Non-Japanese Students Division
Urasenke Gakuen Professional College of Chado
In 1970, Sen Genshitsu (Sen Soshitsu XV) established an official class for non-Japanese students at the Urasenke Headquarters in Kyoto as one way of putting his ideal of “Peacefulness through a Bowl of Tea” into practice. By making the study of chado, the way of tea, possible in English and providing full financial assistance, he encouraged the study of chado by students around the world, and thereby manifested his deep commitment to the goal of promoting world peace through mutual understanding. In 1973, he named the group Midorikai, and in 1976, Midorikai became a division of the Urasenke Gakuen Professional College of Chado. To date, over five hundred people, coming from more than thirty countries in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Oceania, have participated in the Midorikai program.
Before coming to Midorikai, most of the students study chado at one of the more one hundred Urasenke Tankokai affiliates located in thirty-four countries. After receiving basic training and a recommendation from their teachers, they apply to enter the intensive one-year Midorikai program. During the one year in Kyoto, they attend classes full-time five days a week—receiving over 280 hours of lectures and spending over 450 hours practicing the thirty-two procedures which make up the basic study. The program is designed to introduce the students to the far-reaching influence of chado on the arts and culture of Japan through the study of history, Zen and Japanese religion, teahouse architecture, kaiseki cuisine, calligraphy, ceramics and many other crafts. The students also learn about chado philosophy and aesthetics which embody representative ideals such as simplicity, reticence, suggestion, and subtlety. All of the training they receive is aimed at being a host or guest at a full length tea gathering called chaji. The highlights of their year’s study are two chaji held in the summer and winter.
In 2001, the first Urasenke International Convention was held in Honolulu, U.S.A. to celebrate Sen Genshitsu’s fifty years of work to disseminate chado outside of Japan. At that time, many Midorikai students from around the world attended the gathering to show their appreciation to him. Their continuing support of Urasenke Chado after they leave the Midorikai is the pillar of chado propogation at the grassroots level all over the world.
Sen Genshitsu and his son, the Grand Master Zabosai (Soshitsu Sen XVI), firmly believe that the discipline, scholarship, and techniques of chado learned in Midorikai will enable the program participants to contribute to world peace by sharing the spirit of Tea with others.