History Of Tea In Japan And The Japanese Tea Ceremony

3475 words - 14 pages

According to Brown, tea is classified among the most significant non-alcoholic beverage across the globe. It has gained fame as a result of its benefits. Tea is an inclusive aspect of the daily life of the Japanese individual attributable to its ceremonial and ritual characteristics. It has been treated as a cultural beverage and consumed in a refined atmosphere. Tea drinking in Japan has undergone refinement under the support of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa. He was the regarded as the first ruler-patron of the tea ceremony. Since historical times, tea was incorporated as an element of an independent secular ceremony. Over the past 5,000 years, the Japan have consumed green tree which acts as a beverage and a medicine (121). This paper focuses on tea in Japan, with various subtopics and its relevance among the Zen.

History of Tea
According to De Bary, Keen, and Tanabe, the history of tea in Japan dates back to the early Heian period, after it was introduced by monks including Kukai and Saicho. In 815, Emperor Saga permitted the production of tea in several provinces of Japan. During this period, tea drinking was normally admired and adopted by two elite classes in Japan. First, the nobles at the emperor’s court who copied their Chinese counterparts. They commended the tea’s taste and the stylish methods of its preparation and service. Second, the monks, in Buddhist temples valued tea as a result of its medicinal value (388). Hara asserts that the Chinese were responsible for introducing tea in Japan, probably during the eighth century. In the early 7th century, Japanese monks travelled to China for educational purposes of studying Buddhism. The Chan School, which was referred to as Zen in Japan, incorporated extensive meditation sessions. The Buddhist monks in Japan formed the Zen sect which incorporated Ch’an teachings pertaining enlighten. This caused the Japanese monks to learn on how to drink tea which was utilized as a medicinal beverage, so as to remain alert while meditation. Hence, tea was highly consumed by the Buddhist priest to awaken them and to ease them of their physical fatigue (388). De Bary points that during the 12th-13th centuries, resurgence occurred with tea when Buddhist priest returned to Japan after their studies. They came back with tea seeds and planted them in numerous areas of the country. Japanese priest, Eisai and pioneer of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism is particularly known for introducing tea seeds which are still grown until today. Eisai also returned with unfermented, powdered green tea to Japan (known as matcha in Japanese). This caused Eisai to put in writing the first book on tea and underline on his experience, beliefs, as well as the virtue of drinking tea. Tea was prepared by dipping fermented leaves in hot water. Tea drinking extended across Japan and was not only drunk by priest and religious orders, but also by the ordinary people. In the early medieval age, tea was consumed as a beverage for...

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