The Five Theories of the Japanese tea ceremony

Sensho Tanaka sought to utilize and further develop the cultural tradition of the Japanese tea ceremony in the modern society and to reform the means of succession. After studying the arts and conventions of established schools, he came to have his own ideas and concepts, that he thought, were suitable to the new era.

Finally, in 1898 he established the Dai Nihon Chado Gakkai and at the same time made his own ideas and concepts public through the publication of three volumes of Chado-Kogi.

Here, these ideas and concepts of Sensho will be introduced and further explained.

theory of the japanese tea ceremony
1. Theory of the origin of the Japanese tea ceremony
2. Zen theory for the Japanese tea ceremony
3. Etiquette theory for the Japanese tea ceremony
4. Seven-point theory of the Japanese tea ceremony
5. Theory of flower co-ordination for the Japanese tea ceremony



1. Theory of the origin of the Japanese tea ceremony

Sensho lamented the tendency clearly present in the world of the Japanese tea ceremony that one school spoke ill of others since each school falsely believed that it was the only true school. He suggested that the formal style each school maintained was not more important than the constant search for what the founder of each school thought at the time of their creation of such styles and formalities.

However, there still were those who would never abandon their narrow concepts of school righteousness. Sensho explained to them that at the time of the birth of the Japanese tea ceremony there were no such things as schools, and thus proposed them to change their consciousness.

Today the Dai Nihon Chado Gakkai has certainly established a unique system of the Japanese tea ceremony resulting from the idea , the efforts, and the belief of Sensho. But, the Dai Nihon Chado Gakkai always reminds its members of not falling into the wrong special-school consciousness, and will continuously endeavor to preserve and maintain Sensho’s creed on the Japanese tea ceremony.

2. Zen theory for the Japanese tea ceremony

Sensho experienced by himself the possibility of attaining the state of consciousness equal to that which is acquired in Zen meditation. He proposed that this state of consciousness should be one of the main goals of practicing a training of Temae. He believed that Temae would be a good chance for anyone to look at his inner self and it would thus enable him to understand and enjoy the spiritual aspects of the Japanese tea ceremony.

3. Etiquette theory for the Japanese tea ceremony

Sensho developed his philosophy of courtesy and manners based on Confucius’s book, Rai-Ki. In this he emphasized the manners of the Japanese tea ceremony as the one of the products in human culture, not as the mere way of greeting or means of smoothing human relationships.

Sensho believed that the Japanese tea ceremony would make refining one’s personality and sense of morality possible and would have this as one of its main goals.

4. Seven-point theory of the Japanese tea ceremony

Sensho found there were seven important elements in all the motions in making and serving tea. These seven elements, Sensho found, were common in other traditional arts, such as dancing, Noh and even Kabuki. When Sensho opened the door of secrecy as he did for the first time at his lecture meetings in 1915, these seven elements became the guide-line for better achievement in the Japanese tea ceremony.

These elements are called “Tencha Shichi Yo”
(Tencha: making and serving tea, Shichi: seven, Yo: element).

seven elements of the japanese tea ceremony
1.Established positioning
2. Body formation
3. Carriage
4. Continuity in motion
5. Tempo
6. Strength of body and limbs
7. Suitable nobility

5. Theory of flower coordination for the Japanese tea ceremony

Flowers are an important factor in the Japanese tea ceremony. They are generally accepted as the symbol of the season.

In the book, Chabana-Kogiroku (lectures on flowers for the Japanese tea ceremony) published in 1927, Sensho explained that the balance between flowers and its vase are the first to note, and that the height, the inclination and the width should be noticed next. He stressed that flower decoration in the Japanese tea ceremony is quite different from the traditional so-called flower arrangement in which the technique in arranging flowers is more cherished and the objective is to appreciate total beauty. This is the Sensho’s concept of the importance of balance as its basic principle in teaching Chabana-coordination.

 
 

Site Search

Japanese Tea Ceremony Books

Links