Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Senke Jisshoku - 10 Craft Families of Three Sen Lineage Holders 千家十職 Part 2


Senke Jissoku is a now well-recognized name of a group of 10 multi-generation famlies that have a closely working relationship with the 3 (san) Senke families that trace their lineage directly to Sen no Rikyu: Mushakouji Senke, Ura Senke and Omote Senke. While there are many other craftspeople whose work has long or even more recently been patronized by these tast-makers, as well as other chanoyu lineages that have patronized the craftspeople, these 10 are formally afforded a special relationship as a group in formal ceremonies and death anniversaries of past Senke grandmasters. The number of craftsmen (usually male lineages) used to vary depending on the family branch, but this distinction came about as a result of a group exhibition staged by and at the Mitsukoshi Department Store branch in Osaka in the Meiji period (1919).

Raku Kichizaemon X V 樂吉左衛門 
Chawanshi (potter for chawan and other ceramic ware) 茶碗師

(Interesting that this blog did not have a short paragraph about Raku. This is from the 2016 catalog from the Raku Museum.) 

Raku is one of many low-fired ceramic traditions around the world. It has its roots in Ming dynasty three-colored sosansai) wares from Fujian province in China. The tea bowls fashioned by a potter named Chojiro during the Azuchi-Momoyama period in the last 16th century marked the dawn of Raku Ware. There exists little or not detailed documentation of the relationship between Chojiro and Rikyu; however, Chojiro’s independent creative spirit has been preserved thereaafter throughout generations and centuries of the Raku famly. Each new generation has developed his own distinct style, who;e at the same time honoring the timeless traditions and knowledge handed down from father to son for over 430 years.” The current head of the family is the 15th generation. His son Raku Atsundo is quite productive.
  

Onishi Seiwemon 大西清右衛門 
Kamashi (tea kettle maker) 土風炉師
The Onishi family is a family of Kyoto tea kettle makers, whose work has continued for over 400 years, from the latter half of the Muromachi period. The fourth generation head of the family called himself Seiwemon, and from the sixth generation, excluding the ninth, all subsequent family heads have inherited the name. Their shop is found in the Sanjo-kamanza area in Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto. The current head of the family is the 16th generation of Seiwemon.  
 

Nakamura Sotetsu 中村宗哲
Nushi (lacquerer) 金物
The Nakamura family is a family of lacquerers, whose work has continued for almost 400 years. Originally, they made furniture decorated with gold or silver lacquer (called Tsurei nushi), but starting in the Meiji period they became specialized lacquerers for tea ceremony utensils. In 2006, the second daughter of the 12th generation Nakamura Sotetsu inherited the name to become the 13th generation Sotetsu.  
   

Komazawa Risai 駒沢利斎
Sashimonoshi (wood joinery / carpentry) 指物師
The professional name inherited through the generations by carpenters, who are purveyors to the san-Senke, and who manufacture shelves, incense containers, and fireplace frames, among others. After the death of the 14th generation family head in 1977, the position has remained unfilled for a long time, and currently, Yoshida Hirozo, the son of the 14th generation master's nephew, is undergoing training to inherit the line.



Nakagawa Joeki 中川浄益
Kanamonoshi (hardware maker)  金物師
The name inherited by each generation of the head of the Nakagawa family, a family of hardware makers. Originally, they made armor in Echigo province, but the first generation to try his hand at making tea ceremony utensils, Nakagawa Kojuro, took up the name of Joeki, albeit using different characters, and from the second generation, the same name of Joeki (spelt with the current characters) has been used. The current head of the family is the 11th generation Joeki.




Yuko Tsuchida 土田友湖
Fukuroshi (textile articles, utensil covers) 袋師
One of the ten occupations for Senke. From the second generation, the head of the family is referred to as "Hanshiro", and becomes Yuko when he retires and shaves his head. Up until the fifth generation, they made shifuku (silk pouches for holding tea caddies), but since then, have been making fukusa (small cloths for wiping tea utensils) and sashes for men's kimonos in addition to shifuku. The current head of the family is the 12th Tsuchida Yuko.

Okumura Kichibei  奥村吉兵衛
Hyogushi (scroll mounter and paper products) 表具師

Washi, Japanese paper,  has many applications in the setting of chanoyu. In addition to mounting scrolls, paper is used on doors (fusuma and windows), as well as (pictured) pads of decorative paper used for kami kamashiki (kettle rests). The current generation is the 12th.








 
Hiki Ikkan 飛来一閑
Ikkanbari saikushi (lacquered papier-mache maker) 一閑張細工師
The name used by ikkanbari saikushi through the generations. The founder of ikkanbari in Japan, one of the types of lacquering, it is a lacquering family that has supplied the Senke through the ages with utensils lacquered in the ikkanbari method, such as tea caddies and incense containers. The current generation is the 16th, and along with the 12th generation of Sotetsu Nakamura, is one of the rare examples of a female head of Senke jissoku.


Kuroda Shogen 黒田正玄
Takezaiku (bamboo crafter) / hishakushi (ladle maker) 柄杓師
The name inherited through the ages by the family of takezaiku / hishakushi. Apart from ladles, they make tea ceremony utensils such as stands, incense containers, and flower vases, out of bamboo, and have delivered their works to the Senke. The current generation is the 13th. They do not make chasen! This would seem to be a huge omission. My informants tell me that it is because one uses a new chasen each time. Seems odd that the iconic utensil for chanoyu is not made by a famous craftsman.
Nishimura (Eiraku) Zengoro 永樂善五郎
Doburo yakimonoshi (potter of braziers) 土風炉師
Ceramic artists adept at making braziers used atop tatami mat and tea bowls. From the first to ninth generations, they named themselves Nishimura, and mainly made braziers that hold charcoal fires. From the tenth generation, they have called themselves Eiraku, and make tea cups in addition to braziers. The current generation is the 17th.

The Sword and the Scoop: Merchandising The Way of Tea In Changing Times Senke Jisshoku Part 1

I have no doubt that, within ten years, 
the fundamental way of tea will die out.
When it dies out, people in society will believe, 
on the contrary, that it is flourishing.
The miserable end—
when it becomes completely 
a matter of worldly amusement — 
is now in sight.
How lamentable it is! ...
It is out of step with this latter age.  
  
Sen no Rikyu, 1589 [1]

Thus spoke my tea ancestor, Sen no Rikyu (1522-1591) two years before he obliged his über patron and chanoyu student, the great warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi, to commit seppuku. It would appear that the progenitor of the XVI generations-long San Senke (Three Sen Families) dynasty was aware that his modest, contemplative practice of chanoyu, literally boiling water for matcha, might turn into an excuse and means by which to acquire and promote one’s copious material possessions. Was he naive enough to believe that his students would reach the heart of his wabi-infused tea practice, to make do with a few essential utensils of subtle beauty at hand and retire to tiny rustic huts deep in the woods?

It is likely that he was considering both the intangible and material aspects of the enterprise that became Cha-do, the Way of Tea. Compare the aesthetics of his tiny, still extant Taian tearoom, dating from 1583,
 at Daitokuji in Kyoto and Hideyoshi’s long-gone portable Ogon Chashitsu (golden tearoom), created in 1585 and eventually destroyed in the Osaka Castle fire of 1615. Dare we infer that Rikyu, a Zen monk, was attached to the idea of this “fundamental” chado, not that Way of Tea? Perhaps, but his signature notions of wabi and sabi—well worn, essential, imperfect, quiet, and impermanent objects—has reached us to this day through 16 unbroken generations of Senke Chado practitioners.

Swords Into Tea Scoops

While he left no personally written records [2], there is no doubt that Rikyu was a change agent, a catalyst who maintained his signature philosophy of transmuting boiling water to make tea into a profound experience of wa, kei, sei and jaku (harmony, respect, purity and tranquility) throughout his life. He captivated the attention of the most notorious warlords of the time and convinced them that mastery of chanoyu was the penultimate mark of an action hero; carving tea scoops would be a better use of their swords. His contemporary adherents were counted among the vanguard of the sukisha (civic, economic, religious, cultural and military leaders) and also included wealthy farmers and merchants, individuals described by Kamakura Isao as a “force behind Civilization and Enlightenment policies.” Over time, the body of practitioners has changed drastically with the economic and social ebb and flow. By the end of the Edo period, “even” women and foreigners were counted among practitioners and licensed as instructors.

Rikyu’s legacy has reached us in the 21st century through the careful management of his resources by three branches of the family established by his spiritual heir, his grandson Gempaku Sōtan, the third generation grand master of the lineage. It was he who established Rikyu’s aesthetic legacy for all time. He reclaimed and consolidated his grandfather’s property and, upon his retirement, bequeathed it in thirds to the next generation. This was the start of the San Senke, the three families that directly can claim direct blood lineage from Rikyu: Omotesenke, Urasenke and Mushanokojisenke (named after the front, back and a nearby street of the original estate). Affectionately known as “Wabi Sōtan,”, he also preserved Rikyu’s chadogu (tea utensils), including some made by his ancestor’s own hand. Among various tasks, Sōtan evaluated newer utensils, putting his stamp on the lids of their boxes, and gave gomei (poetic names) to items that he deemed suitable for use in tea practice. He also regulated the teaching and practice in the name of Rikyu. 

The San Senke have sustained themselves for nearly half a millennium by teaching temae (tea-making procedures), overseeing the presentations of tea gatherings, being the arbiters of all things of good taste by bestowing certification of gonomimono (favored items) and other related intangible cultural exchanges and material objects, from chashitsu (tea huts) to matcha itself. Currently the San Senke grandmasters are Zabosai, Sen Sōshitsu XVI (Urasenke), Jimyosai, Sen Sōsa XIV (Omotesenke), and Futassai, Sen Sōshu XIV (Mushanokojisenke). Each one has sustained their progenitor’s practice in a fundamentally similar but slightly This way, not That way!

The history of chanoyu and its impact on Japan is long and anecdotes abound as a result of practitioners’ keeping meticulous diaries of who came to tea, what dogu were used, the meals served, etc. In 1757, the term iemoto [3] (grand master) became fixed as a cultural norm for these families. Paul Varley notes, in Tea in Japan: Essays on the History of  Chanoyu, two reasons that this system caught on formally. The first, “... a swelling demand for the arts” largely from amateurs practicing chanoyu “as an avocation or who wished to enrich themselves culturally”. Successive generations of iemoto cultivated new, innovative ways to take advantage of Japan’s social, cultural and economic shifts by adjusting the practice, for example by creating procedures requiring formerly never-conceived dogu, such as tables and chairs! Of course, students required more lessons to learn these new ways.

A New Market for Craftworks 

As the number of people engaging in the practice grew or declined with the vicissitudes of Japanese socio-politico-economic life, so did the market for dogu. While Rikyu was hard at work tempering the lust for power and prestige, nonetheless tea gatherings became excuses for showing off one’s material possessions. Some utensils were so coveted they were more valuable than a plot of land when demanded by the victor of a battle. In 1587 Hideyoshi had the chutzpah to host the Great Kitano (Tenmangu) Tea Gathering to which he brought all of his omeibutsu (precious Chinese utensils) for all to inspect and expected his approximately 1,000 guests to do the same. 

Rikyu’s minimalist aesthetic, however, favored a return to chanoyu's humble origins in Zen Buddhist monasteries. His teaching promoted mitate, appropriating an object for other than its original purpose, using a worn, weathered Korean rice bowl that still had some life left in it and perhaps an interesting back-story. Artisans working in wood, clay, bamboo, metal, silk, paper and lacquer, picked up on the burgeoning market and began to fashion the vessels that would enable the host to combine the five elements into a once-in-a-lifetime “ichi go, ichi e” for the guest.

Rikyu began to commission a number of local artisans to handcraft items to contain the essential elements of chanoyu (fire, wind, water, earth). Among the many workshops creating everyday essentials, those he worked with repeatedly were able to make one-of-a-kind utensils that expressed his wabi tastes. These artisans became known as shokka to tea practitioners. In addition to transactional relationships, these family workshops established symbiotic social relationships with their patrons, and each other, in a few cases even intermarrying. Together, these multi-generation lineages of shokka and Senke have risen and fallen in tandem like a double-stranded helix of Japan’s cultural DNA.

THE 10 

The shokka group of craft families with the longest relationship to the San Senke include Eiraku (ceramics), Hiki (lacquered paper), Raku (pottery), Kuroda (bamboo), and Nakagawa (repousse and cast metalwork), all tracing their ancestry back to Rikyu’s time. Later Senke generations embraced Onishi (cast metal), Komazawa (wood joinery), Nakamura (laquerware), Tsuchida (textiles), and Okumura (paper) family workshops. Other crafts workshops have been patronized but none so consistently. 

The shokka each comprise one workshop and did not evolve into “schools” as did the tea families. (See Morgan Pitelka's notes, below.) They preserve collections of their historic wares (several with museums open to the public), and each generation generates new works through utsushi (emulation of the previous), a developmental training method common to all ranges of Japanese artist genres. Through the process of replicating the techniques and style of a noted or established master, the craftsman as artist experiences first-hand the technology, material requirements, and necessary aesthetic understanding, to create a new “original” item. Utsushi promotes a dialogue between the artist and the masters of the past, connecting past, present, and future. This may also frame the teaching practices of successive generations of tea masters.

Onko Chishin: Warm to the Old. Know the New. 

As in the tea schools, the responsibility for carrying on the artisanal traditions have been carefully passed down, usually from father to a son (though currently three holders of lineage are women) chosen for his/her technical mastery of skills, as well as his/her capacity to sustain the lineage by maintaining its material resources. Producing and training an heir, a wakasosho (young master) is essential. In addition to the land on which the workshop stands, the inheritance includes in situ sources of raw materials and caches of those that require long aging periods (e.g. clay, drying timber), proprietary patterns and designs, and notebooks (including records of how and when objects were used), fabrication tools, pattern books, models, molds and equipment (such as forges, looms, etc). Above all, one inherits the relationships along the supply chain and patronage, especially the tea masters themselves. 

A true disciple was thought to inherit the “‘complete’ knowledge and authority of his master in entirety (kanzen soden).” Each of the craft houses has their own form of transmission, much of it closely guarded oral and privately archived resources. In the case of Raku tea bowls, Kakunyu (Kichizaemon XIV, 1918-1980) admonished, “In a single line of transmission, what a father teaches to his child is that he will not teach.” His son, the current head, Kichizaemon XV, was challenged to figure out how to work with the materials, tools and techniques at his disposal to achieve a representative but distinct outcome. This skill and sensitivity is nurtured by examining past pieces and determining the nuanced taste of the current iemotos of the three Sen tea families. The work of Atsundo, the next in the family lineage, has been well regarded already.

Going Head to Head

Each August, the current heads of the shokka as a group undertake ochugen (a formal visit) to the current head of each of the San Senke to learn of proposed activities for the coming year. As esteemed members of the greater tea community / extended “family” members, they will also attend such formal gatherings as memorial anniversaries of Rikyu, Sōtan and other prominent Senke family members. Occasionally, the craft houses produce unique objects to commemorate special observances, such as Rikyu’s 400-year memorial.               
At the beginning of each month, they each visit each grand tea master more informally to get feedback on new works and ascertain their patrons’ current needs. Many gonomimono (favored pieces) that become part of the aesthetic legacies of the iemotos and craft families. These may be identified at these casual conversations, and a gomei (poetic name) granted by the tea master. Practitioners of a particular tea school are encouraged to inculcate current or past iemotos' nuanced tastes and may acquire similar items. These affinities are recorded and studied by tea students, art historians, restoration experts and curators alike.

--> In addition to other considerations for the toriawase (selection of dogu for chanoyu), such as formality and seasonality, a deft host must take into account the lineages of the ware used; the provenance of some pieces is formally discussed (haiken) at appropriate points during tea gatherings. When objects that display an acute sensibility of the first genarational iteration and reinterpretation by a subsequent generation are used together in the tea room, a new, sharper perspective is cast upon the craft family’s oeuvre.  According to Kristin Surak, in Making Tea, Making Japan: Cultural Nationalism in Practice, “Aficionados take pains to ensure that utensils made or signed by more recent oiemoto do not usurp those made by one further back in the lineage.”[4]

From Shokka to Senke Jisshoku 

Japanese art, particularly the traditional forms, were hit particularly hard by bunmei kaika, the all-out Westernization movement of the early Meiji period, and went into a state of creative decline at the end of the 19th century. The new middle class that was moving into cities was hungry for modern life and Western-style art. At the same time, Westerners were mostly only showing interest in the exotic exported Oriental Japonisme

In 1919 a marketing campaign by Mitsukoshi Department Store [5] to generate business at its Osaka branch gallery [6] featured the work of the above-mentioned 10 shokka; this was the first time they were promoted as Senke Jisshoku, the “Ten Craftsmen (houses) of the San Senke.” While they still received commissions from these and other tea masters for one-of-a-kind wares, they found a new market in this emerging strata of consumers hungry for prêt-à-porter examples from the masters. Whether a buyer knew how to utilize these objects in their “proper” context for tea or just enjoyed them for utilitarian or bragging rights was not a barrier to consumption. 

Ninety years later, in 2009, Japan’s National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku) celebrated the "Senke Jisshoku” with a major exhibition at which the current lineage holders had the opportunity to speak about their traditions and, interestingly, to nominate favored items from the museum’s global collection. The Japan Times also had a write up on the exhibition.

Post Scripts

A note about the Japanese term. I am using Jisshoku as did the Minpaku exhibition. I have also seen it written Jusshoku. 

As described by Morgan Pitelka in Japanese Tea Culture: Art History and Practice, “From the late 16th century to the present day, representatives of these traditions have been engaged in a constant process of writing and rewriting the boundaries of their own histories, ruling over what is not authentic practice, and editing the material and textual legacies that have formed the core body of culture passed from one generation to the next.” 

We don’t know what Rikyu would have thought of the present-day form of chanoyu, but it is likely that he would recognize an attempt to see its greater purpose as embodying the heart of suki, or in Ito Junji’s description, “establishing one’s own existence through one’s relationship with others.”

----------

This is an updated, corrected version of the article by the same name appearing for the first time in Kyoto Journal #89 (October 2017).  A longer, fully annotated version of this article can be accessed on KJ’s website.



[1] The Wind in the Pines: Chanoyu as a Buddhist Practice. Hirota, Dennis, ed. P. 121 (sourced from Kyoto Journal  #50, p. 72.)
[2] There continues to be discussion among scholars as to exactly what written records Rikyu might have penned. Mindy Landeck notes in a private conversation, commenting to a note from Elmar Schmeisser: “Scholars of tea accept that with the exception of a few letters in Rikyu's own calligraphy, much of what is attributed to Rikyu is not by him at all. Many can be traced to the late 17th century, but precious little dates to Rikyu's own lifetime. Texts like the Namporoku that were written 100 years later are often asserted to be earlier accounts, but that is demonstrably untrue in almost every instance. While this does not mean that some of these later things reflect thoughts on Rikyu's teachings of their own times, those times are quite likely to be from the 1650s onward, whereas Rikyu died in 1591.

Elmar Schmeisser notes, “
One of the very few exceptions may be the Rikyu hyakkaiki (100 lines / phrases, typically dated to 1590) on which [Daniel] Burkus has been working and sharing at http://chanoyu-to-wa.tumblr.com/. The fact that Varley and others write about these sources in ways that obscures their historically problematic nature is something that I have grappled with in my own scholarship on tea history.”


[3] Outside the Raku Museum there is a stone tablet with "rakuyaki iemoto raku kichizaemon taku" (楽焼家元   楽吉左衛門宅) written on it. Also, Japanese government websites and the recent English language publication by Raku note "楽焼十四代家元、楽吉左衛門" (14th generation iemoto). Yet Morgan Pitelka notes in a private comment: The term “oiemoto” is reserved for the leaders of the large, pyramid shaped arts organizations that have ranks of teachers and pupils, masters and practitioners. "Wakasosho" means young teacher, but in the ten craft families, usually the art is preserved within the lineage, not disseminated through teaching. It's a different organizational model." He notes that "Raku of course avoids [the pyramid shaped system] by monopolizing the practice one generation at a time. ...The only naming conventions in the Raku family that I'm aware of are the title 'Kichizaemon', which is held by the current head of the household, and the retirement name that ends with 'ryu" (e.g. Ichinyu, Sonyu, Sanyu, etc." More about this in his Handmade Culture: Raku Potters, Patrons and Tea Practitioners in Japan. It would be interesting to further explore when the Raku family began to use the term “oiemoto” for the generation “head”. Thanks to Lucinda Cowing for prompting further research. 
 
[4] Surak, p. 123

[5] Mitsukoshi has been the leader in many modernization efforts to promote capitalism in Japan with a number of Japan's firsts: department store (1904), in-store restaurant (1907), escalator (1914), and fashion show (1927). The Osaka store was opened in 1691; it merged in 2008 with another company and the store closed 2014. "The decision to retreat from Osaka can be seen as Mitsukoshi's epilogue in its story of trying to regain its position as the top department store in Japan."

[6] Further research about Mitsukoshi and its gallery exhibitions of chadogu has pointed me to the Riseido Gallery which in 1918 - 1941 held "Oriental exhibitions every year at Mitsukoshi stores in Osaka and Tokyo." The Gallery was founded by Tamitsuchi Murakami, a green tea dealer in Hirano-macho, HIgashi-ku Osaka who operated under the trade name Shunchodo. The second generation owner, Tajijiro Murakami, married the daughter of the head clerk at the store and began an art trading company in that neighborhood.
 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Hi ga torimasu! Fire in the Hole!

Hi ga torimasu!  ("Fire coming through!) is said to alert everyone to get out of the way and lays down towels on the tatami to protect it if any embers fall. 

The Shinto god of fire, Kagutsuchi no Mikoto, was not a nice fellow: he burned his mother, Izanagi, to death while being born, so his father, Izanami, cut him into 8 pieces, which then became 8 major volcanoes of Japan. Izanami gave birth to the goddess of water, Mizuhane, during her death throes, and told her to pacify her brother and keep him under control. 

Water and fire are yin and yan (or In and Yo in Japanese), and this comes into play in the tearoom a lot: for instance, we write the trigram for water on the ash in the bottom of the brazier where the fire is lit.