SEN Genshitsu in Washington, D.C.

On August 18, 2015, Daisosho SEN Genshitsu was the special guest at an evening event held at the official residence of the Ambassador of Japan to the U.S in Washington, D.C. In that 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, at this event Daisosho presented a kencha-shiki tea offering ceremony and wago-no-chakai tea gathering dedicated to Japan-U.S. friendship and world peace. This program was hosted by Japanese Ambassador SASAE Ken'ichiro and Mrs. Sasae, and supported by Urasenke and the National Association of Japan-America Societies (NAJAS). In attendance were approximately 120 invited guests of Ambassador and Mrs. Sasae. Many were in the nation's capital for the annual national conference of NAJAS.

Ambassador SASAE Ken'ichiro

Avril HAINES, Assistant to the President Ira SHAPIRO, Chairman of the NAJAS

The program began with a solo soprano performance of the Japanese and U.S. national anthems. Ambassador Sasae gave a welcoming address, and then there were speeches by U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Avril HAINES, who is an assistant to President Obama, and Ambassador Ira SHAPIRO, who is Chairman of the NAJAS. Former Hawaii State First Lady Jean ARIYOSHI provided an explanation of the kencha-shiki and wago-no-chakai which were about to take place. Daisosho then proceeded to sit at the tea-making table (tenchaban) and solemnly prepare a bowl of matcha tea, which he reverently placed on the offering table that stood below a scroll reading "heiwa kinen," or "peace prayer," which was flanked by the flags of the U.S. and Japan.

Next began the wago-no-chakai, and the guests who had been invited in advance to participate in the sharing of the koicha (thick matcha tea) which Daisosho would prepare took their seats in front of the audience. They were Ambassador and Mrs. Sasae, Ms. Megan SMITH (U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to President Obama), Ms. Avril HAINES (see above), Former Hawaii State Governor George ARIYOSHI and Mrs. Ariyoshi, Ambassador Ira SHAPIRO and Mrs. Shapiro, General Richard B. MYERS (Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) and Mrs. Myers, Mrs. Irene Hirano INOUYE (President, U.S.-Japan Council), Mrs. Laura Perez VAZQUEZ (wife of the former Ambassador of Mexico to the U.S.), Mr. William BREER (President, Urasenke Tankokai Washington D.C. Association), and Mrs. Breer. Daisosho prepared the first bowl of koicha, which was shared between the first three representative guests, and the others bowls of koicha were brought in by Daisosho's assistants. While this wago-no-chakai tea sharing took place, Daisosho offered the other attendees an explanation of the confections and usucha (thin matcha tea) which they each would be served afterwards.

Daisosho, in his greeting speech after the wago-no-chakai, spoke about the Japanese Way of Tea and its connection to Taoist thought, and the principles of Harmony, Respect, Purity, and Tranquility upon which the Way of Tea is based. He expressed his joy that spiritual bonds had been made among everybody that day through the medium of Tea, and said that he was convinced that the trust existing between Japan and the U.S. was essential for World Peace, the peace of mankind. Before this part of the program ended, Daisosho was presented with a plaque from the NAJAS engraved with words of appreciation for his great contributions over the years to the promotion of World Peace and goodwill between Japan and the U.S.

All the guests who had not been included in the wago-no-chakai were then served the confections and tea which Daisosho had described earlier, so that they all could share in the kencha-shiki tea.

Luncheon Hosted by the Urasenke Tankokai Washington D.C. Association
Preceding the evening event which took place at the official residence of the Japanese Ambassador to the U.S., at noontime on that day, the Urasenke Tankokai Washington D.C. Association hosted a luncheon at the Hay Adams Hotel's "Top of the Hay," overlooking the White House. Surrounding Daisosho, who was the guest of honor, the invited guests included Ambassador and Mrs. Sasae and others of the Japanese Embassy, NAJAS Chairman Ira SHAPIRO and others of the NAJAS, Governor and Mrs. George ARIYOSHI from Hawaii, Director Kent CALDER of the Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies at SAIS/Johns Hopkins University, and a number of other special friends of Urasenke and Daisosho. Altogether, there were eighty-five attendees.

Tankokai Washington DC President William BREER
gives a welcoming speech
Daisosho SEN Genshitsu gives a speech

Ambassador Sasae gives a toast