Iemoto SEN Soshitsu Receives Ukraine's President Petro POROSHENKO, First Lady Maryna Poroshenko, and Children

Kyoto State Guest House garden,
as seen across the hall from the Yubae-no-ma
Iemoto SEN Soshitsu greets
President Poroshenko and the First Lady

The President of Ukraine, Petro POROSHENKO, visited Japan April 5-7, 2016, on an official trip by invitation of Japan's Prime Minister ABE Shinzo. He was accompanied by his wife, First Lady Maryna Poroshenko. The youngest three of their four children also traveled to Japan with them. Their brief time in Japan began with a day in Kyoto, which has been sister city of Kiev since 1971. The president and his family were taken sightseeing to several famous locations, and then to the Kyoto State Guest House, where Iemoto SEN Soshitsu received them in the Yubae-no-ma room, for a welcoming tea gathering, before their meeting with government and business leaders of Kyoto.

For the tea gathering, the Iemoto had specially selected the various tea implements for this occasion. Among these, the mizusashi (vessel for the cold water) and futaoki (rest for the kettle lid or bamboo water ladle) were selected for their similarity in color to the bright azure and golden yellow of the Ukrainian flag. Sitting at a Misono-dana tea-making table, he prepared the first two bowls of usucha tea, which were for the President and the First Lady. As he did so, he conversed with the couple and offered explanations about the Japanese Way of Tea. The usucha tea for their children Yevheniya, Mykhailo, and Oleksandra, as well as for the others in their entourage, was brought in by Iemoto's helpers. After the tea, Iemoto invited the presidential couple and their children to come see the charcoal fire and charcoal used to heat the kettle for the tea. They listened intently to his explanations of these things.