Heian Shrine (Kyoto) and Meiji Shrine (Tokyo) Sacred Tea Offerings|
Solemnizing the Succession of the 16th-generation Urasenke Iemoto
|Heian Shrine Ceremony and Related Events|
|On May 8, 2003, at Heian Shrine (Kyoto), a sacred tea offering ceremony was conducted by SEN Soshitsu XVI, Zabosai, solemnizing his succession as the sixteenth generation Urasenke iemoto. Approximately four hundred attendees were present to witness it. They included H.I.H. Prince Mikasa Takahito and his wife, Princess Yuriko; Mrs. IKEDA Atsuko (sister of the Emperor); Former Iemoto SEN (Soshitsu XV) Genshitsu, father of Zabosai; Mrs. SEN Masako, wife of Zabosai; other members of the Urasenke head family; and Urasenke patrons and officials.|
| The ceremony commenced at 10:00 in the morning. Zabosai first prepared the charcoal fire in the brazier, then prepared thick tea (koicha) in a golden temmoku teabowl, followed by thin tea (usucha) in a silver temmoku teabowl, which respectively were placed as an offering to the spirit enshrined in the eastern sanctum and the spirit enshrined in the western sanctum. A special sacred prayer was read by Chief Priest KUJO Michihiro, and then Zabosai, Prince and Princess Mikasa, Mrs. SEN Masako, Former Iemoto SEN Genshitsu, and UTSUMI Hitoshi (Konnichian advisor; Tankokai board member), representing the other attendees, each in turn placed a branch of sakaki -- the sacred tree -- on the offering table, ending the ceremony. Despite the wind-swept rain and thunder precisely as the ceremony was taking place, a profound tranquility pervaded the ceremony.|
Commemorative tea gatherings were held at six places within Heian Shrine on May 8 and 9. They were respectively sponsored by Konnichian; NAYA Sotan Yoshiharu, Zabosai's uncle; the Konnichian deputy tea masters (gyotei); the Konnichian elders and advisors; the Urasenke councilors; and direct disciples of the iemoto. Over the two days, approximately 1,800 Urasenke followers from Western Japan participated in these tea gatherings.
|Zabosai and family members express greetings at the Konnichian tea venue.||The tea venue of NAYA Sotan.||The tea venue of the deputy tea masters.|
|From 5:30 in the evening on May 8, a banquet was held at the Westin Miyako Hotel, Kyoto. Approximately 1,000 invited guests participated, to celebrate the succession of the 16th generation iemoto.|
|Felicitous uncasking of sake barrels at the banquet.||Zabosai's children and family of his late brother participate.|
|Zabozai expresses personal|
greetings at each table.
|Meiji Shrine Ceremony and Related Events|
|The sacred tea offering ceremony by SEN Soshitsu XVI, Zabosai, at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo took place on May 26, 2003. It was witnessed by approximately five hundred people, including Former Iemoto SEN (Soshitsu XV) Genshitsu, Mrs. SEN Masako, other members of the Urasenke head family, and Urasenke patrons and officials.|
|SEN Masako carries sacred sakaki branch to the offering table.|
| At 10:00 in the morning, the sound of the shrine drum resonated through the hall of worship, announcing the start of the ceremony. A special sacred prayer was read by the shrine priest, and sweets were placed on the offering table. Zabosai then sat before the daisu stand where the tea utensils were arranged, prepared the charcoal fire in the brazier, then prepared one bowl of thick tea and one bowl of thin tea, which respectively were offered to the spirit of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken, to whom Meiji Shrine is dedicated. Zabosai, Former Iemoto SEN Genshitsu, Mrs. SEN Masako, and both UTSUMI Hitoshi and HONJO Hachiro (Konnichian elder; Tankokai board member), representing the other attendees, each in turn placed a branch of sakaki on the offering table. Again, the drum was beat, drawing the ceremony to an end.|
That evening, a banquet was held at the Hotel New Otani, at which approximately 850 invited guests celebrated Zabosai's succession. Japanese Prime Minister KOIZUMI Jun'ichiro, just having returned to Japan after a tour of top-level meetings in the U.S. and Middle East, attended the banquet and expressed his hope that Zabosai will be active in spreading chado globally.
|Zabosai at the banquet.||Prime Minister Koizumi at the banquet.||SEN Genshitsu at the banquet.|
|As at the events held at Heian Shrine in Kyoto, commemorative tea gatherings sponsored by Konnichian, NAYA Sotan Yoshiharu, the Konnichian deputy tea masters, the Konnichian elders and advisors, the Urasenke councilors, and direct disciples of the iemoto took place at six venues within the shrine compound on this and the following day. Approximately 1,600 Urasenke followers, mostly from Eastern Japan, took part in these.|
|Zabosai greets guests at the Konnichian tea venue.||NAYA Sotan greets guests at his tea venue.||Zabosai visits the direct disciples' tea venue.|