|SEN Genshitsu Presents a Tea Offering for World Peace and |
Chado Lecture-Demonstration at the Annapolis US Naval Academy
|In mid April, 2008, SEN Genshitsu (Soshitsu XV) made a short visit to Maryland, USA, in order to present a tea offering (kencha) for world peace and a chanoyu lecture-demonstration program for Japanese language majors and professors at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. These took place the morning of April 18, at the academy's Memorial Hall, a place of great reverence. Memorial Hall is housed in the sprawling Bancroft Hall where all the midshipmen reside.|
The invitation for Dr. Sen to present an introduction of the Japanese Way of Tea at the academy when he went for a private guided tour of the academy in May, 2007. The arrangements were largely made through the Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies at Johns Hopkins University in nearby Washington, D.C., where Dr. Sen serves as special advisor.
For the tea offering ceremony, an offering table had been set up before the blue flag inscribed with the academy's motto, "Don't Give Up the Ship," which hangs on the wall and which has, below it, the names of graduates who were killed in action. Facing this, a tenchaban tea table, on which were set the implements for the making of the tea offering, had been arranged on a low platform.
Approximately two hundred men and women, most of them young midshipmen enrolled in the Japanese Language course, attended the program, which was counted as a credit class. They watched attentively as Dr. Sen solemnly prepared the tea and placed it on the offering table. As himself a Japanese veteran of the Second World War who was trained as a naval air force kamikaze pilot, and who has since dedicated himself to spreading peacefulness in this world, as expressed in his personal slogan, "Peacefulness through a Bowl of Tea," he conveyed a powerful message through this offering.
| Following the tea offering ceremony, Dr. Sen delivered a special lecture entitled "The Spirit of Tea," in which he spoke about his war experiences and how he would like the midshipmen in the audience to learn how the Way of Tea is a way to realize peaceful relations. His crew of chanoyu experts from Japan performed a chanoyu demonstration on the stage which had been set up in the Memorial Hall, and Dr. Sen provided the explanations. After this, a few of the midshipmen were invited to receive a simple lesson on the stage.|
| After the concluding remarks, everyone moved to the corner which had been set up for serving them sweets and usucha tea. Six young ladies of the Sumirekai chanoyu study group at Urasenke headquarters, Kyoto, together with members of the Urasenke Tankokai Washington D.C. Association, were dressed in colorful kimono and served all the guests.|