Daisosho SEN Genshitsu Takes Part in HASEKURA Tsunenaga Mission
400th Anniversary Events in Mexico

Nearing the end of January, 2014, Daisosho SEN Genshitsu went to Mexico for events celebrating the 400th anniversary of the arrival there of the HASEKURA Tsunenaga Mission (Keicho Mission).
     HASEKURA Tsunenaga (1571-1622) was a samurai retainer of the Sendai feudal lord, DATÉ Masamune. In 1613, Daté placed Hasekura in charge of leading a diplomatic mission to Spain and the Vatican to negotiate direct trade with the Spanish colony of Mexico, in exchange for accepting Christian missionaries in Sendai. The mission, sailing in a galleon built in Sendai, made its way across the Pacific and reached Acapulco, Mexico, in early 1614. After two months in Mexico, it progressed to Europe, stopping in Cuba on the way. The mission met with Spain's King Philip III and, at the Vatican Palace, with Pope Paul V. It was Japan's second-ever embassy to Europe, and it is remembered for its epic journey and the cultural exchange it achieved.

     Daisosho's public schedule in Mexico included two main events. The first was a tea dedication ceremony (kencha-shiki) conducted by him on Thursday, January 23, at the Church of San Francisco in Mexico City, where a number of the Hasekura mission members were baptized four hundred years ago. Attending this time's tea dedication ceremony by Daisosho were approximately one thousand people, including a group of fifty Sendai citizens--mostly Urasenke Tankokai Miyagi Chapter members--who had come from Sendai to participate in the two events.

     The second event was a public tea gathering the next day, January 24, at the San Diego Fort in the seaport city of Acapulco, which has been a sister city of Sendai since 1973, owing to the Hasekura Mission which tied the two cities long ago. For the tea gathering, Daisosho first prepared a tea offering which he placed before a portrait of Hasekura, praying for World Peace and the further development of the friendly ties between Japan and Mexico. Seated as the guests of honor to drink tea prepared by Daisosho were representatives of Japan, Sendai City, Acapulco City, the Daté family, and the Tankokai both of Miyagi and of Mexico, the latter of which had provided immense assistance in arranging for and executing all of these events.