50th Urasenke Hawaii Seminar
The 50th annual Urasenke Hawaii Seminar took place from July 15 (Fri) through July 22 (Fri), 2022, with Daisosho Genshitsu SEN in attendance. Urasenke Tankokai Federation Advisor Kishichiro AMAE served as the group leader, and there were 58 Urasenke Tankokai members and friends, plus 4 invited university students who have shown exceptional dedication in their school’s Urasenke Gakko Chado program, who formed the official group of registered participants.
The 1st Urasenke Hawaii Seminar took place in 1972, occasioned by the donation by Daisosho (Iemoto at the time) of the tea house “Jakuan” and surrounding garden named “Seien” to the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM). Like usual, at this year’s 50th seminar there were lectures by Daisosho, UH professors, and East-West Center (EWC) lecturers, as well as friendship exchange chakai hosted by the Urasenke Tankokai Hawaii Association and UHM chado club students and alumni. This time, Daisosho also performed a kenchashiki (tea dedication ceremony) at the Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin temple, commemorating the golden milestone mark represented by this year’s seminar.
It was the first time in 3 years that the seminar could be held, since the 48th and 49th seminars had to be cancelled due to the Corona Virus pandemic.
Inaugural Meeting (July 15)
Most of the participants from Japan flew to Hawaii together on a flight departing from either Tokyo or Osaka, and arrived in Honolulu the morning of July 15. They all then went to the Halekulani Hotel for an inaugural meeting. Daisosho met them there, and presented words of welcome. Group Leader Amae followed that with a speech. The participants had the chance to introduce themselves to Daisosho, and also to get to know each other.
Commemorative Kenchashiki (July 16)
The first major event on the schedule was the kenchashiki by Daisosho, held on July 16 (Sat) at the Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin temple, commemorating the fact that this year’s Urasenke Hawaii Seminar was the grand 50th. Daisosho sat at the tenchaban tea-making table that had been arranged in front of the altar within the main hall, and solemnly prepared two bowls of tea, which were placed on the offering table fronting the altar.
Friendship Chakai Hosted by the Tankokai Hawaii Association (July 17)
July 17 (Sun), the seminar participants were guests of the Urasenke Tankokai Hawaii Association for a Friendship Chakai, held at two venues. The “Han’yoan” tea room at the Urasenke Hawaii Branch quarters was the venue for koicha (thick tea), and the “Seikoan” tea room at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii (JCCH) was the venue for usucha (thin tea).
Scene at the koicha venue, the “Han’yoan”
Scene at the usucha venue, the “Seikoan”
Banquet Party hosted by Daisosho (July 17, evening)
The evening of July 17 (Sun), Daisosho hosted his traditional Urasenke Hawaii Seminar Banquet Party at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel. The guest list, which was kept smaller than usual, mainly included Japanese Consul General Yutaka AOKI and wife, former Hawaii Governor George ARIYOSHI and wife, the seminar registrants, and Urasenke Tankokai Hawaii Association members. Consul General Aoki, during his greeting speech, read a congratulatory message which had been sent from Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa HAYASHI.
Lecture Program, First Day (July 18)
The lecture program, comprising the actual seminar part of the Urasenke Hawaii Seminar, took place the next two mornings in the Campus Center Ballroom at UHM. On the first morning, Daisosho gave an opening address, and then special speaker Yoshiharu UEKI, who is Director and Chairman of Japan Airlines (JAL), presented the first lecture. He spoke about his professional career and how he was the first pilot to make his way up the executive ladder at JAL and eventually rebuild the company. The second lecture was by Dr. Kehau Watson, who spoke about “Malama ‘Aina,” a Hawaiian phrase that means caring for and honoring the land, and which refers to the traditional Hawaiian attitude toward nature and life.
After these lectures, the seminar participants were guests for tea hosted by the UHM chado club and Seinenbu alumni members of the club. There were two venues. One was at the “Jakuan” tea house on the UHM campus, and the other was at the neighboring EWC.
Scene at the “Jakuan” venue hosted by the UHM chado club students
Scene at the EWC venue hosted by Seinenbu alumni members of the club
Lecture Program, Second Day (July 19)
The third lecture of the seminar was by Daisosho. He talked about the history of the Satomi family and its development as a nayashu (warehouse guild) family of Sakai, and the progressive development of chanoyu from the Heian period to the Kamakura and Muromachi, as there eventually arose the Chanoyu Goseido tactic of using chanoyu politically. Also, he recommended that his audience should edify themselves by reading the Kojiki, Nihon Shoki, and Man’yoshu, and be aware that Japan, culturally, is a country of “jo,” or “sentimentality.” Then, the fourth and last lecture was by Dr. Mary Therese Hattori of the EWC, who spoke on “Children’s Education and COVID-19: Implications for Education in a Post-Pandemic World.”
At the end of the lecture program, the University of Hawaii presented Urasenke with a special gift commemorating the 50th seminar.
At the completion ceremony which followed, Daisosho handed each seminar participant a certificate of completion, and the participants also received certificates from the University of Hawaii and EWC.
The last full day in Hawaii (July 20)
On July 20, the seminar participants were welcome to visit the “Han’yoan” tea room at the Urasenke Hawaii Branch at their leisure, to relax and enjoy a bowl of tea served by members of the Urasenke Tankokai Hawaii Association.
And that evening, which was the seminar participants’ last evening with Daisosho and each other as a group, there was a poolside Sayonara Party, with Hawaiian music and hula dancing, at The Breakers hotel.
The morning of July 21 (Thu), they were off to the airport for their return flight to Japan, which would bring them back to Japan on July 22 (Fri), Japan time.