Sencha-do tea service (煎茶道)
Sencha-do tea service is a sort of Sado (Japanese tea ceremony) sensu lato. However, while sado generally means art of maccha (green powdered tea) tea ceremony which uses maccha, sencha-do tea service which uses tea leaves such as green tea leaves (of middle grade) and gyokuro leaves (refined green tea) and takes the way to serve tea by pouring hot water into kyusu (small teapot) where tea leaves are placed, is regarded as something different.
History of Sencha-do in Japan
The founder of sencha-do in Japan is said to be INGEN Ryuki (Yinyuan Longqi) who established one of the Zen sects, Obaku sect in the early Edo period. Thus, the head office of the Zen nihon senchado renmei (National Japanese Sencha Association) is placed in Obakuzan Manpuku-ji Temple in Kyoto, and it became a custom for the chairman of the association to double as the chief abbot of the Manpuku-ji Temple.
In addition to the fact that there were adverse sentiments against sado that advanced its formalization at the time, as sencha itself was one of the newest Chinese cultures then, so-called "sencha shumi" (sencha preference) rapidly prevailed among men of literature in style when they did not care much about the form and rules of behavior and exchanged conversation of rectitude over a cup of sencha. During the middle of the Edo period, the world of sencha shumi which, at first, had not progressed beyond mimicking Chinese culture, began to show its own style led by Baisao, and it spread widely to the upper class mainly in Edo, Kyoto, and Osaka.
In this movement, the "Sosho school" was founded and they added a certain level of form and manners by modeling the established sado to the purpose of sencha-do pursuing how to better enjoy the taste of tea.
Later in the tide of "civilization and enlightenment" during the Meiji and Taisho eras, as western culture became more popular, sencha-do which derived from Chinese culture was obliged to fall off temporarily. However, during the Showa era, a new movement to revive sencha-do grew everywhere in the country, and in 1956, Zen nihon senchado renmei was founded. Sencha-do was at it's peak in the '60s to '70s, however, in accordance with the popularization of sencha, the interests of people waned and the activity currently reached a plateau.
As of 2008, 39 schools became members of Zen nihon senchado renmei, and it seems that there are many small schools which do not belong to the renmei. Not like sado in which the so-called Sansenke (three houses of tea ceremony or Omotesenke, Urasenke, and Mushakojisenke) occupied the dominant position, the many small schools are scattered in sencha-do and this trend continues.
Major utensils used in sencha-do are as follows:
However, it is often seen that the same utensil has a different name depending upon the school. Vice versa in many cases, utensils that have the same name are completely different depending on the school, so careful attention should be paid to names.
Kyusu, also called as Kyusu hohin (a kind of small teapot) or Chacho (a kind of small teapot)
Chawan (tea bowl), or Myowan
Chataku (teacup saucer)
Yuzamashi (a kind of bowl or Kyusu to cool down the boiled water)
Ryoro (brazier) or Binkake (small portable brazier)
Binkake, also called as Hairo, Karo (furnace)
"Binkake" is a small Hibachi (brazier)
Chatsubo (tea urn) in sencha-do, also called Chashinko, Chaire (tea container)
Bofura (also called Tokan or iron kettle) or Dobin (earthenware teapot)
Kensui (waste-water container), Noo or Nouo, also called Koboshi (waste-water container)
Senbai (scoops for green tea leaves), also called Charyo, Chago, or Chasoku
Mizutsugi (fresh water container) or Mizusashi
Kinto (tea cloth container) or Kingo
Robyo (folding screen) or Kekkai
Chabitsu (Japanese tea box)
Teiran (basket for tea set)
Kikyoku (cabinet for sencha tea ceremony utensils)