Daisosho Genshitsu SEN in New York for UN Peace Memorial Tea Offering & Sharing, and Other Events
From Tuesday, September 12 to Saturday, September 16, 2023, Daisosho Genshitsu SEN visited New York, U.S.A., to participate in a United Nations Peace Memorial Tea Ceremony co-hosted by the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations and Urasenke, and various other events.
Peace Bell Ceremony
On the 13th (Wednesday), the United Nations Peace Bell Ceremony took place at the United Nations Headquarters’ Japanese Peace Bell Garden, and Daisosho was an attendee. This UN Peace Bell Ceremony, and the ringing of the Peace Bell that was a gift to the UN from Japan, is an annual event held on the occasion of the International Day of Peace. At the ceremony this year, UN Secretary-General Antonio GUTERRES and the President of the 78th UN General Assembly, H.E. Dennis FRANCIS, delivered speeches and rang the bell, in confirmation of their commitment to world peace. Before the ceremony commenced, Daisosho stood with the Secretary-General and other attendees for a commemorative photo.
Peace Memorial Tea Offering & Sharing
The Peace Memorial Tea Offering & Sharing event took place in the UN Headquarters’ Qatar Lounge following the Peace Bell Ceremony. Opening remarks were presented by H.E. Kimihiro ISHIKANE, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of Japan to the UN. Daisosho then addressed the audience and spoke about the “Wa” (harmony) scroll that he had written, saying, “Wa means true congeniality, and it means that everyone should work together to advance toward a single goal. This Wa includes all the countries of the world. I pray for Wa by way of a bowl of tea.” The next speakers were the 78th UN General Assembly President, H.E. Dennis FRANCIS, and the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Hon. Amina MOHAMMED.
After the speeches, Daisosho conducted the ceremonial tea offering. In the presence of about 100 participants, including the permanent representatives of various countries to the UN, and UN-related individuals, he solemnly prepared a bowl of matcha tea, and placed it on the offering table in prayer for peace.
The next part of the program was the Wago-no-chakai Tea Gathering for Friendship and Unity. Daisosho served as the host, and five guests, representing all those attending the event, were brought sweets and matcha tea at their special seating area.
◇ The five representative guests
H.E. Dennis FRANCIS, President of the 78th UN General Assembly
Hon. Amina MOHAMMED, UN Deputy Secretary-General
Ms. Melissa FLEMING, UN Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications
H.E. Kimihiro ISHIKANE, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and
Permanent Representative of Japan to the UN
Mrs. Kaoru ISHIKANE, wife of H.E. Kimihiro Ishikane
As the final part of the program, all the attendees were served sweets and matcha tea by members of the Urasenke New York Branch, and the venue was filled with a friendly atmosphere.
※The Peace Memorial Tea Offering & Sharing event can be viewed on UN Web TV (Ceremonial Tea Offering for Peace | UN Web TV)
Courtesy Visit to the Ambassador and Consul General of Japan in New York
In the afternoon of the 13th, Daisosho went to the Consulate General of Japan in New York, and met with H.E. Mikio MORI, Japan’s Ambassador and Consul General in New York. They exchanged views on the pursuit of peace and ways to deepen mutual understanding through the Way of Tea, one of Japan’s most representative traditional cultures.
Meeting with Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger
On the 14th (Thursday), Daisosho visited Dr. Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State. Dr. Kissinger visited Konnichian in 1982, and this time’s reunion coincidentally happened as they were both marking their 100th birthday year. Daisosho prepared a bowl of tea for Dr. Kissinger in the simple bonryaku style, and they exchanged pleasant conversation about Japanese culture and tea.
Visit to Urasenke New York Branch
On the 14th and 15th, the Konnichian deputy tea masters (gyotei) gave special training sessions at the Urasenke Chanoyu Center, the quarters of the Urasenke New York Branch. Daisosho went to visit the Branch, looked in on the training, and gave the students encouragement.
Welcoming Reception for Daisosho Hosted by the Urasenke Tea Ceremony Society
On the 15th (Friday), the Urasenke Tea Ceremony Society hosted a reception at the Harvard Club to welcome Daisosho. The society’s President Stephan GRANT presented greetings, and then Daisosho gave a speech. A toast was raised by the society’s Director Peggy DANZIGER. About 120 Urasenke New York members were in attendance, and it was a cheerful and lively gathering surrounding Daisosho.