2005 Hatsugama-shiki
New Year's Tea Celebration

The Urasenke head family's 2005 New Year's tea celebration (hatsugama-shiki) took place January 7-13 at Konnichian, Kyoto, and January 16-20 at the Urasenke Tokyo Branch. Over the course of the seven days during which it was held at Konnichian, approximately 3,100 guests mainly from western Japan were received. Over the five days at the Urasenke Tokyo Branch, approximately 3,000 guests mainly from eastern Japan were received.
        At the Konnichian celebration, once the guests passed through the Kabutomon front gate of the historical estate, they went to see the display of tea articles in the large room called Tairyuken, and then took their seats in the Totsutotsusai, where the main event -- the koicha (thick tea) service by Iemoto Zabosai Soshitsu -- would be held. The Totsutotsusai had in its alcove the Urasenke heirloom scroll with auspicious "Pine Poem" by Emperor Ogimachi (r. 1557-86), traditional New Year's looped willow branches hanging from a green bamboo container attached at the rear left corner of the ceiling, and a Shinto bell instrument set on a special lacquered stand.

    At the very first seating at Konnichian, the first five guests were Iemoto SEN Sosa of Omotesenke, Kyoto Governor YAMADA Keiji, Iemoto YAMADA Sohen of the Sohen chado tradition, Kyoto Mayor MASUMOTO Yorikane, and Urasenke Foundation board member INAMORI Kazuo, who is Honorary President of the Kyoto Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Iemoto Zabosai built the fire in the sunken hearth, and prepared the koicha using his first teascoop of the year, which he had named "Angya" (Pilgrimage), and a set of three nested teabowls named "Fukurokuju," which is the name for the God of Good Fortune and Longevity. Hounsai SEN Genshitsu conveyed the tea to the guests.
    After the koicha, Zabosai, Hounsai, and other men of the family who were helping to serve the koicha came into the room to formally express their New Year's greetings. At the very first seating, the head master of the Kongo noh tradition, KONGO Hisanori, then performed an auspicious noh chant.
    A festive New Year's meal was served by SEN Masako and other ladies of the family, in the large room on the second floor of the Chado Kaikan, across the street from the Kabutomon. Guests at the hatsugama-shiki also enjoyed usucha in the Shinka tearoom of the Chado Kaikan, and in the nearby Urasenke Gakuen school building.

Hatsugama-shiki at the Urasenke Tokyo Branch

    At the Urasenke Tokyo Branch hatsugama-shiki, the top guest at the first seating was Prime Minister KOIZUMI Jun'ichiro, followed by OGI Chikage (President, House of Councilors), OHNO Yoshinori (Chief, Department of Defense), HATA Tsutomu (Member, House of Councilors; Former Prime Minister), WATANUKI Tamisuke (Member and Former President, House of Councilors), and FUKUDA Yasuo (Former Chief Cabinet Secretary).
    In addition to the main koicha service by Iemoto Zabosai, Daisosho Hounsai, and other men of the family, and the festive meal served by SEN Masako and other ladies of the family, there was usucha service at the Branch quarters, and ryurei-style usucha at the Tokyo Chado Kaikan across the street.