Wakasosho SEN Soshi to Succeed as
16th-Generation Urasenke Grand Master on January 1, 2003

Grand Master SEN Soshitsu XV and Wakasosho SEN Soshi make Announcement

Zabosai SEN Soshi will succeed as the head of Konnichian, the family's historical home in Kyoto, and be named the 16th-generation Grand Master (iemoto) SEN Soshitsu descending from SEN Rikyu. He will officially be sworn in as successor in a rite that will take place in the Rikyu Onsodo altar room at Konnichian on December 22, 2002, and assume his role as the new iemoto from the 1st day of 2003. Thereafter, the 15th-generation iemoto, Hounsai SEN Soshitsu, will be referred to as Hounsai SEN Genshitsu, Former Grand Master (zen iemoto).

Grand Master SEN Soshitsu XV and Wakasosho SEN Soshi at the press conference.

A press conference was held at 1:00 P.M. on October 8, 2002, in the large hall within the Chado Kaikan building at the Urasenke estate in Kyoto, at which Grand Master SEN Soshitsu XV and his hereditary heir, Wakasosho SEN Soshi, made the public announcement. Seated by them were the Grand Master's younger son, IZUMI Soko Masakazu; younger brother, NAYA Sotan Yoshiharu; and nephew, OTANI Hiromi, son of his deceased youngest brother. Izumi acted as chairman for the press conference, and explained: "The Grand Master strongly wishes to entrust the next iemoto with the task of building the Urasenke of the new generation and new age, and the Wakasosho, in response, wishes to meet that task."

IZUMI Soko chairs the press conference.
On the left is NAYA Sotan, and on the right is OTANI Hiromi.

Grand Master SEN Soshitsu XV gives address.

Translation of Grand Master's Address

"I feel humbled when I think how, having gotten through the post-war era that was full of difficulties, I took 'Peacefulness through a Bowl of Tea' as my target and, in these fifty years, my conviction to contribute to World Peace by means of a bowl of tea has born fruit throughout the world. At the same time, the fact that the one seed gratifyingly developed big [was because] I was blessed with a truly good period and good people, so, according to my own convictions, together with my wife I could realize such a thing.
    "Our Way consists in life-long training. Therefore, to give my generation over to the next while I am still living may be a luxury. However, Zabosai SEN Soshi has done much training by my side in the Way of Tea, as well as in the field of Zen at the temple training place, and for twenty years he has built up his inner resources, character, and various other elements as the future iemoto. Not to praise my own son, but it is from my feeling that the time has probably naturally come to 'pour new sake into an old leather bag,' and this is what occasions me to entrust the successorship to Zabosai.
    "From now on, I plan to support the new iemoto from a high place in the big house, with the state of mind of 'a true man of no rank.'"

Translation of Wakasosho's Address

"For twenty years, I have been able to study as the Wakasosho, and have myself kept on this one path, honestly learning it, and have striven to nurture people as should be.
    "As long as mankind lives on, as long as the wonderful country called Japan exists, I believe the Way of Tea will, without limit, continue to make innings. In order to also pass this Way to the next generation, I wish to continue to deal with my position in a natural manner, without becoming strained, acting out of vanity, giving pretensions about myself, and putting on any thick make-up, but by discerning my own station in life. A maxim that I like and that I have placed great importance on is: 'Practice what you preach.' From now on, I will carefully nurture the chado seeds that the Grand Master has sown throughout the world, while also firmly proceeding step by step to nurture good teachers as should be, and, in order to be a good model for the many Urasenke followers who learn the Urasenke chado tradition, I want to continue cracking the whip on myself."

At the 100th National Tankokai General Meeting that will be held on November 25, 2002, the Urasenke followers nationwide will be formally notified. Wakasosho's oath-taking rite as the new iemoto will take place on December 22, 2002, in the Rikyu Onsodo altar room at Konnichian. Plans are being made to hold a sacred tea offering ceremony (kencha-shiki), commemorative tea gatherings, and coming-out party both at Heian Shrine in Kyoto and Meiji Shrine in Tokyo during May, 2003. Also, the Chado Urasenke Tankokai district conventions to be held in eleven districts throughout Japan during 2003 will be congratulatory conventions.