2014 Hatsugama-shiki

The Urasenke Head Family's 2014 Hatsugama-shiki to celebrate the New Year took place over the six days of January 7-12 at Konnichian in Kyoto, and the four days of January 16-19 at the Urasenke Tokyo Branch. There were approximately 2,200 guests, mainly from western Japan, at the celebration in Kyoto, and 2,400, mainly from eastern Japan, at that in Tokyo. In that 2014 is the Year of the Horse, many of the articles which Iemoto Zabosai SEN Soshitsu XVI, grand master of the Urasenke chado tradition, chose to place on display or employ for the tea this year were related to the theme of "horse."

Konnichian, Kyoto

The Chofu-no-ma on the first floor of the Heisei Chashitsu was the main room, where the guests were served Urasenke's traditional Hatsugama-shiki confection, 'Hishihanabira,' and Iemoto Zabosai prepared koicha for them. The scroll that hung in the tokonoma was the family's classic one for New Year's, Emperor Ogimachi's (r. 1557-86) kaishi which reads, "Futaba yori haru ikukaeri misa(h)o naru matsu o wagayo no tokiwagi no kage" (From the two-needled seedling, the passing of many springs makes the pine the evergreen tree of our world). The other alcove decorations were also as per tradition: an 'Akebono' camellia and sprig of 'Uguisukagura' in the heirloom "Rikyu Hashinobo" bamboo flower container hanging from a hook on the tokohoma post; musubiyanagi (willow branches with one made into a loop, symbolizing the move into spring and return from yin to yang) draping down from a fresh green bamboo container in the upper rear corner, and an antique Shinto bell instrument resting on a red-lacquered stand.

      The guests who shared the first bowl of koicha were Iemoto SEN Sosa of Omotesenke, Iemoto SEN Soshu of Mushakojisenke, IBUKI Bunmei (Speaker of the Japanese Diet's House of Representatives), Kyoto Governor YAMADA Keiji, and Kyoto Mayor KADOKAWA Daisaku. SEN Takafumi, the younger of Zabosai's two sons, conveyed the tea to them, while other men of the family helped serve the other guests. After the koicha service, the men of the Head Family entered and sat side-by-side, and with Iemoto Zabosai as spokesperson, expressed their best wishes for the New Year. To top off the program in the main room, the head of the Kongo school of noh, KONGO Hisanori, performed the felicitous noh chant called Shikainami.

      In the spacious room on the 2nd floor, SEN Masako, SEN Makiko, and other ladies of the family entertained the guests with festive foods and saké. After that, the guests moved to the Chado Kaikan across the street, where they could view the various implements used for the koicha service and their inscribed storage boxes and other accoutrements, and could enjoy a bowl of usucha served by members of the Konnichian corps of deputy tea masters (gyoteibu).

Urasenke Tokyo Branch

At the Hatsugama-shiki celebration at the Urasenke Tokyo Branch, the guests who shared the first bowl of koicha were Japan's Prime Minister ABE Shinzo, Former Prime Minister FUKUDA Yasuo and wife, and Former Prime Minister KAN Naoto and wife.
      That same day, representatives from the various foreign embassies in Tokyo attended the 1:00 P.M. seating. They included (in alphabetical order of the country) Ambassador Bernhard ZIMBURG from the Embassy of Austria; Mrs. WANG Wan, wife of Ambassador CHENG Yonghua, from the Embassy of China; Ambassador and Mrs. Marcos RODRIGUEZ COSTA from the Embassy of Cuba; Ambassador Katerina FIALKOVÁ from the Embassy of the Czech Republic; Minister Maeve COLLINS of the Delegation of the European Union to Japan; Financial Counsellor and Mrs. Florian MEYERHÖFER from the Embassy of Germany; Mrs. Shifa HADDAD, wife of Ambassador Demiye HADDAD, from the Embassy of Jordan; Ambassador and Mrs. John FRITZ from the Embassy of Micronesia; Mrs. ARROUR, wife of Ambassador Samir ARROUR, from the Embassy of Morocco; Deputy Chief of Mission Tapas ADHIKARI from the Embassy of Nepal; Ambassador and Mrs. Naoyuki TOYOTOSHI from the Embassy of Paraguay; Minister Counsellor and Mrs. Marco Antonio SANTIVAÑEZ from the Embassy of Peru; Ambassador and Mrs. Michal KOTTMAN from the Embassy of the Slovak Republic; Ambassador Urs BUCHER from the Embassy of Switzerland; First Secretary and Mrs. Sittikorn CHANTA-DANSUWAN from the Embassy of Thailand; Cultural Attaché and Mrs. Richard MEI from the Embassy of the United States of America; and First Secretary Hrvoje SKRLEC from the Embassy of the Vatican Apostolic Nunciature.