SEN Genshitsu in Vietnam

October 22-25, 2015, Daisosho Dr. SEN Genshitsu made a visit to Hanoi, Vietnam, for the formal inauguration of the Urasenke Tankokai Hanoi Interest Group (Dokokai). The inauguration and visit of Dr. Sen was the occasion for a Japan-Vietnam Friendship chado exchange event, which took place at the Hanoi University of Law on October 24, and also a celebratory chakai and banquet, which took place that evening at the Hotel Nikko Hanoi.

The preceding day, October 23, Dr. Sen paid a complimentary call on Japanese Ambassador FUKADA Hiroshi of the Embassy of Japan in Vietnam, to express his appreciation for the support received to realize these events. From his position as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, he also paid a complimentary call on Secretary-General PHAM Sanh Chau of the Vietnam National Commission for UNESCO, who had been invited to the events.

Dr. Sen gives Ambassador Fukada
a framed shikishi poem card featuring
his calligraphy reading "konnichi buji."
Dr. Sen and UNESCO Vietnam National
Commission Secretary-General PHAM Sanh Chau.

The program at the Hanoi University of Law on October 24 received an attendance of approximately six hundred Vietnamese citizens and members of the new Tankokai Hanoi Interest Group. It consisted in a tea offering ceremony (kenchashiki) and wago-no-chakai tea sharing led by Dr. Sen, followed by a lecture by him and lastly a chanoyu demonstration. First of all, MATSUYAMA Yasuo (CEO, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Hanoi Branch), who is the President of the new Urasenke Tankokai Hanoi Interest Group, gave an opening speech, saying that he hoped that this program would in effect bring the people of Japan and Vietnam closer and by the same token bring the world a big step closer to achieving peace through the agency of the Way of Tea (chado). Speeches also were presented by Ambassador Fukada and Vice-Chairman NGUYEN Phu Binh of the Vietnam-Japan Friendship Association.

MATSUYAMA Yasuo Ambassador FUKADA Hiroshi NGUYEN Phu Binh

For the tea offering ceremony, Dr. Sen sat at the tea-making table (tenchaban) which had been arranged on the stage, conducted the procedure to prepare the special tea offering, and carried the tea to the offering table set in front of a bust of Ho Chi Minh, who is known as the Father of Vietnam. With this, he prayed for the continuance and growth of Japan-Vietnam friendship and the realization of global peace.

The following ten representative individuals had been asked to participate in the wago-no-chakai tea sharing, and took their seats for this on the stage:
FUKADA Hiroshi (Ambassador of Japan to Vietnam)
VU Xuan Hong (Chairman, Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations)
NGUYEN Vu Khai (Former Chairman, Vietnam-Japan Friendship Association)
NGUYEN Phu Binh (Vice-Chairman, Vietnam-Japan Friendship Association; Vice-President,
                      Urasenke Tankokai Hanoi Interest Group)
CHU Thuy Quynh (Director, Vietnam Association of Dance Artists)
TOKUYAMA Shimon (Chairman, Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Vietnam;
                      General Representative, Mitsubishi Corporation Hanoi Office)
TRUONG Quang Vinh (Vice-Rector, Hanoi Law University)
LE Khanh (actress; Deputy-Director, Vietnam Youth Theatre)
MATSUYAMA Yasuo (CEO, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Hanoi Branch; President,
                       Urasenke Tankokai Hanoi Interest Group)
AJITO Michio (President, Urasenke Tankokai Koriyama Chapter)

After the tea sharing, there was a speech by NGUYEN Vu Khai as spokesman for them all, in which he said that cultural understanding between Vietnam and Japan was linked to such events and this would lead to the deepening of the bonds between the two countries.


Dr. Sen's lecture was entitled "Peace: Everyone Together." In it, he spoke about Japan's early relations with Vietnam, and especially the Sawankhalok, Nanban, and other ceramic ware and crafts from that area in Southeast Asia which were used in Japan for chado, the Japanese way of tea. He also spoke about the chado spirit, and said that, through a bowl of tea, chado leads one to think of the other person and connect with them.

The chanoyu demonstration took place on the stage after this, performed by the chanoyu experts, known as gyotei, who were among Dr. Sen's support team from Urasenke headquarters, and two members of the new Urasenke Tankokai Hanoi Interest Group.

In the evening, the Tankokai Hanoi Interest Group hosted a commemorative chakai and banquet at the Hotel Nikko Hanoi. For the chakai, members of the Tankokai Hanoi Interest Group conducted ryurei-style tea-making using a Misonodana tea-making table unit, and served sweets and usucha (thin matcha tea) to the invited guests.

Scene of the commemorative chakai. Guests listen to Dr. Sen explain about
the tea-making equipment after the chakai.

The banquet began with an opening ceremony, in which the following four individuals presented speeches: the hosting group's President MATSUYAMA Yasuo; Dr. SEN Genshitsu; Japanese Ambassador FUKADA Hiroshi; and Chairman VU Xuan Hong of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations. Dr. Sen then presented the Tankokai Hanoi Interest Group with its official certificate, the officer appointment certificates, and commemorative gifts. The hosting group's Vice-President NGUYEN Phu Binh gave the toast which signaled the beginning of the meal and festivities. There was local music entertainment, and a slide show of important scenes leading to the formal establishment this day of the Tankokai Hanoi Interest Group. In his speech which brought the banquet to a close, YANAI Taiji (Chief Representative, Taisei Corporation Vietnam Office; Vice-President Tankokai Hanoi Interest Group) promised that the group would promote the friendship between Japan and Vietnam.

Chairman VU Xuan Hong of the Vietnam Union
of Friendship Organizations gives a speech.
Officers of the new Tankokai Hanoi Interest Group
receive their certificates from Dr. Sen.

Members of the Tankokai Hanoi Interest Group with Dr. Sen. The slide show reaches the date of this inauguration celebration, where the future begins. YANAI Taiji gives the closing speech