Chado Urasenke Tankokai Latin America Convention
In commemoration of 60 years of the diffusion of chado in Latin America,
and the 60th anniversary of the Chado Urasenke Tankokai Brazil Association

From August 28 through September 1, 2014, an international Chado Urasenke Tankokai convention was held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, commemorating the sixtieth year of Urasenke chado in Latin America and the sixtieth anniversary of the Urasenke Tankokai Brazil Association. Daisosho SEN Genshitsu and approximately four hundred Tankokai members from Japan, North America, Latin America, and Europe, made the journey to Sao Paulo to take part. This Chado Urasenke Tankokai Latin America Convention was sponsored by the Urasenke Tankokai Federation and supported by the Urasenke Brazil Branch, Urasenke Tankokai Brazil Association, Urasenke North America Head Office, and Urasenke Mexico Branch.

Sixty years earlier, in 1954, Daisosho (Wakasosho SEN Soko at the time) and his younger brother NAYA Yoshiharu toured Latin America to participate in various events and sow the seeds of Urasenke chado. This visit resulted in the establishment of Urasenke chapters in Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Mexico. Now known as Chado Urasenke Tankokai associations, these four groups have continued their efforts to share tea across Latin America.

The convention registrants gathered in Sao Paulo on August 28, and activities began the following day. The morning of August 29, there was an optional tour of the Urasenke Brazil Branch and the Hakueian tea room complex donated by Daisosho's father, the 14th Urasenke iemoto, Tantansai, in 1964. The Brazilian Society of Japanese Culture (Bunkyo) building which houses these Urasenke facilities is in the famed Japanese neighborhood of Liberdade, and it also houses the Japanese Immigration Museum, where the over 100-year history of Japanese immigrants in Brazil is presented. Following tea served to them by Tankokai Brazil Association members in the Hakueian, Daisosho and the optional tour participants received a tour of the museum.

Tea at the Hakueian tea room complex

Touring the Japanese Immigration Museum

That morning, Daisosho also paid a visit to the Japanese Consulate in Sao Paulo, where he met with the Japanese Ambassador to Brazil, UMEDA Kunio, and the Japanese Consul-General in Sao Paulo, FUKUSHIMA Noriteru. Both spoke highly of the Tankokai Brazil Association's valuable contributions in past embassy and consulate events.
At the Japanese Consulate in Sao Paulo

The tour that day finished inside Ibirapuera Park, at the location of the Japan Pavilion and Japanese Immigrant Pioneers Memorial Monument. Daisosho sat before the monument and conducted a tea offering while Ambassador Umeda, Consul-General Fukushima, Sao Paulo government officials, and Urasenke members looked on. Following the tea offering, each audience member presented a flower as an offering before the monument. This offering had particular meaning, as Daisosho had made a similar offering of tea at the opening of the Japan Pavilion in 1954.
Daisosho prepares and presents a tea offering
at the Japanese Immigrant Pioneers Memorial Monument

Presentation of flowers by the individual participants

Daisosho next proceeded to the 60th anniversary celebration of the Japan Pavilion, held in conjunction with this visit of his to Sao Paulo. He toured the pavilion and attended the commemorative function, at which he delivered a speech expressing his congratulations and reflecting on the inaugural event sixty years before. At the commemorative function, Daisosho was one of the twenty-six individuals to receive a commendation from the President of the Brazilian Society of Japanese Culture (Bunkyo), Kihachiro KITA, in recognition of their support of the Japan Pavilion.
Daisosho delivers a speech at the Japan PavilionDaisosho receives a commendation plaque

A banquet hosted by Daisosho was held in the Palm Ballroom at the Grand Hyatt Sao Paulo that evening, marking the official beginning of the Chado Urasenke Tankokai Latin America Convention. Among the special guests were Ambassador Umeda, Consul-General Fukushima, Vice Chairman Jooji HATO of the Sao Paulo Legislative Council, and Sao Paulo City Council member Aurelio NOMURA. Daisosho opened it with a greeting speech and then presented the Bunkyo (President, Kihachiro KITA) and the Chado Urasenke Tankokai Brazil Association (President, Erisson Thompson DE LIMA, Jr.) with calligraphic hanging scrolls (kakejiku) which he had specially brushed for them. There were speeches by Ambassador Umeda and Tankokai Brazil Association President De Lima, and President AJITO Michio of the Tankokai Koriyama Chapter in Japan gave the toast (kanpai).
Daisosho shows one of the kakejiku he wrote, Ikke goyo wo hiraku - One flower opens into five petals.

Presentation of kakejiku to the Bunkyo and the Chado Urasenke Tankokai Association.

Ambassador UMEDA Kunio gives speechErisson Thompson DE LIMA, Jr. gives speech

AJITO Michio offers the toast

Group photo-taking with Daisosho

On Saturday, August 30, the Convention Ceremonial Function, which was preceded by a special tea offering ceremony (kenchashiki) in prayer for continuing Japan-Brazil friendship and goodwill, took place in the Palacio dos Bandeirantes, Sao Paulo's government state palace. In addition to the approximately four hundred Tankokai members who had gathered from around the world, approximately six hundred Sao Paulo citizens also participated in these events.
Palacio dos Bandeirantes

Tankokai Brazil Association President Erisson Thompson DE LIMA, Jr. gave the opening address. Daisosho then conducted the kenchashiki tea offering, offering up a bowl of thickly blended matcha (koicha) to the flags of Japan and Brazil which stood to the sides of the symbol of Sao Paulo's state government. He then prepared a second bowl of koicha and offered it to the special guest representatives of Japan, of the Sao Paulo government, of the influential Japanese descendant organizations of Brazil, and of the Tankokai Latin America associations, in a gesture of friendship and unity.
Erisson Thomspon DE LIMA, Jr. gives the opening address

Daisosho conducts kenchashiki tea offering
in prayer for continuing Japan-Brazil friendship and goodwill.

The special guest representatives at the kenchashiki
share the second bowl of koicha that Daisosho prepared.

At the Convention Ceremonial Function, Daisosho gave a speech expressing his thankfulness to the supporters of Urasenke chado in Latin America, reminiscing upon the determined efforts of the many chado teachers and students he met on his visit in 1954, and praising the Tankokai members and supporting groups who made possible the establishment of the Brazil Association and the succeeding sixty years of chado dissemination within Latin America. Ambassador Umeda, Vice Chairman Jooji HATO, and Bunkyo President KITA Kihachiro gave congratulatory speeches.
Daisosho gives his speech.

Ambassador UMEDA Kunio

Jooji HATOKITA Kihachiro

Following the congratulatory speeches, Daisosho granted Seikyoju-level teacher certifications to Urasenke's resident tea instructor at the Urasenke Brazil Branch, Keita Sokei HAYASHI, and wife Madoka Soen HAYASHI, who have untiringly taught chado and supported the development of the society of chado practitioners in Brazil.
Daisosho grants Seikyoju-level teacher certifications to Keita and Madoka HAYASHI.

Daisosho then presented awards to eight organizations and seventeen individuals in recognition of their particularly influential support of Urasenke in Brazil.
The Oshiman Gakuin and University of Sao Paulo Chado Course receive Gold awards as organizations

Distinguished Meritorious Service to Urasenke in Brazil: Gold Commendation recipients

Silver Commendation recipientsBronze Commendation recipients

Gold Commendation recipient Tomoko Sochi TAKEDA gives a thank-you speech

In the third part of this day's convention program, Daisosho gave a commemorative lecture themed "Everyone Together for World Peace," in which he discussed the four chado precepts of Wa Kei Sei Jaku (Harmony, Respect, Purity, and Tranquility) and his motto, "Peacefulness through a Bowl of Tea." He stressed that peace comes naturally when one acts in the spirit of making a bowl of tea for others. This was followed by a chado demonstration with commentary by Konnichian Deputy Tea Master SHIRAHASE Soko.
Commemorative Lecture: "Everyone Together for World Peace"

Tea Demonstration with explanation by SHIRAHASE Soko

The next day, August 31, a Commemorative Chakai was held from 10:00 A.M. in the Grand Ballroom at the Grand Hyatt Sao Paulo. Urasenke Konnichian hosted a koicha venue, and there were five venues where usucha (relatively thin matcha tea) was served and which were hosted by various groups represented at the convention. There was also a place to sample kosen herb tea, and another for a tenshin light meal. A total of approximately five hundred Tankokai members and local friends of the Tankokai Brazil Association took part as guests.
Konnichian venue

Brazil venue

North America venue

Latin America venue

Amazon venue

Gakko Chado venueKosen venue

That evening, traditional Brazilian "Churrasco" fare was served at the famous South's Place restaurant, where the convention attendees gathered for a "Sayonara Party," the final event of the convention. Mid-meal, a full samba team appeared and meandered between the tables, and the electrified atmosphere compelled the participants to enjoy the convention to the last moment in an experience truly and uniquely Brazilian.