Soke News

Sen Takafumi Becomes Wakasosho

Confirmation of Oiemoto Zabosai’s Heir-Apparent

On October 8, 2020, Takafumi Sen (b. Jul 6, 1990) was confirmed as the heir apparent and successor-to-be of Oiemoto Zabosai (Soshitsu Sen, XVI). Takafumi is the younger of Oiemoto Zabosai’s and Mrs. Masako Sen’s two sons, and the youngest of their three offspring. He graduated from the Law Department at Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, in 2013, and over recent years, has been serving on the Board of Directors of the Urasenke Foundation, and as Vice Chairman of the Urasenke Tankokai Federation. At his confirmation and oath-taking ceremony, he received the “saigo” (Buddhist name) Tanshinsai 丹心斎, and the “chamei” (tea name) Soshi 宗史. His title, as the heir apparent, is Wakasosho (lit., “young master”). Click here to go to a short NHK video of the tea dedication ceremony by Wakasosho Tanshinsai Soshi, held the next day at Daitokuji Jukoin, the Sen family’s temple, to announce his confirmation.

Soke News

Rikyu-ki Message from Oiemoto Zabosai

The following is a message from Oiemoto Zabosai to Urasenke followers both domestic and international, composed on the occasion of the Rikyu Memorial (Rikyu-ki) on March 28, 2020. Along with a large number of other Urasenke events this year, the 2020 Rikyu-ki observance at Urasenke Konnichian, was closed to the public due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

A message from Zabosai Soshitsu Sen Grand Master XVI, Urasenke Chado Tradition

On the day of Rikyu-ki, March 28, 2020

The severity of the COVID-19 pandemic is increasing, with cities worldwide having restrictions on leaving one’s house and so forth, and an ineffable sense of anxiety overshadows not only Japan but the whole world. For a while more, each of you please personally be aware of the crisis and practice self-care. We must ride out this calamitous time. I do not know what the social environment will be like after that, but I believe that we will return to a place in which, with this single bowl of tea, we can share and interact with each other once more.

To those who long only for the flowers,
Show them Spring
In the grass peeking through the snow
In the mountain village

Our society is presently covered in a heavy blanket of snow. However, we should not be discouraged. Flowers and humans each have their own life energy. Let us put faith in that energy, for the day should not be far off when the grass will sprout through the snow.

View the original document here.

Soke News

Introducing Ms. Makiko Sakata

Honorary President of the Urasenke Midorikai Alumni Association

March 1, 2020 — Makiko Sakata was born in Kyoto in 1987 to Zabosai Soshitsu Sen XVI, sixteenth generation Grand Master of the Urasenke Tradition, and to Masako Sen, second daughter of His Imperial Highness Prince Takahito of Mikasa. After graduating from high school, Ms. Sakata continued her education in the International Studies Program, College of Humanities, at Ritsumeikan University. She received her Bachelors Degree in 2010.

Ms. Sakata serves on the Board of Directors of Konnichian’s Urasenke Foundation in Kyoto. As such she plays an important role in the many activities and programs that Urasenke Konnichian offers within Japan and internationally. In 2015 she participated in the opening events of the Japan Pavilion for Expo Milano. Later that same year Ms. Sakata led a program at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. More recently she headed the Introduction to Chado program in the United Arab Emirates in 2017. Ms. Sakata also acts as a Visiting Professor at the Kyoto Notre Dame University.

The Urasenke Midorikai Alumni Association is honored that Ms. Sakata has consented to become the Honorary President of UMAA at her father Zabosai Oiemoto sama’s suggestion. She delivered the opening address of the third International UMAA meeting held in Kyoto, Japan, on June 28, 2018. This meeting was attended by the 53 participants of the first International Intensive Study and by current Midorikai students. [Read the meeting minutes.] She spoke about studying chanoyu as a way which naturally leads to the growth of humanistic values. Ms. Sakata encourages all of us to practice our Tea in a manner that will fulfill Daisosho sama’s vision of “peacefulness through a bowl of tea.”

We look forward to Ms. Sakata’s guidance and leadership into the future!

Soke News

Daisosho in Los Angeles: Lecture and Raku Exhibit

Bing Theatre
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles

Reported by Iris Friedlander, New York

On a sunny afternoon at the downtown Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Dr. Genshitsu Sen, 15th Grand Master of Urasenke, presented an offertory Tea (kencha-shiki); followed by his 40-minute lecture/demonstration, and a dedicatory Tea. These events, free and open to the public, began at 1 pm, and ran over 2 hours. They were held in conjunction with the extraordinary exhibition, “Raku: The Cosmos in a Tea Bowl,” in the museum’s Pavilion for Japanese Art.

The 600-seat auditorium was packed. Special guests in the audience included Kyoto potter, Atsundo Raku, 34-year old son of Kichizaemon Raku XV. Dr. Robert T. Singer, Curator and Head of Japanese Art at LACMA, opened the program with a charming musical prelude: Japanese ladies performed duets on koto and harp, of the traditional melody “Sakura,” followed by Irving Berlin’s “America.” Daisosho, looking fit and spry at 92 years, presented a ryurei-style offertory Tea, in a somber, slow-paced temae. Driven by his intense desire to contribute to the realization of global peace, he has devoted his life to spreading Chado, the Way of Tea, around the world. Fittingly, this Tea commemorated the end of World War II in 1945.

His on-stage hanging scroll, “Wa Kei Sei Jaku,” represent Chado’s four key principles: harmony, respect, purity and tranquility. Daisosho then prepared Koicha for 10 dignitaries, including Consul General Harry H. Horinouchi, who spoke briefly, Mrs. Horinouchi, Dr. Glenn T. Webb, and others.

His talk wove together threads about Tea, Raku, and his personal experiences, which were expertly translated by Gretchen Mittwer. Daisosho’s smile lit up the large room, as he related that his first tea lesson from his father, Tantansai, began on the 6th day of the 6th month of his 6th year. To accommodate his small hands, Seinyu Raku XIII (1887~1944) was commissioned to make a child-size chawan. This was his first experience with Raku ware – 86 years ago! He explained that in Chanoyu the pottery hierarchy is: ichi Raku, ni Hagi, san Karatsu.

We were reminded that the spectacular Raku exhibit next door was a unique event. Dr. Singer had been planning the show and Daisosho’s visit for five years, in celebration of LACMA’s 50th anniversary. He went to Japan to personally request from Daisosho the loan of ‘Tarobo’ by Chojiro I (?~1589). Another temae demonstrating usucha thin tea was given for three guests. The shokyaku was Christy Soei Bartlett, Director, Urasenke Foundation San Francisco.

After this wondrous program, I chatted briefly with Atsundo Raku, who is now closely studying the pottery of his 16th century ancestor, Chojiro I. How lucky he is!

UMAA Facebook Announcement

The Way of Tea in L.A.

Soke News

Daisosho 88th Birthday Message


The cherry blossoms have bloomed, and combined with the green of the weeping willows, the world has turned into the spring scene of “hana wa kurenai, yanagi wa midori” — literally, “the flowers are pink and the willows are green.”

The recent, unprecedented huge earthquake, and the triple blow from also being struck by the tsunami and nuclear plant disaster, have caused Japan to once again be in distress in all sorts of ways. It is a mournful situation, and I sincerely pray for the repose of the souls of the victims whose lives were lost. I am determined to do what meager bit I carry to be of some slight help in the surviving people’s quick recovery.

Amid such a situation my thoughts about my own petty Beiju (88th) birthday vanished somewhere, and I feel so anguished about the disaster that celebrating my birthday is unthinkable. This notwithstanding, however, I thank you for your message of congratulations straightaway, for my Beiju. I wish to express my appreciation and gratitude for your kind thoughts and gesture.

Once things settle down and the world at large becomes more peaceful, I would like to directly express my gratitude to you. For the time being, this is a quick, brief message of thanks. Though the season now is pleasant I hope you will still be careful of your health.

Genshitsu Sen
Former Urasenke Iemoto
April 2011