Konarai level of study (for beginners) (小習)

Konarai, or naraigoto, is a learning course of tea ceremony, which putting together the procedure of the use of each utensil and the procedures appropriate for the situations. Konarai is sometimes called shoden (meaning elementary-level instruction) since it used to be taught in private by means of "denmono" (oral instruction). However, konarai has been published as a book several times since the Meiji period.

Omotesenke (the house of Omotesen) style establishes 13 things to practice as konarai, including the Eight Naraigoto and the Five Kazarimono. The Eight Naraigoto are: chasen kazari, dai kazari, nagao, bonkogo, hanashomo, sumishomo, kumiawasedate, and shigumidate. The Five Kazarimono are: jikukazari, tsubo kazari, chaire kazari, chawan kazari, and chashaku kazari. It was formerly referred to as the Eight Principles of Shomen certification. In the early 19th century, Ryoryo-sai, the 9th generation of the Omotesenke, added chaire kazari, chawan kazari, chashaku kazari, hanashomo and sumishomo to the traditional konarai and called it the Thirteen Naraigoto. In the 21st century, Jimyo-sai, the 14th generation of the Omotesenke, separated the Five Kazarimono from among the Thirteen Naraigoto.

Urasenke (the house of Urasen) style establishes 16 basics of tea ceremony as konarai, including the Mae Hachikajo (first eight things to practice), and the Ato Hachikajo (last eight things to practice). The Mae Hachikajo are: kinin date, kinin kiyotsugu, chaire kazari, chawan kazari, chashaku kazari, chasen kazari, nagao chaire, and kasane chawan. The Ato Hachikajo are: tsutsumi fukusa, tsubo kazari, sumishomo, hanashomo, irekodate, bonkogo, jikukazari, and ootsubukuro. Mugensai (or Tantansai), the 14th generation of the Urasenke separated all 16 basics into 2 parts. Also, it is a custom to use the kanji '荘' instead of '飾' for the word "kazari." This is originated from "荘厳" (shogon, to decorate Buddha statues and temples) in Buddhism.

The following are general explanations of each practice; as a matter of course, definitions of each practice are very different according to each house/style.

Toko kazari (a display in a tokonoma, the traditional alcove in a Japanese room) at shoza (the first part of a formal tea ceremony)
Usually, only kakemono (a hanging scroll; a work of calligraphy or a painting) is hung on the wall of tokonoma (alcove in a traditional Japanese room where art or flowers are displayed) at shoza; however, according to the utensils to be used, some special procedures are applied. Tsubo kazari (a tea procedure for opening the tea jar and displaying it to the guests) is an old tradition; others are thought to have been formed during the Edo period (especially during the late Edo period) to show the consideration for the giver of the present.

Jikukazari (軸飾 or 軸荘) is a procedure to show respect to the kakemono. Typically, kakemono, which is supposed to be hung on the wall of tokonoma, is displayed in tokonoma as being scrolled, and it is unrolled at the request of the guest during the ceremony. In the case of a specially high-class kakemono such as shinkan (imperial letter), it is soon scrolled again after showing it to the guests. The ways to display kakemono differ depending on the house/style and the class of the kakemono.

Sometimes, meibutsu (high-class) kakemono is given a title by a notable person later. Such kakemono used to be displayed in gedai kazari procedure, in which the kakemono was displayed as being scrolled to show its title, which is considered to be the origin of jikukazari. It is considered that special kakemono such as imperial writing, which would not have had a title at the time of receipt, was displayed in the jikukazari procedure in order to treat it as special.

Tsubo kazari
Tsubo kazari (壺飾 or 壺荘) is a procedure for displaying chatsubo (tea jar) in tokonoma. It is a procedure conducted in a 'tea ceremony for kuchikiri,' where the seal of a jar in which the first tea harvested in early summer is contained to let it stand is broken around the time of the first use of the fireplace. Today, however, putting the first tea in chatsubo is not a common practice anymore; rather, a chatsubo containing tea is specially prepared for the purpose of kuchikiri. Therefore, tsubo kazari and kuchikiri may have remained as a matter of form in order to pass down the traditional procedures.

Kazarimono is generally a procedure for when using meibutsu or a utensil with history. However, in the case of kuchikiri, even ordinary chatsubo is displayed in tokonoma. This is thought to be because the tea served at kuchikiri is especially appreciated by chajin (master of the tea ceremony).

Chaire kazari, chawan kazari, and chashaku kazari
Chaire kazari, chawan kazari, and chashaku kazari are procedures for displaying chaire (tea container), chawan (tea bowl), or chashaku (bamboo tea spoon for making Japanese tea) of meibutu or which has a history. In the Omotesenke style, these refer to procedures in which such utensils are displayed in tokonoma at shoza, and the guest requests to see it. When these utensils are used in serving tea at atoza (the latter part of a formal tea ceremony), chasen kazari (explained later) will be conducted. The procedures were originally the same for the Urasenke style. However, chaire kazari, chawan kazari, and chashaku kazari for the Urasenke style include the tea service conducted at atoza (transformed version of chasen kazari).

Chaire used to be displayed in tokonoma in the past, but the procedure came to be abbreviated over time; even when the chaire needed special treatment, only chasen kazari had been conducted. However, it is thought that chaire began to be displayed in tokonoma again in the later Edo period. Chawan and chashaku were not supposed to be displayed in tokonoma originally. In the later Edo period, however, they came to be displayed in tokonoma in the same manner as chaire, out of necessity of respectfully treating articles received from superiors. Essentially, tea utensils should be actually used to realize their values; however, sometimes gifted utensils were just displayed and observed, and hesitated to be used for serving tea for the sake of showing respect to the giver of the gift.

Serving tea in a manner appropriate for the utensil
When a utensil used for serving tea is special and high-class, such utensil is sometimes treated with more respect than usual. There are roughly two ways for such special treatment; laying something under such a utensil, or treating it in the same manner as treating a higher-order utensil. "Order" here is according to the line up of the utensils by the distance from the tea. The utensil in which the tea is poured is the highest order, followed by chawan, chashaku, furogama (a tea kettle), mizusashi (a water jug), futaoki (rest for the lid of a teakettle), and kensui (waste-water container).

Chasen kazari
Chasen kazari (茶筅飾 or 茶筅荘) is a procedure for when either chaire, chawan, chashaku, or mizusashi to be used is of meibutu or has a history. Previously, chakin is placed at the front side of the mizusashi's lid, and chasen is placed on it. Chashaku is put on the right side of the chakin on the lid. Chawan which contains chaire wrapped in shifuku (drawstring bag) is placed at the front of mizusashi. This style of displaying and starting the tea service with utensils in such positions are referred to as chasen kazari. However, in the case of Urasenke style, when either chaire, chawan, or chashaku has a history, the way to serve tea will be slightly modified, and such transformed methods are called chaire kazari, chawan kazari, or chashaku kazari, respectively.

Chasen kazari originated when chawan was laid under chaire to treat it with respect, which is thought to have a very old origin. As a result, chawan and chashaku that are supposed to be taken out from katte (a place used to cook and prepare food in upper class residences) came to be displayed at the corner of the hearth. Since these procedures are usually for utensils that are higher in order than those for ordinary chawan or chashaku, when treating chawan or chashaku with respect, chasen kazari procedure is applied. On the other hand, chasen kazari used when treating mizusashi with respect is thought to be a relatively new procedure (after the end of the Edo period, at the earliest).

Kumiawasedate is a procedure for when kensui is of meibutsu or with a history. This is a transformed version of chasen kazari. The difference with chasen kazari is that in kumiawasedate, chawan is placed on kensui, and ladle and a rest for the lid of a teakettle are displayed on a shelf at the beginning.

There was an old manner in which chaire and chawan are treated with more respect by placing magari kensui under chawan during the chasen kazari procedure. This procedure used to be called irekodate. By doing so, kensui, which is regarded to be low in the order, is to be treated as exceptionally important. Thus, from around the mid-Edo period, kumiawasedate came to be used when kensui has a history.

Shigumidate and irekodate
Shigumidate and irekodate are procedures to omit the time and effort to carry utensils. These procedures are used in such a case when elder people having trouble with sitting and getting up. Since ladle and a rest for the lid of a teakettle are displayed on a shelf and chawan which is prepared with chakin (a cloth), chasen, and chashaku is carried while being contained in kensui, the server need to get up only once during the ceremony.

These procedures have been seen from the early Edo period. Also, these procedures have been done when the guest was in a hurry, or when using chawan which should be treated nicely but does not require chasen kazari.

Serving tea in a manner appropriate for the guest
Although the policy is a little different from the one wabicha (wabi style of tea ceremony) used to have, there were cases in which some adjustments had to be made according to the guest. Although being a nobility itself is not suitable for the concept of wabicha, in the Edo period especially, distinguishing people's ranks and treating them separately was necessary. It is thought that consequently the people in this period came to be required to treat guests in different manners depending on their ranks when serving to daimyo (feudal lord). On the other hand, as the population of tea ceremony practitioners grew in the mid-Edo period, there had been another necessity of serving tea to a group of people at once.

Daikazari is a procedure used to serve tea for nobilities. In daikazari procedure, tenmokudai (a tea-bowl stand) is displayed on a shelf in advance, and koicha (thick tea) is served on the tea-bowl stand. Tenmoku chawan cannot be used in times other than serving to a guest because it should be treated in an ordinary way. When tenmoku chawan is used, daitenmoku is used as the stand.

Kinin date
Kinin date is also a procedure used to serve tea for nobilities. This is probably a transformed style of daikazari, but it includes more detailed manners to show respect to the guest. The tea-bowl stand is called kinindai, whose form is the same as tenmokudai but is made of white wood, on which a chawan shaped on tenmokunari-style (the rim of the bowl is slightly curved inward) is placed. Before, chawan was taken out from the stand and used at the corner of the hearth, but in these days, chawan is used while remaining on the stand.

Kinin kiyotsugu
Kinin kiyotsugu is a procedure for serving tea to nobilities and their accompanying servants. Different chawan, chashaku, chakin are used for nobles and their accompanying servants.

Kasane chawan
Kasane chawan is a procedure for serving tea to a large number of guests, in which two or three chawan are piled up when taken out.

Handling of chaki (tea utensils)

Nagao, or Nagao chaire, is a procedure for handling a flat chaire (tea container). A flat chaire is contained in a shifuku (drawstring bag) which has a long cord (the cord is called "o"), and the cord is referred to as nagao. Originally, every chaire had a long cord. It is said that Juko (or Rikyu, according to a theory) shortened it, which made handling the cords much easier. It is also said that from the mid-Edo period, nagao began to be used again.

Tsutsumi fukusa and ootsubukuro
Tsutsumi fukusa and otsubukuro are procedures for when using natsume (a container for powdered tea) for making thick tea. The difference between these two procedures is whether natsume is wrapped with fukusa (a silk cloth) or with otsubukuro (a bag made by purple crepe). The bag is treated almost the same way as treating shifuku in the otsubukuro procedure, while the fukusa to used to wrap the natsume is later used when serving tea in the tsutsumi fukusa procedure.


Bonkogo is a procedure for when a kogo (an incense container) is of meibutsu or has a history, in which the kogo is placed on a bon (tray) and displayed on a shelf at the time of sumitemae (adding charcoal to the stove for boiling water to make tea).

Hanashomo is a procedure for when a hanaire (a vase) is of meibutsu or with a history. In the hanashomo procedure, a hanaire that is filled with water during nakadachi (break between the light meal and the actual serving of tea) is displayed in the tokonoma, and after seki iri (taking a seat in a tea room) for atoza, requesting the guest to arrange flowers in the vase.

Sumishomo is a procedure for requesting the guest to add some charcoal to the stove. Sumishomo is conducted with various intents such as when one of the guests is experienced, or just for an entertainment.

[Original Japanese]