meaning of Wa, Kei, Sei and Jaku:
  • (Wa/harmony) was his ultimate ideal. From harmony comes peace. Guest and host should be in harmony and man should strive for harmony with nature, rather than attempting to dominate nature. 
  • 敬 (Kei/respect) allows people to accept and understand others even when you do not agree with them. In a tea ceremony the guest must respect the host and the host must respect the guest, making them equals. The simplest vase should be treated as well as the most expensive, and the same politeness and purity of heart should be extended to your servant as to your master. 
  • 静 (Sei/purity) is a part of the ritual of the tea ceremony, cleaning everything beforehand and wiping each vessel with a special cloth before using it. But that is only an outward reflection of the purity of the heart and soul that brings the harmony and respect. In accordance with wabi-cha, imperfection was to be prized here as well. To Rikyū, the ultimate expression of purity was the garden after he spent hours grooming it and several leaves settled randomly on the assiduously manicured walkway. 
  • 寂 (Jaku/tranquility) is the ultimate goal of enlightenment and selflessness. It is also the fresh beginning as you go back with fresh perspective to examine the way you have chosen to implement harmony, respect, and purity into your life.

Tea equipment is called Dōgu (道具, literally tools). A wide range of Dōgu is necessary for even the most basic tea ceremony. Chanoyu is made up of the tea room, the tea garden and the various utensils that are used by the host to entertain guests.This is the utensils that was used at the Tea Ceremony: 

1. 茶巾 (Chakin/hemp cloth) : The Chakin is a rectangular, white, linen or hemp cloth used to ritually cleanse the tea bowl after a guest has finished drinking the green tea and returned it. In the preparation room, the Chakin is washed, then carefully stretched to remove any creases and folded two times over the length and two and one-third in width. It is placed in the Chawan together with the Chasen and Chashaku. During the tea ceremony it is removed from the Chawan and placed on the Kama/kettle lit. Different styles of Chakin are used for thick and thin tea.


2. 棗 (Natsume/tea caddy): The small lidded container in which the powdered tea is placed for use in the tea-making procedure. It has a short with a flat lid and rounded bottom, and is usually made of lacquered or untreated wood. 

3. 茶筅 (Chasen/tea whisk): This is the implement used to mix the powdered tea with the hot water. Tea whisks are carved from a single piece of bamboo. There are various types. Tea whisks quickly become worn and damaged with use, and the host should use a new one when holding a chakai or chaji.

4. 茶杓 (Chashaku/tea scoops): Tea scoops generally are carved from a single piece of bamboo, they may also be made of ivory/wood. It was used to scoop tea from the tea caddy into the tea bowl. Larger scoops are used to transfer tea into the tea caddy in the mizuya (preparation area), but these are not seen by guests. Different styles and colours are used in various tea traditions.

5. 茶碗 (Chawan/tea bowl): Tea bowls are available in a wide range of sizes and styles, and different styles are used for thick and thin tea. Chawan are highly personal items. Often named by creator, owner or tea master. Chawan have many various patterns on it. Shallow bowls, which allow the tea to cool rapidly, are used in summer; deep bowls are used in winter.

6. 釜 (Kama/Chanoyugama/iron pot, or kettle) : The kama is used to heat up the water for making the tea. The Kama is made from iron or copper. 

 7.  柄杓 (Hishaku/ladle) : This is a long bamboo ladle with a nodule in the approximate center of the handle. It is used to transfer hot water from the iron pot (kama) to the Chawan when making tea. And from fresh water container (Mizusashi) to the Chawan and the Kama in certain ceremonies.

Actually, I attended Chanoyu class at campus, because it is one of the Bunka Taiken's class.
But, I'm forget to take picture of the tea... ahahahaha... ヾ(´▽`;)ゝ
Here are some picture from the Tea Ceremony that was held at campus.
First, usually when you attending Chanoyu, you will be served with 和菓子/Wagashi, a traditional Japanese confectionery which is often served with tea, especially the types made of mochi, azuki bean paste, and fruits. Wagashi is typically made from plant ingredients.

 A  Macha/Green Tea flavored Mochi. (Really delicious) 

 Misonodana, a table set for Chanoyu

Taking picture together with Chanoyu Sensei. Picture by Queen Nobelia's camera. *Haru-kun, what are you doing with my head??? ( ・◇・)?

At last, it is the last post for Chanoyu.. Really grateful can have an opportunity to experience Chanoyu. Thank you to Binus University... \(^▽^@)ノ
It is such a fun class. I hope can experience Chanoyu again at another time. 
I hope this post can be useful to learn more about Japanese culture, Chanoyu.
Don't forget to credit me if you want to share it to other social page, as keirininoo
or link to this page. 
( ´∀`)

Tea in Japan: Essays on the History of Chanoyu by H. Paul Varley, Kumakura Isao

Thank You

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