SEN Makiko Provides Chado Introduction for Tokyo University International Students
July 8 and 13, 2016, international students enrolled in Tokyo University scholars programs came to the Urasenke Tokyo Chado Kaikan and Urasenke Tokyo Dojo for an introduction to the Urasenke chado tradition. This program, led by SEN Makiko, daughter of Oiemoto SEN Soshitsu XVI, was a collaborative project involving the Urasenke Foundation, Urasenke Tankokai Federation, and International Chado Culture Foundation, created at the request of Tokyo University to supplement their international student programs. Over the two days of the program, a total of seventy-two international students from two international programs participated.

The two-hour program gave the students an introduction to many aspects of the practice of chado and traditional Japanese culture. On each day, the program began with an explanation of chado’s history, philosophy, and role in the promotion of worldwide peace. This was followed by a sample presentation of a tea gathering in the style of Urasenke chado. SEN Makiko personally gave the explanation of chado and the commentary for the tea gathering presentation completely in English, and was able to create an atmosphere where the students could relax and soak up the content.

SEN Makiko gives lecture on chado

Sample presentation with commentary by Makiko

The second half of the program gave the students opportunities to directly experience chado. Under the guidance of Konnichian Deputy Tea Master IZUMIMOTO Sogen, the students learned basic tea room etiquette, including how to take Japanese traditional confections and drink usucha (relatively thinly whisked matcha tea) in the Urasenke style. Here, they enjoyed the same sweets used in the earlier chado demonstration, and drank a bowl of usucha. For many, it was the first time to have such traditional sweets and matcha tea. In addition to this, there was a guided tour of the roji garden of the Urasenke Tokyo Dojo, so that the students could sense how the experience of chado extends beyond what happens inside the tea room.

Learning how to drink usucha

Guided tour of the roji

The students, participants in Tokyo University's IARU Global Summer Program (July 8) and UTokyo Amgen Scholars Program (July 13), came from top ranking institutions around the world, including Harvard University, UCLA, the University of Cambridge, Oxford University, Peking University, and the National University of Singapore. At the close of the program on each day, they had many questions and gave much positive feedback, implying that they had a favorable, highly informative experience.