Kojakin (small wet cloth to wipe a tea bowl) (小茶巾)

A kojakin is a small cloth used to clean off a tea bowl after drinking tea at the Urasenke (the House of Urasen) school, which is one of the Japanese tea ceremony schools. Although hemp (textile) is mainly used for kojakin, nonwoven fabric-made kojakin called 'kami-kojakin' (literally, "paper kojakin") are also often used.

Uses of kojakin

A kojakin should be moistened and folded beforehand, and a guest wipes the lip of a tea bowl with the kojakin after drinking koicha (thick tea) and then he or she passes the tea bowl to the next guest. How to fold a kojakin and the order of use vary depending on tea ceremony schools. Most kojakin are disposable due to their uses, but kojakin made of cloth are sometimes washed after use so that they can be used multiple times. Also, kojakin which are already moistened like wet tissues are sold under the names of 'shimeshi kojakin' (literally, 'moistened kojakin') and 'nure kojakin' (literally, 'wet kojakin'). Since a kojakin cannot be directly put into a kaishi basami (Japanese tissue case) because it is wet after use as well as before use, a special case for kojakin is necessary.

If a guest does not have a kojakin, he or she temporarily can use a wet and folded kaishi (Japanese tissue) instead of kojakin, but great care must be taken because the use of wet kaishi may hurt a tea bowl.

Kojakin are not used at the Omotesenke (the House of Omotesen) school because they use kaishi to wipe tea bowls.

[Original Japanese]