2020 Konnichian Hatsugama-shiki

At the home of the Urasenke head family, Konnichian in Kyoto, the Hatsugama-shiki or "Ceremonial First Tea of the Year" for the year Reiwa 2 (2020) — a kanoe-ne (yang, metal, rat) year according to the Chinese zodiac cycle of sixty terms traditionally used to reckon time in East Asian culture — commenced on January 7.

The venue was the "Chofu-no-ma" room within the Heisei Chashitsu. To welcome the guests invited for this celebratory tea, the alcove had been decorated with the family's traditional felicitous items for this occasion: the family's heirloom scroll of auspicious poem by Emperor Ogimachi; an Akebono ("Dawn") camellia and sprig of Uguisukagura ("Bush Warbler's Sacred Music and Dance") honey-suckle in the family's heirloom bamboo flower container bearing the cipher of Senso Soshitsu, which is said to be a replica of Rikyu's Hashinobo flower container; the traditional New Year's lucky charm musubiyanagi (looped willow branches); and a Shinto bell instrument set on a raised Kasugadai tray.

Entering the room for the first seating were Omotesenke Iemoto SEN Sosa, Mushakojisenke Iemoto SEN Soshu, Kyoto Prefectural Governor NISHIWAKI Toshitaka, Kyoto City Mayor KADOKAWA Daisaku, Iemoto YAMADA Sohen of the Sohen chado tradition, Kyoto's IBUKI Bunmei and MAEHARA Seiji of the Japanese Diet's House of Representatives, Kyoto's FUKUYAMA Tetsuro of the Diet's House of Councillors, Kyoto Prefectural Assembly Vice Chairman NINOYU Shinji, Kyoto City Assembly Chairman YAMAMOTO Keiichi, Headmaster designate IKENOBO Senko of the Ikenobo kado (ikebana) tradition, Director YAMADA Keiji of The Museum of Kyoto, Vice Chairman TSUKAMOTO Yoshikata of the Kyoto Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Former Representative-Director YOSHIDA Tadatsugu of the Kyoto Association of Corporate Executives, together with other public officials and members of the Urasenke Konnichian board of elders and advisors.

The guests were first served Hishihanabira, which are the traditional New Year's confection at Urasenke, favored by the 11th iemoto, Gengensai. Then Iemoto SEN Soshitsu prepared koicha (matcha of thick consistency) in the felicitous "Fuku Roku Ju" three-piece set of stackable tea bowls, and his son, SEN Takafumi, conveyed the first bowl to the first guest. Iemoto's nephews, IZUMI Soyo and IZUMI Reijiro, as well as other men of the family, brought in the other bowls, and all the guests shared in partaking of the delicious first koicha of the year.

After that, Daisosho SEN Genshitsu and the other men of the family together expressed their New Year's greetings. Iemoto said, "This year, in which we shall be observing various milestones — my son Takafumi's debut in becoming Wakasosho (the iemoto's official heir-to-be), the completion of the restoration work on all areas of the Konnichian complex, the 250th memorial of the 8th generation iemoto in our family, Yugensai — particularly is also the Year of the Rat, the first year of a fresh twelve-year animal zodiac (eto) cycle, and we intend to do our best and work diligently." Next, KONGO Hisanori of the Kongo school of noh performed the felicitous noh chant called "Shikainami" ("The Waves on the Four Seas"), and within the solemnity that pervaded the room, a spirit of celebration filled the atmosphere.

In the Kangetsu-no-ma room on the 2nd floor of the Heisei Chashitsu, which was the venue for the serving of festive foods and sake, the iemoto's wife and sister-in-law, Mesdames SEN Masako and IZUMI Hiromi, welcomed the guests. The guests spent a pleasant time in celebrating the New Year exchanging cups of sake; with them.

The Konnichian Hatsugama-shiki is taking place for six days, until January 12. It is expected that approximately 2,300 guests, including representatives from the government, financial sector, various organizations, shrines and temples, and Urasenke chado followers in western Japan, will participate. The Konnichian Tokyo Hatsugama-shiki will take place for four days, from January 16 to 19, at the Urasenke Tokyo Dojo. Approximately 2,200 Urasenke chado followers and others in eastern Japan are expected to be received.

The Urasenke head family's Reiwa 2 (2020) Tokyo Hatsugama-shiki