Hatsuhana (初花)

Hatsuhana is one of the three major Chaire (tea caddy). This ceramic tea caddy is a legacy of the Tokugawa Shogun family. It is renowned as 'O-meibutsu' (great famous objects), which was probably the work of the Southern Sung Dynasty or the Yuan Dynasty; it was intorduced into Japan during the Sengoku period (period of warring states). It is considered to have been named by Yoshimasa ASHIKAGA.

It is registered as Important Cultural Property under the name of "Karamono Katatsuki Chaire Meihatsuhana."


Made of ceramic, Height: 8.8 cm
Katatsuki' is a square-shouldered tea caddy. The flow of dark reddish-brown glaze on the shoulder to the bottom creates the unique appearance.


It is also said to have been Empress Yang Guifei's oil pot before it was introduced into Japan.

Insetsu TORII, a disciple of Juko MURATA, came into possession of Hatsuhana from Yoshimasa ASHIKAGA; it then passed into Nobunaga ODA's possession via Sokan HIKITA (Daimonjiya).

In 1577, Nobunaga gave Hatsuhana to his legitimate son, Nobutada ODA, along with other ten tea utensils to celebrate his son's promotion to Sanmi no Chujo (Middle Captain of the Inner Palace Guards), as well as to acknowledge his son's succession to the headship of the family. However, it was leaked out during the Raid on the Honno-ji Temple in 1582. Details of how things came about were unknown; however, it passed into Chikaie MATSUDAIRA's possession.

Then, it was presented to Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, and was given to Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI for celebration of his victory in the Battle of Shizugatake in 1583. SEN no Rikyu wrote about it in the letter to Soshitsu SHIMAI.
(Kazumasa ISHIKAWA was a messenger on that occasion, which led to his connection with Hideyoshi.)
After possessing Hatsuhana, Hideyoshi often displayed it in the Principal Tea Ceremony including the first tea ceremony held in the Osaka-jo Castle. In the wake of the Kyushu Conquest in 1587, "Narashiba Katatsuki" passed into Hideyoshi's possession via Tanezane AKIZUKI; as the result, all the three major Katatsuki (a square-shouldered tea caddy) belonged to Hideyoshi.

After the death of Hideyoshi, it was handed down to Hideie UKITA; however, it was transferred to Ieyasu again because Hideie was defeated in the Battle of Sekigahara. Tadanao MATSUDAIRA, Ieyasu's grandson (a son of Ieyasu's second son, Hideyasu YUKI), was rewarded with Hatsuhana for his distinguished military service in the Siege of Osaka.
(One story is that Tadanao was dissatisfied with not being rewarded with fiefs, and smashed Hatsuhana to pieces; however, it might be just a story as far as Hatsuhana exists.)
When Tadanao was deprived of samurai status and forfeited the family territories, it was returned to the Shogun family.
(It is said that Hatsuhana was missing after the death of Tadanao; so MATSUDAIRA Bitchu no kami (Governor of Bitchu Province) presented Hatsuhana that the Echizen family had originally owned to the Shogun family in1689.)

It is desiganated as Important Cultural Property at present and kept by the Tokukgawa Memorial Foundation in Tokyo.

[Original Japanese]