2006 Hatsugama-shiki
New Year's Tea Celebration

    The Urasenke Head Family's 2006 New Year's Tea Celebration, referred to as the Hatsugama-shiki, took place over the seven days of January 7-13 at the family headquarters, Konnichian, and then the five days of January 16-20 at the Urasenke Tokyo Branch. Daisosho Hounsai SEN Genshitsu, Iemoto Zabosai SEN Soshitsu XVI, SEN Masako, and others of the family received approximately 6,200 guests in all, serving them koicha and a festive meal.

    The alcove of the main room, the Totsutotsusai, was decorated in its traditional New Year's finery. The scroll was the heirloom featuring an auspicious poem written by Emperor Ogimachi (r. 1557-86; Muromachi-Momoyama period). (It has been designated as an Important Art Object by the Japanese government.) There were the traditional New Year's looped willow branches hanging from the far upper corner of the alcove. On the alcove floor was a red Kasuga dai tray having on it a Shinto bell instrument with colorful streamers. Hanging from the alcove pillar was the heirloom Rikyu Hashi-no-bo bamboo vase that has on it an inscription by the fourth generation in the family, Senso Soshitsu. The vase held an Akebono camellia and sprig of uguisu kagura. At the temae tatami was a black daisu with makie of jewels on its posts (order made for Iemoto Zabosai by the late NAKAMURA Sotetsu XII), backed by a folding screen having pattern of layered ginkgo leaves (order made by OKUMURA Kichibei XII). Most of the other items, including the green Kochi kaigu set having design of musical instruments (order made by EIRAKU Zengoro), were those which Zabosai used at his Hatsugama-shiki debut as iemoto in 2003.

The first bowl of tea at the Konnichian Hatsugama-shiki

    The guests who shared the very first bowl of koicha prepared by Iemoto Zabosai at the Konnichian celebration were Omotesenke Iemoto SEN Sosa, Mushakojisenke Iemoto SEN Soshu, Kyoto Governor YAMADA Keiji, Iemoto YAMADA Sohen of the Sohen chado tradition, and IBUKI Bummei (member, House of Representatives). Firstly, everyone was served the traditional Urasenke New Year's sweet, Hishi Hanabira mochi. Zabosai used his Shimadai teabowl set named Fuku-Roku-Ju and the teascoop which he carved for this year, named "Momotaro" ("Peach Boy"), to make the tea, and Hounsai conveyed the tea to the guests. Afterward, the men of the family together entered the room, and Zabosai expressed their New Year's greetings. The final touch at the first seating was an auspicious noh chant performed by the head of the Kongo noh school, KONGO Hisanori.

Exchange of greetings between Iemoto Zabosai and Governor Yamada.

    The guests then went to the Chado Kaikan, where the ladies of the family served them New Year's delicacies and saké. The guests also had usucha in the Shinka room within the Chado Kaikan and the tearooms within the Urasenke Gakuen school building.

Hatsugama-shiki at the Urasenke Tokyo Branch

SEN Genshitsu conveys the first bowl of tea to Prime Minister Koizumi.

    On the first day of the celebration at the Urasenke Tokyo Branch, the head guest out of the forty-eight VIPs who attended the first seating at 9:30 A.M. was Prime Minister KOIZUMI Jun'ichiro, followed by MORI Yoshiro (Former Prime Minister) and OGI Chikage (President, House of Councilors). The foreign ambassadors in Tokyo who attended the second seating this day were H.E. Mario BOVA of Italy, Minister CHENG Yonghua of China, H.E. Gyula DABRONAKI of Hungary, H.E. Alberto Bottari DE CASTELLO of the Apostolic Nunciature, H.E. Jorma JULIN of Finland, H.E. Aurelian NEAGU of Romania, H.E. Henrik SCHMIEGELOW of Germany, H.E. Blagovest SENDOV of Bulgaria, H.E. Pou SOTHIRAK of Cambodia, and H.E. Peter VRSANSKY of the Slovak Republic.

Place for usucha.
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