Published online by Cambridge University Press: 03 June 2016
This article explores the relationships between ritual, material culture, and political authority in early modern Japan by focusing on the Japanese tea ceremony, a highly formalized socio-cultural activity elaborated from the customs related to the consumption of powdered green tea. The article analyses one of the Tokugawa Shogunate's annual processions, the so-called, ‘Travelling of the Shogun's Tea Jar’ – a ritual developed around the Shogunate's acquisition of its annual stocks of tea – which was formalized as one of the official annual events in the early seventeenth century. It argues that the tea ceremony became a part of routine business in the Tokugawa Shogunate and continued to perform its customary functions in supporting military elite's political life. In turn, the tea ceremony was authorized by shoguns and domain lords through public rituals and regular consumption. Consequently, the tea ceremonial practice was institutionalized in the shogunal administrations, creating a class of tea professionals and generating networks of tea providers. Moreover, the practice of tea was embedded in the everyday life of the warrior elite, both at the national and regional levels, until the final fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1868.
This article is based on the first chapter of my Ph.D. thesis. Earlier versions of this article were read to audiences at the International Joint Workshop, ‘Where art meets rituals: aesthetic and religious practices in Japan’, at SOAS, University of London, the Social History Society Annual Conference, and the graduate seminar in the Department of Sociology, Psychology and Social Work at the University of the West Indies, Mona. The author would like to thank Christine Guth and the anonymous reviewers and the editor of this journal for their valuable comments and suggestions.
1 The most common translation of the term chanoyu is ‘tea ceremony’, or ‘Japanese tea ceremony’. The term ‘tea ceremony’ is misleading, however, as it gives the impression that the focus of this cultural practice is in its artistic and ceremonial aspects, and undermines the significance of chanoyu as a social practice. Thus, this article uses the Japanese term ‘chanoyu’ to signify this cultural practice as a whole.
2 Tanihata Akio, Kuge chadô no kenkyū (The study of courtier style tea ceremony) (Kyoto, 2005), pp. 6–12.
5 Takemoto Chizu, Shokuhōki no chakai to seiji (Tea gatherings and politics during the reigns of Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi) (Kyoto, 2006).
6 For example, see Harada Tomohiko, Chōnin chadōshi (The history of chanoyu amongst townsmen) (Tokyo, 1997). Yokota Fuyuhiko examines this point, taking Hikone Domain as a case-study. See Yokota Fuyuhiko, ‘Buke no seikatsu, bunka to chōnin’ (The everyday life and culture of the military household and townsmen), in Murai Yasuhiko, ed., Buke no seikatsu to kyōyô (The everyday life and cultivatedness of the military household) (Hikone, 2005), pp. 154–69.
7 Tanihata Akio, Kinsei chadōshi (The history of the tea ceremony in the pre-modern period) (Kyoto, 1988); Tanihata, Kuge chadô no kenkyū; Tanihata Akio, ed., Chadō no rekishi (The history of chanoyu) (Kyoto, 1999); Paul E. Demura-Devore, ‘The political institutionalization of Tea Specialists in seventeenth-century Tokugawa Japan: the case of Sen Sotan and sons’ (Ph.D. diss., Hawai'i, 2005).
8 Nishiyama Matsunosuke, Iemoto no kenkyū (The study on the house head system) (Tokyo, 1982); Kumakura Isao, ‘Kinsei ni okeru geinô no tenkai’ (The development of various artistic practices in the pre-modern period); Kumakura Isao, ‘Yûgei no sekai: Chanoyu to ikebana’ (The world of the arts of play: chanoyu and the flower arrangement), in Kumakura Isao, ed., Nihon no kinsei (Pre-modern Japan) (Tokyo, 1993); Morgan Pitelka, Handmade culture (Honolulu, 2005).
9 Pitelka, Handmade culture, pp. 93–4.
11 Kumakura, ‘Kinsei ni okeru geinô no tenkai’; Pitelka, Handmade culture, p. 96.
12 Constantine Nomikos Vaporis, Tour of duty (Honolulu, 2010).
13 Demura-Devore, ‘The political institutionalization of Tea Specialists in seventeenth-century Tokugawa Japan’, p. 8. Demura-Devore's work provides a detailed investigation into the political institutionalization of tea professionals in the seventeenth century.
14 Yabe Sei'ichiro, Nihon chanoyubunka no shinkenkyū (A new study on the culture of Japanese chanoyu) (Tokyo, 2005).
16 Tanihata, Kinsei chadōshi, p. 189.
17 Tamari-no-ma is a room in Edo Castle. Elite domain lords, such as collateral houses (shinpan) or hereditary vassalage lords (fudai daimyo), were allowed to take seats in the tamari-no-ma and took part in important political affairs with senior councillors (rōjū). ‘Tamari-no-ma’, in Kōjien (5th edn, Tokyo, 1998).
18 Tarō Matsudaira, Edojidai seido no kenkyū, kōtei (Study on the government organization in the Edo period, revised edition) (Tokyo, 1964), p. 407.
19 Futaki Kenichi, Buke girei kakushiki no kenkyû (Study on the ritual and status of military houses) (Tokyo, 2003), p. 307; Ôtomo Kazuo, ‘Kinsei buke no nenchûgirei to gensetsu’ (Discourses and annual rituals of military houses in the early modern period), in Kijima Michihiro, ed., Bushi to kishi: Nichiô hikaku chûkinseishi no kenkyû (Knighthood: the comparative study in the medieval and early modern Europe and Japan) (Kyoto, 2010), pp. 375–96.
20 Ôtomo, ‘Kinsei buke no nenchûgirei to gensetsu’, pp. 378–80.
22 Tokugawa Reimeikai, ed., Tokugawa reitenroku jōkan (Records of Tokugawa ceremonies), i (Tokyo, 1942).
23 For example, see Narushima Motonao, ed., Tokugawa Jikki (Tokyo, 1929–35) (hereafter Jikki), i, p. 619.
24 Kitamura Kibun, ‘Bakuchô nejûgyôji utaawase’ (The tanka poem competition on the theme of annual shogunal ceremonies and events), manuscript, 1842, National Institution of Japanese Literature, pp. 23–4. The tanka poems in Bakuchô nejûgyôji utaawase were read by Kitamura Kibun (1778–1850), an officer for the office of poetry reading (kagakugata), annotated by Hotta Masaatsu, and selected and forwarded by Matsudaira Sadanobu. It was offered to the twelfth shogun, Tokugawa Ieyoshi (1793–1853), in 1842.
25 Uji is a shogunal demesne and a famous tea-producing district south of Kyoto.
26 Thirtieth day, third month of the eighteenth year of Keichô. Jikki, i, p. 619; Kyoto-fu Chagyō Hyakunenshi Hensaniinkai, ed., Kyoto-fu chagyō hyakunenshi (The Kyoto Prefecture tea production centennial history) (Kyoto, 1994), p. 96. Masuda Hiromichi points out that it was the seventeenth of Kan'ei when the first Uji tea-picking envoy was sent to Uji. Masuda Hiromichi, ‘Akimotoke to ochatsubo dôchû’ (Akimoto family and the Travelling of the Tea Jar), cited in ōshima Yōichi, ‘Chatsubo dōchū to sukiya bōzu (The travelling of the tea jar and Tea Monks)’, in ōishi Manabu, ed., Kinsei kōbunshoron (The theory of official documents in the pre-modern period) (Tokyo, 2003), p. 658.
27 Kyoto-fu Chagyō Hyakunenshi Hensaniinkai, ed., Kyoto-fu chagyō hyakunenshi, p. 96.
28 There are two views on when this annual event was institutionalized in the shogunal calendar. One is the tenth year of Kan'ei (1633), according to Jikki, when the third shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu, assigned four kachigashira (literally, a chief of foot soldiers), Kuchiki Tomotsuna, Kamio Morikatsu, Kondō Mochiyui, and Andō Masayoshi, as official envoys for tea picking (Uji saichashi). In Okachigata mannennki (The perennial records of foot soldiers), however, according to Ôshima, it was the ninth year of Kan'ei (1632) when the official envoy was sent to Uji. See Ôshima, ‘Chatsubo dôchû to sukiya bôzu’, pp. 611–12. Kadokawa chadô jiten (Kadokawa dictionary of the tea ceremony) also refers to it as the ninth year of Kan'ei. ‘Chatsubo dôchû’, Kadokawa chadô jiten, 1990.
29 Jikki, iii, p. 718; Kyoto-fu Chagyō Hyakunenshi Hensaniinkai, ed., Kyoto-fu chagyō hyakunenshi, p. 96.
30 Ôshima, ‘Chatsubo dôchû to sukiya bôzu’, p. 613.
31 Twenty-third day, fourth month, eighth year of Kyôho, Jikki, viii, p. 301; Kyoto-fu Chagyō Hyakunenshi Hensaniinkai, ed., Kyoto-fu chagyō hyakunenshi, pp. 96 and 101.
32 According to Ôshima, in the eighteenth century a Tokugawa officer produced a guideline for the annual tea procession; his manual suggests that every process has to follow the order suggested in the document. In other words, this annual event was a part of routine business in the Tokugawa administration by that time. See Ôshima, ‘Chatsubo dôchû to sukiya bôzu’.
33 Uji chashi is one of the titles for the local magistrate who was in charge of supplying tea to the Shogunate. Uji chashi controlled the quality of tea by supervising tea makers and manufactures, ‘Uji chashi’, Kokushi daijiten (1979–97).
34 ‘Kyoto oyakusho muki taigai oboegaki’, Kojiruien Yûgi, p. 627; Tokugawa Reimeikai, ed., Tokugawa reitenroku, p. 180; Ishin Shiryō Hensan Jimukyoku, ed., Ishin shiryō kōyō (The selected historical materials of the Meiji Restoration), i (Tokyo, 1937), p. 87.
35 Jikki, iv, p. 126.
36 Ôshima, ‘Chatsubo dôchû to sukiya bôzu’, p. 650.
37 Yû, Kurosawa, ‘Shinhakkenn, ochatsubodôchûki’(New discovery: the record of the travelling of the tea jar), Cha no bunka (Tea culture), 3 (2003), pp. 103–17Google Scholar; Ôshima, ‘Chatsubo dôchû to sukiya bôzu’, p. 650.
38 ōshima,‘Chatsubo dōchū to sukiya bōzu’, pp. 609–62 and 661.
39 According to Zhang Jianli, the act of drinking powdered green tea was firmly tied in with religious ceremonies; a certain amount of powdered green tea was constantly consumed in a number of Buddhist temples. Zhang Jianli, Sadô to chanoyu (The way of tea and the tea ceremony) (Kyoto, 2004), p. 208.
40 Kyoto-fu Chagyō Hyakunenshi Hensaniinkai, ed., Kyoto-fu chagyō hyakunenshi, pp. 96–7.
41 ‘Dôchûkata oboegaki’ (Memorandum of the transport office), Kojiruien reishikibu (The garden of antiquities, ceremonies section), ii (Tokyo, 1932), p. 175; Nineteenth day, twelfth month, third year of Tenpô, Kōshaku Maedake, ed., Kagahan shiryô (Historical materials of Kaga domain), xiv (Tokyo, 1942), p. 284; Kyoto-fu Chagyō Hyakunenshi Hensaniinkai, ed., Kyoto-fu chagyō hyakunenshi, p. 99.
42 ‘Dôchûkata oboegaki’, Kojiruien reibu, i, p. 175; Nineteenth day, twelfth month, third year of Tenpô. Kagahan shiryô, p. 275; Matsudaira, Edojidai seido no kenkyū, kōtei, pp. 408–10.
43 Shinoda Kōzō, Zōho bakumatsu hyakuwa (One hundred stories from the final years of the Tokugawa period, enlarged edition) (Tokyo, 1996), p. 49. Also, Matsudaira, Edojidai seido no kenkyū, kōtei, p. 411; Kyoto-fu Chagyō Hyakunenshi Hensaniinkai, ed., Kyoto-fu chagyō hyakunensh, p. 97.
44 The tea jars sent to Uji each summer were treasured ones from the shogun's tea collection (ryûei gomotsu). Louise Cort points out, however, that the danger to the treasured jars caused the Shogunate to replace the jar with other containers (Louise Cort, Shigaraki: potters' valley (Tokyo, 1979), p. 197). By examining tea jars and the attached Chaire nikki (tea entry records), Sakamoto Hiroshi made an interesting comment that the number of documented tea leaves does not match the amount that could have been stored in the shogun's tea jars. He suggests that the envoy may not have brought the shogun's treasured tea jars to Uji at all ( Hisorhi, Sakamoto, ‘Kochûno ha: “Ochaire nikki” sono uso to jitsu’ (Truth and falsehood in tea entry records), Cha no bunka (Tea and culture), 3 (2003), pp. 59–66 Google Scholar).
45 Takayanagi Shinzô, ed., Ofuregaki Kanpô shûsei (Compilation of proclamations issued in the Kanpō era) (Tokyo, 1934), p. 1325.
46 Twenty-third day, fourth month, eighth year of Kyôho, Jikki, viii, p. 301; Kyoto-fu Chagyō Hyakunenshi Hensaniinkai, ed., Kyoto-fu chagyō hyakunenshi, p. 101.
47 Twenty-third day, fourth month, eighth year of Kyôho, Jikki, viii, p. 301; Kyoto-fu Chagyō Hyakunenshi Hensaniinkai, ed., Kyoto-fu chagyō hyakunenshi, p. 101.
48 Shinoda, Zōho bakumatsu hyakuwa, p. 49.
49 Maruyama Yasunari, ‘Kaidô, jukueki, tabi no seido to jittai’ (The organizations and actual conditions of the highways, relay stations, and journeys), in Maruyama Yasunari, ed., Nihon no kinsei: Jôhô to kôtsû (Pre-modern Japan: information and transportation) (Tokyo, 1992), pp. 181–230 and 224.
51 Kyoto-fu Chagyō Hyakunenshi Hensaniinkai, ed., Kyoto-fu chagyō hyakunenshi, p. 97; Tsunetaka, Tokugawa, ‘Ochatsubo dôchû’ (The Travelling of the Tea Jar), Shokuseikatu (Eating habits), 106 (2012), pp. 78–81 Google Scholar.
52 Maruyama, ‘Kaidô, jukueki, tabi no seido to jittai’, p. 225.
54 Kyoto-fu Chagyō Hyakunenshi Hensaniinkai, ed., Kyoto-fu chagyō hyakunenshi, p. 101.
55 Cort, Shigaraki, p. 197.
56 Watanabe Hiroshi, Higashi Ajia no ōken to shisō (Kingship and political thoughts in East Asia) (Tokyo, 1997), pp. 19–41.
59 Tea Specialists and Tea Monks had their heads shaved and wore the Buddhist attire as their uniform following the custom that had evolved since the Ashikaga period. However, they were not ordained priests. See Matsudaira, Edojidai seido no kenkyū, kōtei, p. 408.
60 Shinoda, Zōho bakumatsu hyakuwa, p. 49.
61 ‘Furuta Oribe’, ‘Kobori Enshū’, ‘Katagiri Sekishū’, in Kōjien.
62 Tanihata Akio, ‘Daimyō cha no keifu’ (The genealogy of domain lords' tea), in Murai Yasuhiko, ed., Chanoyu no tenkai (The development of chanoyu), vol. v of Chadō shūkin (The splendid collections of the tea ceremony) (Tokyo, 1985), p. 139.
64 Yabe Sei'ichiro, ‘Kinsei daimyō chanoyu no tenkai’ (The development of domain lords' chanoyu), in Tanihata, ed., Chadō no rekishi, p. 124.
65 Nishiyama, Iemoto no kenkyū, pp. 326–7.
68 Kumakura points out that the title sadô could be found in the Shogunate's official record when Nakano Shôun, a disciple of Furuta Oribe, was appointed as sadô for Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1601. Yet, the position of Tea Monk, as Kumakura explains, was appropriated and officially institutionalized in 1659 when the fourth shogun, Tokugawa Ietsuna, issued an ordinance for okubôzu. Kumakura Isao, Kan'ei bunka no kenkyû (The study of the Kan'ei culture) (Tokyo, 1988), pp. 57, 85–6.
69 Matsudaira, Edojidai seido no kenkyū, kōtei, p. 46. The name of the position translated here as ‘Tea Specialist’ varied by domain, including sukiya gashira, sadō/ chadō, chadôbô, and chadô/sadô gashira, among others.
70 Kumakura, Kan'ei bunka no kenkyû, p. 57.
71 Jikki, v, p. 561.
72 See Iguchi Kaisen, ‘Seichū-koji wo omou’ (Remembering Seichū-koji), in Naya Yoshiharu, ed., Gengen-sai Sōshitsu Seichū-koji (Kyoto, 1976), pp. 53–79; Matsudaira Tarō, Edojidai seido no kenkyū (The study of the organizations of the Edo period) (Tokyo, 1919), pp. 759–60.
73 Matsudaira, Edojidai seido no kenkyū, p. 410.
74 Tasaburō, Itō, ‘Kenryoku to chabōzu’ (Power and Tea Monks), Nihonrekishi (Japanese history), 301 (1973), p. 46 Google Scholar.
75 Shinoda, Zōho bakumatsu hyakuwa, pp. 152–3.
77 Matsudaira, Edojidai seido no kenkyū, cited in Itō, ‘Kenryoku to chabōzu’, p. 45.
78 Demura-Devore, ‘The political institutionalization of Tea Specialists in seventeenth-century Tokugawa Japan’, p. 3.
79 Louis Lawrence, Hirado: prince of porcelains (La Grange, IL, 1997), p. 22.
82 The British had already closed down their trading post in 1623, as it was commercially unsuccessful.
83 Susumu, Tatehira, ‘Matsura Chinshin to Mikawauchi-yaki’ (Matsura Chinshin and Mikawachi porcelain wares), Nagasaki International University Review, 8 (2008), pp. 13–22 Google Scholar.
86 Pitelka, Handmade culture, p. 140.
88 Tatehira, ‘Matsura Chinshin to Mikawauchi-yaki’, p. 21.
89 Lawrence, Hirado: prince of porcelains, p. 38.
90 ‘Buke shohatto’ (Laws of Military Households), cited in Theodore de Bary et al., eds., Sources of Japanese tradition (New York, NY, 2001), p. 12.
91 Chinshin is the Chinese reading of Shigenobu.
92 Nishiyama, Iemoto no kenkyū, pp. 328–9.
93 Matsura Hakushaku-ke Henshūjo, ed., Shingetsu-an to Chinshin-ryū chadō (Shingetsu-an and the Chinshin style tea) (Tokyo, 1933), pp. 2–6.
94 Matsura Hakushaku-ke Henshūjo, Shingetsu-an to Chinshin-ryū chadō, p. 22.
95 Ishin Shiryō Hensan Jimukyoku, ed., Ishin shiryō kōyō, iv (Tokyo, 1937), p. 85.
96 Kyoto-fu Chagyō Hyakunenshi Hensaniinkai, ed., Kyoto-fu chagyō hyakunen-shi, p. 110.