Totsutotsusai Dismantled Totsutotsusai
(large photographs) (photographs courtesty Urasenke Kyoto)
In 2013 Zabosai Oiemoto
sama undertook the historic task of complete refurbishment of
the Konnichian complex of tearooms. As these tearooms have been
designated Important Cultural Properties by the Japanese government,
the refurbishment is being treated almost as an archeological
endeavor. The massive process has now entered its third out of
From the beginning of this
year, work began on the tearooms Totsutotsusai, Dairo no ma, Saya
no ma, and the Onsodo. This area of the complex was constructed
by eleventh generation Gengensai Seichu Soshitsu. And indeed,
as the ceiling of Totsutotsusai was dismantled, wood plaques dated
1801 and 1856 were found in the rafters. Zabosai oiemoto will
be adding another plaque of his own before the ceiling is sealed
The dismantling also revealed
the exact construction method of its famous ceiling, and confirmed
that the wood came from the Goyomatsu five-needled pine trees
planted by eighth generation Yugensai Itto on Daitokuji grounds.
The original materials will
be preserved to the extent possible. If any have been damaged
beyond repair, the new materials will be distressed and stained
to match the surrounding. Kabe, clay plaster for the walls, has
always been intended to be renewed periodically. This will be
done where necessary, for example on some of the interior walls
of Totsutotsusai. However, the original plaster will be left in
place for the Onsodo and other tearooms.
The foundations for this area
were replaced with concrete in 1965. This new foundation will
be removed, and the foundation returned to its traditional form.
Further updates will be added
when available. It is hoped that the restoration will be complete
by 2020 in time for the Summer Olympics.
UMAA Donation Drive
Urasenke Konnichian has established
a fund for this historical project to which those wishing to express
their support may contribute. At all of the UMAA meetings held
thus far, members expressed a desire to connect with the Sen family
and to give something back. Here is a concrete opportunity to
do just that.
The names of these tearooms
no doubt hold precious memories for Midorikai Alumni. We can be
part of Urasenke's long history and future by donating to the
project. UMAA has set a goal of $5,000. To date, pledges for $2,500
have already come in. While the goal is now halfway met, how auspicious
it would be to make an even more significant donation!
The projected date to offer
the UMAA contribution is February 15, 2019, in time for the observation
of Rikyu-ki. A list of contributors? names only will be sent along
with the offering. If you visit the UMAA website, and press the
PayPal link, you may make a contribution to preserve this heritage
that we love.
Thank you for your generosity.