SEN Soshitsu in Moscow

September 18-22, 2015, Iemoto SEN Soshitsu visited Moscow, Russia, accompanied by his cousin OTANI Hiromi. The two took part in the 25th Anniversary celebration of the Urasenke Tankokai Moscow Association (UTMA), and Iemoto, by request of the Japan Foundation and Raku Museum, presented a public introduction to Chado program in conjunction with the "Raku Ceramics: The Cosmos in a Tea Bowl" exhibition which was opening at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts.

September 19, Iemoto and Otani were guests of the UTMA at a chakai held at the tea room that Urasenke donated to Moscow State University's Institute of Asian & African Studies in 1994, and which was rebuilt in 2010, at which time Iemoto gave it the name "Seiroan" (Pure Dew Abode).
Name plaque of the "Seiroan" tea room. UTMA members welcome Iemoto and
OTANI Hiromi to the chakai.

Kosen, something aromatic to sip,
in the chakai waiting room.
Scene during the chakai.

September 21, at the Four Seasons Hotel, there was a ceremony commemorating the 25th anniversary of the UTMA, combined with a luncheon hosted by Iemoto. Gathered for this were representative members of the UTMA which is centered in Moscow, as well as of the Ekaterinburg, St. Petersburg, Kiev, and Rostov sub-groups of the UTMA. In all, forty-four members of the Urasenke Tankokai membership organization in Russia were present.
Moscow's Four Seasons Hotel

For the commemorative ceremony, UTMA President Victor MAZURIK gave a welcoming address. Then Iemoto offered words of congratulation and presented the association with a hanging scroll (kakejiku) and a tea scoop (chashaku). As follows, nine of the members were commended for their long years of dedication in spreading and developing the Way of Tea in Russia, and were presented with awards.

Persons of Special Merit:
            Victor MAZURIK, President
            Anastassia KUDRYASHOVA, Chief of Administration
Persons of Merit (listed in order of length of membership):
            Lyudmila VASILYEVA, Administrator
            Olga SILNITSKAYA, Representative, Kiev sub-group
            Nadezhda KONOVALOVA, Representative, Ekaterinburg sub-group
            Alexey KUZMINOV, Vice President
            Victoria BORISOVA-ZHAROVA, Supervisor
            Elena NESTEROVA, Manager
            Alexey MAMONOV, Supervisor

Victor MAZURIK gives welcoming address.
The MC and translator is Lyudmila VASILYEVA.
Iemoto offers words of congratulation.

Awardees Victor MAZURIK and Anastassia KUDRYASHOVA Awardees Alexey KUZMINOV, Olga SILNITSKAYA,
and Alexey MAMONOV

Also, for his good offices towards the building of the Seiroan tea room, and his support of the activities of the UTMA, President Mikhail S. MEYER of the Moscow State University's Institute of Asian & African Studies was presented with a letter of appreciation and a gift. Prof. Stella Bykova, head of the Department of Japanese Philology, represented President Meyer in receiving these from Iemoto, and at the luncheon which followed, she proposed the opening toast.

The program at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts was from 4:00 that afternoon. The next day would be the opening of the exhibition "Raku Ceramics: The Cosmos in a Tea Bowl," which had traveled from the Los Angeles Museum of Art (California, USA) to the St. Petersburg State Hermitage Museum in northwestern Russia and had now reached its final venue. The building in which Iemoto’s special educational lecture program took place was the Museion Educational Centre.

Pushkin State Museum Museion Educational Centre

Director Marina Devovna LOSHAK of the museum presented a welcoming address, and from Japan, MATSUYAMA Masaji of the House of Councillors, who serves as an assistant to the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, represented the Foreign Minister in delivering a congratulatory message.

Pushkin State Museum Director Marina Devovna LOSHAK MATSUYAMA Masaji

Iemoto, in his lecture, spoke about the spiritual qualities of the Japanese Way of Tea, and in focusing on the topic of tea bowls he described experiments which had been done concerning the psychological effects of the emotions aroused by their tactile qualities. For the chanoyu demonstration that followed, he provided commentary. Throughout the program, Anastassia KUDRYASHOVA of the UTMA provided the translation.

After the program, the attendees could try drinking a bowl of usucha (thin tea) served to them by members of the UTMA, and learn more about Chado as they observed the ryurei style tea-making (style employing a tea-making table) and listened to the explanations.