Chado

Ichi-Go Ichi-E: One Time, One Meeting

Deconstructing Chadō, the Japanese Tea Ceremony, to reveal the ephemerality of beauty.

Insights
Yasuko Takahashi
Words (Japanese)
Yasuko Takahashi
Words (English)
Maddy Macdonald
Film
Nathalie Attallah & Carly Williams

Ichi-go Ichi-e is the esteemed Japanese idiom that expresses the fleeting beauty of passing time. With respect and acknowledgment, it implies that each moment, each meeting, is different, and can never be repeated again. A glimpse of this seasonality can be gleaned through the quiet spectacle of blooming and falling cherry blossoms each spring. Its significance extends to the ritual of Chadō, the Japanese Tea Ceremony.

As the trees grew heavy with vibrant pink blossoms, wafting their sweet scent in anticipation of the seasonal festivities, we had the distinct honor of sitting down with Ms. Yasuko Takahashi, esteemed Chadō artist from the Urasenke Foundation. Together, we embarked on a philosophical journey to deconstruct the elements of Chadō, the Japanese Tea Ceremony, with ephemerality as a central theme of focus. We shared a meditation on the elements that bring harmony to the tea ceremony, led by the masters of each fine craft. The result is an audio-sensory experience evoking the meditative tranquility of the tea room.

The following is a guide to the Japanese Way of Tea written by Ms. Yasuko Takahashi and translated to English from its original form.

 

Chadō: The Japanese Way of Tea

茶道は総合芸術と言われます。

Chado is known to be a composition of arts.

それは書道、華道、香道、着物、日本料理、庭、建築、美術工芸品にいたるまで、様々な日本の伝統文化の要素を含んでいるからです。

This is because Chado is a cultural component of Shodo (calligraphy), Kadou (flower arrangement), Koudou (incense burning), Kimono, Japanese cooking, gardening, architecture, fine arts, and crafts.

このフィルムの中で、茶道、茶花、書、和菓子のそれぞれが交わり、調和して一つの空間を作り出している事を感じっとっていただければと思います。

In this [exploration], we hope that you will see how Chado, Chabana, Shodo, and Wagashi are all harmoniously creating one space, [the tea room].

The Elements

Final Product of Modern Japanese Tea Ceremony

書道 SHODŌ: JAPANESE CALLIGRAPHY

茶室の中で、特別な空間である床の間、そこにかけられる掛物は茶席において、最も大切な道具です。

In the tea room, there is a special area called the Tokonoma. In the Tokonoma, there is a hanging picture called Kakemono, which is the most important tool for the tea ceremony.

掛物には大抵禅語が書かれ、その言葉は茶会のテーマや季節感を表しています。

Kakemono has Zen words, which express the theme of the tea ceremonies or the season.

A Flower Will Open Up with Five Petals When It Blooms

今日選んだ禅語は、”一華開五葉”、これは一華五葉を開く、結果持念になるという達磨大師の言葉と伝えられています。

Today’s Zen word is “Ikka goyouwo hiraku” from Darumataishi. It literally means “a flower will open up five petals when it blooms”.

It implies that when you get rid of your bad passions, it will bring you towards enlightenment.

一つの花は五弁の花びらを開いて咲き実を結ぶ、要約すれば、人間も五つの知恵を持っていなければ、次世代にそれを継ぐ事はできない、ということです。

A flower with five petals will bear fruit. In other words, if people do not [possess the] five wisdoms, we will not be able to bring our wisdom to the next generation.

ここでいう五つの知恵とは、円満であるために和の心を持つこと、平等に人々に接すること、偏見を持たず物事を正しく見て心に映すこと、他人のために尽くすこと、素直・正直であることです。

The five wisdom we talk about here are: (1) Having a peaceful mind [and heart] to maintain harmony, (2) treating people equally, (3) seeing the world without having any prejudice, (4) dedicating yourself to others, and finally, (5) being honest and true to yourself.

Japanese Calligraphy for Chado Ceremony

 

茶花 CHABANA: JAPANESE FLORAL ARRANGEMENT

茶花はその季節に咲いている物をもち入り、決して華美にならず野にあるように生けるのが良いとされています。

We use seasonal flowers for Chabana. The Chabana is not supposed to be arranged too beautifully as it is more ideal to look like the flowers in the wild.

また、咲ききった花よりも、蕾が開きかけている物を選び、野草が好まれます。

Also, instead of choosing the fully bloomed flowers, it is better to choose the one that is still in bud, preferably wild grass.

華道と違い、茶花に型はありません。

Unlike Kadou, Chabana does not have a specific form.

型はないけれど、どこか芯のあるものを自然のままに生ける、もてなす側の心を表現できる、茶室の中で唯一生きている存在です。

However, since there is no form in Chabana, it allows you to arrange flowers as they naturally are, and allows you to express the heart of hospitality or welcoming.

Chabana is the only viable being in the tea ceremony.

私は茶花にはさみをいれるとき、常に花の命を頂いているという気持ちがあります。

When I cut into the flowers with scissors, I always appreciate and acknowledge the life the flower has lived.

木々や草花は日々変化し、その移ろいやすい姿から自然界における生と死を感じます。

We can learn the circle of life and death from trees and flowers as they bloom and die very fast.

生きるものすべての命の尊さを、花の姿に見いだすことができる、それが茶花だと私は思います。

I believe that Chabana gives us the opportunity to remind us of the preciousness of our life as well as those of all living things.

Chabana for Tea Cermemony

和菓子 WAGASHI: JAPANESE CONFECTIONS

木の実、果物、穀物、豆など、身近にある食材で作り上げる和菓子は、食べることのできる芸術作品だと言っても、過言ではないでしょう。

Wagashi, which are made of familiar ingredients such as nuts, fruits, grains, and beans, are called the food of arts.

鎌倉時代12世紀に、僧侶が中国から持ち帰った点心が今の和菓子の原型になったようです。

It is believed that the origin of Wagashi started in the Kamakura era, 12th century, when the Buddhist monk brought dumplings from China.

江戸時代に入りますと、個々の菓子に名がつけられ、多種多様な菓子が作られ始めます。

As the Edo era began, people started distinguishing Wagashi by its different names and expanded its varieties.

その後茶席においては、重菓子と呼ばれる生菓子が濃茶の前に、和三盆などの干菓子は薄茶の前に食されるようになりました。

Since then, at tea ceremonies, Omogashi, Japanese cakes were served before Koicha (dark tea) and Wasanbon, dry sweets, were eaten before Usucha (light tea).

古典文学や四季折々の風情を表現したり、茶会のテーマを連想させることもできる茶菓子は、茶席を引き立たせてくれる存在として、また一服の茶をよりおいしく頂くために、なくてはならないものです。

Wagashi is an essential part of tea ceremonies as it portrays classical literature and the seasons of Japan. It also embodies the theme of the tea ceremony.

和菓子は、見た目、味、完食、香、音など、五感を使い楽しめます。

Wagashi can be enjoyed with our five senses; sight, taste, texture, smell, and sound.

chef makes Wagashi for Chado Ceremony

 

Ichi-Go Ichi-E

生と死、永遠と儚さ、自然と文化、これらの相反した要素を含む日本文化を深く学ぶことによって、わたしたちは諸行無常を感じ、自分の心を磨き、生かされていることのありがたみを、身にしみて感じることができるのではと思います。

As you learn more about Japanese culture, you will realize that it often portrays life and death, immortality and mortality, nature and culture. Thus, we appreciate our life and work hard on improving ourselves as we realize that nothing stays the same.

一期一会という言葉はもともと茶道に由来します。

The phrase “Ichi-go Ichi-e” came from Chado.

人とのご縁やなんでもない日常に感謝し、今ここにいることというありがたさを、一期一会という言葉は端的に表していると私は思います。

The phrase “Ichigo Ichie” implies that we appreciate every moment we live and we appreciate all the people we meet in our life.

茶会は毎回、自分の生涯において二度と繰り返さることのない、一生に一度限りのものです。

It implies that each Chakai you have is different and it was or it will never be the same. In other words, you will never experience the same Chakai ever in your life.

その茶会では、主客とも、お互いを敬い感謝し、誠意を尽くします。

Thus, we do our best to express our respect and acknowledgment in Chakai.

茶道に限らずわたしたちの日々の暮らしにおきましても、今というときは戻ってくることはありません。

Not only in Chado but also in our daily lives, we will never be able to experience this moment again.

 

Continue Learning

Delve further into the celebration of cherry blossoms
Continue your exploration of the Japanese Tea Ceremony.
Art, beauty, culture: Discover a wealth of rituals from around the world.

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