Kuroda Seigen (黒田正玄)

Seigen KURODA was one of the Senke Jisshoku (The Ten Craftsmen of the House of Sen), and for generations the name has been passed down through this family of craftsman in bamboo-ware and ladles. The family creates tea equipment made of bamboo such as daisu (a display stand for tea ceremony utensils), kogo (an incense case), and hanaire (a flower vase), and supplies these things to the House of Sen.

The present head of the family is the thirteenth generation.

The first generation, Seigen, was originally a bushi warrior and served Nagashige NIWA. However, the Niwa clan sided with the West Army in the Battle of Sekigahara, and was deprived of samurai status and the family territories forfeited, so Seigen became ronin (masterless samurai), shaving his head, and moved to Otsu City to be a bamboo-ware artisan. Seigen, who became a famous craftsman in bamboo-ware, received an order from Enshu KOBORI, which gave him a chance to cultivate connections within the world of tea ceremony and Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun).

Since then his family has been a purveyor of ladles to the three Houses of Sen and Shogun until the Meiji Restoration.

Due to the early death of Seigen the ninth, Seigen the tenth was hastily adopted as the husband for a daughter of the family, but the succession to the head of the family and Meiji Restoration happened around the same time; during the time when the family's patron bakufu collapsed and tea ceremony was declining, he took great pains to maintain the family business. Seigen the eleventh also died young, and Seigen the twelfth supported the family business during difficult times during and after the war with the help of people around him.

Seigen the first (1578 - August 8, 1653 (lunar calendar))
His other name was 'Shichirozaemon.'
He was born in Kuroda District, Echizen Province. He grew up serving Nagashige NIWA, the family head in the district, but his master sided with the West Army during the Battle of Sekigahara, and being deprived of his samurai status and having his family territories forfeited, Shichirozaemon became ronin. Then he shaved his head and called himself 'Seigen,' and moved to Otsu where he began producing bamboo-ware.
It is said that his instructor was Ichiami, Ido no Kami (a person who takes care of a well) in Samegai, who supplied ladles to Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI and was praised as being 'the best in the country.'
Meanwhile his bamboo ware became popular, and he moved to Kyo. He undertook tea ceremony training under Enshu KOBORI, and became a purveyor of ladles to the Edo bakufu due to his recommendation. Enshu also recommended his entering government service, but Shichirozaemon refused firmly. Practicing Zen meditation under Sogan KOGETSU, the 156th Head Priest of the Daitoku-ji Temple, he was also introduced to SEN no Sotan and came to supply him with ladles. After his retirement, he lived at the foot of Mt. Uryu in the northern suburb of Kyoto, befriending Jozan ISHIKAWA, who lived in his neighborhood. It is said that the letters on the store curtain, which still hangs in the Kuroda family today, were written by Jozan ISHIKAWA.

Shoetsu KURODA
The eldest son of the first generation. He became a clansman of Hiroshima Domain by recommendation of Enshu KOBORI.

The second son of the first generation. Although he had served the Honda clan of Zeze Domain by recommendation of Enshu KOBORI, he quit his service and became an instructor of tea ceremony at Aburanokoji-dori Street, Nijo-dori Street.

Seigen the second (1626 - May 24, 1687)
The third son of the first generation.
His real name was 'Munemasa.'
He succeeded to his father at the age of twenty-seven. He became a purveyor of ladles to Iemitsu TOKUGAWA by recommendation of Enshu KOBORI.

Seigen the third (1656 - November 4, 1717)
The eldest son of Seigen the second.
He was first named 'Yasuke.'
He was a purveyor to Tsunayoshi TOKUGAWA, Omote Senke (the main branch of the Senke school of tea ceremony) kakukakusai, and Sozen HISADA.
In 1704, he retired and called himself 'Seisai.'
In April, 1717, he moved to Muromachi-dori Street, Imadegawa-dori Street.

Seigen the fourth (1692 - August 28, 1731)
The eldest son of Seigen the third. He succeeded his father when he was thirteen, and became a purveyor to the three Sen Houses, but died young at the age of forty.

Seigen the fifth (1708 - August 7, 1778)
Since the fourth Seigen did not have any children, he was adopted from the family of Gorobe KATSUMI, the house of the second Seigen's wife. His childhood name was 'Saijiro' (才次郎). He was a purveyor to Yoshimune TOKUGAWA, Omote Senke Nyoshinsai, Urasenke (school of tea ceremony) Yugensai, and Mushanokoji Senke (school of tea ceremony) Jikisai.

Seigen the sixth (1747 - July 18, 1814)
The eldest son of the fifth Seigen.
His childhood name was 'Shojiro' and real name was 'Yakichi,' and after taking the tonsure, he called himself 'Rochikusai' or 'Gendo.'
He was a leading figure in Kyo, being the head of townsmen at Kamigyo District, and a purveyor to Ieharu TOKUGAWA, Ienari TOKUGAWA, Omote Senke Sottakusai, Urasenke Fukensai, and Mushanokoji Senke Ittotsusai. In 1788, he lost his estate during the Great Fire of Tenmei, but thanks to warehouse of the Kuroda family which survived, old materials have been passed down through the family to this day, while most of other Senke Jisshoku lost their family traditions and materials.

Seigen the seventh (1768 - January 22, 1820)
He was an adopted son of the sixth Seigen. His another name was 'Yasaburo' but he was called 'Yakichi' later. He succeeded his father at the age of forty-seven. Following his adoptive father, he took the position as town head at Kamigyo District, and was a purveyor to Ienari TOKUGAWA, Omote Senke Ryoryosai, Urasenke Nintokusai, and Mushanokoji Senke Kokosai.

Seigen the eighth (1809 - October 15, 1869)
The eldest son of the seventh Seigen.
His childhood name was 'Kumakichi,' and after his coming of age ceremony he was called 'Yakichi.'
When he was eleven, his father died and he succeeded as head of the family. Just like his father, he was a purveyor to the Shogun family and the three Houses of Sen. During the time of upheavals or the last days of the Tokugwa Shogunate, he lost his successor at the age of fifty-one and due to the Meiji Restoration he suffered greatly at the hands of the Shogun family's collapse, which was a valued patron.

Seigen the ninth (1837 - November 14, 1859)
The eldest son of the eighth Seigen.
His other name was 'Yaichiro.'
He died before his father during training,

Seigen the tenth (1825 - December 22, 1900)
The eighth Seigen's adopted son-in-law.
He was first named 'Risuke.'
He had been a disciple of the eighth Seigen and already married and set up business on his own, but due to the sudden death of the ninth Seigen, he was called back hastily by his master, and became a successor. There is a secret story that says he divorced his wife and left his child behind. In 1869, he succeeded as head of the family due to the death of his adoptive father, but the Shogun family had already disappeared and he took pains to maintain the family business during the decline of the tea ceremony. In 1881, he retired. In 1900, he passed away. In accordance with his will, he was not buried in the Kuroda family's temple, but in Shugaku-in Temple (present-day Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City), a temple that retains his real parents' family grave, having a bamboo-shoot-shaped gravestone established for him.

Seigen the eleventh (1869 - August 15, 1911)
The eldest son between the tenth Seigen and a daughter of the eighth Seigen.
His childhood name was 'Kumakichi.'
He was a friend of Tessai TOMIOKA. He was a purveyor to Omote Senke Rokurokusai, Urasenke Yumyosai, and Mushanokoji Senke Isshisai. He died suddenly in the prime of life at the age of forty-four.

Seigen the twelfth (1906 - 1988)
His real name was 'Kumakichi.'
The eldest son of the eleventh Seigen. He was only six years old when his father passed away, so came under the guardianship of his uncle, Tsunejiro KURODA, and his father's disciple, Teijiro UEDA, succeeding as head of the family in 1926. He became a qualified craftsman approved by the government in 1943, and was awarded a Dark Blue Ribbon Medal on April 28, 1976. He passed away at the age of ninety-four.

Seigen the thirteenth (1936 -)
His real name was 'Masaharu' (正春). He graduated from Waseda University, Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

[Original Japanese]