Master of the Tea Ceremony

Master of the Tea Ceremony

The tea ceremony, or Cha-no-yu, was a Rokugani traditional ritual influenced by the teachings of Shinsei and incorporated many of its basic principles in the simplistic, yet elegant, motions that made up the ceremony.

Creation Edit

Cha-no-yu was created by Doji Konishiko, whose sense of a unified nation led her to break common segregations of class and social standing, and created a single form of tea-serving for nobility and heimin alike. She believed that the people would be equal and free from their social positions once they entered in the ceremony. [1] What Konishiko began was finished by her brother Doji Nio after the Day of Thunder. He codified the tea ceremony in a written treatise and demonstrated his revised version of the ceremony before the Imperial Court of Hantei Genji. [2]

Tea Master Edit

The most formal ceremony, known as the shugo-no-chaji, was conventionally practiced by a skilled practioner, the teisyu. [1] He was usually of the samurai caste (though geisha were also trained in the arts), the full ritual might take anything from an hour to four hours and was said to bring clarity to the mind and strength to weary limbs. A short tea ceremony was also referred to, albeit less commonly, as chakai (茶会, literally tea meeting).

While the focus was naturally on the preparation and supping of the tea, a practioner needs to be familiar with the production and types of tea, the proper way to wear a kimono while in the ceremony, the correct posturing and motions through various different parts of the ceremony and so on: a full study of chado, or the way of the tea ceremony, may take a full lifetime to properly appreciate. Even to participate in the ceremony itself required knowledge of the ceremony and phrased expected of guests, the correct way to take tea and general deportment in the tea room.

The RitualEdit

Master of the Tea Ceremony 2

Tea Ceremony

Before the ceremony began in a garden set aside for such purposes, all participants, the higuests guests, or Sou-kyaku, and the lowest guest, or Otsume, were greeted by the host at a gate known as the cyu-mon, which led to the garden in order of status. They ritually purified themselves by washing their hands and rinsing their mouths from a stone basin of water, and continued to the tea hut, or seki-iri. [3]

Guests were sometimes served a light simple meal consisting of light rice and fish meals, followed by sake. [4]

Serving the tea Edit

After the meal the teisyu began the syozumi-temae, or tea ceremony proper. He burned incense and invited the guests to look at the tea container over the coals. [4]

Each utensil, including the tea bowl, whisk and tea scoop, was cleansed in the presence of the guests in a precise order and using prescribed motions. The utensils were then placed in an exact arrangement according to the ritual being performed. When done, the host would then place a measured amount of green tea powder in the bowl and add the appropriate amount of hot water, again using the same prescribed ritualistic motions. [5]

Conversation, if any, was kept to a minimum throughout the whole of the ceremony. The first bowl was served to the guests in order of prestiege and status, starting with the guest of highest rank and proceeding downwards. He rotated the bowl to avoid drinking from its front, took a sip, murmured the prescribed phrase and then took two or three more sips before wiping the rim, rotating the bowl to its original position and then passing it to the next guest with a bow. This continued until all had taken tea from the same bowl, and the bowl was returned to the host. [citation needed]

After all guests had taken tea, the host cleaned the utensils in preperation for putting them away. It was traditional for the guest of honor to request that the host allowed the guests to examine the utensils, and each guest in turn examined and admired each item. The host then collected the utensils, and the guests left the tea house. [6]

At last, small cakes were given, known as huchidaka, and after they were eaten, all participants rose and bowed, leaving the tea hut one by one in the order in which they came in. [4]

Types of TeaEdit

The tea served was almost always green tea, matcha, [7] dried in powder form and whisked to perfection so that the flavor and aroma would suffuse the tea in equal porportions. If koicha, or thick tea, is served, it was common for the host to follow up with usucha, or thin tea.

See also Edit

Tea Ceremony 3

Tea Ceremony

External Links Edit


  1. 1.0 1.1 Winter Court: Kyuden Seppun, p. 56
  2. Sword and Fan, p. 137
  3. Winter Court: Kyuden Seppun, pp. 56-57
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Winter Court: Kyuden Seppun, p. 57
  5. Sword and Fan, p. 138
  6. Sword and Fan, p. 139
  7. GM's Survival Guide, p. 27

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