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.