51st Urasenke Hawaii Seminar
From July 17 (Mon) through July 23 (Sun), 2023, the 51st Urasenke Hawaii Seminar took place in the presence of Daisōshō SEN Genshitsu, with Tankokai advisor AMAE Kishichirō as group leader, and 100 Urasenke members participating. As in past years, four university students who are enthusiastically studying Urasenke chadō at their respective universities in Japan were included, as invited participants. This year marked the 51st for this Urasenke Hawaii Seminar, which was initiated in 1972, on the occasion of Daisōshō’s (at that time, Iemoto) donation of the tea house “Jakuan” and tea garden “Seien” to the University of Hawaii (UH). In addition to the regular program of lectures by Daisōshō, UH professors, and East-West Center instructors, friendship exchange tea gatherings hosted by the Tankokai Hawaii Association and University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Way of Tea club (UHM Way of Tea club), and so forth, this year Daisōshō, who had turned 100 years old, performed a tea dedication ceremony (kencha-shiki) at Kawaiaha’o Church.
On the 17th (Mon), once they had arrived in Honolulu from Japan, the participants met at the Halekulani Hotel for an inaugural meeting. Daisōshō expressed words of welcome to them, and then Group Leader Amae gave a greeting speech. The participants enjoyed chatting with Daisōshō, and deepened their mutual relationships in preparation for the time they would be sharing at the seminar.
Centenarian Tea Dedication Ceremony by Daisōshō
On the 18th (Tue), Daisōshō’s centenarian tea dedication ceremony was held at Kawaiaha’o Church, the oldest church on Oahu, also known among Japanese as the “Church of the Royal Family.” Sitting at the tea-making table which had been arranged before the altar, Daisōshō solemnly prepared two bowls of tea as offerings.
That evening, there was a gala dinner party hosted by Daisōshō at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel. There were approximately 200 attendees, including Consul-General Yutaka AOKI and his wife, of the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu, Chief Justice Mark Rectenwald and his wife, of the Supreme Court of Hawaii, many other special guests, Tankokai Hawaii Association officers, the seminar registrants, and others.
Friendship Chakai Hosted by the Tankokai Hawaii Association
On the 19th (Wed), the seminar participants were guests for tea at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii (JCCH), where the Seikoan tea room was the venue for koicha (thick tea), and the Lounge was the venue for usucha (thin tea). They were served confections on the theme of Daisōshō’s hundredth birthday, together with a heartfully prepared bowl of matcha tea.
At the Seikoan venue for koicha
At the Lounge venue for usucha
Hawaii Seminar Day 1 of UH Lectures
The 20th (Thu) was the first day of the university lecture program, held at the UH Manoa Campus’ Campus Center Ballroom. It led off with the UH Outreach College’s Associate Dean, Stephanie Vie, giving a welcoming message and presenting Daisōshō with a lei. Then Daisōshō formally opened the program, and presented the first lecture.
Daisōshō, in his lecture, mentioned about how people around the world, even during the COVID-19 crisis and the severe circumstances following it, have continued to enjoy chanoyu as always, and stated that he wanted everyone to never forget the enjoyment of tea.
The second lecture was by the university’s Dr. John Rosa, whose talk was entitled “A History of Hawaii.”
Following this, everyone moved to the Waialae Country Club, a traditional clubhouse set in a spectacular location, for a luncheon hosted by the Tankokai Hawaii Association. After the meal, the congratulatory cake that the Association presented to Daisōshō was passed out, and at each table the Association members made usucha for the guests, employing coconut shells as bowls.
Hawaii Seminar Day 2 of UH Lectures
On this day, July 21st (Fri), the 3rd lecture of the UH lecture program was presented by IZUMI Sōrei, on the subject of “The Chashitsu Architecture of the Urasenke Konnichian.” He began by giving an introduction to the historical origins of the Konnichian tea rooms, and how they have evolved. Then, he provided descriptions of each of the rooms, making use of photographs. He stated that these tea rooms are meaningful not because they remain extant, but because they exist as active tea room (chashitsu). Next was the final lecture, which was by Dr. Charles MORRISON of the East-West Center and was entitled “Chadō and Aloha: Seeking Peace in a Dangerous World.”
Finally, there was the ending ceremony, at which the participants were each handed a completion certificate from Daisōshō, and completion certificates from the UH and the East-West Center.
After that, the seminar members participated in a chakai that took place at two venues, respectively hosted by the UHM Way of Tea club and the former club members’ Seinenbu (youth division). Having enjoyed the hospitality at those venues, and the uniquely Hawaiian assemblage of implements and decorations at each, many then went to the Hamilton Library, to see the exhibition that was on, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the UH and the footprints left by Daisōshō in the university’s history.
The Jakuan venue, hosted by the UHM Way of Tea club
The College Hill venue, hosted by the former club members’ Seinenbu
Tea Service at the Urasenke Hawaii Branch’s Han’yoan
On the 22nd (Sat) and 23rd (Sun), the seminar participants could drop by the Han’yoan tea room at the Urasenke Hawaii Branch’s quarters nearby Waikiki Beach, to enjoy deepening their friendship exchanges over a bowl of tea hosted by the Tankokai Hawaii Association and UHM Way of Tea Club.
The evening of the 23rd, the customary poolside “Sayonara Party” was held at the Breaker’s Hotel, located adjacent to the Urasenke Hawaii Branch’s quarters. As the seminar participants shared food and drink together, with Daisōshō at their center, they enjoyed the last night of this year’s Urasenke Hawaii Seminar program to their heart’s content.