Oribe School (Tea Ceremony) (織部流)

The Oribe School is one of the schools of the tea ceremony. It was founded by Shigenari FURUTA, and the seventeenth Master of the Oribe School, Bokusen ASANO, proposed that there were two traditions, Wabi-cha and Shikisei Oribe. The Shikisei tea ceremony was systemized by Zuiami AKIMOTO and referred to as the Shikisei Oribe School, and the Oribe Kikyokai Association in Konodai, Ichikawa City, Chiba Prefecture provides instruction and is designated as an Intangible Cultural Asset by Chiba Prefecture.

As can be seen in the 'Oribe Hyakkajo' (A Hundred Rules for Oribe Tea Ceremony), the Oribe school of tea ceremony strictly observed the Rikyu way of tea ceremony, but now there are two branches. The Wabi-cha school is said to favor a style of tea ceremony performed in a simple thatched cottage (soan) that is derived from SEN no Rikyu; the Shikisei school, on the other hand, is a style of tea ceremony performed in a study (Shoincha) or grand hall, and this is the original way developed by Zuiami AKIMOTO, who incorporated the philosophy of the samurai called Reigi Saho (civilities) and the spirit of Wabi-cha into the Shoincha way of tea ceremony from the post-Muromachi period. The characteristics of the Shikisei way of tea are that the tea implements aren't placed directly on the tatami mat but on a 'tea-bowl stand', and purification is emphasized by washing hands when sitting in the Imae position and separating the used fukusa cloths.
The Shikisei way of tea is characterized by interesting ways of making tea, including the 'taikoten' and 'roku-tenmoku-tate.'

The founder, Oribe FURUTA, was the son of Shigesada FURUTA of Mino (his usual name was Sasuke and his posthumous name was Shigenari), but he was adopted by his uncle Shigeyasu and married the sister of Kiyohide NAKAGAWA. As a shogun he served Nobunaga ODA and Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, and as a master of the tea ceremony he studied under SEN no Rikyu and numbered among the Rikyu Shichitetsu (seven sages of Rikyu). After Rikyu's death by ritual suicide, Oribe FURUTA was appointed master of the tea ceremony for the second Tokugawa shogun, Hidetada TOKUGAWA, and instructed various daimyo (feudal lords), including Masakazu KOBORI. He was known for his innovative approach, and many things--from gardens, architecture and various tools to cooking--have been labeled 'Oribe Konomi' (Oribe taste). In 1615, at the Osaka Natsu no Jin (Summer Siege of Osaka) between the forces of Tokugawa and Toyotomi, because the tea master Muneyoshi KIMURA collaborated at Toyotomi's side, Furuta was implicated in a conspiracy against Tokugawa and forced to commit suicide along with his eldest son. His remains were interred in the Sangenin, in Daitoku-ji Temple.

Oribe's adopted father, Shigeyasu, subsequently had his own son, Shigetsugu, so Oribe had his daughter adopted into his wife's Nakagawa family and had her marry his adoptive brother, Shigetsugu. Shigetsugu's family was absolved of Oribe's crime and continued as chief retainer to the Nakagawa household in the Oka Clan, in Bungo Province. However, Oribe's way of tea wasn't passed on. The fourteenth Enari (Hiroe) learned the Oribe style of tea ceremony that had been passed on to the Fukuoka clan, and adopted it as his own style of tea ceremony, so it was passed on to the Furuta household. Subsequently, the fourteenth Sokan FURUTA (Shigena) moved from Bungo Province to Tokyo during the Meiji Restoration, and in 1898 he started a tea-ceremony association and taught his students the Oribe style. Sokan's best students included Enchu OKAZAKI and Sokai HARA (Tesseki). Sokai started up a formal Oribe style and taught it to Zuiami AKIMOTO. Zuiami was named the sixteenth successor and was recognized by Chiba Prefecture as a Preserver of Intangible Cultural Properties. Zuiami taught the Shikisei tea ceremony to Bokusen ASANO, the chief priest of Kosho-ji Temple in Kyoto, and subsequently the chief priests of this temple followed a hereditary succession; as a result, the tea ceremony was difficult to pass on.

On the other hand, at the Kikyokai Association in Konodai, the Shikisei tea ceremony continued to be taught after Zuiami's death. Elsewhere are schools of tea ceremony using the Oribe name, including the Fusoha school, which was established by Kenchusai Beisan of Omotesenke (the house of Omotesen), who refurbished Kosho-ji Temple in Kyoto together with Nishugosan in the Meiji Era, and which continues in the Shikisei way of tea. In north Kyushu, the Oribe style is being passed on (by the Ishibashi family) and is a valuable tradition.


[Original Japanese]