SEN Genshitsu in Singapore to Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Singapore-Japan Diplomatic Relations

The year 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Japan. To participate in the SJ50 (Singapore-Japan 50th Anniversary) events commemorating this milestone point in the history between the two countries, Urasenke Daisosho SEN Genshitsu made a visit to Singapore in April.

Reaching Singapore the afternoon of the 12th, the next morning, April 13th, he paid a courtesy call on the new Japanese Ambassador to Singapore, Ambassador SHINODA Kenji. Then, at the Asian Civilisations Museum that afternoon, he was the featured guest at a public program focusing on Chado, the Japanese Way of Tea. There were approximately two hundred attendees, including many members of the Chado Urasenke Tankokai Singapore Association. The program opened with a tea dedication (kenchashiki) conducted by Daisosho Sen in prayer for peace throughout the world. This was followed by a wago-no-chakai tea-sharing event led by Daisosho Sen, at which representative guests took seats on the stage and shared koicha (matcha of thick consistency) prepared by him. The leading guest for this was the former president of Singapore, S.R. NATHAN, who, with his wife, had visited Daisosho Sen at the Urasenke estate, Konnichian, in Kyoto in March of 2009, and whom Daisosho Sen visited at the Istana in Singapore two months after that.

Daisosho Sen and S.R. Nathan Ambassador Shinoda gives opening address

Dedicating a bowl of tea to Peace The wago-no-chakai tea-sharing event

The next part of the program consisted in a short talk by Daisosho Sen, entitled "The Spirit of Peace through a Bowl of Tea," and demonstration of a simple chakai (tea gathering), for which Daisosho Sen provided the explanations. At the end, the attendees were served traditional Japanese confections and usucha (matcha of relatively thin consistency).

At the Japan Creative Centre (JCC) in Singapore, an exhibition entitled "The Way of Tea: the Tea Culture of Japan and Singapore" was showing from April 8 to May 7, as a part of the SJ50 events, and, within that, there was a special exhibition of works by or favored by Daisosho Sen, showing from April 8 to April 28. Daisosho Sen made time during his short stay in Singapore to visit the JCC and view the exhibition with Ambassador Shinoda.

The Japan Creative Center in Singapore

Poster for the commemorative SJ50 exhibition

Calligraphic works by Daisosho Sen
at the special exhibition

In the afternoon of April 14th, Daisosho Sen paid a visit to the Istana, to meet the current President of Singapore, Tony TAN Keng Yam and First Lady Mary TAN, and host a chakai (tea gathering) for them and specially invited guests, who included Singapore's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vivian BALAKRISHNAN, with his wife, among others. Each guest received two plates of assorted confections, including local delicacies. After drinking the usucha prepared for him by Daisosho Sen, President Tan tried his own hand at using a chasen (bamboo tea whisk) and preparing a bowl of usucha. It was a very convivial chakai.

Daisosho Sen greets the President
and First Lady as they arrive for the chakai
Daisosho Sen, President Tan, and First Lady Tan

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That evening, a reception party was held for Daisosho Sen at the Tanglin Club, hosted by the Chado Urasenke Tankokai Singapore Association. At this party, Ambassador Shinoda was officially appointed as Honorary Advisor of the association. Early next morning, Daisosho Sen boarded his return flight to Japan.