Notes on the Practice of Chanoyu — a Short Introduction for People Without Access to a Teacher (3 - Rikyū’s Seven Lines, and Rikyū’s List of Thirty-five Disagreeable Things)

I.  Introduction.

     There are two well-known lists by Rikyū with which every beginner   Unfortunately, in the modern world, many teachers (and even Iemoto) appear never to have heard of these teachings.should be familiar    the Rikyū Shichi ka Jō [利休七箇條]¹, or Seven Lines of Rikyū, and Rikyū Sanjū-go (ka) Jō Ken-ki [利休三十五(箇)條嫌忌]², or Rikyū’s 35 Lines of Disagreeable Things.  I posted these lists several months ago, but there is no harm in repeating them here.


¹This short text is also known by the alternate name of Rikyū Shichi Soku [利休七則], or Seven Rules of Rikyū.  The Rikyū Daijiten [利休大事典] uses this name, while Suzuki Kei-ichi uses the name given above in his Sen no Rikyū Zen-shu [千利休全集]; the text translated below is taken from the Sen no Rikyū Zen-shu.  (Suzuki states that he inspected an original Rikyū manuscript of this document, hence his text is definitive.)

²This document is sometimes referred to as the Rikyū Sanjū-go ka Jō Ken-ki no Yushi [利休居士三十五ヶ條の嫌忌の諭示].  Yushi [諭示] means an official suggestion or recommendation, or instructions to a subordinate (i.e., to someone lower in rank or standing than the author of the document).  The version translated below is that given in the Rikyū Daijiten [利休大事典] (variant texts are known, but the differences are primarily orthographic in nature:  the text of only one line — Line #20 — can be found to differ greatly between the different versions of this document).

     In fact, the list contains 36 points, two of which are therefore somewhat illogically combined into one (in the version given below, the line containing two points is #7:  人事いう下げ巾着, which means discussing personal affairs [人事いう], and wearing a drawstring-purse dangling from ones obi [下げ巾着]; elsewhere, two other lines are combined into one, always in order to give a total of 35 lines).

[Two contemporaneous sketches of chabana created by Rikyū, representative of arrangements in his style:  above, a hanging arrangement of yabu-tsubaki (藪椿), a red-flowered wild camellia, in an ichi-jū-giri; below, kōbone (河骨), the yellow-flowered spadderdock, which should always be placed on the floor of the toko;]

II.  Rikyū Shichi ka Jō [利休七箇條]:  the Seven Lines of Rikyū.

(1) Concerning the flowers, they should be like natural flowers [花は野の花のやうに].

     According to Nishibori Ichizō [西堀一三, 1903~1970], this line refers primarily to the orientation of the flowers in the tokonoma — that is to say, flowers that we see in nature at or above eye level should be arranged in a kake-hanaire [掛花入] suspended on the back wall (or on the bokuseki-mado) of the toko, while those that occur naturally below eye level should be arranged in an oki-hanaire [置花入] placed on an usuita on the floor of the toko¹.  (Naturally, as Oribe pointed out, ground-dwelling plants can be found growing on the sides of embankments, and as we walk on higher ground trees can be seen blooming below us at a lower altitude, so we should not simplify things by saying that tree-flowers should be hung and herbaceous flowers should be arranged on the floor of the toko; but we must never make the mistake of arranging any flower in a situation in which it can not be encountered in nature, such as hanging a pond-dwelling flower like the bright yellow kōbone [河骨], or spadderdock, in which Rikyū took so much delight, on the wall or in the window.)

(2) With respect to the charcoal, so that it boils and maintains the kama (to the end of the gathering) [炭は湯の沸くやうに].

     As stated in the Hundred Poems states, an arrangement of charcoal that heats the kama efficiently and keeps it boiling to the end of the service of tea is  what is meant by the idea of sumi for the tearoom.  This, and nothing more.

(3) In summer, coolness [夏は涼しく].

     This does not mean splashing water all over the place, dumping a tray of ice-cubes in the tsukubai, or using crystal vessels as the mizusashi and chawan to suggest ice, or any of the other rather childish tricks that people have come up with in recent years. 

     It does mean doing things like soaking the sudare in water so that the air blowing through them is cooled, growing well-watered morning-glory vines on cords suspended from the eves on the sunny side of the compound, refraining from putting the fire into the furo² until after the guests enter, and doing whatever else the host can think of to keep the guests from noticing the heat.  The best way to really understand this line is to study the old kaiki and see what the masters did to effect a feeling of coolness even during the hottest time of th eyear.

(4) It should be warm in winter [冬を暖かに].

     During the season of the ro, the fire should be laid at dawn, and during the sho-za the windows should be closed with paper covers to keep the lingering heat in the room until the kama returns to a boil again.  Then, during the nakadachi, the covers over the shitaji-mado should be removed so that the room will not overheat³. 

     Also the chawan should be deep so the tea will not cool, and the host should not open the mizusashi (to cool the kama) until after koicha has been served.  These things not only keep the room warm, but make the guests feel warm just by noticing them.

(5) Arrive earlier than the appointed time [刻限は早めに].

     It is better for the guests to arrive early and then take a short walk around the neighborhood if the gate is not yet open to receive them, rather than come late and possibly ruin the host’s plans.  As Rikyū said, a masterful host is one who carries things through to the end without wasting charcoal, so that the boiling of the kama begins to decline (but not fail) as the guests are leaving the room at the end of the go-za.  If they are late, they may throw off the timing of even the most experienced host.

     On the other hand, if the guests arrive before the host is ready to receive them, they should not impose on him, make demands even for accommodation, or do anything that will distract him from his preparations.  This is as important as arriving early (and the guests must constantly bear in mind that they are early, and so not expect that the host will move things up to suit them just because they have arrived before the announced time).  They should wait patiently and serenely, and respond to the host’s invitation to enter the room as if they had just that moment coincidentally walked in off of the street, without having waited at all.  This is the deep meaning of this admonition, because it is this attitude that will help to insure the success of the gathering.

(6) Even when it is not falling, one should think about what to do if it rains [降らずとも雨の用意].

     Preparing to receive ones guests should be done fully, without stinting or cutting corners.  As Rikyū said time and time again, it is never wrong to be careful.  Preparing for rain when it shows no sign of raining is what is meant by being careful.

(7) Be considerate to ones fellow guests [相客に心をつけよ].

     Even though the gathering is planned for and around the shōkyaku, even though he is effectively the guest of honor (and the other guests are there just to keep him from becoming lonely, and assist him if need be) neither he, nor anyone else, should ever forget that they are all guests equally.  At a gathering there is the host and there is the guest; at a gathering there is neither host nor guest:  the pine-covered mountain does as host, the bright moon comes as guest — because this is the result of karma, there is no thought of holding fast or letting go, of attraction or rejection⁴….


¹What it does not say (again, according to Nishibori Sensei — who was the great scholar of the co-evolution of chabana and ikebana, as well as on the student-teacher relationship between the first Ike-no-bō Sōkō and Sen no Rikyū)  is that only wild flowers — meaning flowers collected in the wilds (as opposed to even the same species that has been cultivated in the garden) — may be used in the chaseki.  In the days of Jōō and Rikyū most (if not all) of the flowers used in the tearoom were in fact grown in the chajin's garden (or the garden of a friend), even if they were technically wild flowers (both Sakai and Hakata were walled city-states during this period, with no wild-lands incorporated into the very limited space available for residences inside, and often only limited access to the land outside the walls:  transporting flowers from outside the walls would have been difficult, and likely result in a handful of wilting or dead weeds — and, according to the Hundred Poems, the practice of transporting flowers some distance from the mountains was actually discouraged by Jōō and Rikyū). 

     Wild camellias, in particular, come in red (the single-flowering yabu-tsubaki [藪椿]).  White, and the even more highly-prized usu-iro [薄色], or pale pink, cultivars, were found only in gardens (new varieties often arising from hybridization occurring between the plants grown in shrubberies along the paths that lead up to the temples, from seeds that fell between the plants and germinated in situ:*).
*When Sōtan records that he received a camellia from one of the monks at the Daitoku-ji, what he is saying is that the monk sent him a cutting of the plant — with the flower attached to show what it was — with the intent that Sōtan plant it in his garden and cultivate the flowers himself.  That Sōtan displayed the flower first in his tokonoma was to do honor to the monk and the beauty of the flower before subsequently putting it out in his garden.  Sōtan’s garden, even in the days before he rose to prominence, was much more extensive than just the path that lead from the street to to the tearoom.

²In summer, Rikyū liked to receive the guests in a room in which the full set of washed charcoal was already arranged in the furo, with the hibashi resting on the shiki-ita, but without any fire.  After the exchange of greetings, he brought out a haiki of shimeshi-bai in which the glowing shita-bi was arranged, and put this into the furo.  Taking the haiki back to the katte, he returned with the dripping-wet small unryū-gama, that he placed on top of the now kindling fire….

     On one occasion just after the end of the rainy season when it was simply too hot to sit indoors, Rikyū hosted a gathering in a boat beached on the bank of a fast-flowing mountain river.  After the guests took their seats, Rikyū “loaded the hull” by adding the fire to the pre-arranged charcoal and then “lifted the anchor” to begin the voyage that was this gathering — the “anchor” was his small unryū-gama (with the lid sealed on with a paper tape dipped in rice paste so the kama would not overfill with water — that had been submerged in the stream with kan and tsuru all attached to the chain.  Putting the kama on a ro-like sunken hearth in the middle of the boat, Rikyū made tea using the stream itself as both mizusashi and koboshi….  Ultimately, the best way to learn what this line means is by studying Rikyū’s kaiki, the records of gatherings that he hosted in the hot days that follow the rainy season.

³This is a side of the matter that is often overlooked by many modern people (since they are not familiar with the use of charcoal for heat).  The room should be comfortable, but not overly hot — so that the host and guests begin to perspire, and the guests begin to feel lethargic or sleepy.

⁴青山作主明月來客 愚縁即應了無疎親.  See the post entitled The Dew on the Chabana.


[The single character myō [妙], “wonderous,” written by Sen no Rikyū.]

III.  Rikyū Sanjū-go Jō Ken-ki [利休三十五條嫌忌]:  Rikyū’s Thirty-five Lines of Disagreeable Things

A.  Carrying objects¹

(1) The sumitori and the mizusashi:  carrying them as if they were boxes [炭斗水指両箱持]

     Holding these things with the fingers spread and/or close to the body (as if carrying a heavy box).

(2) The chaire and the chawan:  carrying them as if they were balanced on a scale [茶入茶碗天秤持].

     That is, the two are carried side by side as if resting on a tray.  Rather, one should be a little higher, and one a little lower.

B.  Personal deportment in the tearoom

(3) While sitting, appearing to be floating on your buttocks [坐するに浮き尻].

     Rocking from side to side (when your legs hurt) like a boat floating at anchor and swaying with the swell.

(4) Sniffling [鼻啜り].

     If you need to blow your nose, use your kaishi (which was also called hana-gami [鼻紙], nose-paper, in the days of Jōō and Rikyū); don’t sit and sniffle.

(5) Wearing a self-conceited expression [われこそ顔].

     Ware-koso [我こそ] means thinking only about oneself, hence wearing an expression of self-satisfaction or conceit.

(6) Speaking about (ones own) great achievements [功名話].

     Telling about ones fame and achievements, especially when contrasting yourself with the host or others present at the gathering.

(7) Discussing personal affairs, and having a drawstring-purse dangling from ones obi [人事いう下げ巾着].

     “Personal affairs” generally means financial matters; wearing a coin-purse dangling from ones belt smacks of affluence.

(8) Acting lethargic, or seeming to be sleepy [寢むら]. 

     Particularly when nothing exciting is going on (such as when the host or one of the guests is telling a story), everyone should be attentive and never let their attention lapse (or, worse yet, yawn).

C.  Matters connected with the hishaku

(9) Empty (hi)shaku [から杓]

     Kara [] means empty.  Holding and moving the hishaku with the mouth of the cup inverted.

(10) Dead (hi)shaku [死杓].

     Holding the hishaku so that the cup dangles downward, like a wilting flower.

(11) Oil (hi)shaku [油杓].

     Raising and lowering the hishaku above the mouth of the kama (usually to make a drop of water fall off), like an oil-seller demonstrating the purity of his oil.

(12) Striking with the (hi)shaku [打杓].

     Deliberately (or accidentally) hitting the futaoki or the mouth of the kama with the hishaku so that a click is heard.

     Rikyū held that the weakest part of the hishaku is the place where the handle is inserted into the cup, and the host should take every care to prevent its being damaged (since it may then leak), and striking it hard against something is the easiest way to damage the join.  (Dropping the handle onto the mat so that it bounces up and down several times is equally dangerous, and Rikyū said that this also should never be done.)

D.  Matters connected with ones temae

(13) Spreading out the hand (so that it resembles a) ginger-root [生姜手].

     The root of a ginger is a large rhizome with buds branching off on the sides.  Here the reference is to holding the fingers out and spread apart.  The fingers should always be kept together unless the action one is performing requires otherwise.

(14) Scratching the (bottom of the) chawan (with the tip of the chashaku or the chasen) [き茶碗].

     When the host spreads the tea out across the bottom of the chawan he should do it gently, not as if writing on the bottom of the bowl or scratching an itch with an audible sound. 

     Likewise, when making tea, whereas it is necessary for the chasen to touch the bottom (or a lump of matcha may remain in the middle of the cha-damari), as in the case of the chashaku it should make contact gently, and always inaudibly.  The host should not seem to be scouring the bottom of the bowl with the tines of the chasen.

(15) Rubbing the foot of the chawan (against the tatami) [足すり茶碗].

     When moving the chawan (or anything else that is moved around during the temae, like the koboshi or the sumi-tori) from place to place the host should pick it up and then put it down, not slide it along the surface of the mat with a scratching sound.

     Even more frequently than is the case with the chawan, many are guilty of this fault when moving the koboshi backward at the end of the temae.  Sometimes it can be heard, but even if not, it is still wrong to do.

(16) (Holding) the chawan (unsupported) on the palm of the hand [手かい茶碗].

     When resting on the palm of the hand, the chawan should always be supported by the other hand.

(17) (Holding the) chawan (as if it is) wearing a cap [帽子着茶碗].

     This means picking up the chawan from above.  Especially when it has a narrow mouth (like the tsutsu-chawan frequently used in the coldest season of the year), the temptation is great to carry it this way.  It is, however, wrong.  The chawan should always be held from the side.

(18) (Placing) the chakin (on the) tsumami [つまみ茶巾].

     In Rikyū’s temae, if the kama was boiling strongly (and so the lid would be very hot), the lid was sometimes removed by holding the tsumami [摘み], the knob or handle, with the chakin, and some people just removed their hand and left the chakin draped over the tsumami until it was time to close the lid of the kama again.  However, this is wrong.  It should be picked up and rested on the side of the tsumami toward the host (i.e., so the chakin is between the tsumami and the host’s body).  When it is time to close the lid, the chakin is placed once again over the tsumami and so the lid is picked up.

     Also, even if the chakin was not used when opening the lid, in the case of an especially small lid, the chakin should still be placed on the side of the tsumami toward the host, and not placed on top of the tsumami itself.

(19) Holding (things) like a crab [蟹挟み].

     This means pinching something (such as the lid of the kama) between the thumb and the other four fingers (acting as a single unit), the way a crab holds something between its pincers.  Rather, only as many fingers as necessary (two or three) should be involved, with the rest relaxed.

E.  Handling of the utensils

(20) A dangling hanaire [追掛け花入]²

     This means that the kake-hanaire dangles from the hook without touching the wall or pillar (usually the hook is placed so that the bottom of the hanaire touches the wall; if it fails to touch, the vase will be unstable and may spill when the flowers are inserted).

(21) A “weathered-wood” chasen [摺古木茶筅].

     Suri-furuki [摺古木] means an old piece of waste wood that has been weathered by the elements.  Rikyū uses this elaborate expression to mean a chasen that has seen better days.  When serving tea to ones guests, if at all possible the chasen should always be brand-new; but at least it should be clean (if it is otherwise undamaged the tines may be made fresh-looking by standing the stained end in a bleach solution for a couple of minutes — but be careful not to get the black threads wet with the solution or they may bleach as well) and in good repair.  A stained chasen with some of the tines broken off (suggesting that others are ready to break off when the tea is being made and lie in wait to choke the guests) should not be used.

(22) Dropping (the chasen) [さがり引].

     Dropping it with an audible clack against the rim of the chawan (the way some schools, following the practices of Sōtan and the machi-shū, actually teach the student to do deliberately even today).  Whenever it is put into the chawan, and particularly during the chasen-tōshi the chasen should be rested gently against the rim and the act should never be audible.

     As Rikyū said, again and again, being careful is never wrong, because if you get in the habit of handling insignificant utensils with care and conscientiousness, then you need have no fear when called upon to serve tea with treasured antiques.  It is the people who handle their practice utensils roughly (“because they are easy to replace” or who say that handling them this way is “appropriate”) who are the ones in danger of inflicting damage on precious pieces through habitual negligence.

(23) Lifting the chasen out while still kneading (the tea) [練り抜き茶筅].

     Another machi-shū practice that Rikyū disliked, but which subsequently entered the mainstream through Sōtan.  This refers to lifting the chasen out of the koicha mid-way through the kneading process (to check the consistency and texture of the tea).  Most schools try to hide this fact by also teaching the student to add more hot water to the bowl at this time, but the reason is still there.

     In fact, Rikyū said that, koicha or usucha, the host should add hot water to the bowl only once.  If he knows how to make good koicha, this will suffice; and if he is so inexperienced that he needs to check…then he should not presume to be serving koicha to guests in the first place. 

     Only people who love chanoyu and enjoy drinking koicha can make good koicha straight away and without fussing.  In Japan, these increasingly rare people are called “amateurs.”  The “professionals” do chanoyu not because they love it, but as their family business (or for some other reason, such as to appear well-bred, or as a vehicle for showing off their expensive tea utensils).  This frame of mind that holds love of the thing to be amateurish is what brought chanoyu to the sad state it has attained over the course of the Edo period and beyond.  And likely will continue unless a great change occurs — all but impossible, given the Iemoto system..

(24) Polishing the chashaku [みがき茶杓].

     This refers to people who pinch the chashaku hard and rub it again and again with the fukusa — as if polishing it.  Nevertheless, this does not mean that we should do as some Japanese teachers say and only pretend to be wiping it (because it is of course already clean).  Katachi-dake [形だけ] chanoyu, that only imitates the form (without any substance) is as wrong as doing things with an excess of zeal.  As the Buddha himself said, the middle course is always best.

(25) Scraping the chashaku [すり茶杓].

     This point is usually taken to refer to scratching the chashaku against the bottom of the chawan (and so is analogous with point #14), and this is correct, so far as it goes.  However, it also means not to scrape the chashaku against the inside of the chaire.

     In pre-modern times, chaire were usually not glazed on the inside (and the unglazed clay surface is not smooth), so rubbing the chashaku against the inside of the chaire will make a loud scraping sound.  And while a chaire that has been fully glazed inside — or a lacquered container — will not make this sound, the host should be careful not to fall into this habit in any case.  Rikyū wants us to focus on being careful, not just be wary of getting caught out in our carelessness.  This is his point.

F.  Ones posture when seated

(26) Sitting with an unstable posture [居合腰].

     Leaning backward so that our lower back rests against the wall, or leaning forward so that our shoulders are above or knees or even further forward, are the postures in question.  We should always sit so that our center of balance is located in our abdomen, below our navel.  This is the correct way to sit.

(27) Sitting with your buttocks toward (the host, or one of the other guests) [尻向き].

     If someone is seated behind you, it is best to sit on a diagonal, so that your buttocks are not pointed at him.

G.  When walking

(28) (Walking as if you are) kicking sand [砂蹴り].

     A shuffling gate, as if kicking ones way through sand.

(29) (Walking) as if you are a flying crow [飛び].

     Swinging the arms when walking, like a crow flying.

     Keep the arms still, and either pressed lightly against the lap or the thighs when you are not carrying anything.  (Both Rikyū and Oribe held that the fingers in either case should be curled, so that the inner surface of the fingers and palm will not come into contact with the clothing or anything else that may soil them).

(30) (Walking as if you had) stepped on grains of rice [米み].

     Picking up the feet, as if one accidentally stepped on a sharp stone that should not have been there — or fears that one will be there.  In the tearoom the feat should be kept near to the mat, advancing forward just above its surface, neither rubbing the mat, nor stepping along.

H.  When laying the charcoal

(31) Scratching the bottom ash [底かき灰].

     This means that neither the charcoal, nor the hibashi, should disturb the bottom of the hai-gata.  The charcoal should be lowered into place and not moved around afterward (where it will leave marks on the ash like footprints in the snow).  After one is done, the charcoal should appear to be floating gently on top of the ash.

(32) (A piece of charcoal) placed like the train (of a robe) [引すり挟み].

     This refers to a piece of charcoal that sticks outward from the bulk of the set, like the long train that was worn on top of a court robe, which trails behind the person when he or she walks. 

     Another way to say this is, as in the Hundred Poems, that the charcoal should not project beyond the ring formed by the legs of the gotoku.

(33) Pinching the gotoku [五徳挟み].

     The case where two pieces of charcoal “scissor” one of the legs of the gotoku — usually the kuda-zumi or eda-zumi, the longer pieces, but a careless host can make any of the pieces guilty.

(34) (Charcoal placed to form) a “T” [丁字].

     As in the Hundred Poems, this refers to two pieces that form a “T” by resting the end of one piece on top of the middle of the other.  Generally pieces of charcoal should touch only at the edge, rather than resting fully on top of another piece.

(35) (Pieces of charcoal placed so that they form) a “十” [十文字].

     A more exaggerated form of the previous case.  As above, pieces should generally not lie on top of other pieces.


¹I have added these subtitles (marked “A” to “H”) grouping the Lines into categories.  It seems that the subtitles help to make the lines easier to understand.  Remember, this is a list composed entirely of things that Rikyū disliked.

²One version of the Rikyū Sanjū-go Jō Ken-ki available on-line (the same list has been quoted by the authors of two different blogs, though without any sort of appended comments) has this point refer to a different object:  追掛け茶入.  In this case it would seem to mean not carrying the chaire on the palm of one hand without supporting it from the side with the other.  Oi-kake [追掛け], which literally means “to chase” something, refers to the supporting hand that “follows” the object supported on the other hand closely. 

     In the version given in point #20 oi-kake means something like repel — that is, hang away from the wall like a rock-climber repelling away from a cliff-face (though perhaps a tad less actively).

Notes on the Practice of Chanoyu — a Short Introduction for People Without Access to a Teacher (2 - Jōō’s Words of Advice for the Beginner)

The mind of the beginner is truly a wonderful thing.  It is like a piece of blank paper:  that can contain anything; it is untainted with prejudice.  We should strive to always maintain this kind of mind throughout our chanoyu career.  As the great monk Nan-quan Pu-yuan [南泉普願, 748~795; Nansen Fu-gan in Japanese] said, “ordinary mind¹ is the Way” [平常心是道].

     Recognizing the importance of this mental state, Jōō addressed it in the first eight verses in his Hundred Poems of Chanoyu², so there can be no better instruction than to look at this first grouping of poems for his advice on what the beginner should — and should not — do..

(1) In this Way, the questions of how to begin and what to think are matters for one’s own heart to resolve:  of oneself, for oneself, you must be your own teacher [其道に入らむとおもふ心こそ、我身ながらの師匠なりけれ].

     This poem is the first poem in Jōō’s original manuscript, and occupies the first position in every other version of the poems that I know of.  Because it states the most important truth.  The study of chanoyu is individualistic³:  what we get out of it depends entirely on our self.  A person who has as his goal penetrating to the heart of the matter will succeed; people whose sole purpose is securing a high menjō so they can catch a better husband will likely achieve their purpose as well.  But we must not confuse the one with the other, and make the second the teacher of the first.  Unfortunately, all too often this is the case in the modern tea world, so we should stop once again and reflect:  what are our goals.  Because only when we establish our priorities correctly will we be able to find what we seek.  As has been said many times and in many different places, “at the moment when the desire to enter the Way first arises, in that moment perfect enlightenment is already attained.”  Consider the meaning of this poem carefully in light of this profound statement.

(2) When learning, learn by observation.  And while yet learning, it is foolish for you to express an opinion that something [you see someone else do] is right or wrong [ならひつヽ見てこそ知るれ、習はずによしあしいふはおろかなりけり].

     Tea was originally learned in this manner:  the novice joined a group of practitioners centered around a master, and for the first several years his role consisted of attending gatherings hosted by the more advanced members (on a regular basis, perhaps one or two each month) as a middling guest, to participate as a guest, but more importantly to watch.  Therefore it is especially challenging to try to learn chanoyu by oneself, without access to people whose temae and arrangements one can take as their model (hence these notes can only go so far in helping the beginner who has no access to a teacher).  Yet while in the beginning stage, we must also be careful not to allow our opinions to become fixed, lest we go off on a tangent and so loose our footing.  Rather we should strive to remain open and willing to at least consider any option.  Yet at the same time, we must be always aware of the source of things that differ from that which we have learned.

(3) While performing this temae, you should not be concerned with ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, or distract your mind with thoughts of ‘I did [something I should not have done]’ or ‘I forgot to do [something I should have done]:’  one must be aware of the distinction [between practice sessions and the actual service of tea to ones guests] [ひと手まへ立つるうちには善惡の、わかちをしれよ有無の心を].

     Practice is practice, serving tea to ones guests is serving tea to ones guests.  We should not confuse the two.  When practicing, yes, we should be self-critical; but when serving guests, we should focus on those guests and allow the temae to flow on like water, without trying to back-step and correct something that we realize was a mistake.

(4) You must cast off all feelings of shame when seeking to learn about things from other people.  Rather, you should endeavor to learn in just this way — by asking about the fundamentals from those who are well informed [我をすて人に物とひ習ふこそ、のちは上手のもとゐ成けり].

     The business of the student is to learn.  He, therefore, should never be afraid to appear ignorant.  It is rather the person who hides his ignorance, who puts on an air of knowing everything, who is wrong.  Because it is only by showing what we do not know that the teacher will provide us with the missing piece of information that allows us to advance.  The know-it-all will remain forever at his lowly level because no hand will be extended to help him up.

(5) In your temae, if weakness is discarded, and you strive to perform only with strength, then from your manner that which is coarse and unrefined departs [手前をばよわみをわすれ唯つよく、このみ風そぐいやしくなせそ].

     If we resolve from the first to be diligent in even the most insignificant matter, to not let our hands (or our mind) fall into sloppy habits⁴, then we will truly make progress.

(6) While making tea, you should always act with quiet concentration.  The person who allows himself to become distracted by the things discussed between the guests is deserving of censure [手前とはうす茶に有りと聞くものを、麤相におもふ人はあやまり].

     While it were better if the guests maintained a sort of silence, they are human beings⁵ and can hardly be expected not to comment to each other.  But since this conversation is probably related to things that are happening in the gathering, it is better for the host to remain detached and concentrate his attention on the task at hand.  To do otherwise will probably result in bad koicha, and so the entire purpose of the gathering will be spoiled.

(7) You should resolve to learn from the dedicated practitioners, again and again imploring them to compassionately transmit to you the deepest secrets [心ざし深き人にはいくたびも、あはれみふかくなほぞをしゆる].

     We can not learn if we remain passive and never ask questions.  But at the same time, we should be mindful of those to whom our questions are addressed.  It is better to ask the wise man, as the saying goes, than to ask the fool, because the wise man will tell us the truth, while the murmurings of the fool will lead us astray.
(8) During the course of your study, you begin [by learning] the individual [motions], and then studies until the complete [form of the temae] is understood; and then you must go back again to [refine] those individual [motions in the context of the complete temae] [稽古とは一より習ひ十を知れ、十よりかへるもとの其一].

     We can not learn everything at once, whether we are speaking about learning chanoyu or how to play the piano.  With the piano, we start by learning to play the different scales; and in the case of chanoyu, we begin by studying what is known as wari-geiko⁷ — the way to handle the different sorts of utensils correctly.  First we practice these motions in isolation, and only later do we incorporate then into the flow of a temae.  Yet we must not leave it at that or what we do will be a series of disjointed and incoherent gestures.  Rather, once we are thoroughly comfortable with the order of the complete temae, we must go back and reperfect each individual motion again in the context of the whole temae⁸.

     And then, with respect to conversation appropriate to the tearoom, there is this well-known poem by the Muromachi period renga poet Shōhaku [肖柏, 1443-1527]⁹: 

My Buddha¹⁰, the treasures owned by the house next door, son-in-law, father-in-law, conflicts all over the world, and the merits and faults of others [我が佛隣の宝聟舅、天下の軍人の善悪].

     The person who is not inclined to gossip about such things is a person whose presence will enhance the serenity of the tearoom.

     Not only the beginner, but everyone involved with chanoyu would do well to keep Shōhaku’s words constantly in mind, and the teachings voiced above by Jōō.

¹Hei [] means flat and wide, neither rising up nor sinking down; neutral and unopinionated, and thus calm, and peaceful [] means common, ordinary, possessed of nothing special.  A mind like this is open and receiving, accepting and forgiving.  This is the mind we should harbor when we approach chanoyu.

²While the text of the original is not divided into sections, and while later copies (many inscribed by Rikyū*) do not necessarily preserve Jōō’s original order, most versions retain the first poems in their original position because these address the mind of the student intent on entering the Way of Tea, which necessarily is the foundation of ones practice.
*The indications are that Rikyū was writing from memory, rather than a hard copy of the poems.  As a result, the order — and sometimes even the poems included — differ from manuscript to manuscript.  In addition to a copy of Jōō’s original (which was presented by Jōō to his disciple Matsuya Hisamasa, and preserved in the Matsuya family archives), six or seven other versions of the collection are known to have come down to the present.

³There is nobody who ever embarks on the study of chanoyu for no reason whatsoever.  Yet we must recognize that this reason, whatever it is, necessarily colors our perception from the first.

     Fortunately, most people who begin their study from outside of the Japanese cultural sphere are spared some of the more callous reasons — such as to get a high menjō so the person can advance himself socially (through enhanced reputation, or marriage to someone of a higher status than the person’s birth would have entitled them), or to use chanoyu as a way of making money from which one must separate the taint of personal likes and dislikes†*.  A true passion will prove to be the greatest asset, but we must be careful to channel our energy properly and not waste it on unimportant and trivial issues.
*Unfortunately in Japan these are the more common reasons why a person begins the study of chanoyu

†Perhaps the reason the Japanese consider this lack of passion desirable is because such passive individuals are less likely to want to strike out on their own, to buck the system:  lacking any real interest, they are more willing to mindlessly follow their Iemoto — like sheep.

⁴As a simple example:  we are taught that when preparing the mizusashi to be carried, it should be filled to just 70% of its capacity.  However, we are also taught that the oki-mizusashi (the mizusashi displayed on the utensil mat, whether it is placed directly on the floor, or on some kind of tana) should be 90% full.

     The correct way to achieve this is by first carrying out the mizusashi filled to 70%, and put it carefully into position.  Then the host returns to to the mizuya and brings out a mizu-tsugi, and so adds the additional 20% of water to the mizusashi while it stands in situ.

     But that being said…most people usually fill it 90% full in the mizuya and then carry it out, keeping the 70% rule for situations like hakobi-temae (where the mizusashi is carried out at the beginning of the temae, after the guests are already in their seats*).

     No, there is really no big difference — we are not going to burn in hell if we carry a mizusashi filled to 90%, and if we are careful, we can even manage to do so without leaving a wet trail leading from the mizuya to the utensil mat!  But, yes, it is something that we should think about, here and now.  Carrying it out 70% full and then adding the additional 20% after it has been arranged on the utensil mat is the correct way to do it.  Lugging it out filled to capacity is lazy, sloppy.  It is a weakness, and in this poem Jōō urges us to abandon our weaknesses.

     We should ultimately realize that, though there are no rules that dictate our mizuya-goto [水屋事]† the way there are rules that govern our actions during a temae, we should approach the former with exactly the same sort of mind and focus that we give to the latter.  The presence of guests is — or, at least it should be — wholly irrelevant.  As the great renga poet Shinkei once said‡, it is the things that we do when no one else is present that are the true manifestations of our skills.  Chanoyu is a discipline, a Way.  Thus should we approach every single aspect of the thing — and if we sincerely endeavor to do so, if we perform each action with utmost sincerity even when no one else is present (or even expected), it is then that we will come to realize the truth that is inherent in all things.
*Yet here, too, such practices existed even in gokushin tea.  In the great san-shu gokushin [三種極眞] temae — where a celadon mizusashi was going to be used on the daisu rather than a bronze one — the ancient rule was that only bronze pieces can be displayed on the daisu.  So this celadon mizusashi had to be carried out and lifted onto the daisu after the guests were already seated.  It (according to the account found in the Nampō Roku) was filled to just 70% of its capacity when prepared in the mizuya, and then, after it had been carried out and placed on the daisu by the host, a mizu-tsugi was brought out from the katte and the mizusashi was filled to 90% before the eyes of the guests, and only then did the host begin his regular temae.  Again, this is why Rikyū says that we should be familiar with the doings related to the daisu first, because it is from them that we can deduce the precedents on which all of the wabi practices are based.

     If we begin by assuming a casual attitude toward even these seemingly unimportant things, we will never be able to arrive at a thorough understanding of the Way.

Mizuya-goto [水屋事] the preparations we undertake in the mizuya and katte.  All of those things that we do that the guests never see, the cleaning, the preparations.  If we approach these things as if they were also a kind of temae (which they are — temae means “what we are doing in front of our body with our hands”), we will not be found lacking when we come to serve tea to our guests.

‡Shinkei had retired to a hermitage for several years, and when he returned to the city a former associate commented that he feared that Shikei’s former abilities for creating renga must have deserted him due to his lack of participation in renga gatherings.  To which the master replied that the true renga is represented by those links which one composes in isolation.

⁵As the Buddha said, it is only from within the human condition that we can aspire to Buddhahood.  And though the Bodhisattva have attained their Buddhahood, rather than moving on to pari-nirbana, they prefer to remain in the human condition — because this human condition is the only significant reality, the only reality that is conscious of its own being, and so able to reflect on its purpose in the universe.  We must not, therefore, expect human beings to act other than human!

⁶Jōō’s recommendation that we seek out dedicated practitioners as our role models is interesting, because what he is telling us to do is partake of their passion for chanoyu, not just the correctness of their technique.  In Japan, it is unfortunate that the mark of the profession is precisely a lack of passion:  only amateurs are “allowed” to be so emotional, while the modern professional is supposed to be decidedly and deliberately dispassionate*.

     Nobody could ever make such a foolish claim about Jōō, or Rikyū, Oribe, or Dōan.  For them — and the chajin of their world — chanoyu was their life and their breath, their refuge and their recourse in those troubled times, their guiding light.  Jōō’s advice here is based on his experience of the truth:  only like begets like.
*This kind of attitude began to appear among the higher ranks of the tea masters only during the Edo period, and to my mind it sounds more like somebody was forced into being an Iemoto when he really hated chanoyu, because that was the family business; and when he was eventually caught out, he tried to turned his lack of enthusiasm into a virtue with this kind of idiotic sophistry.  Even after all these years, I fail to understand exactly how this idea is actually supposed to work!  (Oh, I know many “dispassionate” individuals in Japan who are professionally involved with chanoyu, but I honestly can not say that any of them are doing anything worthy of anyone’s admiration.  As this kind of person has taken over the tea world — the kind of person who relies wholly on antique boxes, hako-gaki, and purported denrai to assess the appropriateness of utensils, rather than the object’s inherent suitability to its purpose — the net result is that chanoyu has entered into a fatal decline from which I honestly have my doubts that it can ever really recover.)

Wari-geiko [割り稽古] means practicing the temae in parts or sections.  In other words, we learn how to fold the fukusa and the chakin, how to handle the chasen and the hishaku, how to perform chasen-tōshi, how to dry the chawan with the chakin, and so on. 

     Only after we know all of these things and can execute the individual actions properly should we attempt to joint them together into a complete temae

     But, of course, that first attempt at doing a whole temae will look unrefined, and the flow of our motions will be uneven and disjointed.  So we have to go back again and look at each individual motion in the context of the temae, and learn how to make our hand flow naturally from placing the cleaned chaire down on the mat, to our futokoro to take out the fukusa and open it on our left palm, to picking up the chashaku, wiping it, and resting it on the chaire without any pauses for thought or to reposition our hands, and when we have finished this to the satisfaction of our teacher, only then will we be ready to attempt to make tea for our guests.

⁸Yet as truly important as the concept expressed in Jōō’s poem is, many modern schools ignore it by perverting the meaning of this poem to address the business and control aspects of chanoyu — that after we finish studying all of their silly and often meaningless temae, even the teachers should go back, fork out more and more money, and start to study them all over again at the Summer and Winter special training sessions (augmented by the concept of “this year’s version” of these various and supposedly basic temae — this, by the way, is a complaint that many Japanese teachers have voiced to me over the years since this changing of the rules started to occur in the 1970s and 1980s).  In pre-modern days — when Iemoto used to concentrate their efforts on the study of chanoyu, rather than majoring in business management — when a student had truly mastered the rules, in the opinion of his teacher, he was dismissed to his own home, and invited to cultivate his own personal style of chanoyu there.

⁹His is also known variously as Botange [牡丹花, the epithet is also pronounced Botanka] Shōhaku, Yume-an [夢庵],  and Rokaken [弄花軒], among other noms de plume.

     He was the son of a high court noble (the Minister Naka-no-in Michiatsu [中院通淳, ?-1451), and a renowned poet, renga [連歌]* poet, and literary scholar (he authored a scholarly treatise on the Genji Monogatari known as Genji Monogatari Kiki-gaki [源氏物語聞書]) of the middle Muromachi period.

     This is one of his most widely-quoted poems — and has apparently been mentioned in the context of the proper attitude for the persons participating in a cha-kai since Jōō’s day.
*Renga [連歌] is usually translated “linked verse” but can also (perhaps more descriptively, at least in terms of the usual mode of practice)  be rendered “collaborative poetry” — because it is most commonly the product of a gathering of individuals usually called together for the express purpose of composing such a poem, often with a predetermined number of links and theme(s).

¹⁰Waga-hotoke [我が佛]:  meaning “the Buddha-form in which I place my faith” — in other words, my particular religious beliefs (or lack whereof).

Notes on the Practice of Chanoyu — a Short Introduction for People Without Access to a Teacher (1 - Initial Considerations and Preparations)

Though much of what follows in this and the subsequent posts has already been published in this blog before, I think it might be good to collect it all together here, as a sort of mini-reference book for the beginning student of chanoyu.

I.  Koicha versus usucha, and the focus of this series of posts

     In Japan (and so everywhere else), people usually commence their study of chanoyu by learning how to serve usucha¹ using a tray (a practice called ryaku-bon-date [略盆点] or bon-ryaku-temae [盆略点前] — both names are deliberate attempts to distance this kind of thing from bon-date [盆立; or, 盆点, as it is usually written today], which is one of the highest forms of temae where koicha is served using a meibutsu chaire resting on a chaire-bon).  I believe that this approach is wrong for two reasons: 

     First, chanoyu is — and has always been — all about the service of koichausucha is tea-flavored water, what you do with your left over koicha so it does not go to waste, and thus has no special appraisal associated with its flavor.  To concentrate on this practice (and the associated handling of the usucha-ki, which deviate from the proper use of the chaire and thus encourage the student to develop bad habits) especially in the beginning is problematic.

     Secondly, the abbreviate tray service causes the would-be host to loose sight of one of the most important elements of concern for both host and his guests in the traditional gathering:  the temperature of the hot water.  The preoccupation with this point on the part of everyone concerned was ultimately what drove Jōō to create the cha-kai in the first place (so that the guests as well as the host  could watch the development of the matsu-kaze beginning with cold water, so that the kama could be used at the moment when the water was ready²), hence to seem to minimize it (even in the beginning — because it is precisely in the earliest days of ones training that the habits of a lifetime are being formed) results in a lackadaisical attitude that (subconsciously) persists throughout ones whole career (and can be disastrously  drawn to the surface in situations like the ō-yose cha-kai when suddenly the demands of getting one group of guests fed their tea as quickly as possible so that the next group can be ushered in seems to trump this “trivial” concern — as I have heard it described by people involved in hosting such gatherings in Japan — over the presence or absence of a persistent matsu-kaze, which is largely hidden by the sound of tate-dashi, and coming and going of guests “anyway”).

     For this reason we will begin with a discussion of the service of koicha and the utensils and practices that relate to it, and talk about usucha as an afterthought.  Perhaps in this way we will be able to educate the next generation in the things that Jōō and  Rikyū and their followers thought were important.

II. Measurements.

     In this blog I stopped giving dimensions in centimeters or inches because this always introduces a certain degree of inaccuracy.  However since it is doubtful that most readers will have access to a traditional Japanese sun-shaku ruler (they are getting very hard to find even in Japan these days), I had better provide the reader with the appropriate conversion factors.  Note that the Japanese sun-shaku measurement should be written as a decimal, so “3-shaku 1-sun 5-bu"  would be written "3.15":

A. Metric:

(sun-shaku measurement) x 30.3 = centimeter measurement.  Thus 3-shaku 1-sun 5-bu is 3.15 x 30.3 = 95.445 or approximately 95.5 cm.

B. Inches:

(sun-shaku measurement) x 11.93³ = measurement in inches.  Therefore 3-shaku 1-sun 5-bu is 3.15 x 11.93 = 37.58 or approximately 37.6”.

◎ Note that it is important to be as accurate as possible (and the metric system is generally easier to use than inches due to the way the rulers are configured).

III. Developing the host’s sense of space.

     There are two reasons why Rikyū insisted that the student familiarize himself with the service of tea using the daisu before embarking on other his study of the simpler styles.  First, because it inculcates a sense of care in the student if he is handling great treasures that can not be replaced⁴.  But secondly, because it gives the student a sense of space which, when thoroughly internalized, allows him to perform correctly even in the most minimalistic of settings (just as someone well trained in playing the piano can do so without mistakes even in pitch darkness).

     It is, for all intents and purposes, impossible for people studying abroad to have access to a proper ko-shiki daisu [古式台子] and set of utensils, so this approach is out.  And while Rikyū advised people to count the me on the mat as a way to come to a similar understanding, the problem is that proper kyōma tatami [京間畳]⁵ are almost as difficult for people outside of Japan to acquire as a daisu (though the high-density styrofoam that forms the inside of the modern-made tatami is manufactured in 1-meter by 2-meter pieces, and the woven grass covers are larger than the requisite size as well, the makers always cut the styrofoam down to 90 cm x 180 cm, and then have to reattach 5 cm to the side and 10 cm to the end — and charge the customer for their time and bother — to achieve mats of this kyōma size). A similar problem exists with using felt mōsen as a floor covering:  while they can more easily be had in kyōma sized pieces, felt tends to shrink with age and exposure to cycles of humidity and dryness, so after a year or two they are no longer anywhere near the correct kyōma size.

     We can, however, manage to acquire much the same degree of sensitivity to the space of the temae-za by making a rather simple template which can be laid on the floor in front of our knees.   While any sort of paper or thin cardboard could be used, I have found florists fiber paper a good solution (since it is not affected by drops of water the way more traditional paper products are).

- Begin by cutting a piece of paper very carefully so it is 1-shaku 4-sun wide and 3-shaku 1-sun 5-bu long.  Mark off a 1-sun wide strip on both of the short ends (and color it black, if you wish), to represent the left and right heri

- Then, placing the paper so its long side is parallel to ones knee-line, measure off three 2-sun wide sections on the far side, and another on the near side.  The third section from the far edge may be colored in as shown:  this space is yū-yo [有余], not used during the temae, and nothing should ever be placed there⁶.

- The 2-sun wide section at the bottom of the sheet should be divided in half.  This line represents the middle of the mat in front of the daisu; utensils used for serving tea should be kept beyond this line.

- The 6-sun wide area between the three upper lines and the two lower ones is where the utensils are handled during the temae.  It relates to the lower half of the shiki-shi [敷紙]⁷.

- Now locate the vertical middle line of the paper, and draw a line on both sides of it so that the distance between them is 3-bu.  This represents the central of the three folds of the shiki-shi.

- Measure off 5-sun on both sides of this central 3-bu wide strip, and draw a line.  Then measure 3-bu more and draw a second line.  These represent the two outer folds of the shiki-shi.

- Then measure 5-sun more beyond the outer of these lines and make a single line on each side.  These lines represent the left and right edges of the shiki-shi.  The chaire, chashaku, and chawan always remain between these two lines during the preparation of tea.

-  Now measure a further 2-sun 5-bu from these two edge lines (in the direction of the closest heri) and draw another line:  these two lines are the mid-point in the spaces on both sides of the shiki-shi.  It is on these lines that the futaoki, and the chasen will be centered.

- Measure a distance of 1-shaku 5-sun from the right side⁸ of the piece of paper along the far edge of the yū-yo, and along the far edge of the paper as well, and cut away this part of the page.  After the shiki-ita on which the furo rests is positioned so it is 5-sun from the far wall, this paper template should be placed so that the left-front corner of the shiki-ita fits into this cut (as shown at the bottom of this post).

- Finally, mark the midpoint between the middle of the page and the left edge, and draw a line parallel to the edge of the page.  The mizusashi will be centered on this line (as is also shown in the sketch at the bottom of the post).


[The finished template should look like this.]

     The ko-ita [= shiki-ita], on which the furo rests is 9-sun 5-bu square..  The ko-ita is placed so that it is 4-sun 5-bu from the right heri of the mat (or 5-sun 5-bu from the right edge of the 3-shaku 1-sun 5-bu wide space that is being used as the utensil mat⁹) and 5-sun from the wall at the head of the mat.  Then the template should be fitted around the ko-ita so that the ko-ita touches the edges of the cut-out area as shown below:


     It might be helpful if a wall or a folding screen¹⁰ is situated on the left as well; but when the template is used, this is not strictly necessary.

     The mizusashi is then placed so that it is centered on the line that indicates the middle of the left half of the mat, as shown below.


     Note that if the mizusashi is wider at some point above the bottom, then it is the widest point that should touch the back edge of the template (and so it might be necessary for the bottom for the mizusashi to be moved some small distance away from the edge of the template).  The mizusashi must not project over the template even by a little:  this point is important to remember.


¹Usucha only became the mainstay of chanoyu in the early 20th century, when the fear arose that the hoard of young women being forced into studying (so they could angle for a better husband based on the menjō that they could present to the go-between) would complain to mommy and daddy that koicha made them sick to the stomach.  Thus, to avoid defections until force of habit* made it difficult for them to think otherwise, practice focused on the much more palatable usucha, to wash down the pretty (and yummy) higashi†.  (And the minimal requirements of bon-ryaku temae meant that the daughter of the house could soon make a nice bowl of usucha for daddy at home, with utensils that drained a minimal expenditure from the household accounts — again, until they were hooked on attending their regular tea lessons and it was too late, and then they “had” to have daddy buy a set of the much more costly furo-temae things so they could practice at home and not make a total fool of themselves at keiko with their new group of tea friends…since that would naturally bring dishonor on their home and parental upbringing in the process.)
*Chanoyu lessons became a sort of young ladies’ social club.  Once this mindset has become fixed, together with the peer-pressure that it exerts, escaping over such a trivial matter would be seen as too foolish to be believed, and also result in the loss of all of her new friends (since their mothers would never condone a continuing friendship with such a a rebellious little traitor).  Thus it was only necessary to make things as pleasant as possible at the beginning — until it was too late to change the pattern of their weekly life.

†Originally no kashi were served with usucha, since technically speaking every time kashi are eaten all of the guests have to troop out to the tsukubai to wash hands and mouths before drinking the new kind of tea with a cleansed palate.  Thus they were actually not necessary unless the blend of tea used for usucha differed from that of the koicha anyway (which in the early period was more the exception than the rule:  freshly ground tea was used for koicha, and left-over tea, often ground some days before, but from the same cha-tsubo and of the same blend, was used as usucha).

     In the old days nama-gashi (kashi made from mashed, boiled beans and sugar or other sweetener) were the proper kashi for chanoyu, and were served to the guests at the end of the sho-zaHigashi (in this context, originally things like senbei, unsweetened rice crackers, and dried seaweed) were used by wabi practitioners who were always ready to serve tea on a moment’s notice (unlike nama-gashi, which have to be prepared fresh for each occasion, and require several hours of work to concoct, higashi like these can be stored for weeks or months).

     At Rikyu’s wabi gatherings, usucha was made from the tea remaining in the chaire and offered to the guests during the koicha temae, thus kashi to accompany the usucha were unnecessary.

     Only in the Edo period, when more and more the service of usucha was divorced from that of koicha, and the increasing availability of professionally ground matcha offered in a number of different blends removed the chore of grinding tea from the host or his staff, did usucha begin to come into its own.

²If the kama boils too long, the water will become tainted with a metallic taste.  Thus Jōō’s concern over the matsu-kaze, and his emphasis that the kama should be used as soon as the water is ready — and that the matsu-kaze should persist until the service of tea is ended.

³This figure is approximate.  The actual conversion factor is 11.92913385826772.      Unfortunately it is difficult to work with.  But each tiny deviance will eventually add up to inaccuracies that can throw the entire system of placement out of skew.

⁴This is one thing to be said for studying chanoyu outside of Japan, where even the most commonplace and inexpensive of utensils are difficult or impossible to replace, and so must be handled with care.  In Japan, everyone is aware of the insignificance of “practice utensils,” and so students of chanoyu tend to become sloppy as a consequence.

     If you handle a cheap trinket as if it were a great treasure, you will not be found wanting when you come to do chanoyu with important utensils; if you have developed the habit of treating a plastic natsume as if it were a plastic natsume, you will probably be careless and perhaps inflict damage to a good one when called upon to use it in front of other people at an ō-yose-chakai.

Kyōma-tatami [京間畳] are mats 6-shaku 3-sun long, and 3-shaku 1-sun 5-bu across.  These are the only kind of mats that can be used in any room smaller than 4.5 mats in size.

⁶This space represents the 2-sun wide yū-yo in front of the daisu.

⁷When used with the daisu, the shiki-shi is laid so that it touches the front edge of the daisu.  But when the daisu is abbreviated to the ko-ita furo or mukō-ro, the shiki-shi is laid so that it touches the front edge of the mizusashi.

     When situated in front of the daisu, the chaire is placed on the upper half, and the chawan so that it rests squarely on the middle line.

     When visualized in association with the mizusashi placed next to the ko-ita furo or mukō-ro, both the chaire and the chawan are handled on the lower half of this virtual shiki-shi and must not project beyond the middle line during the temae.

⁸This representation is based on the Mozuno ko-yashiki, Rikyū’s final small tearoom*, which used a mukō-ro.  During the summer season, the furo was placed on top of the wooden lid of the ro in this kind of room, so a shiki-ita was not used.  Conversely, (assuming that a ro is not present) a shiki-ita should be used and aligned with the edges of this cut-out as shown at the bottom of the page.  This orients the furo on the right side of the utensil mat as Rikyū came to prefer at this point in his life†.

     However, if you want to practice with the furo on the left (the way they prefer to do in Japan today), then make this cut 1-shaku 5-sun from the left edge of the piece of paper.  Everything explained so far is exactly the same regardless of on which side the furo is located.
*This room represented the crystallization of Rikyu’s ideas on wabi and the small room, and so deserves to be emulated.  This room represents the man’s final and consummate thoughts on wabi, the attainment of the pinnacle of gokushin-no-chanoyu within the confines of the wabi small room.

†That this is unknown today has to be charged against Sōtan and the machi-shū, who as a group detested Rikyū, and gave all of their attention to the tea practiced by Jōō during his middle period.

⁹If the furo is being used in a room in which a mukō-ro was installed, and the ro has been covered with a high wooden cover that rises to the same height as the surface of the mats (rather than covered with a low cover over which a mat without an opening for the ro has been placed) as Rikyū preferred, then the host may dispense with a ko-ita, and opt to put the furo directly on top of the ro's wooden lid.  However, he should be careful to center the furo on a spot 3-sun 5-bu from the left edge of the cover, since this would have been the center of the shiki-ita if it had been used and positioned correctly.  (Because the shiki-ita is placed 4-sun 5-bu from the right heri, it is 5-sun 5-bu from the right edge of the cover which coincides with the right edge of the mat, and so a 9-sun 5-bu square shiki-ita will rest on top of the heri on the left side of the mukō-ro, and cover the heri fully:  the left edge of a 9-sun 5-bu square shiki-ita will match the left edge of this heri).

¹⁰If a furo-saki byōbu* [風炉先屏風] is erected around the far end of the utensil mat, the forward panel of the byōbu should sit within the 5-sun space between the far end of the ko-ita and the wall; the shiki-ita should not be placed 5-sun from the screen.

     Also, on the left-hand side, the screen should preferably cover no more than the outer half of the heri, since the inner 5-bu is technically included in the temae-za.
*A furo-saki byōbu [風炉先屏風] is a folding screen of two panels, unfolded so that the panels form a right angle around the far end of the utensil mat.  Most commonly, both panels are 3-shaku 1-sun 5-bu wide (this kind of furosaki-byobu was designed to be placed around the shin-daisu); however, there are some that have one panel (the right one) 3-shaku 1-sun 5-bu wide and the other panel 1-shaku 6-sun 5-bu wide.  This latter is the kind that was designed to be put around a ko-ita furo — because this placement (with the ko-ita located 5-sun from the far wall) is used when the ko-ita is placed on a daime mat*.
*Regardless of whether the mat is actually a daime, or an ordinary maru-jo — a full-length mat — the space used for the temae is considered to be a daime when the ko-ita is located 5-sun away from the far wall.  This is a very important point — which many of the modern schools have lost from their teachings.

Concerning the Next Series of Posts.

Dear Followers and Readers,

     As I mentioned several weeks ago, I am going to take a break from the Rikyū Densho and post a series of short essays that I hope will be of help to those of you who do not have any chance of access to a teacher.  I expect to begin publishing these essays within the next day under the title Notes on the Practice of Chanoyu — a Short Introduction for People Without Access to a Teacher, and will do so at the rate of one post every other day or so (to give the readers time to reflect on — and perhaps even try to practice¹ — the material given in the one, before looking at the next).

     Chanoyu is unquestionably best transmitted directly, from mind to mind.  Nevertheless, Rikyū did on occasion avail himself of the less direct method of providing instruction through missives, so, acting on this precedent, I will try to do something similar.

     The details do not come from, or reflect, the methods or approach favored by any modern school² (though there will naturally be certain similarities — there are only so many possible ways to whisk matcha in water, after all), but will be an attempt to recreate the temae of Rikyū, based on the exhaustive amount of details given in his various writings, coupled with supporting material found in the Hundred Poems of Chanoyu, the Three Hundred Lines of Chanoyu, and the Nampō Roku., and various contemporary sources including the writings or transcripts of things taught or explained by his disciples (most prominent among whom is, of course, Furuta Sōshitsu — Oribe — whose recollections of Rikyū’s teachings and commentary on his Nambō-ate Densho will be translated later in the Rikyū Densho series).

     For those of you who do at least occasionally have the opportunity to study with a flesh-and-blood teacher I would like to add that you should not even consider putting into practice anything that will be posted here — and it might be best if you do not read there posts at all.  The modern schools deviate, often significantly, from the way Rikyū recommended for his disciples to do chanoyu, and you will only confuse yourself (and leave yourself open to a scolding from your teacher) if you try to incorporate these changes into what you have been taught.  Let me repeat that:  the information that will be given in the next series of posts does not reflect the methods of any modern school, and much of it would be considered erroneous by representatives of those schools.  I am doing this only because several people — some of whom have previously studied with a teacher, but now find themselves in a situation where there will never be any chance for them to have direct contact with a teacher again — have asked me to provide this “correspondence course,” and the material is expressly for their benefit (and that of anyone else who finds themselves in a similar situation).  I suppose it must be better to do chanoyu as I will describe than not to do it at all.

     What I will add is this:  this is the way in which I practice chanoyu, and, after having had direct experience with several different modern schools and traditions, I have to say that I personally prefer Rikyū’s approach.  My reasons for saying so should be obvious to anyone who has been following this blog, and so I do not need to go into them here.

     When this series of posts is finished (at the moment I have no idea exactly how many posts this will require), I am planning to resume my translations of the Rikyū Densho.

     Thank you for your time.  I hope everyone is enjoying a pleasant summer vacation.  For readers in Japan, my greetings at the time of O-bon.

Sincerely yours,

Daniel M. Burkus



¹While some of the posts will be theoretical, addressing the mind or other considerations upon which the design of a gathering and the reception of ones guests depend, others will deal with how to make a template to help the student develop his sense of space even when things like tatami mats are not available, as well as covering wari-geiko [割り稽古], the basic motions, and Rikyū’s tsuzuki-usucha temae [續き薄茶], the service of usucha within a koicha-temae, in as great of detail as possible.

²The temae is ultimately based on that espoused by the Nampō Ryū [南方流], the style of practice centered on the Enkaku-ji in Fukuoka (where the original copy of the Nampō Roku, and many associated documents, are preserved).

     However, their temae was heavily influenced by one of the modern schools during the pre- and post-War periods, and thus is a rather illogical amalgam of often conflicting styles and interpretations as it stands today.  Removing those modernisms while simultaneously bringing the basic temae back into accord with the teachings of Rikyū* represents the actual origin of the temae that will be discussed in this series of posts.
*The original temae  of the Nambō/Nampō Ryū was based on that of Tachibana Jitsuzan.  However, as Jitsuzan originally was a disciple of Sen no Sōtan (and only broke away from Sōtan’s fold years after he had commenced his study of the documents that eventually were forged into the Nampō Roku), he originally did not differ in any significant way from his teacher’s vision of chanoyu.

     One branch of the school still perpetuates this early form, and is known as the Nambō Ryū [南坊流].  This school is considered to be an affiliate of the Omotesenke School (which has always existed more as an association of styles that partake of a shared history, rather than representing a single interpretation of the way in which chanoyu must be done, as do most other schools).  And though the name implies some sort of connection with Nambō Sōkei (who, as Rikyū’s uchi-deshi [内弟子] surely did not deviate in any significant manner from Rikyū’s own personal temae, since Sōkei was deputed to receive visitors to his private household and entertain them on Rikyū’s behalf, whenever Rikyū himself was absent), since its temae is based on Sōtan’s rather than Rikyū’s, the name is not really indicative of the focus of their style of practice.  They are best characterized as following an Omotesenke-style interpretation of the teachings of the Nampō Roku, and their major deviations from Omotesenke’s standard temae may be found in their adherence to the occasional detail mentioned in the Nampō Roku

     Kanshū Oshō, my own teacher and founder of the so-called Nampō Ryū [南方流], began to distance his practice from the Nambō Ryū as early as the late 1920s, when he came increasingly under the influence of the Urasenke-affiliated scholars who were involved in the study of the old writings, including the Nampō Roku (unfortunately, rather than seeking to recover Rikyū’s original ideas about temae, though this was their stated goal, this group generally preferred to interpret the old writings through the medium or Gengensai’s temae, which resulted in numerous tangential deviations that have only become more and more pronounced over the years that have passed since).

     My own humble efforts have been aimed at redirecting the focus of this scholarship, in accordance with Kanshū Oshō’s wishes, and ultmately bring it into accord with Rikyū’s own teachings (as expressed in his own writings and those of his contemporaries), in accordance with Kanshū Oshō's dying wishes, and in consultation with Shūumi Oshō-sama, Kanshū’s successor as Abbot of the Enkakuji in Hakata, Fukuoka, and third Iemoto of the Nampō Ryū..

Rikyū Densho — the Private Writings of Sen no Rikyū: VI. The Jōchi-ate Daisu Narai no Koto Densho (8 - Mitsu-gumi, and Rikyū’s Closing)

(17) Concerning the the way to do mitsu-gumi¹.  This refers to [an arrangement of] the chaire, the dai-temmoku, and the chasen-oki [on the ten-ita of the daisu].

     In the early days this [temae] was done with a nagabon², but because the handling is rather problematic³, Jōō cut the nagabon in half⁴.  The three utensils are now always placed like this⁵.


      Tenshō 9, [Year of] the Snake, the End of the Ninth Month⁷

                                                                   Sōeki [kaō]⁸



¹Mitsu-gumi [三ツ組]:  a grouping of three objects — the dai-temmoku, chaire, and chasen-oki, displayed together on the ten-ita of the daisu.

²The original form of mitsu-gumi was arranged like this:


     While this arrangement is certainly possible, the chasen-oki will tend to get in the way of the host’s right hand when he tries to lower the nagabon to the mat.  (This will be especially inconvenient for a person of small stature, as was Jōō.)

³Tsukaete-ashi [つかへて悪し = 使えて悪し]:  not useful.  It is cumbersome to manipulate the utensils on the ten-ita when a nagabon is used:  the shaku-nagabon is too long to lower to the mat, which rather defeats the purpose of displaying the chaire on a tray in the first place.  And if an ordinary nagabon is used, the chasen-oki will hinder the host’s free handling of that tray*.
*Before lowering the nagabon, the temmoku is temporarily moved to the side of the tray.  Since the chasen-oki takes up a certain amount of space, this means there is less room available on the ten-ita for the dai-temmoku to occupy so the tray can be lowered to the mat with only the chaire resting on top.

⁴Thus creating the first square chaire-bon.  Of course the statement is more allegorical than literal:  Jōō did not actually take an antique nagabon and have it cut in half.  What he did do was find a square tray that was roughly half the width of the nagabon* and use that for the chaire only.  This allows the chaire to be used on a tray, while at the same time eliminating the need to move the dai-temmoku around when the host is going to lower the bon-chaire to the mat.
*The ordinary nagabon is 1-shaku 5-sun 2-bu wide.  The tray Jōō determined upon was approximately 8-sun square.  Since these imported trays had been made for other purposes than chanoyu (most likely the service of food), like other dinnerware they came in the fairly standard sizes of 8-sun and 1-shaku across, in square, round, octagonal, and other shapes.  Many were made as nesting sets of three or more trays of identical shape and decoration, but graduated in size.

⁵The bon-chaire is in the middle, the dai-temmoku is on one side, and the chasen-oki is placed on the other side.  According to the Nampō Roku, the ten-ita was arranged like this:


     While Jōō used a larger tray (as shown above), Rikyū preferred a smaller tray that was only 2-sun larger than the chaire on all sides.


     This makes the arrangement seem more open.

⁶The document appears to be in a fragmentary state, and it is likely that some entries have been lost.

⁷This is the same time period to which the Nomura Sōkaku-ate Densho was dated, and suggests that they were probably written at the same time and then sent off to their different recipients.  Variations in wording and emphasis, however, suggest that one was not simply a copy of the other.

⁸Rikyū signed the letter with his kaō.  (His densho are always framed as letters, rather than scholarly treatises.)

     This is the end of the Jōchi-ate Daisu Narai no Koto Densho.

Rikyū Densho — the Private Writings of Sen no Rikyū: VI. The Jōchi-ate Daisu Narai no Koto Densho (7 - Shin-temae with Futatsu-gumi, Part 4¹)

(15) When using a meibutsu temmoku that is superior to the chaire², one should deal with the temmoku's side first, after [the fukuro] has been  removed from the temmoku, then the chaire's fukuro should be taken off.

◎ However, the temmoku's fukuro should be placed in the katte³.

(16) The correct way to handle the hishaku is to repeatedly⁴ return it to the hishaku-tate.  


¹I have kept these two points separate from the previous post because they deal generally with the shin-temae, rather than being specifically related to either of the two styles of shin-temae narrated by Rikyū in the previous two posts.

²In other words, the temmoku is of higher quality than the chaire

     When this is the case, the temmoku's shifuku should be removed first; when the quality of the chiare is higher, however, then it is the chaire that should be dealt with first.

     In ordinary temae it is usually the case that the chaire is superior; but even when it is not, it is dealt with first because of the tea.

     In gokushin-temae, the temmoku's shifuku is removed first, but in this case the chaire's shifuku is not removed until after hot water has been poured into the temmoku for the second time*.  But the idea here is both to thoroughly warm the temmoku, and to keep the lid of the chaire under tension as long as possible (so the tea will be as absolutely fresh as can be).

     The variations discussed by Rikyū were probably introduced to keep gokushin usage as secret as possible — even from people who assumed that they were doing something similar.
*And the chaire inserted to soak.  The chaire's shifuku is removed and it is cleaned and then put on the nagabon, the chashaku is wiped and also put next to it on the tray, the temmoku-dai is cleaned with the host’s fukusa, and then the chasen-tōshi is performed.

³Tadashi temmoku no fukuro katte no kata ni oku-koto nari [但し天目の袋勝手の方に置く事也].  Perhaps, “the temmoku's fukuro should be placed on the katte-side (of the ten-ita).”  While this interpretation conforms more closely with the sense of the original, Rikyū has recently stated, and at considerable length (for him), that the temmoku's shifuku should be returned to the katte, and only then should the chasen-oki be brought out and the temae proper begun.

Tabi-tabi hishaku-tate ni sashi-hairuru-mono nari [たびゝゝ柄杓立にさし入るゝ物也].  Tabi-tabi [たびたび = 度度] means frequently, often, or repeatedly.  In gokushin-temae it is reinserted into the shaku-tate every time the host puts it down.

     Thus, in the daisu-temae, there is no tori-bishaku [取り柄杓] or oki-bishaku [置き柄杓] — or any of the other more recent ways* for the hishaku to be rested on the mouth of the kama.  This is no longer true with respect to the modern daisu-temae as taught by the major schools, whose daisu-temae was extrapolated from the ordinary furo-temae (of Sen no Sōtan).
*In Rikyū’s temae only oki-bishaku (for resting it on the mouth of the kama) and tori-bishaku (picking it up from above) were used.  The other silly techniques, hiki-bishaku [引き柄杓] and kiri-bishaku [切り柄杓] were added during the Edo period, in an attempt to make the furo-temae seem more “samurai” in feeling (both were adapted from the archer’s techniques of drawing and releasing).

     While Rikyū had been promoted to hatamoto status by Hideyoshi, and presented with a ceremonial suit of armor in this connection, there is nothing to indicate that he did any training in the martial arts or techniques, or modified his temae to accommodate them.  (A hatamoto was a personal retainer who had a right of immediate access to the lord he served; thus he was ranked above the general class of samurai retainers at least in the esteem of his lord; a close personal adviser such as Rikyū occasionally had a need for immediate access to Hideyoshi’s ear.)

Rikyū Densho — the Private Writings of Sen no Rikyū: VI. The Jōchi-ate Daisu Narai no Koto Densho (6b - Notes to Accompany Rikyū’s Description of Gokushin-temae)


[Rikyū’s sketch of the futatsu-gumi arrangement that is also used for gokushin-temae.  The writing reads futaoki (蓋置).  This sketch has been modified to include the chasen-oki — which, like the futaoki, is placed on the side of the daisu nearest the katte.]


[This sign, reading cha-kai (茶會), was posted on the front gate to inform uninvited callers that a gathering was in progress, and so the house and its occupants should not be disturbed.  That this simple device was respected shows the degree of reverence that was generally accorded to chanoyu in that period  The writing is by Rikyū.]

     Though Rikyū ended his narration of gokushin-temae with the host placing the chaire on the nagabon (after it had been cleaned with the fukusa) — apparently leaving it up to Jōchi’s imagination to visualize the rest — I would like to add a number of points for the modern reader to consider, since his perspective of daisu usage has probably been warped by exposure to the methods employed by the modern schools (which ultimately derive from Sōtan’s ordinary furo-temae, not the original gokushin daisu-temae).  Because Rikyū has repeatedly said that the daisu is the root of chanoyu, and that the essence of chanoyu cannot be grasped unless the daisu is understood first, this material is very important.  Since I had already decided to post a series of lessons with the intention of helping those readers who do not have any access to a teacher, in my mind I am using this post as a sort of introductory essay to that series.  This was also the reason why I wanted to cover the Yabu-no-uchi Jochi-ate densho, and (specifically) its appendix, the Jōchi-ate Daisu Narai no Koto Densho with its discussion of gokushin no temae [極眞の手前] — as a sort of introduction to that series of lessons — first.

     Readers who have been following this blog regularly should begin to recognize where at least some of the assertions mentioned below originate.  Ultimately, when I have finished all of the translations,  the source for everything — even the points that seem to deviate extremely from the modern schools’ teachings — should be obvious.  The reason is that this material — the Hundred Poems of Chanoyu [茶湯百首], the Three Hundred Lines of Chanoyu [茶湯三百箇條], the series of Rikyū’s private instructions known collectively as the Rikyū Densho [利休傳書] and the Nampō Roku [南方録] — form a cycle of teachings that continually reinforce the same basic concepts again and again, while at the same time each fills in details that some of the others leave out:  none of them provides the reader with a single point of entrée to the total experience, but when taken together it is possible to clearly understand just what Rikyū was talking about (in very great detail), and perhaps even bring an authentic version of his tea back to life once again, which is the best we can hope for (since each person was ultimately expected, by Rikyū, to do chanoyu in his or her own way, it was never the intention that the disciple should aim to produce a carbon copy of the master’s temae — even if this seems to be the goal of the modern schools’ curricula — thus we should be able to achieve everything that was hoped for by simply incorporating these details into our own personal temae.)  This has always been the express purpose of this blog, and I sincerely hope it is achieving that end¹. 

◎ The utensils used for gokushin-temae:

- ko-tsubo chaire, with a diameter of 2-sun 2-bu (originally a nasu was preferred for gokushin tea, but any of the ko-tsubo shapes could be used, provided the diameter is correct; Rikyū’s chū-natsume has a diameter of 2-sun 2-bu, and its size was derived from the chaire required for gokushin tea);

- temmoku-chawan with a diameter of 3-sun 8- or 9-bu (the original temmoku used for gokushin temae was a yōhen [窯変] bowl 3-sun 8-bu in diameter, but a yu-teki temmoku [油滴天目], or indeed any sort is acceptable so long as it is 3-sun 8- or 9-bu in diameter; however, in the early days at least, kenzan [建盞] bowls were generally not used for this temae because they tend to be too shallow);

- temmoku-dai: the dai should be 4-sun 9-bu across the wen [hane]; shin-nuri dai are perfectly acceptable (and were the original kind of dai used in the earliest period), as well as the different varieties of colored and carved lacquer, so long as the combination with the temmoku is pleasing;

- nagabon:  a replica of the gassan go-nagabon (usually in plain shin-nuri) must be used — this tray has a face (and foot, the width of the foot is important) 1-shaku 2-sun by 8-sun, and an across-the-rim measurement of 1-shaku 3-sun 2-bu by 9-sun 2-bu;

- furo:  a bronze medium-sized kimen buro with matching kama is preferred;

- kaigu: bronze is the preferred material, and they should be the kind made for use on the large shin-daisu (kaigu sets made to be used on the smaller “Tokyō-size” daisu are wrong for gokushin-temae);

- daisu:  the ko-shiki shin-daisu [古式眞臺子] that is used for gokushin tea had a ten-ita and ji-ita of identical size (2-shaku 9-sun 5-bu by 1-shaku 4-sun), and the hashira [legs] were 1-sun thick; this kind of daisu must be used for gokushin temae (modern-made daisu with ten-ita and ji-ita of different dimensions are wholly unsuitable, and even copies of Rikyū’s daisu with thin legs can not be used — this change was made after Hideyoshi demanded that Rikyū only teach gokushin tea to those individuals whom he personally approved, since changing the size of the legs skews the arrangement of the utensils on the ji-ita to the extent that the proper effect can no longer be achieved);

- shin-nuri katakuchi is the preferred mizu-tsugi, though one made of unpainted wood is also acceptable if it is new (ceramic katakuchi and metal yakkan-style mizu-tsugi are completely unacceptable and should never be used);

- shin-habōki:  there are two possibilities here.  More commonly, an itsutsu-ba habōki [五羽々箒] is used (this is a habōki made from five feathers; however, the top two and bottom two are woven together so that they appear to be a single feather that is the same width on both sides of the rachis);

but in Rikyū’s period a habōki made from three tsubo-bane [壷羽] (the central tail feather, which is naturally symmetrical — it is the same width on both sides of the rachis) taken from three birds of the same species was preferred; this kind of habōki is usually called a moro-ha haboki [雙羽々箒],

    Details of the sizes of the various utensils that are shown being used with the daisu in Book 5 of the Nampō Roku are given in the following chart (note, however, that not all of them can be used for gokushin-temae):

◎ The arrangement of the utensils on the ji-ita.

     As has already been mentioned, the utensils are loaded onto the ji-ita of the daisu in the following order:  

- the furo is placed so that the back side is in line with an imaginary plane stretched between the inner corners of the two rear hashira [legs] of the daisu, and its left kantsuki also touches an imaginary plane stretched between the inner corners of the front and back hashira on the left side of the daisu;

- the mizusashi rests squarely on the middle-line of the ji-ita, and its right kantsuki of the mizusashi touches a similar imaginary plane stretched between the inner corners of the front and back hashira on the right;


- the shaku-tate is placed so that its back side is in line with the back side of the furo, and is centered between the right kantsuki of the furo and the left kantsuki of the mizusashi;

- the koboshi is placed so that its back side touches the middle line of the ji-ita, and it is centered between the body of the furo and the body of the mizusashi; and,

- the futaoki is placed on the side of the daisu closest to the katte, and centered between the inner corner of the hashira and the body of the furo or mizusashi.

◎ The arrangement of the utensils on the gassan go-nagabon, and its orientation on the ten-ita of the daisu:

- both the chaire and the temmoku-chawan were displayed on the gassan go-bon enclosed in their shifuku:  prior to the beginning of the service of tea the shifuku were tied with what is known as a slip-knot²;

- traditionally the gassan go-bon was displayed on the daisu from the beginning of the gathering, with only the chaire present during the sho-za (the chaire should be centered on the tray, which is then centered on the ten-ita of the daisu);

- during the naka-dachi the dai-temmoku was brought out from the katte and the tray was lowered to the mat in front of the daisu so the dai-temmoku could be added (if the chashaku will also be displayed it was either carried out on the wen [hane] of the temmoku-dai, or separately, if it will be displayed in its shifuku);

- the ko-tsubo is placed on the midline of the tray so that its right side is 2-sun from the right edge of the face of the tray;

- the dai-temmoku is placed on the midline of the nagabon so that the chawan (not the dai) is centered between the chaire on its right and the left edge of the face of the tray;

- as a consequence of their sizes, there will be a space of exactly 2-sun between the right side of the chawan and the left side of the chaire, and 2-sun between the left side of the temmoku and the left edge of the face of the tray;

- if the host intends to display the chashaku on the nagabon as well, it should lean against the far rim of the tray and exactly centered between the temmoku-chawan (not its dai) and the chaire; it may also be leaned against the front rim of the tray, or even placed flat on the face of the tray midway between the chaire and the temmoku chawan, at the host’s discretion;

- if the chashaku is a meibutsu chashaku, it may be displayed in its shifuku; if it was made by a meijin [名人], a famous contemporary tea master (someone like Jōō or Rikyū in this period), then it should be displayed without a shifuku when it is used in a temae performed by someone other than the person who made it;  and if the chashaku was made by the host (even if he is renowned throughout the world of tea), it should not be displayed on the nagabon, but rather carried into the room on the chasen-oki (since Rikyū usually made his own chashaku, he habitually recommends that the chashaku be carried into the room on the chasen-oki);


- the gassan go-nagabon is then lifted onto the ten-ita of the daisu so that the temmoku is located in the exact center of the ten-ita, as shown above;

- near the end of the temae (after the guests have inspected the nagabon and its contents) the chaire and temmoku are reinserted into their shifuku, which were then tied with a locking-knot³;

- at the end of the temae, the gassan go-nagabon, with the chaire and dai-temmoku resting on it, was displayed on the broad shelf that forms the top of the ji-fukuro, beneath the chigai-dana and adjacent to the tsuke-shoin (the chashaku was usually not included at this time unless it was a very special one).

◎ Proper deportment for the host and guests:

- when the host is seated on the utensil mat, if he is not doing something with one (or both) of his hands, they should rest on top of his legs just back from his knees, with palms facing downward and with the fingers rolled up into the palms.  This keeps his finger pads and palms (the parts of his hands that come into contact with the utensils) clean, since the cloth of his kimono may be dirty (because the host spends much of his time periodically cleaning, in the tearoom and its garden, and can naturally not be expected to change his clothes each time he does so);

- the guests may sit with their hands the same way, or they may lay the right hand on their lap with palm downward and fingers curled, and then rest the left hand (palm downward) on top;

- to bow, according to the Nampō Roku, if the person is a layman, he holds his right hand (with fingers rolled into the palm) at mid-chest height, with the left hand resting on top, and bows his head so that his forehead is at the level of his hands;

- if the person is a cleric he may place the two palms together and hold them up at mid-chest height, and then bow his head behind them;

- both host and guests should avoid touching their hands (especially the finger pads and palms) to the mat as much as possible, because it is impure; if they must touch the mat (such as when sliding around on their knees), they should do so with the fingers rolled into the palm and contacting the mat only with the back of the knuckles;

- when sitting, the guest should sit still, and not wiggle from side to side; if he can not sit seiza for a long time, he should sit cross-legged (or in whatever way is comfortable) until the host begins to prepare the koicha, at which time the guests should all rise up onto their knees and sit seiza until everyone has finished drinking and the chawan has been returned to the host;

- the host should make an effort to sit seiza throughout;

- when looking at things in the tokonoma the guest should sit so that he is 3-shaku away from whatever it is that he is inspecting, take out his fan and open it, and hold it in front of his nose and mouth so that his breath does not defile the objects he is viewing.

◎ The handling of the ko-tsubo⁴:

- to remove the shifuku from the ko-tsubo the himo is untied and then the chaire is turned counter-clockwise by a quarter turn so that the uchi-dome may be gently pulled with the left hand (holding the knot) until the length of the himo on both sides of the shifuku is equal in length:  first the back side of the shifuku, then the front side, and then the back side again, are gently stretched out along the himo until they are straight;

- then the chaire is turned clockwise by a quarter turn and held up in the left hand (with the little finger of the left hand kept underneath, so it will not fall(, and, using the right hand (which is held straightened out with fingers pressed together like a flipper), the host loosens the shifkuku away from the chaire on the right side, on the left, and again on the right;

- next, grasping the body of the chaire above the shifuku with the right hand, it is removed from the shifuku⁵;

- the shifuku is then put down on the floor (while the host continues to hold the chaire in his right hand) in front of the host’s knees with the opening towards his body and the uchi-dome trailing off to the left;

-  to clean the ko-tsubo with the fukusa, it is held in the left hand over the host’s lap, slightly back (toward his body) from the knee line, with one finger of the left hand (the little finger) always kept underneath;

- then the host removes the already folded fukusa from his futokoro and proceeds to clean the ko-tsubo:


- he first wipes the lid (front and then back side), then the shoulder (right side, then left side), and then traces a third stroke from the middle of the front to the side and down the right side of the ko-tsubo (to wipe away any dust that is clinging to the side of the chaire);

- then the fukusa is returned to the host’s futokoro and, again using both hands, the chaire is carefully placed down on the nagabon;

- after this the shifuku is picked up, the cloth flattened out, and then turned so that the uchi-dome extends toward the right, and it is lifted up onto the ten-ita of the daisu (it is placed in the front-left corner, above the furo, regardless of the location of the katte);

- during the temae, the chaire occupies the very center of the tray, so the host should take especial care to position it correctly the first time;

- to remove tea from the ko-tsubo the lid is first opened and rested against the front rim of the tray; then the host picks up the chashaku (from where it is resting on the tray) and, using the side of the chashaku's bowl, he pulls the tea over the mouth of the chaire and so into the temmoku (this action is described by the verb sukuu [掬う], which means to brush drops of water off of the body with the side of the hand, such as after stepping out of the bath — and, indeed, the action is similar);

- after sufficient tea has been transferred to the bowl, the chashaku is rested across the wen of the temmoku-dai, and the chaire moved over the koboshi;

- the host again removes his fukusa and wipes the mouth of the chaire, front then back; then the fukusa is returned to the host’s futokoro and the chaire's lid is closed; the host takes out his fukusa again and, holding the chaire over the koboshi again, he wipes the lid, shoulder, and side exactly as was done earlier in the temae; then the fukusa is returned to the futokoro, and the ko-tsubo is put down on the nagabon;

- next the chashaku is used to smooth out the tea in the temmoku, and gently break up any lumps that may be present; it is then wiped with the fukusa (as described below) and returned to the tray;

- at the end of the temae the lid is not removed, since the mouth has already been cleaned⁶, and neither is it held over the koboshi; rather, as at the beginning, the ko-tsubo is held over the lap and only the lid, shoulder, and side are wiped with the fukusa (this is a special usage associated with the ko-tsubo:  the natsume is also handled like this when it is used for serving koicha, since its handling mirrors that of the ko-tsubo in everything; for this reason it is said that the natsume is the shadow of the ko-tsubo).

◎ To sum up cleaning the chaire with the fukusa:  at the beginning and at the end of the temae it is wiped over the host’s knees; however, after transferring the matcha into the chawan, at this time it is wiped over the koboshi.

◎ How to wipe the chashaku.

- at the beginning of the temae, the chashaku should be placed so that it faces upward;

- the fukusa is taken out of the futokoro, one fold is opened, and then it is laid on the left palm.  

- the chashaku is picked up and rested lightly on top of the fukusa with the fushi (or, in the case of a chashaku without a node, the middle of the shaft) will be just beyond the point where the left thumb will press; the host continues to hold on to the chashaku with the right hand;

- then the host folds the fukusa over the chashaku and begins to wipe toward the far end; the purpose is to actually clean the chashaku, thus light pressure should be applied to the fukusa;

- when the left thumb reaches the end of the bowl of the chashaku pressure should be relaxed, and the fukusa is slipped backward to the point where it started; then the wiping is repeated in the same way;

- when the fukusa returns from the second wipe⁷, the host pinches the chashaku lightly with the fukusa again; but this time, rather than moving the fukusa, the chashaku is pulled through the fukusa (to wipe the shaft of the handle):  the host releases his grip on the right end of the handle and moves his right hand around to the front side of the fukusa, and pulls the chashaku forward with two motions — with the second, the chashaku should pull free of the far edge of the fukusa;

- then, as the host moves the chashaku back to its original position with the right hand, the left hand slowly opens the fukusa so it is once again flat on the palm of the left hand;

- then the chashaku is rested on top of the fukusa, as at the beginning, and it is wiped with the fukusa one more time as in the beginning;

- when the fukusa passes the far end of the chashaku, the host continues to extend the left arm until the edge of the fukusa clears the far end of the chashaku, and then moves the hand holding the fukusa down to rest on top of his left thigh; then the chashaku is placed on the tray, midway between the left side of the chaire and the left rim of the tray;

- at the end of the temae, after it is wiped with the fukusa the chashaku should be rested across the rim of the chasen-oki, facing upward (since it is at this point that the guests may request haiken of the chaire, dai-temmoku, and nagabon)

- if the chashaku is worthy of appreciation by the guests, it is placed on the face of the tray midway between the right side of the temmoku-chawan and the left side of the chaire after they have been arranged on the nagabon;

- otherwise the chashaku remains on the chasen-oki until the chasen-oki will be used to clean the chasen (at which time the chashaku is lifted up onto the ten-ita of the daisu, in the corner above the mizusashi);

- at the end of the temae, the chashaku is usually taken back to the katte on the chasen-oki:  an exception may be made if it is a meibutsu-chashaku, in which case it may be displayed on the nagabon with the other utensils (but without its shifuku); when carried out of the room on the chasen-oki, the chashaku should be facing downward.

◎ To sum up the cleaning of the chashaku with the fukusa:  at the beginning and at the end of the temae the chashaku is wiped wholly over the host’s knees; however, after transferring the matcha into the chawan, the bowl end (wiped twice) and the shaft (pushed through the fukusa once) are wiped over the koboshi, but the final wiping of the bowl end is done over the host’s knees.

◎ The following sketch shows the distribution of the utensils on the utensil mat during the temae.  In this sketch, the katte is assumed to be on the host’s right side.


◎ After the chasen-toshi, and also after blending the koicha, the chasen is placed in the chasen-oki with tines pointed downward, and the handle resting against the front rim of the bowl (at a natural angle relative to the host’s body and right hand).

◎ How to handle and dry the temmoku:

- the chakin carried in the chasen-oki should not be folded when brought out from the katte;

- it is folded, in the manner suitable for any small chawan (below) just before the host does the chasen-tōshi:


- after the chasen-tōshi (which should be performed while the temmoku is resting on its dai), the chasen should be placed in the chasen-oki with tines pointed downward (so that any water will drain away into the bowl);

- the temmoku is picked up and rotated slowly three times above the koboshi, and then the water is discarded;

- the chakin is picked up from the let side of the chasen-oki and used to wipe away the drop of water that usually remains at the mouth after the contents have been poured out;

- then the orientation of the temmoku is adjusted so that the foot faces downward and the right hand dries the bowl as shown below:


- note that the chakin is not unfolded; it is used exactly as it was folded (it resemble the figure “∧”), and it is the bottom pair of edges that contact and dry the chawan;

- after drying the front and back sides of the mouth the chakin is placed inside the chawan, and the temmoku is again rested on its dai;

- then, while supporting the chawan with the left hand, the chakin is removed and returned to the chasen-oki;

- at the end of the temae the chasen-tōshi is not performed in the temmoku (the chasen will be cleaned in the chasen-oki after the nagabon with the dai-temmoku and chaire have been returned to the ten-ita of the daisu); so after hot water has been poured into the temmoku for the second time the host cleans the temmoku-dai, the chaire, and the chashaku, and then he refolds the chakin (so that the side that was previously the back side is now in front, thus presenting a clean surface with which to dry the temmoku)⁸;

- the temmoku is wiped exactly as shown in the sketch above;

- haiken is generally done immediately thereafter:  the chaire is moved to the right and the dai-temmoku lifted up onto the tray, and then the tray is moved to stand in front of the host’s knees and the positions of the dai-temmoku and chaire adjusted if need be (exactly as they were originally arranged on the nagabon when it was first displayed on the daisu); if the chashaku is worthy of inspection, it should be placed flat on the face of the tray, exactly between the temmoku chawan and the chaire:  the entire nagabon is lifted out onto the mat that adjoins the utensil mat and the guests come forward to inspect it and its contents (the host sits still while this is taking place, answering any questions as they are asked);

- when the guests have finished the nagabon is taken back and placed in front of the host’s knees, and the chaire, and then the temmoku, are reinserted into their shifuku, which should be tied with a different knot than was used in the beginning, and the nagabon lifted back onto the ten-ita of the daisu (to get it out of the host’s way).

◎ To sum things up:  the temmoku is held over the koboshi when it is being dried on the inside, and when the mouth is being wiped.  But when making the final pass of the chakin, to wipe the back side of the rim, the host may slowly move the bowl over his lap:  the chakin should be placed into the temmoku only after the bowl is over the host’s lap, so it may be set down on the dai immediately thereafter.

     When wiping the temmoku, the chakin must never be unfolded and draped over the side, and the bowl rotated:  this is done only with the kae-chawan (i.e., the chasen-oki), never with the omo-chawan⁹.

◎ When clean, the chakin is returned to the chasen-oki, and placed (leaning against the side of the bowl) on the side of the chasen away from the katte.  After it has been used to wipe the used temmoku (i.e., after the temmoku was cleaned after the koicha had been drunk), it should be placed on the lid of the kama (resting on the futaoki).

◎ In gokushin-temae (as in the ordinary ro-temae), the mizusashi is not opened when the host will make koicha.  Rather, a hishaku-full of hot water is dipped out from the kama, held above the mouth for several moments, and then poured back (this is called yu-gaeshi [湯返し]) to moderate the heat of the kama and restore the matsu-kaze sound.

◎ After the temmoku is offered to the guest, the host should close the lid of the kama for naka-jimae (just like in an ordinary ro-temae).

◎ In gokushin-temae, the mizusashi is not opened until the very end of the temae, when its water will be used to clean the chasen in the chasen-oki.

◎ When the chawan is returned after drinking koicha, first the host should drink the cha-no-ato [茶の跡] by adding some more hot water to the temmoku and whisking it with the chasen.  Then the temmoku should be cleaned using only only water.  The second time hot water is poured into the temmoku, the nagabon, chaire, and temmoku-dai should be cleaned with the host’s fukusa, just at the beginning.  The chashaku is at least temporarily put on the chasen-oki.  However, chasen-tōshi must not be performed at this time.

◎ After the nagabon, chaire, chashaku, and dai-temmoku have been cleaned, the guests may ask for haiken.  The host arranges the other utensils on the nagabon (with the chashaku placed flat on the face of the tray between the dai-temmoku and the chaire) and puts the whole tray out for the guests to inspect.

◎ However, the guests should not take the nagabon back to their seats. Rather, they all move forward and cluster around the nagabon, and inspect it and the things on it in situ.

     Only a very experienced shōkyaku should presume to touch the things, and none of the other guests should try to do so.  If there is some particularly interesting point about one of the utensils (such as a kaō written on the bottom of the temmoku-dai), the shōkyaku should hold it up for the others to see.

◎ When they have finished inspecting the things and slide back into their seats, the nagabon should be exactly the same as it was when the host first put it out.

◎ When the nagabon has been taken back by the host, he rests it on the mat in front of the daisu, and reinserts the chaire and temmoku into their shifuku.  (The chashaku should be left uncovered, however, and unless it is a meibutsu chashaku, it should be moved to the chasen-oki and removed from the room together with it later.)  Then the nagabon is lifted back onto the ten-ita of the daisu.

◎ At this point, the chasen-oki is moved to the middle of the mat, in front of the host’s knees (just as if he were going to use it to do a temae).  The chashaku is temporarily placed on the ten-ita of the daisu (in the right-hand corner above the mizusashi) and the chasen is stood on the katte-side of the mat (the chakin should still be on the lid of the kama).  The host opens the mizusashi, picks up the hishaku, and dips a hishaku full of cold water from the mizusashi.  He pours half into the chasen-oki, and the rest into the kama.  After yu-gaeshi, he replaces the hishaku in the shaku-tate.

- He inserts the chasen into the chasen-oki to soak, and refolds the chakin as proper for a large chawan (as shown below), and then rests it again on the lid of the kama.

(The chasen-oki is always a large chawan, as the temmoku is always a small chawan.)

 - Then he performs chasen-tōshi.  If the chasen is clean, he stands it on the side of the mat toward the guests.  After discarding the water into the koboshi, he dries the chasen-oki with the chakin by draping the partly-unfolded chakin over the side and rotating the bowl by four half turns¹⁰; he then wrings out the chakin (and leaves it twisted up), and places it in the bottom of the chasen-oki.  He rests the chasen on top (tines pointing downward).  If the chashaku was temporarily placed on the daisu, he takes out his fukusa, picks up the chashaku, wipes it, and rests it across the rim of the chasen-oki on the right side of the chasen (irrespective of the location of the katte), and facing downward.

- Then he moves the chasen-oki to the side.

◎ Taking up the hishaku, he dips two hishaku-full of cold water into the kama, followed by yu-gaeshi.  After returning the hishaku to the shaku-tate, he closes the kama.  The futaoki is placed on the ji-ita, in front of the shaku-tate

     Then the koboshi is removed to the katte, and then the chasen-oki.  Then he refills the mizusashi using a black-lacquered kata-kuchi mizu-tsugi.  After the koboshi has been returned and replaced on the daisu (with the futaoki moved to where it stood at the beginning), the host picks up the nagabon and moves it to the wide shelf underneath the chigai-dana.

◎ Finally the host dusts the utensil mat with the habōki, places the habōki on the ten-ita of the daisu, opens the lid of the kama slightly, takes out his fukusa and inserts it into his left sleeve, and concludes his temae with a bow to the guests.


¹Some modern tea people have expressed incredulity that this temae is as I have described it, saying that there is little in it that is different from the ordinary koicha-temae — there are no secret ways to fold the fukusa, and no peculiar usages that defy the imagination (and so have to be learned by acquiring the appropriate menjō, in sequence and after first buying all the ones that come before, and then paying a fee to a teacher certified to teach these secrets by his or her Iemoto) — and this is not only true, but it is precisely the point.  Rikyū began his study of tea not with wabi-no-chanoyu, but learning gokushin tea from Kitamuki Dōchin, which practice traced its roots back to Nōami himself.  And the gokushin temae remained Rikyū’s own personal temae up to the day of his death.

     It is important to remember one simple thing:  human behavior always becomes more complex over time.  The tea of the gokushin daisu was the original way that tea was made, hence it must necessarily be the simplest. The daisu temae taught by the modern schools, rather than being based on this original practice, were created much later, out of Sōtan’s furo temae by intentionally heaping complication upon complication, in a deliberate attempt to confuse and confound the “uninitiated,” and so they are complicated in ways that would have been beyond the ken of the people of Nōami’s generation.  As Rikyū has recently stated, “the daisu is the root of chanoyu.  When we simplify the daisu” [by removing everything that is not absolutely necessary, including the daisu itself] “this is chanoyu with the furo.  When the furo is in its turn simplified” [in other words, eliminated], “it becomes [tea with] the irori.  That being the case, it follows that if one has not gained a thorough understanding of the ‘shin' of the daisu, then the ‘gyō' of the furo becomes difficult [to realize]; and the ‘' of the irori is consequently unattainable.

     “Men of old also performed these [daisu-]temae in exactly the same way as [we do today].  It is like a dead tree that suddenly bursts into bloom — and this is precisely as it should be.”

If that is so, perhaps we should take the man at his word, and accept the simplicity of things as they are.  “The true Way is not difficult:  it only abhors choice and attachment.*”
*From the Bì-yán Lù [碧巖録], or, in Japanese, Heki-gan Roku, case 2.  It is sometimes referred to as the Blue Cliff Record in English.

Originally the shifuku of both the chaire and the temmoku had long himo.  However, because the trend was to use an ordinary short himo on the chaire's shifuku during Rikyū’s period, his instructinos refer to this sort of shifuku.

     Shifuku with a naga-o were not placed on the ten-ita of the daisu when they had been removed.  They were hung on the furo-saki byōbu by draping the naga-o over the frame of the byōbu on the side of the utensil mat.  However, chaire-no-shifuku with a short himo can not be hung in this way, and so were placed on top of the ten-ita (in the front left corner, above rhe furo, as described by Rikyū).

There were many different (and secret) ways to tie the naga-o, and originally the style was changed by the month or season (or according to various secret teachings).  According to the Nampō Roku, the “ordinary dragonfly knot” (tsune-no-tonbo-musubi [常の蜻蛉結], shown below), can be used to tie both the temmoku's and chaire's shifuku at any time of the year:


     The tonbo-musubi [蜻蛉結] slip-knot for the short himo is tied like this:


Locking knots can not be opened by pulling on one part of the bow.  They were used at the end of the temae so that the temmoku could not be used again until it had been thoroughly cleaned; and because the leftover tea in the chaire should not again be used to serve koicha.  In the case of the naga-o, there originally were a number of different secret knots, and generally one depicting an image from the opposite season of the year was used.  The sakura-musubi [櫻結] (cherry-blossom knot) contrasts in this way with the tsune no tonbo-musubi described above, and was commonly used for this purpose in the days of Rikyū:


The short himo uses a locking-knot that resembles the trefoil (mitsuba-musubi [三葉結]):


Chaire are broadly divided into two categories:  the katatsuki and the  ko-tsubo..  It appears that while the 2-sun 5-bu katatsuki was used first — the handling of the chaire in kane-wari is ultimately based on this specific size — early on the beauty and individuality* of the ko-tsubo marked them out as objects of high demand.  Also, because they are generally smaller (hence the name ko-tsubo), they keep the tea better (there is less air present into which the aromatics that produce the fragrance and flavor of the tea can diffuse and be lost when the lid is opened), keeping it as close to the original taste it had when it came from the mill as possible.  Thus it is not really surprising that the ko-tsubo came to be the preferred chaire to used for gokushin tea at a very early date.

     The ko-tsubo used for gokushin tea should be 2-sun 2-bu in diameter.  Chaire of this size fit easily into the space reserved for the chaire and, rather than projecting over the center fold of the shiki-shi [敷紙] they extend no farther forward than the edge of the panel on which they sit (and so are bounded by such edges on three sides — front, back, and on the left side).
*Katatsuki were manufactured in sets of 20 or more identical pieces for use as a pharmacologist’s storage containers for processed medicinal herbs, while the ko-tsubo were made as containers for custom-formulated cosmetic preparations and single-serving bottles of famous medicinal-spirits (a popular souvenir for tourists visiting the famous scenic spots in China).  Thus their individually proclaimed that their contents were likewise unique.

⁵If the chaire is taller than it is wide, the shifuku is drawn downward by the left hand while the chaire is held still in the right; if, however, the chaire is shorter than the measure of its diameter, the shifuku is held still and the chaire is lifted up and out of the shifuku with the right hand.

⁶This is the difference between the use of the ko-tsubo* and the katatsuki†.

     At the beginning of the temae the wiping is identical (though a finger is never be kept underneath the katatsuki).

     The tea is scooped (kumu [汲む]) from the katatsuki, and after the chashaku is put down, the mouth is cleaned by rubbing it, front and back, with the thumb and first finger of the right hand while it is held over the koboshi.  Then, at the end of the temae, the lid is removed and the mouth wiped (front side, then the back side) with the fukusa while it is held over the koboshi.  The fukusa is put away, the lid is closed, and then the katatsuki is held over the koboshi and the lid, shoulder, and side are wiped with the fukusa.  After the fukusa is returned to the futokoro, the katatsuki is put down.
*When used to serve koicha, the natsume should be handled in exactly the same way:  the mouth is wiped with the fukusa after the tea has been pulled over the mouth with the side of the chashaku, and at the end of the temae, it is simply wiped with the fukusa over the host’s lap (and, as with the ko-tsubo, the lid is not opened at this time).

†The nakatsugi and fubuki are handled in this manner.
     Also, when used to serve usucha, a natsume may be used like this as well (that is, the tea is scooped out with the chashaku, and the mouth of the natsume is wiped with the fukusa only at the end of the temae).  This is up to the host’s personal discretion (but such is not the case when it is used for koicha:  then the natsume must be handled like the ko-tsubo: and, if the host uses the natsume to serve usucha immediately after having used some of its tea for koicha, then it must be used like a ko-tsubo when serving usucha since it is a rule that one must continue using a utensil in the same manner throughout a single temae).

⁷Some modern schools add another step:  after wiping the bowl end of the chashaku twice, they repeat the motion a third time with the fukusa's position changed so the thumb and fingers press the fukusa against the left and right sides of the chashaku, so as to wipe the sides, before continuing to wipe the shaft, but this action was not part of RIkyū’s temae.

⁸According to the Nampō Roku, if the temmoku is an especially special one, then two chakin may be used, placed one on top of the other and then folded together, then when this doubled chakin* is refolded, a completely new surface is presented to wipe the chawan.  However, this is not strictly necessary, and a single chakin will suffice.

     The chakin used for gokushin-no-chanoyu is exactly the same as that used for an ordinary temae:  made of flax linen, it is 1-shaku wide and 5-sun in length, with the top and bottom edges rolled and stitched in opposite directions.  When folded, the hem should be facing the host on the top edge of the chakin (so that when the folding is finished, the hem at the bottom is folded on the inside).  This is all done exactly the same as for an ordinary temae.
Some modern schools use what they call a “shin-chakin,” which is 1-shaku square:  it is first folded in half before being folded as usual.  But while the effect is similar to using two chakin that were folded together, this looses sight of the actual reason for the ancients’ doing so.  It is not so much a question of being clean, as one of ritual purity.  Once the chakin has come into contact with the temmoku, the entire thing is no longer ritually pure — regardless how long it is, or how many times it has been folded over.  By using two chakin, even when the first one is no longer ritually pure, the other one remains so until it has directly contacted the chawan.

⁹This error, which has been perpetuated by many of the modern schools, entered the standard temae through Sōtan and the machi-shū.  From the earliest days the temmoku had always been wiped as described, and the kae-chawan (chasen-oki) was wiped by draping the chakin over the side and rotating.

     The most common chasen-oki from the middle of the fifteenth century onward was the ido-chawan, and when such bowls came to be used as the omo-chawan for wabi-no-chanoyu, some of the influential machi-shū failed to understand the distinction between the handling of the omo-chawan and the kae-chawan*, and assumed that draping the chakin was somehow related to the size of the chawan (i.e., that the larger ido bowls were supposed to be dried in that way, while the smaller temmoku bowls were dried differently) and not to its function.  So the practice of draping the chakin over the rim of the bowl and rotating the bowl by four half turns became common, in certain quarters.  While this was opposed by followers of the orthodox practice, when chanoyu passed officially into the hands of Sōtan, his method of handling a wabi bowl became standard.  And when, in his latter years, Sōtan was pressed into accepting the position of teacher of chanoyu to Tōfuku-mon-in (Ieyasu’s grand-daughter and consort of the retired Emperor Go-mizu-no-o) and her court, he persisted in his earlier way of doing things† — even when pressed to use a daisu when making tea for these exalted persons.  Thus the orthodox way of wiping the omo-chawan was completely lost, and the way that was originally restricted to the wiping of the kae-chawan became the generally accepted practice‡.
*Originally chanoyu with the daisu was done in order to serve a nobleman (thus the guest was usually a single person, and his suite of attendants were either not served, or were accommodated separately). The omo-chawan was used to serve tea to the nobleman, and the kae-chawan was used to clean up the dirty chasen afterward so that the omo-chawan would not be defiled.

     With the advent of wabi-no-chanoyu, when there were a number of guests to serve who had more or less equal status (in this period, up to 10 guests were received at the same time in the same room), the omo-chawan was the bowl used to serve the shōkyaku, and the kae-chawan was usually used to serve at least some of the others (in the early period each guest was offered an individual bowl of koicha, as well as one or two individual bowls of usucha, so after serving the shōkyaku with the omo-chawan, the host would alternate the bowls when serving the others), as a way to save some time and keep the gathering moving.

     The preferred omo-chawan for wabi-no-chanoyu was the ido bowl that had been the most common kind of kae-chawan for gokushin tea, and this is what lead to the confusion over usage described above.

†Perhaps he was too old and set in his ways to change; or possibly he was simply ignorant of the fact that there was a different way to do some things, especially when the daisu was being used.  For whichever reason, Sōtan’s daisu-temae (and thus the daisu-temae of the three Sen families, and all of the other schools who eventually branched off from these later) was derived from his ordinary furo-temae, and bears no relationship whatsoever to the earlier gokushin usage.

‡It was precisely because of these kinds of issues that the daimyō whose ancestors had learned tea from Sen no Rikyū lodged their protest with the bakufu against Sōtan’s methods, which eventually resulted in the official acceptance of the so-called daimyō-cha (which was a rehashed, and so corrupt, form of the temae as taught by Rikyū).

¹⁰This is the proper procedure for cleaning the kae-chawan (chasen-oki) during gokushin-temae, and in this sense nothing more needs to be added (since this post was intended to provide notes related to gokushin usage).

     However, I would like to add something relative to the use of a kae-chawan in a more wabi setting.

     If the host of a wabi gathering decides to use a kae-chawan* (in other words, he decides to do the temae known as kasane-chawan [重茶碗]), he usually will use the second bowl to serve tea to some of the guests† — and often arrange things so that the shōkyaku will drink koicha from the omo-chawan and usucha from the kae-chawan (so that this guest will have the opportunity to use and inspect both bowls).

     Traditionally the omo-chawan should be the larger bowl and the kae-chawan the smaller one (which contrasts with tea served with the daisu, where the smaller temmoku was the omo-chawan and the larger ido bowl was used as the chasen-oki), and the host should be sure to use the kae-chawan for the final chasen-tōshi (so that the omo-chawan will have a chance to dry‡).

     When used to serve tea (even in the early days, the kae-chawan was occasionally used to serve tea to the attendants accompanying the noble shōkyaku), the kae-chawan should be wiped with the chakin in exactly the same manner as is used to wipe the omo-chawan.  But at the end of the temae, following the chasen-tōshi, this bowl should be wiped by draping the chakin over the side and rotating.  This was the correct way to perform the temae, even though modern tea people have forgotten the rules.
*Originally it seems that this was done when the omo-chawan was damaged, the kae-chawan then protecting the precious omo-chawan from being exposed to further damage when cold water is poured in for the final chasen-tōshi.  The original bowl handled in this way was the Shukō-chawan (which had been broken and then repaired with same-colored lacquer so that the damage was not apparent:  it was feared that the shock of using cold water might cause the lacquer to break away from the pottery).

     Later, of course, the use of a kae-chawan became an acceptable part of serving tea to a large number of guests in the same room, and had nothing to do with the condition of the omo-chawan.

†Since this was part of the reason why this temae was created.

‡While in the early days the omo-chawan was protected by inserting a dry chakin that had been folded in half between it and the foot of the kae-chawan (this dry chakin was put into the host’s futokoro when the two bowls were separated, and returned from there to the omo-chawan at the end of the temae), since the Edo period the host’s dashi-fukusa (the fukusa that the host offers to the guests together with the bowl of koicha, which is usually made of some beautiful fabric such as the meibutsu-gire — to emphasize this point some schools came to use the small sized ko-bukusa [古袱紗; but originally written more literally as 小袱紗], rather than a fukusa-sized piece of cloth, for this purpose) came to be used to separate the two stacked bowls. and so the omo-chawan must be completely dry so as not to damage the fukusa (the dye used on many ancient fabrics is not fast, and will bleed out if the cloth becomes damp, damaging both the cloth and the chawan).

Rikyū Densho — the Private Writings of Sen no Rikyū: VI. The Jōchi-ate Daisu Narai no Koto Densho (6a - Shin-temae with Futatsu-gumi, Part 3)



[Rikyu’s sketch¹.  The writing reads:  (above, from the right) chaire (茶入), temmoku (天目); (below, from the right) futaoki (蓋置), mizusashi (水指), mizu-koboshi (水コボ)]

(14) As has been narrated previously, the chasen-oki is brought out from the katte and [its position] is adjusted³ [on the mat] and so on⁴, all as mentioned before.

     Then, above [on the ten-ita], the temmoku-dai⁵ is picked up and placed temporarily [on the ten-ita] outside of the nagabon.

     After [moving the dai-temmoku off of the tray] the chaire is moved to the exact center of the nagabon, and, with both hands [the nagabon is] lowered [to the mat]⁶.  And next the temmoku-dai is picked up and lowered [to the mat], and stood at the side of the nagabon⁷.

     Then⁸ the chaire is lowered [to the mat] in front of [the dai-temmoku] and the nagabon is wiped with the fukusa

◎ The fukuro of the chaire is placed on top of the [ten-ita of the] daisu, on the side [above] where the kama is located⁹. 

     [After] the chaire is [cleaned with the fukusa, it is] placed on the nagabon.

◎ However, there is a point that must be considered regarding the positioning of the chaire¹⁰.


¹I have added this title, so that the reader understands what this unique post entails.

     Gokushin-temae is strictly concerned with the sizes of the various utensils and their quality, hence it is almost impossible for the average host to assemble the correct set of utensils.  If he falls short of this goal, he must not presume to use this temae when serving tea to any guest, no matter how exalted that person might be (and if he does manage to collect the full set, to then perform this temae when serving tea to his guests — especially if those guests were his regular tea friends — would be so self-serving and vain that it would conflict with the core sense of propriety that regulates the behavior appropriate to the tearoom, even the shoin).

     According to an account given in the Nampō Roku, Nambō Sōkei relates that he has only performed this temae “on the nether-side of the [sadō-guchi]” — that is, in the katte, when no guests were present, and where there was no risk that anybody could see him.

     Ultimately, gokushin-temae was created (long before chanoyu was brought to Japan, when it still was being fostered in the temple environment) as an exercise in motion-meditation (dō-zen [動禪]), a tool to aid the host in his cultivation of chanoyu samadhi (chanoyu-sammai [茶湯三昧]), and it is fitting that this most extreme (and very beautiful) form of temae be performed only when offering tea to the Buddha and to the Ultimate Reality.

     It is curious — even disconcerting — given Yabu-no-uchi Jōchi’s well-known personal inclinations (toward a rather extreme form of wabi), that Rikyū is describing gokushin-temae here (when he hemmed and hawed and offered something not quite up to standard in those densho written to others who definitely were interested in trying this sort of thing).  Perhaps the fact that Jōchi was the least likely person to attempt to do gokushin-temae when serving his guests was precisely the reason why Rikyū decided to be so forthcoming.  Perhaps, as he was growing older, he had a need to tell someone these secrets, and perhaps he decided to trust the only person in his ken whose lifelong attachment to the study of chanoyu (without any desire to be called an expert and a teacher) demonstrated the purity of his practice, yet who would not be inclined to abuse this knowledge.

² This is the same sketch that was published at the head of the previous post.  In the Sen no Rikyū Zen-shu, the page was formatted in such a way that there is no certainty with which entry the sketch originally was associated in Rikyū’s manuscript; in fact, it relates equally well to both the previous narrative and this one, and its presence here will help to remind the reader of the arrangement about which RIkyū is speaking..

     In this entry Rikyū is essentially describing gokushin-temae, using the gassan go-bon [月山御盆]†.  The initial kazari is, of course, the same, thus the sketch applies to this post just as well.

     When arranged on the gassan-bon, there is a space of 2-sun between the left rim of the tray and the left side of the (3-sun 8-bu in diameter) meibutsu temmoku-chawan (not its dai), 2-sun between the right side of the meibutsu nasu chaire (2-sun 2-bu diameter) and the right rim of the go-nagabon, and 2-sun between the right side of the temmoku and the left side of the chaire.  The utensils are centered on the tray front to back.  According to the Nampō Roku, when the gassan go-nagabon is used for futatsu-gumi, it should be positioned so that the dai-temmoku is in the exact center of the ten-ita‡.
*While something similar can in fact be done with the rai-bon (indeed, this sort of usage — as a kind of early chaire-bon for a meibutsu nasu — seems to have been more common than its use for futatsu-gumi), the initial kazari would not be in agreement with Rikyū’s explanation, thus I am not going to consider this variant here, or say anything more about it in these appended notes.

†The gassan go-nagabon [月山御長盆] was a rather small nagabon (the modern usu-ita known as the yahazu-ita [矢筈板] was derived from the dimensions of this tray’s rim; and the yahazu edge imitates, in miniature, the rim and foot of the gassan-nagabon as recreated by Haneda Gorō after the original had been lost in the Ōnin wars).  It was the highest ranked of the six classical trays that were used with the daisu.

     The face of the tray was 1-shaku 2-sun from side to side, and 8-sun from front to back.  The segai was 6-bu, and so the total size across the rim was 1-shaku 3-sun 2-bu by 9-sun 2-bu.

     The original gassan go-bon, which was imported from the continent, had been conceived to resemble a framed painting, though perhaps created specifically for use in chanoyu.  In the very center of the tray was a mother-of-pearl inlay of the full moon (the size of a chaire's foot).  On the left were depicted, in colored lacquer and maki-e, men riding horses (the raised halberd of one which marked the place where the bowl of the chashaku should touch the tray), while on the right were houses and above them mountains (showing where the chakin and chasen could be placed, respectively, if a chasen-oki was not being used).

     Unfortunately, the original was destroyed, and the replacement was made in plain shin-nuri (without the markers that indicated the proper placement of the utensils).

‡This temae is only performed when the guest is a great nobleman.  A variation of gokushin-temae (called san-shu gokushin [三種極眞]:  it was intended to highlight the three utensils that Yoshimitsu — who was indisposed with a severe digestive complaint — had been presented by the Imperial Court as a get-well present:  Yoshimitsu was being urged by the court to drink koicha as a medicine to cure his illness and restore himself to good health, and the gift of the rare and precious tea utensils may be seen as an added inducement) was the first temae publicly performed in Japan (and created nothing short of a sensation, according to accounts from the day), and the shōkyaku was Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, third shōgun of that house (who, since he technically controlled the Imperial Court’s purse-strings, was the effective Lord of the nation, hence the Court’s exaggerated concern with his health — and happiness:  it is said that Yoshimitsu had overindulged in food and drink and was suffering from chest pains, which koicha, as a palliative for heart conditions, was supposed to remedy).

³As mentioned in the previous post, it is placed on the utensil mat, at the lower end of the temae-za, (which is the 1-shaku 4-sun deep area between the host’s knees and the front edge of the daisu) on the side of the mat closest to the katte.

⁴Rikyū is abbreviating his narrative because he has already said these things once.  After the position of the chasen-oki has been adjusted, the host pulls the fukusa from his obi, folds it, and inserts it into the futokoro of his kimono.

⁵He means, the host takes hold of the wen [= the hane] of the temmoku-dai with both hands and moves the dai-temmoku off of the nagabon:  he temporarily rests the dai-temmoku directly on the ten-ita, to the left of the nagabon (and far enough away so he does not accidentally bump the dai-temmoku when he picks up the nagabon).

     If the chashaku was displayed on the nagabon (rather than carried in on the chasen-oki as Rikyū describes), after the dai-temmoku has been moved to the outside of the tray the host next picks up the chashaku. and rests it across the rim of the chasen-oki†.  (If it was enclosed in a shifuku*, the shifuku should be removed at this time and held in the left hand while the host places the chashaku across the rim of the the chasen-oki. Then the shifuku is tied like a knotted letter‡, and slipped into the host’s right sleeve.)  Only then does he move the chaire to the exact center of the nagabon and continue, as per Rikyū’s instructions.
*This shifuku is not like the modern slip-on one that was devised as part of the chabako set of utensils.  Rather, it was made like the covering in which some people protect a special cha-sensu [茶扇子], usually a folding fan signed by their teacher (or their Iemoto), often received as a sort of graduation present when they finished their formal training.


     The chashaku-shifuku is a straight tube (stitched up the front, as can be seen in the above photo), the open end of which is folded over (after the chashaku has been inserted), and then secured by tying a himo around the shifuku (the himo is attached to the shifuku on the back).

     The above example of a chaire-shifuku dates from the early sixteenth century (when such things were often used during daisu temae with the nagabon — to protect a chashaku carved by Ashikaga Yoshimasa, or some other meijin [名人], a renowned man of tea).

†The chashaku is rested across the rim of the chasen-oki, on the katte-side of the chasen

     So when the katte is on the right, the chashaku should span the mouth of the chasen-oki on the right side of the chasen (this is its usual position when the chasen-oki or chawan was carried into the room from the katte).

     However, when the katte is on the left, the chashaku has to be picked up and moved to the left side of the chasen — after the chasen-oki has been positioned correctly on the utensil mat.

‡The knot is tied like this:


⁶The nagabon is placed in front of the mizusashi with the right edge of its foot located immediately adjacent to the heri*.
*Originally, when the arrangement of things was governed by the shiki-shi [敷紙] the foot of the nagabon rested on top of the heri up to its middle (as mentioned before, only the outer 5-bu of the heri is yū-yo [有余], so things can be placed on the inner half of the heri).

     However, when the shiki-shi was eliminated, the 3-bu wide folds revert to the kane that is found in their interior, giving us the familiar division of the space between the heri by five yang kane.

     Interestingly, this has no impact on the position of either the chaire or the chashaku when arranged on the gassan-nagabon.  When the shiki-shi was used, the foot of the tray rose up onto the heri (to its mid-point), and the right edge of the rim was above the right edge of the mat.  When the chaire is placed in the exact center of the gassan go-bon, the right edge of the shiki-shi lies immediately to its right; when the chashaku is placed exactly between the chaire and the left rim of the tray, it falls immediately to the right of the edge of the first fold.  However, when the shiki-shi is dispensed with (and the kane represented by five single lines), the foot of the tray is placed immediately to the left of the heri.  When centered on the tray, the chaire is still immediately to the left of the first kane, and the chashaku is immediately to the right of the second kane when centered between the chaire and the left rim of the tray.

     While this does not always work with ordinary utensils, the pieces used for gokushin-temae are all very special, and their placement is termed mine-zuri [峰摺り], which means that they are always placed relative to the kane (rather than the edge of the fold).  This is a special feature of this highest (or true) gokushin-temae.

     But when ordinary utensils are being used with the ro, or the ko-ita furo, our intentions (that the separation between chawan and chaire, for example, should be either 2-sun, or 1-sun 5-bu) do not always correspond properly with the reality of the 5-yang kane.  Thus we should keep the shiki-shi in mind when considering the placement of ordinary utensils on the temae-za.  This is why Rikyū always says that one should not be deeply concerned about exact measurements (which identify the five kane, rather than the two outer kane and the three inner 3-bu wide folds), but instead should content himself with counting the me on the surface of the tatami (since these actually come closer to depicting the folds — each of which was close to the width of a me).

⁷The dai-temmoku is immediately lowered into the position that it will occupy during the rest of the temae.  This differs from the case where a larger naga-bon is being used.

⁸Perhaps Rikyū has abbreviated things.

     Assuming that the temmoku is enclosed in its shifuku, as was common (though not strictly necessary) in the case of gokushin-temae (especially when a chasen-oki was being used), its shifuku should be removed first, as Rikyū has already said.

     If the host does not take the shifuku back to the katte (which was not done in the original gokushin-temae — and it is also important to note that Rikyū has not specifically mentioned doing so in his narrative of this specific temae, either), then it may be  hung on the side corner of the furosaki-byōbu by draping the himo over the top of the byōbu's frame.  If the chaire’s shifuku also has a long himo, then it may be hung on the byōbu as well (coiling up the long himo and stuffing it inside the mouth of the shifuku was not done until the Edo period).  However, if the chaire's shifuku has a short himo (as was becoming common at this point in Rikyū’s lifetime), then it should be placed on top of the ten-ita of the daisu as Rikyū has described.

⁹The chronology is askew.  The shifuku must first be removed from the chaire before it can be placed on the ten-ita of the daisu!

     After the shifuku was removed from the temmoku, the nagabon and the chaire should be completely ignored until later.

     The host opens the lid of the kama and pours a quarter hishaku-full of hot water into the temmoku, and returns the hishaku to the shaku-tate.  He then picks up the temmoku, rotates it three times over the koboshi, and then discards the water, wiping the drop of water from rim of the bowl with his right hand.

     Returning the temmoku to its dai, the host picks up the hishaku again and pours half of a hishaku of hot water into the temmoku.  He then returns the hishaku to the shaku-tate, and closes the lid of the kama.  The chasen is picked up and inserted into the temmoku, with its handle leaning against the far side of the rim.  The temmoku is picked up and rested temporarily on the ji-ita of the daisu, with its foot immediately to the left of the middle kane.  The host then takes out his fukusa and cleans the temmoku-dai.  After returning the fukusa to his futokoro, he picks up the temmoku and replaces it on its dai.  

     Then he moves the chaire between the dai and his knees, takes out his fukusa and cleans the nagabon.  After the fukusa is returned to his futokoro, the host opens the chaire's shifuku and takes the chaire out, resting the shifuku on the mat between his knees and the temmoku-dai.  While holding the chaire in his left hand the host removes the fukusa from his futokoro, cleans the chaire, and places the chaire immediately on the nagabon, in the exact center of the tray.  This is important.  He then picks up the shifuku, flattens it out, and turns it so that the mouth faces forward and the uchi-dome points to the right, and rests it on top of the ten-ita of the daisu (or, if it has a long himo, drapes it over the frame of the byōbu, as described above).

     The host then takes out his fukusa and opens one fold, rests it on the palm of his left hand, picks up the chashaku from the chasen-oki, wipes it, and places it on the nagabon so that it is exactly centered between the left rim and the left side of the chaire.  (The handle should extend 4-bu or so beyond the front edge of the go-nagabon.)

     And finally he returns to the temmoku, and performs the chasen-tōshi.

     So that the water in the temmoku does not cool, thus defeating the purpose of warming the bowl, the steps between the pouring in of the second half-hishaku of hot water and the performance of the chasen-tōshi should be done as quickly as possible.  But they must also be done carefully.

¹⁰This point is, as mentioned in the previous note, that the chaire must be placed in the exact center of the tray.  (In the case of the original gassan go-nagabon, this was easy enough, because the mother-of-pearl full moon, which was the same size as the chaire's foot, was located in the exact center of the tray, so the chaire had simply to be placed on top of it.  But the replacement, which the modern-made trays copy, lacked such indicators, and so required more careful attention to these details of placement.)

     Because the foot of the tray touches the right heri, centering the chaire on the tray makes it fall immediately to the left of the first kane .  When the chaire is correctly positioned, placing the chashaku exactly between it and the left rim of the tray orients it immediately to the right of the second kane, thus both the chaire and the chashaku are wholly fenced in between the first and second kane (which is the rule according to the teachings of kane-wari).     


     Though Rikyū has ended his narration here, apparently leaving it up to Jōchi’s imagination to visualize the rest, I would like to add a number of points to help the modern reader understand what is intended.  Due to the length of this post (and the length of the list I would like to append), it was necessary to add these points in a supernumerary post, which will immediately follow this one.

Rikyū Densho — the Private Writings of Sen no Rikyū: VI. The Jōchi-ate Daisu Narai no Koto Densho (5 - Shin-temae with Futatsu-gumi, Part 2)

The way to prepare tea [when offering tea to a nobleman]¹.


[Rikyū’s sketch².  His text reads:  (above, from the right) chaire (茶入), temmoku (天目); (below, from the right) futaoki (蓋置), mizusashi (水指), mizu-koboshi (水コボ)]

(13) First the chasen-oki³ [is brought out and placed] on the right or on the left [side of the utensil mat]:  it should be placed [in front of] the side of the daisu where the katte is located.


[Rikyu’s sketch.  The writing reads: chasen-oki (茶筅置)]

     Then the fukusa is [removed from the obi, folded] and inserted into the [host’s] futokoro⁴.

     [Next] the nagabon⁵ is picked up using both hands, and lowered to the mat [so that the temmoku is in front of the host’s body and the tray extends toward the right].

     Then the chaire is picked up and lowered from the tray, its fukuro⁶ is removed, and then the chaire is cleaned.  Then it is placed [on the tray] next to the temmoku⁷.

     On the other hand, if the temmoku is a meibutsu, and so was displayed [on the daisu] in its fukuro, the temmoku's fukuro should be taken away first, and then the chasen-oki brought out from the katte.  (The temmoku's fukuro should be left in the katte⁸ [when the host returns to fetch the chasen-oki].)  Only then is the fukuro removed from the chaire, and so on.

◎ [With respect to displaying the temmoku in its fukuro:]  if it is a meibutsu, or, when the nobleman has specifically asked for haiken of this temmoku.  But other than these cases, it is impossible to [display the temmoku] like this.


¹Go-cha tatsuru shidai [御茶立つる次第].  The use of the honorific kanji go [御], in the construction go-cha [御茶]*, means that tea is being offered to a superior, a nobleman.
*During the Edo period it became fashionable to overindulge in honorifics in the context of chanoyu.  Thus people of that time would typically say o-cha [お茶 = 御茶] — just as they said things like o-kama [お釜], o-chawan [お茶碗], and even o-fukusa [お袱紗] and o-chakin [お茶巾]  — but this behavior is both different, and rather silly.

     While the expression go-cha might have been used by Rikyū when serving tea to someone like Hideyoshi (as being his lord), technically speaking it should only have been used with respect to serving tea to someone like a high court noble, or a person of equivalent rank (the high Buddhist ecclesiastics, for example, were also regarded as being of equal rank to the nobility, as were women of the noble families whether or not they had publicly announced themselves and so received a courtly rank).

²In the Sen no Rikyū Zen-shu, the two sketches are presented as if they constituted a single illustration, as shown below.


     This gives an erroneous impression because they are not actually related to each other in the manner shown (though Rikyū has unfortunately juxtaposed them in that way).

     In the sketch of the daisu, the futaoki is shown on the right, which indicates that (in Rikyū’s mind) the katte is also on the right side of the utensil mat.

     It follows (from his comments in this entry) that the chasen-oki, when brought out from the katte, should also be placed on the side of the utensil mat (albeit at the lower end of the temae-za just beyond the host’s knee line) closest to the katte — thus, in this context, on the right.  For this reason I have separated them so that the reader will not be drawn into confusion.

³Chasen-oki [茶筅置].  This utensil is also sometimes called a chasen-dai [茶筅台] by Rikyū.  It is a kae-chawan [替え茶碗].  By convention, two bowls were originally used for chanoyu:  a small one* (such as a temmoku, in which tea was prepared and served) and a large one† (in which the chakin, chasen, and perhaps the chashaku were carried into the room, the chasen cleaned with cold water at the end of the temae, and these things removed from the room at the end)‡.

     Though Rikyū always shows the chasen-oki holding the chakin, chasen, and chashaku, the chashaku can also be displayed on the tray on the ten-ita of the daisu, according to the Nampō Roku.  In that source it is related that the chashaku (which, if a meibutsu piece may also be displayed in its shifuku as well — but only when both the chaire and the temmoku are simultaneously displayed in theirs) should be placed so it is parallel to the heri of the mat.  It may be leaned against the far rim of the tray, or the front rim, or rested flat on the face of the tray, between the temmoku and the chaire.

     While superficially similar, because the modern chasen-zara [茶筅皿], or sen-zara [筅皿], can not be used to clean the chasen, it is not really equivalent.  (The whole point was that the dirty chasen should not be reinserted into the temmoku unless the host has no other choice.  The presence of a kae-chawan on the utensil mat presented the host with another option.)

     The chasen-oki was an ordinary large chawan, not a shallow dish, and must be sufficiently deep that the chasen can be whisked in it freely without danger of splashing out water.  Period examples were the Shukō chawan, all of the meibutsu-te ido bowls, and most of the other large chawan mentioned in works from that period like the Yama-no-ue Sōji Ki [山上宗二記] (written in 1588) — all of these bowls were originally used as kae-chawan in this way, and only later**, with the advance of wabi-no-chanoyu, did they come to be used to serve tea† to the guests in their own right.  (Thus, in the Yama-no-ue Sōji Ki, for example, they are considered by Sōji as full-fledged chawan, rather than auxiliary pieces, and their values calculated accordingly.)
*The meibutsu size for the small chawan was 3-sun 8- or 9-bu in diameter.  Up to 4-sun (or even 4-sun 2-bu) was acceptable for this purpose.

     Bowls narrower than 3-sun 8-bu were considered difficult to use — since the host to be able to use the chasen freely.  Consequently they were rarely used for chanoyu in the early period.

     Ideally, the external height of the bowl was usually close to the diameter of the mouth in the early examples (however, the Chinese kenzan [建盞] bowls, which were originally made for serving sake in China, tended to be shallower, and so they were not as highly regarded as the other varieties of temmoku-chawan in the early days).

†The large chawan were between 4-sun 8-bu and 5-sun 2-bu in diameter.  (The meibutsu-te ido-chawan [名物手井戸茶碗], the ones used from the earliest period, were all around 4-sun 9-bu across the mouth; the Shukō-chawan [珠光茶碗] and most other large bowls from that period, were usually 5-sun 2-bu in diameter.)  Large bowls are usually shallower than they are high.

‡Shukō is said (by some writers, including Kanamori Sōwa and virtually everyone who follows his version of chanoyu history) to have been the first person to use a kae-chawan to serve tea to a group of people.  Though the details are not clear, it appears that koicha was prepared in the temmoku (the small chawan), and this was offered to the memory of his departed master.  Then the bowl was removed from the altar, some more hot water added, and this mixture of koicha and hot water was carefully poured into the kae-chawan, where it was whisked into usucha, and this was passed around for each guest to take a sip.  In this case we should consider this an act of communion, rather than the intentional serving tea to ones guests, since the idea was for them to partake of the dead master’s essence by drinking some of the tea that had been offered to his spirit.  This was not suicha [吸い茶], as the word came to be used in the Edo period (when it meant the intentional preparation of a large bowl of koicha containing enough tea so that each of the guests could drink a full portion of koicha from this communal bowl), though Kanamori Sōwa insisted that it was the precedent for this later practice.  (In fact, the custom of serving koicha as sui-cha was initiated somewhat later, by the early wabi recluses, and taken up from them by certain factions within the machi-shū.  Jōō never performed chanoyu in this manner, but the practice received a certain degree of official sanction when Rikyū began to double up on the service of koicha to the lower guests to save time — though he generally seems to have preferred serving an individual bowl of koicha to the shōkyaku, in the manner of his teachers Dōchin and Jōō.)

**In the very early days of chanoyu in Japan (roughly the first half of the fifteenth century, though perhaps as early as 1392 when the Koryeo court was disbanded and some of its officials sought refuge and a new position in the service of the military leaders of Japan — the time before the mass influx of Korean refugees began in the 1460s), tea of a quality suitable to serve as koicha was both extremely rare, and exceedingly costly.  Thus, when a nobleman was invited for chanoyu, though he naturally came accompanied by a suite of lesser nobles and officials, not everyone was served tea.  As these people were accompanying the nobleman (rather than being invited guests in their own right) the host did not always grind enough tea to serve them all (tea was kept in a leaf state until it was needed, then ground into matcha and consumed immediately, with none left over).  While persons of a certain standing might have been invited to partake along with their lord, the rest were not so treated.  Rather, after the nobleman had drunk, the cha-no-ato [茶の跡] — the koicha remaining in the chawan after the guest has consumed all that can be drunk — was mixed with some more hot water, and this was poured into the kae-chawan, whisked with the chasen (which also helped clean the chasen of the tea clinging to its tines).  This thinnish usucha was, then, served to the attendants of too low a station to receive their own bowl of properly prepared tea.

     These persons would include functionaries such as the nobleman’s private body servants who, while of low social standing, would nevertheless be seated near their lord in case their services were suddenly needed.  These included a range of things, from providing the nobleman with writing paper and a brush, to offering him a small chamberpot in which to urinate (in case he had to pass his water while formally seated on the jō-dan [上段], the elevated seating area of the room reserved for the highest guests).  As mentioned in the previous post, if the noble had to get up and leave the room, this precipitated various necessary modifications to the arrangements and proceedings which would be troublesome to rectify again if he were to return again immediately thereafter.

       This practice appears to predate the service of a communal bowl of usucha in this way by Shukō; and if that is the case, maybe he was actually imitating an earlier practice, but using it for a new purpose — since the people being served were hardly the servants of the departed master, though they may have all been his disciples.

     The jō-dan became the tokonoma of the smaller rooms, pushed into a recess in the wall (in the Korean manner) so that it would not interfere with the proceedings in these rooms with their limited floor-space.  The reason a scroll was hung in the tokonoma of the wabi tearoom was because it took the place of the esteemed monk who had written it — it was considered to be his “shadow” — and thus was accorded the honors due to the highest ranked person in the room (this is why we bow to the kakemono:  it is the same as making our bows to the monk himself; it is the monk who is given our respect, not the value represented by the scroll and its mounting).  The flowers, in their turn, stood for the Buddha’s teachings on impermanence, and thus were regarded with much the same sense of esteem.

⁴In other (earlier) densho Rikyū suggests that the host should delay, and only fold the fukusa and insert it into his futokoro later (after the sō-rei) immediately before the fukusa will be needed to wipe the tray; but here he has reverted to the original manner (which he instituted*) of folding the fukusa and inserting it into the futokoro as the first step in the temae.

     Perhaps in the intervening densho he was still thinking according to Oribe’s urgings, but now has reconsidered and returned to his original opinion of the matter.  Or perhaps he was getting old enough to have become forgetful of these more recent modifications.  It is even possible that he simply adopts the stance favored by the person for whom he is writing.
*Originally the fukusa was folded in the katte, at some point before the host entered the room to begin the service of tea (and, it seems, even earlier, perhaps when the host first commenced his preparations before the arrival of his guests).  It is said that on one occasion, in his younger days (though he could not have been too young, otherwise this innovation would have never been accepted by his teachers), Rikyū was unable to locate the folded fukusa among the various other articles carried in his futokoro expediently, and thereafter he resolved to hang the fukusa from his obi until he entered the tearoom to begin the service of koicha, and only then fold it (in the presence of the guests) and insert it into his futokoro.

     Irrespective of when he actually folds it, even if this is delayed until immediately before wiping the chaire, in Rikyū’s temae the fukusa must always be inserted into the futokoro first.  Then the chaire is picked up, the fukusa removed from the futokoro, the chaire is wiped, the fukusa reinserted into the futokoro, and then the chaire is put down.  Next the fukusa is taken out again and one fold unfolded on the left palm, the chashaku is picked up, wiped, rested on the chaire, and then the fukusa was folded in half into its former configuration, and reinserted into the futokoro.

     Oribe is the one who began delaying the folding of the fukusa until after the shifuku had been removed from the chaire.  Supposedly this was the result of the experience of his receiving a satsū-bako of matcha from Rikyū while in the middle of hosting a gathering; and, desiring to share this tea with his guests as well, but not having another clean fukusa with which to purify the natsume, he used the little purple furoshiki in which the natsume had been tied as a fukusa — thus instituting both the modern form of the tsutsumi-bukusa temae, and the practice of delaying the folding of the fukusa until the covering had first been removed from the tea container.  And he perhaps also began the practice of keeping the fukusa in the hand after it had been folded (rather than temporarily inserting it into the futokoro) while the chaire was being picked up.

     Refolding the fukusa again (and again) over the course of the temae seems to have been an even later machi-shū innovation, as were the custom of folding or refolding the fukusa on the host’s lap. Shi-hō-sabaki [四方捌き — also pronounced yo-hō-sabaki by some of the modern schools], as well as resting the folded fukusa from time to time on the mat, were both introduced by Sōtan.  (Shi-hō-sabaki was originally an affectation, intended to demonstrate Sōtan’s incompetence — “where is the wa-sa fold? I can’t find the wa-sa" — at performing temae to the representatives of the Tokugawa bakufu who wanted to install him as the official tea master to the shōgunate; putting the fukusa on the floor was another of Sōtan’s dirty habits, like dripping water all over the place, perhaps calculated to achieve the same end of so disgusting the officials that they would just go away and leave Sōtan to his anonymity and honest poverty.  Unfortunately, these things became known as hallmarks of Sōtan’s “school,” and at least the shi-hō-sabaki and custom of putting the fukusa on the floor were incorporated into the temae that became the official — and, at first, the only formally sanctioned — way in which chanoyu must be performed, by decree of the bakufu.)

     According to Rikyū (whose teachings apparently nobody cared about in the early Edo period), the fukusa was to be kept ritually pure at all times, kept in the futokoro, and only removed from there when needed (and returned to the futokoro immediately thereafter), until the end of the temae, when it was inserted into the left sleeve to signify that the temae was ended, and that this fukusa would never be used again.

⁵Originally (in gokushin usage) the smaller gassan go-bon [月山御盆] was used, and it was placed fully in front of the mizusashi (and so used as a chaire-bon).

     But from the second or third decade of the century an ordinary (larger) nagabon* was also used, and used to support not only the chaire, but the temmoku as well, and this is the practice being narrated here.  According to the Nampō Roku, the initial kazari when the ordinary nagabon is used may be done in one of two ways:

- If the chief guest† is from a different house than that with which the host is affiliated (it was inconceivable that the host would have been someone of lower status than a samurai when the shōkyaku was a nobleman), then the nagabon is positioned so that the temmoku is in the center of the ten-ita. and the chaire rests atop the kane to its right.

- When the shōkyaku is a member of the same house that retains the host, the chaire rests in the very center of the ten-ita, and the temmoku lies on the kane to the left of the center‡.

     The ordinary nagabon (because it is larger) allows the host to use more commonly available utensils of somewhat larger sizes than in the case of the gassan go-bon, thus it became rather popular (for a time) among those machi-shū who were inclined to explore these more or less orthodox practices.  By the 1540s, however, the use of the daisu fell from favor (supplanted by the fukuro-dana, and the smaller rooms featuring the daime-gamae where the daisu could not be used), thus this kind of temae was almost unknown to the practitioners of this time (this densho is dated 1581).
*The tsune-no-go-nagabon [常御長盆], “ordinary” nagabon, had a face 1-shaku 3-sun from side to side and 8-sun 2-bu front to back.  The segai (the space over which the rim rose from the face) was 1-sun 1-bu. So the total size of the rim was 1-shaku 5-sun 2-bu by 1-shaku 4-bu.

     The original is said to have been decorated with tsui-koku [堆黒] lacquer (alternating red and black layers of lacquer, with the final layer being black), carved with a guri-guri [グリグリ] pattern (the name is onomatopoeic, referring to the sound of the rotating burin; this sort of design, carved using a rotating burin, reveals the alternating colors of the layers of lacquer through which it bores), which is usually a short, broken series of double-headed arabesques.  However, the replacements made after the original tray had been destroyed in the Ōnin wars were made of plain shin-nuri.

†In Rikyū’s day this kind of temae was usually performed only when the guest was an important nobleman, such as a major daimyō, hence the fuss.  When such a person was received by a host from a different house, everything had to be done to make the guest feel more important, according to the Japanese custom.

‡The significance of this point becomes obscured when tea is served in a room where the katte is on the left.  In rooms arranged according to the original configuration, where the katte was on the right, positioning the nagabon so that the temmoku is to the left of center demeans it slightly, which was appropriate when serving a guest who is a member of the same house as the host.  (However, because the chaire is now centered on the ten-ita, it is like shifting the emphasis to the tea, rather than the person of the shōkyaku, which is also appropriate to the context where both host and the guest are of the same house.)

Fukuro [袋], cloth bag.  The correct name for the covering in which a chaire (or temmoku or other utensil) is tied.

     Shifuku [仕覆; or, 仕服] originally seems to have meant a wooden housing for a special chaire, such as the hikiya [挽家].  (Wooden boxes tied with colored ribbons such as are used nowadays were originally made as hitotsu-ire satsū-bako [一入茶通箱] when presenting a single kind of matcha to someone, not for the storage of chaire or other utensils as now).  The same sounds were also written shifuku [紙服], meaning a covering made of heavy paper that had been processed to make it soft and durable (it was shaped in the manner of the Ōtsu-bukuro [大津袋], a kind of hulled-rice shipping bag, and lacked a drawstring); this kind of bag for the chaire was favored by the wabi extremists among the machi-shū.  (A bag of some sort is necessary, since its purpose is to press the lid of the container tightly against the mouth, so that the tea’s “essence” will not decline through evaporation of the aromatic compounds that give the tea its flavor and smell.)

⁷Here Rikyū appears to be narrating a usage similar to that shown in the sketch of the round rai-bon's gokushin temae (where both the chaire and the temmoku stand on the tray together).


     This can also be done with a nagabon (in which case, however, the chaire is placed farther away from the temmoku, so that it is associated with its proper kane — the first kane on the right side of the mat that corresponds to the right edge of the shiki-shi [敷紙]).


     As with the rai-bon (where the temmoku-dai can not be placed on the tray in any case), the dai is frequently stood to the left* of the tray.  However, when the host is using a naga-bon the temmoku is sometimes stood on the dai when blending the tea with the chasen, according to the particular usages associated with that specific temmoku and its dai.
*Since the position of the furo can not be changed, regardless of whether the katte is on the right or on the left side of the utensil mat, these directions apply in either setting.  The nagabon always extends in the direction of the mizusashi.

⁸This sentence, which I have placed in parentheses as if it were a gloss, was written in this place by Rikyū.  It is out of its proper order, according to the flow of his narrative.

Rikyū Densho — the Private Writings of Sen no Rikyū: VI. The Jōchi-ate Daisu Narai no Koto Densho (4 - Shin-temae with Futatsu-gumi, Part 1)

(12) Nanatsu-kazari for the shin [form of practice]¹ is the same as described previously.  However, [in the case of the shin form] two utensils are grouped together² [on a tray] above [on the ten-ita].

     A round tray³ may be used in a similar manner.

     Thus, [when we speak of the service of tea using the daisu,] there are a number of different possible combinations⁴ [of utensils arranged on the ten-ita].  And in the same way, with respect to the utensils [placed] below, there are also several possibilities [available to the host].

     With respect to the shin temae, the kan⁵ on the furo should be placed so that they are above [and resting against the neck of the kimen-buro].  This is very important.

     As soon as the nobleman enters his seat, the host should immediately, and without delay, raise the kan⁶.


¹Nanatsu-kazari [七ツ餝]* as described in the post entitled Rikyū Densho — the Private Writings of Sen no Rikyū: VI. The Jōchi¹-ate Daisu Narai no Koto Densho (2 - Bon-chaire and Daisu Nanatsu-kazari).


     When the katte is on the right in the original configuration, the arrangement of the ji-ita is as above; and the utensils should be arranged as below when the katte is on the host’s left†.


*The word “kazari" refers to the arrangement of utensils on the ji-ita.  Thus, irrespective of what the host is doing on the ten-ita, nanatsu-kazari always remains the same (because it is the most shin arrangement of the utensils on the ji-ita possible).

†The biggest difference is that the futaoki should always be placed on the side of the ji-ita closest to the katte.  Thus, when the katte is on the right, the futaoki is placed in the corner next to the mizusashi, but when the katte is on the left, it is displayed next to the furo.

◎ In the shin class of temae, the futaoki should never be placed inside the koboshi.

²Futatsu-gumi [二ツ組]:  two (utensils) grouped together.  The word kumi [組] is used to describe the utensils arranged on the ten-ita, just as kazari [餝] is used for those arranged on the ji-ita.  This was a secret teaching, intended to allow the cognoscenti to readily distinguish between those knowledgeable of the orthodox ways from those who were untrained in classical theory*.
*Many of the machi-shū put on airs of knowing “all of the secrets” and then made a show of supposedly transcending them (and then used these deviant arrangements to challenge the practitioners of orthodox tea — and publicly ridiculed them when they could not make heads or tails of what their machi-shū host intended); but in fact most were badly deficient in classical training.

     The reason for the violent emotions raised over this issue turned on the fact that the political leaders of Japan (beginning with Ashikaga Yoshimasa) were deeply and personally interested in chanoyu.  Thus a knowledge of tea provided people (and especially the foreigner-residents of Sakai and Hakata) with an entree to places and connections from which they would otherwise have been debarred.  A talent for one-upmanship, therefore, could make their fortune, just as having their methods challenged or overshadowed by someone else could spell ruin.  It was all a matter of being the better talker, and the orthodox practitioners naturally took serious offense at the upstarts who were spouting opinions based upon nothing but their own hatred and greed.  This is the explanation for the tea of this period, and the driving force behind the incredibly rapid (and unprecedented) evolution that occurred between the 1460s and the 1590s — and even more so during the final three or four decades of that period.

     This is why it was important for anyone with aspirations (or who might happen to find himself associated with men of political power) to be absolutely sure of his footing, and this was the unspoken reason behind many of these densho.  Since Jōchi was known to associate with Rikyū, though he was a wabi chajin, and since HIdeyoshi was from  time to time known to seek out unorthodox characters, it was important for Jōchi to be educated — just in case.

³In the Nomura Sōkaku-ate Densho (or his other, even earlier, densho), Rikyū did not mention this possibility.  Since round trays were ranked slightly lower than square or rectangular trays, and thus appealed to the wabi practitioners, perhaps this was a concession to Jōchi’s proclivities.

     Round trays were considered inferior to square or rectangular trays because they can not be aligned with the me on the mat (or front edge of the daisu) as easily.  Nevertheless, in gokushin tea there is a shin arrangement of a temmoku (without its dai, which has to be carried in separately) and chaire displayed on the round rai-bon [雷盆]* in this manner.


     The most important particulars of this usage may be deduced from the sketch, above.  In the room represented in this sketch, the katte would be located on the right side.
*The rai-bon [雷盆] was the second of the six meibutsu trays from the earliest period, and, together with the gassan-bon [月山盆] it was used for the most shin arrangements.  While it was usually used to display either a meibutsu chaire or a meibutsu dai-temmoku combination where the dai itself was also a meibutsu, futatsu-gumi was also a possibility (as illustrated in the sketch, above).  Because the face of the original tray contained an inlaid plate of hammered gold, it was also used to display a kōro on the daisu (since the gold-plate was not as heat-sensitive as unprotected lacquer).

     This tray was round, with a scalloped rim that rose straight upward from the base.  So, rather than having an obvious picture frame-like rim, the depth of the scalloping was considered the rim. (The word “rim” is used in this blog to tramslate what the Nampō Roku calls the segai [船枻], which literally means the gunwale of a boat — the part that rises around the periphery of the deck as a sort of railing, yet is an extension and projection of the sides of the hull.)   The rai-bon was 1-shaku 1-sun in maximum outer diameter.

     The name rai-bon was an old name for what is usually called a suri-bachi [擂鉢] or grinding bowl or mortar today.  Rai [雷], which kanji is also pronounced kaminari (“sound of the Gods”), means thunder, and refers to the thunder-like sound produced when things are ground in a suri-bachi.  The name was applied because of the perceived resemblance of the inner, pointed edges of the scallops to the serrations etched in the sides of a suri-bachi to make its grinding surface more abrasive.

     The original tray was decorated on the face with a gold-inlaid image of a dragon surrounded by arabesque-work in mother-of-pearl, and was supposedly the work of the Northern Sung period artist known in Japanese as Chōshō [趙昌, dates unknown but active at the beginning of the eleventh century].  (In China he is by far better known for his paintings than his lacquerware — none of which seems to have survived.)  Nevertheless, because of this ascription, the tray was also known as the chōshō-bon [趙昌盆].

     It might be added that all of the original six gokushin trays that were sanctioned for use with the daisu were destroyed during the series of conflicts known as the Ōnin wars (1467–1477).  Afterwards — because they are almost indispensable if one wishes to practice gokushin-no-chanoyu — they were replaced by undecorated Japanese-made shin-nuri trays (that carefully reproduced the original proportions only), since it was decided that the native lacquer artists lacked the skills necessary to replicate the originals in every detail.

Ikutsu-gumi [幾つ組]:  several groupings.  In other words, a naga-bon may be used, or a round tray, and with each there are several possible ways to do the temae.

⁵Rikyū has suddenly shifted his narrative to the case where a kimmen-buro is being used to serve tea in the most formal manner (as was originally the rule).  This kind of furo usually has kan attached to the two kimen kantsuki.  When serving tea to a nobleman, the kan should be raised so that they lean against the neck of the furo; when serving ordinary guests, they should be lowered so that they depend from the kantsuki.

⁶This refers not to the service of tea in the context of an ordinary gathering, but the special case where a nobleman comes into the shoin, is served tea, and then departs more or less immediately.  (In which case all of the preparations — such as the sumi-temae — are attended to prior to his entry.)  In this case the kan remain hanging downward until the nobleman is bowed into his seat, then they should be raised immediately.  And immediately after he takes his leave (even if this should be before the temae is concluded), the kan are immediately lowered again and remain that way until the temae is finished and the utensils are put away.

     This was the original way in which tea was offered to a nobleman (indeed, on the occasion of the first public offering of tea in Japan — on the 18th day of the Sixth Lunar Month of 1423, when tea was offered to the Shōgun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu using the Kamakura-nasu, Kazan-temmoku, seiji unryū mizusashi, and the meibutsu hoya — things were done in this manner); and haiken is not a necessary part of such a service*. 

     Tea gatherings in the form of sho-za (which consists of sumi-temae, kaiseki, and the service of kashi) and go-za (commencing with the service of koicha, and followed by the service of usucha) did not come into being until the time of Jōō, who created the cha-kai (based in large part on the form of the kō-kai [香會], or incense gathering, in the manner advocated by Shino Sōshin†).
*During gokushin-temae, haiken — and only if expressly requested by the shōkyaku — occurs not at the end of the temae, but immediately after the host has cleaned the temmoku after koicha was drunk (and before the final chasen-tōshi is performed — in the kae-chawan).  Thus the guests inspect the chaire, chashaku, dai-temmoku, and naga-bon while the host cleans the chasen and otherwise finishes things up on the utensil mat.  after haiken, the naga-bon is not put back on the ten-ita of the daisu, but displayed (after the utensils have been reinserted into their shifuku again) on the wide shelf beneath the chigai-dana (for which reason the chigai-dana should always be situated at the foot of the mat that abuts the utensil mat:  in this way, the arrangement and use of the early shoin tearooms can be understood — and not by forcing them to adopt modern methods and prejudices as many modern writers seem inclined to do).

†Unlike the earlier Japanese-style incense gatherings, which were more like elegant competitions, Sōshin insisted that the gathering be a serious matter, devoted to smelling and appreciating incense (as an aid to the Buddhist practice of samadhi), rather than showing off ones skill in order to win prizes.

     In this sense, the tea gathering (as finalized by Jōō, based on the evolving practices introduced by the generations of wabi practitioners since Shukō) bears exactly the same relationship to the earlier Japanese tō-cha [闘茶] “tea-guessing” gatherings.  But, to propose (as Kanamori Sōwa unfortunately did — probably to expedite his argument that chanoyu was a native Japanese practice and not connected with the doings of any sort of foreigners except, perhaps, the ancient Chinese — from whom everything derives) that tō-cha somehow magically evolved into chanoyu (though having managed to evade the social chroniclers in the process) is very wrong.  Rather, with the shift from competition to Buddhist practice, chanoyu came to replace the tō-cha gathering.  That Shino Sōshin’s style of kō-kai failed to achieve the same end (other than in the context of appreciating incense during the sho-za of a cha-kai) is probably due to the patronage of Nobunaga and Hideyoshi, which incense lacked to the same extent.  Incense today remains largely based on this kind of competition, while chanoyu has all but separated itself from this element.  (The only vestigial remnant is found in practices like cha-kabuku [茶カブキ], but here the competitive element was reintroduced during the Edo period, as part of the Senke’s shichi-ji-shiki [七事式] — yet the idea of competition, as well as that of “people thinking and acting as a group” which forms the basis of the shichi-ji-shiki were totally foreign to Rikyū’s kind of tea.  As he is recorded to have said, in the Nampō Roku, “for the host and guest to arrive at the same state of mind is for the good; but to work toward this end” — which is the stated purpose of the shichi-ji-shiki — “is wrong.”)