Urasenke International Association (UIA) 30th Anniversary General Meeting

The Urasenke International Association (UIA) consists of Urasenke chanoyu adherents interested in actively contributing to international appreciation of the Way of Tea, and to the realization of global peace based on the idea of spreading "Peacefulness through a bowl of tea," Daisosho SEN Genshitsu's motto. The association was established in 1985, and its founding members were 80 Urasenke chanoyu adherents who had participated in one of the international teaching seminars organized and taught generally twice a year since 1981 by the International Affairs Division at Urasenke headquarters.
       On October 31, 2015, the UIA held its 30th Anniversary General Meeting. The venue was the Kyoto International Community House (KICH) in the vicinity of Heian Shrine. From the Urasenke Head Family, Daisosho and his grandson, Urasenke Tankokai Federation board member IZUMI Koichiro, were present. Of the total UIA membership of 540, there were 209 officers and members present.

Commemorative Tea Gathering
From morning, there was a commemorative tea gathering. Koicha (matcha of thick consistency) was served in the traditional-style tea house which is an annex building at the KICH, and usucha (matcha of relatively thin consistency) was served in an all-purpose room, making use of a Misonodana tea-making table. Association members from the various geographical areas of Japan were on the hosting side of these tea venues. The confections came from various areas, and many of the articles used came from different parts of the world.

General Meeting
A special commemorative program took place from 2:30 P.M., with TSUJI Harumi of the UIA's administrative board serving as emcee. Daisosho gave an opening speech, mentioning how he and his late wife, Tomiko, established the UIA because they wanted to create an organization for people who could promote the Way of Tea with an international perspective. He said that he wanted the current members to try to foster young people who could take over their activities in the next era, and he also encouraged them to demonstrate to the world what Japanese culture is and show the world what Japan's standpoint is. UIA President AMAE Kishichiro also delivered an address, and then the members who had been with the association throughout its thirty-year history were given special recognition. There were 36 such current members, 20 of whom were present to receive their certificates and awards directly from Daisosho on this occasion.

Daisosho gives opening speech The awardees take a bow

UIA President AMAE Kishichiro speaks The members fill the auditorium

After the award presentations, the business part of the General Meeting got underway, with TANAKA Ichiro of the UIA's administrative board leading the proceedings. A short video was screened, showing the 2014 activity highlights of the Head Family and Urasenke Tankokai Federation. TAKASHIMA Manabu of the UIA's administrative board reported about the UIA's 2014 activities and finances, and explained the proposals for 2015; auditor TAMURA Teruko gave the auditor's report; the proposals were put to vote, and all passed unanimously.

Special Lecture
President MURATA Koji of Doshisha University then presented a special lecture on the theme, "Education and Culture in the Global Age." He said that the globalization of education and culture entailed recognizing and accepting different ways of life and thinking. He quoted a certain French literary man as saying that "the weapons of the tolerant against the intolerant are 'introspection' and 'persuasion'," and went on to say that chado training could be described as a matter of repetitive introspection, and the host and guest's efforts to understand each other's hearts involves persuasion over and over. Through chanoyu, which is deeply connected with the spirit of tolerance, we are able to acquire the mental attitude which allows us to coexist with people having diverse senses of value, he said. The UIA members listened intently to his stimulating lecture.

There was also a photo panel exhibition showing scenes through the history of the UIA.

Celebration Dinner Party
In the evening, at the Westin Miyako Hotel nearby the KICH, there was a celebration dinner party, for which SOMEYAMA Hisae of the UIA's administrative board acted as emcee. IZUMI Koichiro gave an opening greeting speech, and Doshisha University's President MURATA Koji proposed the opening toast. Current students in the Midorikai program for non-Japanese speakers at the Urasenke Gakuen Professional College of Chado were among the dinner party attendees, as were Urasenke's resident instructors in South Korea and China who happened to be in Kyoto on this day.

IZUMI Koichiro gives greeting speech MURATA Koji gives the toast