2002 Hatsugama-shiki
New Year's Tea Reception

The Urasenke Grand Master and his family received approximately 5,400 guests at their traditional New Year's Tea Reception this year, 2002. As per yearly custom at Urasenke, this auspicious event, the Hatsugama-shiki, commenced on the 7th day of the New Year. The venue for the first seven days, until January 13, was the Urasenke house in Kyoto, Konnichian. Then, for the five days from January 16-20, the venue was moved to the Urasenke Tokyo Branch.
        Temperatures were relatively mild this year as the guests, appropriately dressed in formal attire, were shown through the Kabutomon gate and into the central tearoom at Konnichian, the Totsutotsusai. At the very first seating, which began at 9 A.M. on January 7, the head guest and second guest were Omotesenke Grand Master SEN Sosa and Mushanokojisenke Grand Master SEN Soshu, followed by Kyoto Governor ARAMAKI Teiichi and Kyoto Mayor MASUMOTO Yorikane. The other guests at this seating included IBUKI Bunmei (Kyoto member of the House of Representatives), TSUBOUCHI Masakazu (Chairperson, Kyoto Prefectural Assembly), ISOBE Toshiko (Chairperson, Kyoto Municipal Assembly), INAMORI Kazuo (Founder and President, Inamori Foundation), MURATA Jun'ichi (President, Kyoto Chamber of Commerce), and Chief Priest KUJO Michihiro of Heian Shrine. On the second day, the invited guests were mainly government and business leaders from western Japan. From the third day, the majority were those affiliated with temples or shrines, and Urasenke chado teachers and students from western Japan. Students in the Midorikai as well as the Saturday study programs for non-Japanese at the Urasenke headquarters were invited to come on the final day of the Konnichian Hatsugama-shiki.

Grand Master SEN Soshitsu prepares the very first bowl of koicha tea.

Grand Master SEN Soshitsu and the other men of the family express their formal New Year's greetings to the guests.

Wakasosho SEN Soshi sets the tea before the head guest, Omotesenke Grand Master SEN Sosa. In the Tairyuken, the women of the family entertain the guests with special New Year's rice wine and foods.

KONGO Hisanori performs the auspicious noh chant "Shikainami." At the main entry hall, the invited guests sign the guest book.

Approximately 2,500 guests took part in the Hatsugama-shiki at the Urasenke Tokyo Branch. As at the Kyoto venue, among the decorations in the alcove of the main tearoom, there was the customary New Year's "looped willow branches" (musubi-yanagi), and a hanging scroll bearing the "Pine Poem" by Emperor Ogimachi (r. 1557-86).
      At the first seating on the first day, January 16, the head guest was Prime Minister KOIZUMI Jun'ichiro, and the second guest was Chief Cabinet Secretary FUKUDA Yasuo. Finance Minister SHIOKAWA Masajuro, Shizuoka Governor ISHIKAWA Yoshinobu, KOMURA Masahiko (past Minister of Foreign Affairs), and KOSAKA Kenji (Director, Committee on Rules and Administration) were also among the thirty-five guests at this seating. In the evening this day, there was a special private seating for Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Hitachi Masahito, Prince and Princess Mikasa Takahito, Princess Tomohito (Nobuko) of Mikasa, Prince Katsura Yoshihito, Prince and Princess Takamado Norihito, and Mr. and Mrs. KONOE Tadaaki.
      Prime Minister Koizumi, who was dressed in formal Japanese attire, is well versed in Japanese traditional culture, and in chado particularly. January 8 this year was his sixtieth birthday, and in his commemorative speech at his official residence on that occasion, he quoted a verse from the Rikyu Hyakushu (One Hundred Verses by Sen Rikyu), translatable as follows: "Study consists of starting one's learning from the basics and reaching an understanding of the most advanced matters, and from there, returning to the original basics" (Keiko to wa ichi yori manabi jû o shiri, jû yori kaeru moto no sono ichi). This expresses the importance of the "beginner's spirit." At the Hatsugama-shiki, as well, he quoted this same verse, and stated that chado offers people the spiritual comfort so important for human beings, and that the Rikyu Hyakushu verse had profound relevance in terms of everything in life.

The Grand Master and his son-and-heir, SEN Soshi, talk with Prime Minister Koizumi. Prime Minister Koizumi partakes of the koicha that the Grand Master prepared.

SEN Masako pours New Year's rice wine for Prime Minister Koizumi. The Grand Master pours New Year's rice wine for the foreign ambassadors from various countries.