2022 Konnichian Hatsugama-shiki

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The year 2022, according to the Chinese zodiac cycle of sixty terms traditionally used to reckon time in East Asian culture, comes as the “mizunoe tora” year, the “big brother water year of the tiger.”

The Hatsugama-shiki “Ceremonial First Tea of the Year” function hosted by the Urasenke Head Family got started on January 7. Because of the continuing Coronavirus epidemic, the invited guests were limited to officers of Urasenke’s official organizations and Urasenke chado teachers and students, and careful measures were taken to prevent the attendees from contracting the virus at this function.

The main room was the “Chofu-no-ma” in the Heisei Chashitsu. The scroll hanging in the alcove, reading “Ryuko,” or “Dragon Tiger,” was written by the Genpaku Sotan (b. 1578), the 3rd generation family ancestor, who’s birth year was a Tiger year. On the alcove pillar hung Sotan’s son Senso Soshitsu’s copy of Rikyu’s double-window “Hashinobo” bamboo flower container, which held an Akebono (“Dawn”) camellia and sprig of Uguisukagura (lit., “Bush Warbler’s Sacred Music and Dance”; a variety of honey-suckle). A green length of bamboo in the upper rear corner of the alcove held the celebratory musubiyanagi looped willow branches, which trailed down to the floor of the alcove, where sat a lacquered Kasugadai (special footed tray originally used at Kasuga Shrine), on which was placed a Shinto bell instrument with colorful streamers. At the tea-making area in the room, there was a tenchaban tea-making table. The kettle-brazier set was favored by Fukensai (Soshitsu IX), and the set of matching ceramic implements was favored by Iemoto Zabosai.

Once the guests were seated, the Head Family members ― Iemoto Zabosai, Daisosho Hounsai, Wakasosho Soshi, and also Hiromi OTANI (son of Daisosho’s youngest brother) ― entered as a group and expressed their greetings.

The guests were served Urasenke’s traditional New Year’s confection, Hishihanabira, a confection favored by Gengensai (Soshitsu XI). Iemoto sat at the tenchaban and prepared koicha for the first and second guests, which Wakasosho conveyed to them. The guests at the first seating were Konnichian Robun (elders) and Urasenke-related officials. All of the guests were served individual bowls of koicha.

After the tea-drinking, there was a performance of the felicitous noh chant, “Shikainami” (“The Waves on the Four Seas”) by the head of the Kongo school of noh, Hisanori KONGO, to the accompaniment of a tsuzumi hand drum.

The “Kangetsu-no-ma” room on the 2nd floor of the Heisei Chashitsu was the venue for usucha. Here, the lady representatives of the Head Family ― Iemoto’s wife, Mrs. Masako SEN, and sister-in-law, Mrs. Hiromi IZUMI (wife of Iemoto’s late younger brother) ― greeted the guests. The tea preparation at the Misonodana tea-making table was conducted by Mrs. Izumi’s elder son, Soyu IZUMI, and serving in the role of hanto (assistant) was her younger son, Reijiro IZUMI.

The Head Family’s Hatsugama-shiki at Konnichian was held daily until January 12. This New Year’s invitational function at the Urasenke Dojo in Tokyo is scheduled to take place from January 16 to 20.