茶の湯 in サンフランシスコ ・ Japanese Tea Ceremony を San Franciscoで

表千家四方社中の茶の湯ブログ Japanese Tea Ceremony Blog for Shikata Shachu – Omotesenke

Leave a comment

北加利休忌・Rikyu-ki in Northern California

利休 – 長谷川等伯画/春屋 宗園讃
Rikyu – Painting by To’uhaku Hasegawa/Calligraphy by So’u’en Shun’oku
著作権保護期間満了画像・Image in Public Domain

On February 28, 1591, Rikyu committed ritual suicide by the order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.  Tea practitioners today memorialize his passing by dedicating tea to him.  It is known as Rikyuki.


Omotesenke D*monka’i in Northern California held its Rikyuki tea event on March 15, 2015 at the “Rinwa-ken” tea room on the third floor of the Hokubei Kaikan in San Francisco Japantown.


The memorial tea (chato’u) was followed by mawaribana and two sessions of usucha.


Leave a comment

別れの句と菅丞相・Farewell Poem and Michizane


道真の怨霊・Michizane’s Angry Spirit

from Illustrated Legends of the Kitano Shrine [Japan]

Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC) Icon
© The Metropolitan Museum of Art



On February 14, 1591 Hideyoshi banished Rikyu from Kyoto to Sakai (Rikyu’s hometown).  On that occasion, Rikyu is believed to have sent a poem to his daughter: “Rikyu is a fortunate man, knowing he will become Kansho’ujo’u“. Kansho’ujo’u refers to Sugawara-no-Michizane, who suffered banishment for a crime he had not committed.  (This poem is not a so-called “death poem.”)


Sugawara-no-Michizane (845-903) rose to the rank of the Minister of the Right under Emperor Da’igo.  However, due to scheming of the Minister of the Left, Fujiwara-no-Tokihira, he was banished to Daza’ifu (in today’s Fukuoka on the island of Kyushu) where he subsequently died.


After the death of Sugawara-no-Michizane, Kyoto was plagued with numerous mysterious events.  First, Fujiwara-no-Tokihira died at the young age of 39.  And Emperor Da’igo’s son and grandson died of illness in close succession.  In 930 a lightening struck the Se’iryo’u-den Hall of the Imperial Palace, and many high-ranking officials of the court died or were injured.  Emperor Da’igo himself, who witnessed this event, fell ill and passed away three months later.


It is said that, because of the lightening incident at the Se’iryo’u-den Hall, people started associating Michizane’s angry spirit with the God of Lightening (Ra’ijin).  In the Kitano district of Kyoto, the Heavenly God of Fire and Lightening (Kara’i Tenjin) was being worshiped at the time.  A new shrine, Kitano Ten’mangu’u, was built there in an attempt to appease Michizane’s anger.  This is how Michizane became to be worshiped as “Tenjin” (Heavenly God).  Because Michizane was a renowned scholar and poet during his life, “Tenjin” became to be worshiped as a god of scholarship.


Rikyu read that poem two weeks before he was ordered to commit suicide.  What was in his mind that prompted him to compare his situation to that of Michizane’s?  Did he feel some kinship with Michizane who fell victim to slander to no fault of his own?  Or did he foretell his pending death and hope that his honor would be restored after his death?

Unidentified artist. Illustrated Legends of the Kitano Shrine [Japan]
(25.224) In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History . New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/25.224. (December 2013)


【About Michizane】

The Revenge of Michizane’s Angre Spirit


Leave a comment

星光庵でハワイ支部席・Hawaii Chapter’s Tea at Seiko’u-an


The 60th anniversary tea gathering hosted by the Omotesenke Hawaii Chapter was held at the “Seiko’u-an” tea house.  “Seiko’u” means “starlight.”


This tea house has three rooms for Japanese tea ceremony practice.  The original building was a free-standing tea house presented to the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce in 1960.  It was then redesigned and rebuilt at its present site on the 4th floor of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii in Honolulu.


A seashell was used as hana’ire to decorate the alcove with native Hawaiian flowers.  Yo’ukan made of taro roots was served as sweets.  We all enjoyed Hawaiian hospitality by the chapter members.  (For details, please refer to kaiki.)