2015 Hatsugama-shiki

The Urasenke head family's Hatsugama-shiki celebrating the arrival of 2015 took place at Konnichian, Kyoto, over the six days of January 7-12, and at the Urasenke Tokyo Branch the four days of January 16-19. The items on display or employed both in Kyoto and Tokyo were related to auspicious New Year's themes.

Konnichian, Kyoto

This was the third New Year's since restoration work began on the historical Konnichian complex and the newly-built Heisei Chashitsu became the main facility for receiving guests. The alcove in the main room, where Iemoto prepared koicha for the Hatsugama-shiki guests, featured the heirloom kaishi poem by Emperor Ogimachi (r. 1557-86) which Iemoto often selects for this occasion. Hanging on the alcove post was the "Rikyu Hashinobo" bamboo flower container, which held an Akebono (Dawn) camellia and sprig of Uguisukagura (a variety of honeysuckle with Japanese name that translates as Bush Warbler's Sacred Music and Dance). In the alcove, the symbolic New Year's musubiyanagi (willow branches with one made into a loop) hung down from the upper rear corner, and an antique Shinto bell instrument with colorful streamers was set on a red-lacquered stand on the floor.
      At the first seating on the first day, the top four guests were Iemoto SEN Sosa of Omotesenke, Iemoto SEN Soshu of Mushakojisenke, Kyoto Governor YAMADA Keiji, and Kyoto Mayor KADOKAWA Daisaku. At this and most of the seatings throughout the Hatsugama-shiki both in Kyoto and Tokyo, SEN Takafumi assisted, conveying the tea and other items to the main guests, while other men of the head family helped to serve the other guests.

      At the end of the koicha service, the men of the head family all entered the room together and, with Iemoto Zabosai as spokesman, expressed their New Year's greetings. This was followed by a performance of the felicitous noh chant Shikainami (The Waves of the Four Seas), by the head of the Kongo school of noh, KONGO Hisanori, to the accompaniment of a kotsuzumi hand drum.

      The guests went upstairs next, to enjoy celebratory foods and sake served by SEN Masako, SEN Makiko, and other ladies of the head family. After that, they could go to the Chado Kaikan across the street, to view the various implements used for the koicha service and their inscribed storage boxes and other accoutrements, and to have a bowl of usucha served to them by Konnichian deputy tea masters.

Urasenke Tokyo Branch
The implements and decorations used at the Urasenke Tokyo Branch were nearly all the same as were used in Kyoto. The top guest on the first day was Japan's Former Prime Minister FUKUDA Yasuo, with his wife, followed by Former Prime Minister HATOYAMA Yukio, MACHIMURA Nobutaka (Speaker of the House of Representatives), KOMURA Masahiko (Vice President of the Liberal Democratic Party), and fifty-six others. After the koicha and the formal greetings of the men of the head family, Iemoto presented FUKUDA Yasuo with a chamei (a 'tea name' given by Iemoto to a person who has reached a certain level of training in chado), and this spurred warm applause from the other guests.

Representatives from the various foreign embassies in Tokyo attended the 1:00 P.M. seating that day. They included (in alphabetical order of the country) Deputy Consul Javier GOLISZEWSKI, with associate, from the Embassy of Argentina; Ambassador Georgi VASSILEV from the Embassy of Bulgaria; Counsellor and Mrs. Mikhael H. MARZUQA, with their two children, from the Embassy of Chile; 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 and Mrs. Tomas DUB from the Embassy of the Czech Republic; Deputy Head of Mission & Minister-Counsellor Jesper S. THOMSEN, with associate, from the Embassy of Denmark; Ambassador and Mrs. Hans Carl von WERTHERN from the Embassy of Germany; Ambassador and Mrs. John FRITZ from the Embassy of Micronesia; Mrs. ARROUR, wife of Ambassador Samir ARROUR, from the Embassy of Morocco; Ambassador Naoyuki TOYOTOSHI from the Embassy of Paraguay; Ambassador Cyryl KOZACZEWSKI from the Embassy of Poland; Ambassador Jose de Freitas FERRAZ, with associate, from the Embassy of Portugal; Ambassador and Mrs. Michal KOTTMAN from the Embassy of the Slovak Republic; Ambassador Urs BUCHER from the Embassy of Switzerland; Ambassador and Mrs. Seiko ISHIKAWA from the Embassy of Venezuela; and First Secretary Hrvoje SKRLEC from the Embassy of the Vatican Apostolic Nunciature.