Tea Ceremony – The Quintessence Of Japan

2013 words - 8 pages

Tea Ceremony - The Quintessence of Japan"The tea ceremony requires years of training and practice ... yet the whole of this art, as to its detail, signifies no more than the making and serving of a cup of tea. The supremely important matter is that the act be performed in the most perfect, most polite, most graceful, most charming manner possible." (Hearn). This is a share from Lafcadio Hearn, who is an international writer, about the unique style of Japanese tea ceremony. Japaneses can absolutely consider tea ceremony as their honorable culture because of its long-standing history, its special meanings to Japanese, and its assertive utensils.Japanese tea ceremony is a choreographic ritual of preparing and serving Japanese green tea. It is also called The Way of Tea in English. In Japanese, it is called Chanoyu, Chado, or Ocha. The whole process is not about drinking tea, but is about aesthetics. There are two main types of Japanese tea ceremony: the thin tea (usucha) which accompanies with only confections, and the thick tea (koicha) which accompanies with full-course meals (Introducing). Japanese tea ceremony is extremely sophisticated in its process, but the general process can briefly include: boiling a pot of water, serving sweets to guests before the tea, mixing powdered bitter green tea (matcha) with hot water, serving tea to guests, collecting utensils and taking the guests to leave (The Japanese Full). During this process, the host and guests must follow a lot of rules or forms of etiquette in order to satisfy the aesthetic requirements of Japanese tea ceremony. The host has to make satisfying bowl of tea, lay the charcoal so that the water boils efficiently, provide a sense of warmth in the winter as well as coolness in the summer, arrange the flowers properly, and act with almost consideration toward guests (History). On the other hand, the guests have to drink the entire portion of tea, turn the tea bowl slightly from the side if they do not want to drink more, compliment their host with sincerity, and call or write a note of thanks to express their appreciation after two or three days (Rules of Etiquette). Japanese tea ceremony rules have been absorbed so deeply into Japanese for a long time that not only they do not feel restrained, but they also consider these rules as an essential part of their spiritual life.The history of tea drinking in Japan began in the early of the ninth century. Tea was taken by two Japanese Buddhist monks named Saicho and Kukaion from their return from China. In 1191, a priest named Eisai popularized matcha, which was known as the powdered green tea, in Japan. After that, tea trees were first planted in Kyoto by Kohken, who was another Buddhist monk. By the thirteenth century, samurai warriors began preparing and drinking matcha as they adopted Zen Buddhism, and the foundation of the tea ceremony were laid. In the sixteenth century, tea ceremony spread to all levels of Japanese society. In 1738, Soen...

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