Urasenke Midorikai Alumni Association
The mission of the Urasenke Midorikai Alumni Association is to provide an organization whereby former Midorikai students can maintain contact with and support each other in our continued study and practice in the Way of Tea, and to strive to uphold the timeless principles of Urasenke in the 21st century.
Membership in the Association is voluntary. An Urasenke Midorikai Alumni Association member is defined as:
- Anyone who completed a minimum of one year at Midorikai as a teacher or student.
- Anyone who attended Midorikai on a short-term basis.
The Association will be funded by contributions and fundraising activities undertaken by the Association’s alumni members.
The Urasenke Midorikai Alumni Association (UMAA) became a United States 501(c)(3) non profit public charity effective August 1, 2014. Bequests and gifts are tax-deductible as permitted by law.
- President – Larry Tiscornia (USA)
- Vice President – Bruce Hamana (Japan)
- Treasurer – Christy Bartlett (USA)
- Secretary – Sharon Stephens (USA)
- Urszula Mach-Bryson (Poland)
A brief historical background of the Midorikai and UMAA
1970 Iemoto Sen Soshitsu XV, Hounsai, establishes an official class at Urasenke headquarters for non-Japanese students, and places Mrs. Mori Akiko, head of the Urasenke Foreign Affairs Department, in charge of managing the class. According to records kept by the Urasenke Foreign Affairs Department, by then five non-Japanese from abroad had studied at Urasenke Konnichian under the auspices of Iemoto Hounsai. The earliest (September 1966–June 1967) was a woman from New York.
1973 Iemoto Hounsai gives the group/class of non-Japanese students the name “Midorikai” (“The Green Society”). His wife, Mrs. Tomiko Sen, is who proposes this name, from the idea that tea is green, and the Midorikai students, no matter their nationality or ethnicity, are “tea people” (chajin).
1976 The Midorikai class/study program becomes an official division of the Urasenke Gakuen Professional College of Chado. It, nevertheless, is managed by the Urasenke Foreign Affairs Department all the way until 2015.
2001 Urasenke hosts its first International Convention, in Honolulu, Hawaii, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Urasenke Hawaii Chapter (Urasenke’s first overseas chapter) and Iemoto Hounsai’s 50 years of international activities. As a study excursion, the students then studying in the Midorikai program all travel to Hawaii to attend the convention, and among the convention registrants, there are many Midorikai alumni from around the world. They hold a meeting to discuss the establishment of a Midorikai Alumni Association, and they form a steering committee for this.
2002 Iemoto Hounsai and his heir-to-be, Wakasosho Sen Soshi, officially approve the establishment of the Urasenke Midorikai Alumni Association (UMAA). The UMAA website is established.
Scholarships funded by the Urasenke Foundation have provided for the room-and-board and schooling of the majority of the full-year students. As of March 2020, the number of people who have studied in the Midorikai program for one school year or more has reached nearly 520, with an additional 90+ who have studied in the program as short-term students (at least 2 weeks), and many more for shorter periods.