Higo-koryu Old School (a school of tea ceremony) (肥後古流 (茶道))

The Higo-koryu old school is one of the schools of tea ceremony passed on in the Kumamoto Domain. The school is said to exactly transmit the styles of SEN no Rikyu. The school was succeeded to by the three families of Furuichi, Kobori, and Kayano; therefore, they are called as the Furuichi-ryu school, the Kobori-ryu school, and the Kayano-ryu school respectively.

Sansai HOSOKAWA, being such an excellent tea master that he was numbered among the Rikyu Shichitetsu (the seven disciples of SEN no Rikyu), transferred his family estate to Tadatoshi HOSOKAWA in the Kokura Domain, Buzen Province, and in 1625, Tadatoshi hired Soan FURUICHI, a son-in-law of Soin ENJOBO, as a sadoyaku (a tea-server sustaining Japanese tea ceremony) for the Hosokawa family. Both Sansai and Tadatoshi ordered Soan FURUICHI to transmit 'old styles of tea ceremony' which had been passed on since Rikyu's time. This was the origin of the Higo old school.

Soen ENJOBO, being originally a priest of Honno-ji Temple, was secularized to become a son-in-law of Rikyu; he is said to have been only a person who was given gokushindaisu (a self putting tools of boiling tea for a tea ceremony) and bonten-ho (a style of temae, tea serving method of the tea ceremony) from Rikyu. That was because SEN no Doan, a biological child of Rikyu, was too dexterous and ingenious to pass on his own ways of tea ceremony before the death of Rikyu, while SEN no Shoan, an adopted child of Rikyu, was too awkward to pass on Rikyu's way of tea ceremony. Since Dotetsu, a child of Soen, was excellent at medicine which he devoted himself to, not to tea ceremony, it is believed that all the styles and techniques of the school were handed down to Soan FURUICHI who was a son-in-law of Soen. Soan FURUICHI, subsequently, went up to Kyoto to instruct SEN no Sotan, as both were the grandchildren of Rikyu. There were a letter of thanks for his instruction; however, it was lost by the flood disaster in 1953. Sotan's chashaku (bamboo tea spoons for making Japanese tea) and bamboo vases, and so on, handed down in Kumamoto prove their relationship.

The Furuichi family
The Furuichi family was primarily in possession of a fief yielding 200 koku (crop yield), and the second head, Soan had the fief increased to 300 koku, and the following heads till the eighth head, Soan, served as chadogashira (a director in charge of maintaining tea utensils and performing the tea ceremony for a shogunate and domains); however Soan's misconduct caused the family's enfeoffment to be confiscated in 1832. The ninth head, Soei, returned to the family's old position as sadoyaku with a fief yielding 200 koku and during the time of the 10th head, Soan, the Meiji Restoration happened. After the Restoration, the school was succeeded to by the Takeda family and had its fellow organization called Tekiteki-sha. It is said that the Furuichi clan also served as a sadoyaku for the Kokura Domain.

The chronological order of the Furuichi family

The Kobori family
The founder of the Kobori family was Chozaemon KOBORI, who was hired as a kosho (a servant) in Buzen Province and the school originated that Chosai, a child of Chozaemon, became the sadoyaku in 1651. The second head of the school, Shigetake (茂竹), was certified as full proficiency from Sosa, the fourth head of the Furuichi family, and transmitted the full proficiency to Sosa of the fifth head. Chojun Tsuneharu, the third head of the school, was versatile and excellent in literature: He wrote many books including "Meirin Seiden" (authentic biography), and succeeded to the art of swimming created by his biological father, Idayu MURAOKA, to establish the Kobori school of treading water as a swimming instructor. Its fellow organization is Hakusui-kai.

The chronological order of the Kobori family

The Kayano family
Shigefu (重府) FURUTA, a younger brother of Juzen FURUTA (a founder of the Oribe school), took refuge at Denzaemon KAYANO in the Kokura Domain, Buzen Province when the Oribe family was punished by being deprived of its fief. The first head of the Kayano family, Masateki (正的) KAYANO, a husband of Denzaemon's older sister, was recorded to 'be related with chaji, tea ceremony,' so that he was regarded as a child of Shigefu. Masateki studied under the first head of the Furuichi family, Soan to become a sadoyaku and received a fief yielding 200 koku crop yield as a chadogashira. After the Meiji Restoration, Masafusa, the seventh head of the school, restored the family name to the original Furuta, and taught students of the school, but now the Furuta family doesn't teach the school. Its fellow organization is Shohu-kai.

[Original Japanese]