Tea Dedication and Lecture by SEN Genshitsu
Commemorating the Beatification of Justo TAKAYAMA Ukon

In commemoration of the beatification, on February 7, 2017, of Justo TAKAYAMA Ukon (1552/3–1615) as a Christian Martyr — an event which took place in a magnificent mass held at Osaka-Jo Hall in Osaka, Japan — Urasenke Daisosho SEN Genshitsu conducted a tea dedication at a mass held at the Catholic Takatsuki Church (known also as the Takayama Ukon Memorial Church) in Takatsuki City, located in Osaka Prefecture, and delivered a lecture entitled "The Christians (Kirishitan) and Chanoyu" at the Takatsuki Gendai Theater, on April 25, 2017.

Daisosho SEN Genshitsu approaches the statue of Justo TAKAYAMA Ukon
in the front courtyard of the Catholic Takatsuki Church (Takayama Ukon Memorial Church)

Ukon was a Japanese Christian feudal lord during the Sengoku (Warring States) period in Japan's history, and is counted as one of SEN Rikyu's seven closest chado followers. During the era that Ukon was lord of Takatsuki Castle, records show that about seventy percent of the population of Takatsuki were Christian converts. A well-known page in the history of Christianity in Japan has to do with the persecution of Christians by the warlord and national unifier, TOYOTOMI Hideyoshi (1537–98), due to his apprehension of Christianity as threat to his ambitions. Ukon refused to forswear Christianity and consequently was stripped of his land and position. When finally the Tokugawa Shogunate banned Christianity, he was forced into exile abroad. Consequently, he sailed to Manila with family and many other fellow Japanese Christians, but died of illness in early February, 1615, just forty days after having landed there.

The mass and tea dedication at the Catholic Takatsuki Church was co-hosted by Urasenke Konnichian and the church. Archbishop MAEDA Man'yo of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Osaka officiated. The many attendees included Takatsuki Mayor HAMADA Takeshi, Takatsuki City Council Chair HASHIMOTO Noriko, Takatsuki Chamber of Commerce President KANEDA Tadayuki, and Konnichian Elders (robun) HARADA Osamu and NIWA Kenji. The tea dedication by Daisosho consisted in him preparing a bowl of koicha (matcha of thick consistency), which he offered up on the main altar, and a bowl of usucha (matcha of relatively thin consistency), which he offered up to the spirit of Justo TAKAYAMA Ukon as represented by a Justo portrait hanging at the side of the main altar.

After the mass, the special attendees were served usucha by members of the Tankokai Kyoto West Chapter.

The scroll at the area where the special attendees were served usucha, with calligraphy translatable as "Prayer: the Holy Gospel," written by SEN Genshitsu.

The lecture program at the nearby Takatsuki Gendai Theater was co-hosted by the Urasenke Tankokai Osaka Federation of Chapters and Kyoto Federation of Chapters, and the Takatsuki City Cultural Promotion Agency. It attracted an audience of approximately six hundred Urasenke chado followers and members of the public. They could enjoy a bowl of usucha before the program, served by members of the Tankokai Osaka Federation of Chapters. The program started at 11:20 A.M., with opening words by the city's Mayor Hamada. Daisosho then stood at the podium and, in his lecture, spoke of the similarities between things done in a Catholic mass and in chado, and of the implications of chado for the Sengoku warriors. He pointed out that they were forced to leave their swords behind and, with only a fan on their person, bow low in order to enter a tea room and meet other people there on an equal basis, placing them all on a path toward Peace.