43rd Urasenke Hawaii Seminar

The 2015 annual Urasenke Hawaii Seminar took place from July 18 to July 25, and was the 43rd time that this Urasenke event surrounding Daisosho Genshitsu SEN in Hawaii has been held. In addition to the 67 registrants from Urasenke Tankokai chapters throughout Japan, there were 11 invited high school and college students who study chado at their respective schools in Japan and were specially selected for their promise as Urasenke youths. Also, Daisosho's neice Yukiko SAKURAI and her husband participated in the entire seminar.

The core program of the Urasenke Hawaii Seminar consists in lectures arranged by the Center for Japanese Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM), in coordination with Urasenke headquarters, for Urasenke members from Japan who travel there as a group for this and the attending events. In 1972, Daisosho, who at the time was Urasenke Iemoto (grand master) and was called by his name as such, Soshitsu SEN (XV), donated the Jakuan tea house and facing Seien garden to UHM, and this occasioned the first Urasenke Hawaii Seminar. For the 43rd seminar, in addition to the core lecture program and the friendship exchange tea gatherings hosted for the registrants by the Tankokai Hawaii Association and UHM Tea Ceremony (Chado) Club members, which are a conventional part of the Urasenke Hawaii Seminar activities, the registrants traveled with Daisosho to Maui to take part in the 25th anniversary celebration of the Tankokai Maui Association (Tankokai Maui).

First on the registrants' schedule once they reached Honolulu on July 18, led by their group leader for this seminar, Michio AJITO of the Tankokai Koriyama Chapter, was to gather at the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort for an inaugural meeting over lunch. Daisosho was there to welcome them, and they had the chance to get to know each other. Afterwards, they went to check in at the official seminar hotel, the Breakers, located next door to the Urasenke Hawaii Branch, with its tea room called Han'yoan, and just a half block away from Waikiki Beach.

July 19, they took an early-morning flight to the island of Maui, where from 10 A.M. Daisosho conducted a kencha-shiki tea offering ceremony at the Rinzai Zen Mission's Myoshinji temple, to honor the spirits of the pioneer Japanese immigrants to Maui.

Exterior of the main hall of Myoshinji temple, Maui. Scene during the kencha-shiki.

After attending the kencha-shiki, the seminar registrants moved to the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, for the 25th anniversary celebration of Tankokai Maui. It began with a tea gathering, at which Tankokai Hawaii Association members from Oahu and also the invited students from Japan helped the Tankokai Maui members serve sweets and tea to the attendees.

The decorations in the portable alcove, and the tea-making area with Misonodana tea-making table
at Tankokai Maui's 25th Anniversary Tea Gathering.

In the evening there was a commemorative ceremony and banquet. The ceremony included award presentations to the following individuals for their years of dedicated service to Tankokai Maui: Lillian MAEDA (President Emeritus), Chieko NAGATA (President), Akiko TANIMOTO, and Mariko FOLEY. There was much gift giving and receiving at the ceremony, including Tankokai Maui's presentation of a commemorative gift to Daisosho, a gift presented from a member of the seminar group to Tankokai Maui, and commemorative handmade kobukusa (specially sewn squares of special textile fabric for use in chado) presented to each seminar group member from Tankokai Maui.

Daisosho offers words of congratulation to Tankokai Maui at their 25th Anniversary celebration banquet.

July 20, the seminar registrants enjoyed a tour of Maui before boarding the plane back to Honolulu. The core seminar program then took place the morning of July 21 and 22, at UHM.

On July 21, the lecturers were Daisosho, movie producer Sadao NAKAJIMA who had come with the seminar group from Japan, East-West Center Adjunct Senior Fellow Charles SALMON, and UHM Professor Emeritus George AKITA. Among the auditors, besides the seminar registrants there were Mr. and Mrs. George ARIYOSHI, former governor and first lady of Hawaii, who are close friends and supporters of Daisosho and Urasenke, as well as Deputy Consul-General Koichi MARUYAMA from the Japanese Consulate-General in Honolulu.

Daisosho presents the opening lecture.


After the lectures, the seminar registrants moved across town to the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii (JCCH), for a welcoming luncheon with Daisosho, such special guests as Mr. and Mrs. George ARIYOSHI, and members of the Tankokai Hawaii Association. The luncheon was followed by a welcoming tea gathering hosted by the Tankokai Hawaii Association, where koicha tea was served in the traditional style tea room named Seikoan, and usucha tea was served in a ryurei-style tea area set up in a larger room near the Seikoan on the top floor of the Cultural Center.

Scene in the Seikoan tea room.Scene in the ryurei-style tea area.

That evening, the seminar registrants were guests of Daisosho at a banquet held at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel. Other special guests included Mr. and Mrs. George ARIYOSHI, Former Hawaii Governor John WAIHEE III and Mrs. Waihee, UHM Chancellor Robert BLEY-VROMAN, Honolulu Mayor Kirk CALDWELL, and Consul-General Yasushi MISAWA of the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu. Altogether, approximately 260 people attended the banquet.

Daisosho welcoming the guests to the banquet venue.

On July 22, the program at the UHM began with a demonstration of the chanoyu exercise called Shaza, performed by five members of the Tankokai Hawaii Association, with Daisosho providing the commentary. Then there was a lecture by UHM Chancellor Bley-Vroman. This completed the core seminar program, and each of the registrants received a seminar completion certificate from Urasenke, from the UHM, as well as from the East-West Center. A member of the seminar group also presented a gift each to the Han'yoan, the Tankokai Hawaii Association, and the UHM.

Scene during the Shaza demonstration. Chancellor Bley-Vroman, with translator Maya PERRY.

Seminar group leader Michio AJITO receives his seminar completion certificate
from UHM Chancellor Bley-Vroman.

For lunch, the seminar registrants could enjoy the campus atmosphere by eating at the school cafeteria. In the afternoon, current and former UHM Tea Ceremony Club members welcomed them at the Jakuan tea house and nearby Imin Center in Jefferson Hall, for a friendship chakai.

The Jakuan tea house's alcove decoration
that day.
Daisosho, seated with his niece, Yukiko SAKURAI
and her husband, chats with the invited students
from Japan at the Imin Center tea venue.

While those of the seminar group from Japan who had signed up for the short course departed Honolulu on July 23 and, crossing the international date line during their flight, arrived back in Japan on July 24, the long course participants took part in a poolside Sayonara Party at the Breakers the evening of July 24, and departed Honolulu the next morning.

Trying hula dancing at the Sayonara Party.