2003 Hatsugama-shiki
New Year's Tea Celebration

Grand Master Zabosai Soshitsu prepares the first bowl of tea at the first seating on January 7.

The grand master and his family's 2003 New Year's tea celebration (hatsugama-shiki) began on January 7, at Konnichian, Kyoto. It is the first year for SEN Soshitsu XVI, Zabosai, to be the host for this felicitous event. Zabosai Soshitsu succeeded his father as Urasenke grand master on December 22, 2002.
        The tearoom Totsutotsusai at the Konnichian estate was the main room for the celebratory gathering. Here, Zabosai Soshitsu prepared koicha (thick tea) for the guests, using a set of three nested teabowls named "Fukurokuju," which is the name for the God of Good Fortune and Longevity. Each of the bowls in the set is assigned one of the three characters that make up the name: "fortune," "happiness," and "longevity." The teascoop that he used was the first teascoop that he carved this year, which he had given the name "Kissho" (Good Omen).
        The twenty guests at the very first seating, which began at 9:00 A.M. on January 7, included Grand Master SEN Sosa of Omotesenke, who was seated as the primary guest, and, in order, Grand Master SEN Soshu of Mushanokojisenke, Grand Master YAMADA Sohen of the Sohen chado tradition, Kyoto Governor YAMADA Keiji, and Kyoto Mayor MASUMOTO Yorikane. When the koicha had been prepared and placed out by Grand Master Zabosai Soshitsu, his father, Hounsai, conveyed it to the guests. After all the guests were served, Grand Master Zabosai Soshitsu, joined by the other family representatives, expressed the family's greetings to everyone. Governor Yamada, on behalf of all the guests, expressed his congratulations to the grand master and family. An auspicious noh chant was presented by the head master of the Kongo noh tradition, KONGO Hisanori. The guests then moved to the Tairyuken, where they were served a festive New Year's meal.

Grand Master Zabosai Soshitsu conveys his greetings.
Former Grand Master Hounsai takes the prepared tea to the guests.

KONGO Hisanori performs auspicious noh chant.
Former Grand Master Hounsai welcomes guests in the Tairyuken.

During the seven consecutive days (January 7-13) of this New Year's tea celebration at Konnichian, 3,200 guests will be received, and from January 16-20, the venue will move to the Urasenke Tokyo Branch, where 3,000 guests will be received.