Senke jissoku (千家十職)

Senke jissoku is an honorific title for the 10 shokka (family of artisans) such as nurishi (lacquerer) and sashimonoshi (woodworker) who are involved in the sado (tea ceremony) and who pay visits to the san senke (three Sen families, namely, Omote, Ura and Mushakoji). Since the artisans able to make the tea utensils in the taste of the house of Sen were limited, and as they played certain roles in events and Buddhist anniversary services, the shokukata (artisan) gradually came to be fixed. Although the number of shokukata fluctuated depending on the successive iemoto (the head family of a school), it was organized into the current jissoku during the Meiji period.
(There is also a theory that jissoku was named by Mitsukoshi department store in the Taisho period.)

House of Sen and shokka

Since sado is usually performed in a small space called chashitsu (tea room) using unique manners, the tools used there have to be creative. SEN no Rikyu, especially, selected his tea utensils with a unique taste, such as a tea bowl by Chojiro (the first-generation Kichizaemon RAKU) and a kettle by Yojiro TSUJI, Kyogamashi (Kyogama kettle maker). SEN no Sotan, who attempted to hand down the style of tea ceremony by SEN no Rikyu, trained artisans and preferentially treated those who were able to make works which were in line with Rikyu's taste. In addition to a tea bowl by the Raku family, and natsume (a container for powdered tea) and kogo (incense box) by Ikkan HIKI, Sotan also favored a kettle by Kuhe NISHIMURA; although Kuhe's name is not listed among the current Senke jissoku, he left many works.

The seventh grand master of Omote Senke (a branch of the Senke school of tea ceremony), Nyoshinsai, and the eighth grand master of Ura Senke (another branch of the Senke school of tea ceremony), Itto YUGENSAI, formulated Senke Shichijishiki (The Seven Rites of the Sen School) during the Genroku era at the end of the 17th century, which led to the establishment of the current form of sado. Under these circumstances, when Nyoshinsai organized a Buddhist anniversary service chakai (tea party) for the 150th anniversary of Rikyu's death on October 6, 1739, five members, namely, Kichizaemon RAKU, the nurishi Sotetsu NAKAMURA, the fukuroshi (bag maker) Yuko TSUCHIDA, the takeya (bamboo worker) Gensai, and the fukuroshi Nitoku (二得), were invited as the shokukata of the house of Sen. It is said that Kichizaemon and Sotetsu, especially, were like doyens among the shokukata of the time.

Fixing of shokka

In the last chakai for the 100th anniversary of Sotan's death held in 1758, 10 members of shokukata, namely, Kichizaemon RAKU, Sotetsu NAKAMURA, Yuko TSUCHIDA, the takeya Gensai, the kamashi (kettle maker) Seiemon ONISHI, the sashimonoshi Risai KOMAZAWA, the hishakushi (ladle maker) Shogen KURODA, the chushi (metal caster) Joeki NAKAGAWA, the carpenter Zenbei, and the hyogushi (mounter) Kichibe OKUMURA, were invited (in contrast to today, the takeya Gensai and the carpenter Zenbei were included instead of Ikkan HIKI and Zengoro respectively). This is one of the oldest records in which the number of the shokka which paid visits the house of Sen is 10; however, the number fluctuated from 8 to 12 throughout the Edo period due to reasons such as the Hiki family of the time undergoing a change in the head of the family. It is also said that there were over 20 shokka which did not make visits the house of Sen but presented tools to the house.

On the other hand, since senke jissoku played certain roles in annual events of san senke and Buddhist anniversary services, in addition to the production of tea utensils which incorporated traditional forms, the shokukata who paid visits gradually came to be fixed. Around the 250th anniversary of Rikyu's death in 1840, Risai KOMAZAWA, Seiemon ONISHI, Zengoro, Kichizaemon RAKU, Kichibe OKUMURA, Ikkan HIKI, Shogen KURODA, Yuko TSUCHIDA, Joeki NAKAGAWA, and the nurishi Yosoemon had become the shokukata who paid visits to the house of Sen, and the members are almost the same today. Sotetsu NAKAMURA is the only member not mentioned above; it is considered that this was due to the family being in mourning for the sixth-generation Sotetsu NAKAMURA at the time.

The circumstances described above led to shokukata taking the current form of senke jissoku.

List of senke jissoku

Chawanshi (teacup maker)
Kichizaemon RAKU
Seiemon ONISHI
Kanamonoshi (hardware maker)
Ikkanbari saikushi (artisan of lacquered papier-mache)
Ikkan HIKI
Takezaiku (artisan of bamboo work) and hishakushi
Doburo yakimonoshi (brazier maker and potter)

[Original Japanese]