Chashaku (bamboo tea spoon for making Japanese tea) (茶杓)

Chashaku (tea scoop) is one of the tea ceremony utensils used for brewing tea (particularly, maccha, or green powdered tea). It is a utensil for spooning green powdered tea from the container (natsume) and transferring it to the tea bowl. It is a type of spoon. Usually, Chashaku is kept in a storage tube, on which a 'poetic name' (a unique name given to the storage tube) is inscribed. In ancient times, every time when a tea ceremony or a tea party was convened, Chashaku were freshly made without being stored, so there is only a handful of preserved Chashaku from the ancient times.

Around the time when the tea drinking custom was introduced to Japan for the first time, a medicine spoon was used, which was made of ivory or turtle shells. Later, in the era of Rikyu, bamboo Chashaku took hold. In general, nigatake bamboo (giant bamboo) species, particularly Sarashidake (bleached bamboo) (also referred to as Shirotake, or white bamboo), are widely used. Other materials include a soot-colored bamboo (susudake), which was a member of the ceiling of a fireplace or a roof-ceiling that had been smoked for a long time, and wood of different trees. If bamboo is selected as a material, those grew over approximately three years are used.

A rare example is Jicchiku, a bamboo material that was used by Rikyu. Jicchiku is an underground stem of bamboo that appears above the ground because it can no longer grow underground owing to obstacles such as bedrock, and characterized by its single trunk and a deep "hi" (Usually, "hi" refers to a pipe, but in tea ceremony, terminology "hi" refers to a deep groove in a bamboo trunk, where the depth increased thanks to bending, and vertical curvature).

The length of Chashaku varies from 17 cm to 21 cm. The part used for spooning green powdered tea (called kaisaki, or a paddle tip or bowl) is oval in shape with the width of about 1 cm and the length of about 2 cm, and the edge of one side (the surface skin side, if bamboo is used) is bent upward. On this occasion, the side where a groove called "hi" appears is bent.

Each part of Chashaku has its own name (it is called midokoro), with the top end section being called tsuyu (when the curved part is considered top), followed by kaisaki, magejiku, chadomari, fushi-ue, fushi, ottori, and kiridome at the bottom.

The part where the back of "fushi" (a knot) is chiseled very deeply is called arigoshi and kijimata.

In addition, according to procedures for making tea, Chashaku are made into three different styles of Shin (formal), Gyo (semiformal), and So (informal). The location of fushi varies with the three styles: fushi-nashi, which does not have any knots, for the Shin style; tome-bushi, which has a knot at the bottommost part, for the Gyo style; and naka-bushi, which has a knot at the middle point of Chashaku or sometimes at an upper or lower location than the middle point, for the So style. As for the shape of kaisaki, a different rule is adopted by each school of tea ceremony, with shapes being roughly divided into the following categories: oval, straight line, a shape like the edge of a Japanese sword, a shape like tokin (a hood), hiramaru (flat round), leaf-shaped, and a bulb.

[Original Japanese]