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The Sacred And The Profane: The Role Of Women In Edo Period Tea Culture

Reiko Tanimura

WHEN THE ART CRITIC AND PHILOSOPHER Okakura Kakuzo (1862-1913) chose wabicha, the form of chanoyu perfected by Sen no Rikyu in the sixteenth century, as a typical example of Japanese arts and the mentality that guided them, he referred to it as "a religion of the art of life'' (Okakura 1906). The choice of the term "religion" was apt both metaphorical and historically. Chanoyu is replete with rituals, as are many religions, and Buddhism had directly influenced its development in Japan (see Hirota, this volume).

Chanoyu(lit., "tea in hot water"), or the "tea ceremony," as it is popularly referred to in the West, may be defined as a performing art that is created through (1) the drinking of special tea by a host and guest following strict procedures; (2) the employing of specific types of tea utensils; and (3) the use of a defined space, a tea room or tea hut, The host and guest exist at the intersection of these three elements,and the cup of powdered green tea is the symbol of the relationship between the two parties. The roles of host and guest are clearly distinguished, but both participate as equal partners and cooperate in order to create a unique, respectful relationship. Merely drinking tea to satisfy thirst is in no way the same thing as is defined by its ritual and transforms the drinking of tea into something numinous.

In view of the unique intimacy fostered by the "tea coemony," it is perhaps not: surprising that very few formal records of women's involvement are to be found in the texts on the subject of tea and the voluminous records of tea gatherings that exist dating back to the Edo, or Tokugawa, period (1615-1868). While such sources are useful and deserve examination, it must be recognized that they tell only one story. As a cursory glance through the illustrations in this essay will reveal, other sources tell a different tale.

The influence of Confucianism during the Edo period is often adduced as a reason for the lack of female participation in chanoyu as I will discuss in greater detail below). Yet while this paternalistic philosophy certainly impacted female involvement, it also, rather paradoxically, required that women- in addition to producing heirs - meet high cultural standards including some knowledge of chanoyu. Meanwhile, away from the world of wives and mothers where Confucian thought had most impact, standing screens portray the pleasures of the demimonde, and Ukiyo-e prints depict high-ranking and cultured courtesans serving tea to their guests in special tea rooms (fig. 4*1). While the existence of such ostensibly "profane" cbanoyu cannot be ignored, there is very little documentation of it. The records of the sophisticated salons have never been made public, and the activities of prostitutes and common entertainers were rarely, if ever, recorded.

In addition to considering the portrayals of womens tea in works of art, an examination of general texts, literary works, and surviving tea rooms from the period yields a fuller and more accurate picture of the nature and extent of womens participation in chanoyu. In this essay I will consider a variety of sources, some of which have only recently come to light, in an attempt to reconstruct women's chanoyu. It is also my intention to correct superficial understandings of the role of women in Edo period Japan and by extension in Japanese society, where, ironically, today it is estimated that 90 percent of chanoyu practitioners are women.

Women and Tea before
the Development of Chanoyu

By the fourteenth century, spectacular tea gatherings restricted to die Japanese political and military elite were held in special rooms decorated with Chinese art and craft objects. These gatherings continued into the fifteenth century Tea consumption was not yet ritualized at this point, however, and drinking tea remained an entertainment for the upper classes. On the whole, these lavish events were intended only for men, but but there is evidence of some involvement by women.

Hino Tomiko (1440-1496), for example, the wife of the eighth Muromachi shogun, Ashikaga Yoshimasa, seems to have enjoyed the tea culture of this period. She is recorded as having donated substantial amounts of tea to the court in 1479 and 1481 (Oyudono no ue no nikki I 1957), and two valuable Chinese tea bowls were among her possessions at the time of her death (Oyudono no ue no nikki 2 1958,497).

Kyozuin, a member of a major Buddhist Pure Land temple, left records of tea gatherings that she had enjoyed with her family during the Tenmon era (1532-1555; Kagotani 1995, 259-68), She decorated all the rooms in her residence at the temple with valuable Chinese imports following the strict standards set forth by specialists working for the Muromachi shogunate. It is unlikely, however, that either Kyozuin or Hino omiko made tea themselves. Making tea in front of guests was not a job for a noble host or hostess at this time. Therefore, although these ladies enjoyed tea gatherings, they cannot be said to have participated in chanoyu.

The Refinement of Chanoyu:

Sen no Rikyu and Wabicha

In the sixteenth century, Sen no Rikyu (1522-1591) perfected wabicha, a style of chanoyu marked by its simplicity and peacefil silence and influenced by Zen thought (See Hirota, this volume). The wabicha style of tea is one of the most famous of Japanese performing arts, and it remains the contemporary standard for chunoyu.

The descendants of Sen no Rikyu established the three most famous schools of known as the Sen schools (see below). These schools still dominate chanoyu today as they have for nearly four hundred years. They continue to be run as rigid hierarchies based on the iemoto system in which the iemoto,or the head of the particular branch of the family, holds the top position and has absolute authority to grant the right to teach the school's methods. Various ranks are achieved by the practitioners; or followers, belonging to the school. The Sen schools are not, however, the only schools of chanoyu, as will be seen.

The wabicha of Sen no Rikyu especially appealed to the warrior lords engaged in the closing stages of a century of civil and it quickly became popular. Although Sen no Rikyu himself was not a warrior, warriors often looked up to him as a tea master. Many records of tea gatherings held by these warriors survive, and two of them mention women. As far as I have been able to determine, the first of these was held by Kobayaka Takakage (1533- 1597) on the of the ninth month in the fourth year of the Bunroku era, or 1595 (Kamiya 1977,311-12), Takakage, a retired lord, invited his son Hidetoshi^ who was also his successor, and Hidetoshi's wife of ten months to a gathering. The wife and her maids took seats in the main tea room, and Hidetoshi and all the other male guests took tea in another room. The women were entertained for a whole day with sake, and music performed by professional musicians. This gathering demonstrates the unusual consideration that Takakage displayed to his daughter-in-law.

The second tea gathering where a woman was present was held by Hosokawa Sansai (1563-1645) on the fourteenth day of the fifth month in the ninth year of the Kan'ei or 1642 (Matsuyama 1974, 239-40). Sansai, a warrior lord, invited a nobleman to a tea gathering at his mansion in Kyoto. There were eight more people present including Sansai's brother,his son, five male guests and a granddaughter, about whom nothing else is known. Sansai was a famous follower of Rikyu, and it is therefore possible that this gathering might have observed style. Apart from these two instances, I know of no others including women hold during this period. These two records indicate that a few women attended cbanoyu lea gatherings, but only when a family member acted as a host or other family members attended with them.

The Women of the Sen Family

As Sen no Rikyu's fame as a tea master grew, he served as tea ceremony officer for the military leader Oda Nobunaga and for Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who unified Japan following the period of civil wars. From Hideyoshi, Rikyu received extensive land-holdings. In 1591, however, for reasons that still remain unclear, Rikyu suddenly fell afoul of his patron and was forced to commit suicide.

Rikyu had two sons, the first of whom did not have male offspring. His second son, Shoan, was a child from the first marriage of Rikyu's second wife, So'on. Shoan was adopted by Rikyu, and it is alleged that he married Rikyu's illegitimate daughter and that they in turn had a son named Sotan (1578-1658). Sotan succeeded Shoan to the Sen school leadership, and his three sons established three separate lines of Sen families. They were the founders of the Omotesenke, Urasenke, and Mushanokojisenke schools that still exist today. Even though the marriage of Rikyu's daughter and his stepson, Shoan, was not openly acknowledged, the lineage of the Sen family can be said to have been transmitted through the female line.

We know little of Rikyu's first marriage, but his second wife, So'on, is said to have understood her husband well and to have frequently given him beneficial advice. Although no record of tea gatherings performed by So'on has been found, anecdotal evidence connects her to chanoyu. Her great-grandson Koshin wrote that she permanently revised the size of the silk cloth used at the tea ceremony (Koshin 1975, 84), and according to the chawa shigetsu shu (Kusumi [1701] 1975, 212), when Rikyu and So'on talked about the height of the incense burner used in the tea room, they immediately recognized that the same idea had occurred to them simultaneously. These traditions portray So'on as certainly familiar with wabicba and as an important supporting figure to her husband.

In 1591, when Rikyu committed suicide, Sdtan, his grandson, was only thirteen years old and a student at a Zen temple. When permission was granted for restoration of the Sen family following Rikyu's death, Sotan returned home and with his father, Shdan, worked toward the revival of Rikyu's style of chanoyu. Sotan took over leadership of the family from his father in 1600. That same year the Toyotomi clan was defeated by Tokugawa leyasu, who was designated shogun by the emperor and transferred the seat of government from Kyoto to Edo (present-day Tokyo). In addition he established a rigid Coufucianbased social hierarchy with the samurai class it the top ami no possible upward mobility for merchants, artisans, or farmers (see Graham, this volume), Even wealthy merchants and townsmen had no way to improve their class standing. One outlet achieving greater status within one's own class, however, was to gain rank within a school. Chanoyu, as noted earlier was greatly appreciated by the warrior class, and now it was coveted by those who wished to emulate them. Thus chanoyu can be said to have acquired a "profane" aspect even as practiced by men, for it came to serve as a means of personal, as well as commercial, advancement in addition to presenting the opportunity for establishing a unique relationship between host and guest.

While Sotan is a central figure in the Sen family history, until recently not so much as the name of his wife was known. Documents recently discovered in the Omotesenke archives, however, have shed light on this (Omotesenke 2008). Sotan married his second wife, Soken. before 1612. While he himself avoided direct involvement with the shogun or powerful lords—possibly in view of his grandfather's fate - he encouraged his sons to build such relationships after he retired.

Some interesting differences in perspective between Sotan and his wife Soken are recorded. For example, when one of his sons finished constructing a teahouse for a member of the shoguns family, the Tokugawa, Sotan expressed the hope that the son would be successful as a tea specialist. Soken, however, sent a letter to the same son hoping that the lord would be fond of the teahouse and give him an additional reward (Omotesenke 2008,348). Soken also requested that her son send money to her quickly because she had to prepare for New Year s Day (Omotesenke 2008,354),

Surviving letters from Sotan show signs that he was often depressed and he sometimes complained to his sons that Soken was loud and sarcastic (Omotesenke 2008, 238, 240). These letters counter the notion that Edo-period Japanese women ware universally submissive and oppressed by men. Soken, by contrast, seems not only to have felt free to express herself but also to have controlled the household finances. In additioa she took care of her daughter's son, who was adopted to become the head of the Sen family. Her letters show that she encouraged her grandsen to practice chanoyu and observed him carefully and lovingly (Omotesenke 2008, 356,359). After her sons started serving the domain lords as tea specialists, necessitating absences from home, she seems to have become even more involved in the family business, and she herself described the process of selling a tea bowl for one hundred ryo to one of her sons (Omotesenke 2008,363-64).

Although Sotan lived as a commoner, he did have a special relationship with Empress Tofukumon'in (1607-1678). Handicrafts that the empress made and gave to Sotan have been preserved at the Sen house, and Sotan presented a tea stand to her. It is unclear what prompted such a special relationship between the empress and a commoner, and although it cannot be verified, it is now thought that Soken may have been one of Tofukumon'in's ladies-in-waiting. A letter written by Soken in 1650 (Omotesenke 2008,350) records that Tofukumon'in told Sotan to select various tea utensils for her. This recently published letter has, for the first time, revealed that the commoner Sotan procured tea utensils for the empress. Considering all the surviving evidence, it seems clear that Soken also had a special connection with Tofukumon'in.

Over the centuries each Sen house accumulated innumerable documents, records of tea gatherings, and tea utensils. Even by the end of the Edo period—the middle of the nineteenth century - however, only a few names of women can be found in the lists of followers of the Sen schools (Geinoshi Kenkyu Kai 1976, 715 - 30). Hundreds of tea gatherings for men were recorded by the Sen families, but only a few that women attended. It is nonetheless clear from the examples of So'on and Soken that at least some women of the Sen families actively supported the heads of the houses and their heirs in the family business. The Sen families have not to date been specially keen to open their archives to the public, but as more scholars gain access, the history and roles played by the Sen women will become clearer.

Court Ladies and Tea

Both Empress Tofukumon'in and her husband, the 108th emperor Go-mizuno'o, were known to enjoy chanoyu with their family, and as noted above, the empress had a personal connection with Rikyu's grandson, Sotan, and his wife. One of the daughters of Tofukumon'in, Princess Shina no miya (1642 - 1702), also possessed a good knowledge of tea (Tanihata 2005, 281-87). She married the noble Konoe Motohiro (1648 - 1722), and the couple held tea gatherings together. Most of the tea gatherings in which she participated were held in aristocratic villas and attended only by relatives of the emperor. They harked back to fifteenth-century tea gatherings held before the development of chanoyu (Seigle 2002,4--13).Tofukumon'in and Shina no miya seem to have been leaders of womens tea culture in the court at this time.

Members of the closed society of the court had intermarried since the seventh century, and they lived within a confined area of Kyoto, Court ladies often attended tea gatherings held by court nobles, and they enjoyed companionship with other guests, including males. It seems, however, that they were interested neither in the philosophy of cbanoyu nor in creating fresh relationships through tea gatherings. Tea culture was simply a fashionable amusement for them, and it was thought to lack the classical roots of such pastimes as composing poems, playing the yakobue (a Japanese flute), or calligraphy. As a consequence, these aristocrats soon lost interest in tea culture, and its leadership passed to the Sen houses and samurai (Tani-hata 2005).

Tea and Tayu

In the Edo period, cbanoyu was performed by tayu, who were highly regarded entertainers of the demimonde and worked in areas such as Shimabara in Kyoto, where various kinds of sophisticated arts were developed. From the early Edo period on, the term tayu had been used to refer to an elite group of women trained in many disciplines beginning at an early age and were far from being merely prostitutes. By the late Edo period, starting around 1760, tayu had in fact become so proud of their rank that they stopped dancing and playing musical instruments, such as the samisen, for their guests. Music and dance were instead performed by geisha, who were specialists in these arts.

In addition to their personal beauty and exquisite attire, tayu had to achieve a high level of skill at calligraphy; flower arrangement, performing the tea ceremony, dancing, singing, composing poems, playing musical instruments, and so forth. While maintaining a certain dignity, they were also expected to open their hearts to each of their guests. The tayu had to appear to be the ideal woman, highly sophisticated and completely conversant with the social graces. They fascinated court nobles and wealthy merchants in Kyoto, particularly during the seventeenth century.

One tayu, Yoshino (1606-1643), acheived fame as the fevorite of the top-ranked noble Konoe Nobuhiro (1599—1649), although she eventually married Haiya Shoeki, a wealthy md cultured merchant. A textile, Yoshino kando, was named after her, and the novelist Ihara Saikaku drew inspiration from her for Koshoku ichi-dai otoko (The Life of an Amorous Man), his fictional masterpiece. With respect to chanoyu, it is said that Yoshino preferred to use a two-mat tea room with a large round window. It is in fact suspected that the two-mat tea room of Kodai-ji Temple in Kyoto was once hers, although this cannot be verified.

Tea in the Ageya

Tea was served in a variety of establishments during the Edo period. The chaya (teahouse), a term now obsolete in Japan, indicated a place for entertaining people, usually an establishment where tea and meals were served to customers. A sumo for example, would serve those who came to watch a sumo match. Instead of the expensive powdered green tea of cheaper and inferior boiled tea was served at a chaya (fig, 4,3), Over the course of the Edo period, however, the word chaya gradually shifted in meaning to suggest a place where sexual favors were provided (fig. 4.2). The chaya has often been mistakenly conflated with the ageya from which it differs markedly.

The ageya was a completely different environment, one that catered to a much more refined clientele, Ageya were elegant restaurants or salons where banquets and dinner parties were held accompanied by the entertainments of geisha and tayu. Some extant Ukiyo-e prints depict a tayu performing a tea ceremony for her guest in a special tea room within an ageya (fig.4.4).

The novel Tokaiso meisho ki (The Reports of the Takaido Road) - the title of which refers to the road running from Kyoto to Tokyo—was published in 1660/1661 and includes a description of a tea ceremony performed at an ageya by a tayu named Yachiyo (Asai [1682] 2002, 200-201). Within the novel, the narrator reports that Yachiyo used a tea room and tea utensils the like of which he had never seen and that she made tea so excellently and with such elegance that it seemed as if a goddess had descended from the heavens to do so. Although this is clearly a work of fiction, the author intended that his account appear credible to his readers, even if they could never hope to experience such a memorable event.

The character Yachiyo was, in fact, modeled upon a real seventeenth-century tayu. The historical Yachiyo produced some masterpieces of calligraphy, reproducing classic poems composed in the Japanese medieval period (fig. 4.5). Her portrait has resided for several centuries at Sumiya (fig. 4.6), a surviviiig example of an ageya located in Shimabara in Kyoto (fig. 4.7-1.14). In order to get a better sense of Yachiyo's chanoyu, it is helpful to examine four extant tea rooms at Sumiya two Kakoi-no-ma (one on the first and one on the second floor in the main building) and Kyokuboku-tei and Seiinsai Chaseki (two tea huts in the garden).

The Kakoi-no-ma (The Enclosed Space) on the first floor of Sumiya is thought to have been remodeled, based upon the tea room of a Zen temple, in 1787 (fig. 4,9). Architecture ally, it follows some of the norms of a formal tea room, for instance having tsukubai, a water basin for ritual cleansings at the entrance; a nijiriguchi, a small door referred to as the "crawling-in" entrance; and a tokonoma, or an alcove.

By contrast, the red wall of the Kakoi-no-ma on the second floor (fig. 4.10) might initially appear strikingly original. In the first half of the Edo period, however, some locales, usually those having a public function, were decorated in this maimer. Examples of such red walls exist in the villas of the emperor (among them the Villa of Katsura) and temples (Hiun-kaku in Nishi Honganji Temple). Even though it is not without precedent, the color choice does create a rather remarkable impression in die context of a tea ropm.

Kyokuboku-tei (The Hut of Bent Logs) has a more complicated and unique appearance due to the fact that, apart from the floor and a small section of the wall, it is made completely of bent wood and curved beams fitted together (fig. 4.11). It therefore tends to put the viewer somewhat off balance, Although this tea hut is very different from ordinary tea rooms, it is clear that the sixth head of the Omotesenke endorsed its construction. Traditionally the Japanese hung wooden boards showing the name of the room or house at an entrance, A board reading "Kyokuboku-tei" that was written by the sixth head of Omotesenke still hangs at the entrance of the hut (fig. 4.12). Based on the year of his death, Kyokuboku-tei is thought to have been built before 1730, Seiinsai Chaseki (The Tea Room of Silence and Loneli ness; fig.4.13) is thought to have been designed by the famous tea master Yasutomi Tsunemichi Seiin-sai (1715-1788), who married a daughter of the head of the Yabunouchi tea school, which possessed a high reputation and was founded at the same time as the Sen schools. The facade of this tea hut has a rustic appearance, but the inside is unique. Ordinarily the floors of Japanese tea rooms are square or rectangular and covered with tatami mats ,but the floor of tghis room is irregular and one of the segments is actually triangular (fig. 4.14).

There is a unique quality to all four of these chanoyu environments at Sumiya. The two tea huts in fact differ markedly from conventional tea rooms. The other rooms of Sumiya are also highly original and beautifully executed to the extent that the building's style as a whole might be deemed excessive. It is interesting, however, that famous tea masters, the sixth head of the Omotesenke and a member of the Yabunouchi, whose styles of chanoyu were considered orthodox, apparently endorsed the construction of the tea moms and huts at Sumiya. These two tea masters definitely accepted the tea performed by tayu, and their attitude toward it seems more positive than might have been expected. It is also known that the owners of Sumiya used these rooms for chanoyu and for gatherings where haiku were composed (Nakagawa 2002,29-31). This would seem to indicate that the gap between the chanoyu of tayu and "ordinary" chanoyu was not unbridgeable. Considering the valuable tea utensil and unique tea rooms preserved at Sumiva, we can see that even though the tea performed by tayu was different from wabicha, it was not merely the drinking of tea, but chanoyu.

In volume seven ot the previously mentioned Life (fan Amorous Man by Ihara Saikaku, the narrator describes a tea ceremony performed by Takahashi, a tayu, at an ageya called Hachimonjiya. This establishment no longer survives, but it was formerly, like Sumiya, one of the leading ageya in Shimabara, In Saikaku's day ageya were relatively small-scale institutions, so it is not clear how closely his account was based on reality. It does, however, reveal what Saikaku, and by extension his readers, thought was appropriate, or ideal, tea for a tayu:

On the morning of the first snow, Takahashi suddenly came up with the idea of holding a tea ceremony. The hanging scroll in the tea room always suggests the issue of the day?s ceremony, but a blank scroll was Issue of the day's ceremony, but a blank scroll was hung that day. Some tea utensils were new, but they would be thrown away after the ceremony. These utensils were only for the guests of that day. Takahashi sent a servant to a famous riverside in order to draw fresh water and the guests appreciated this gesture very much. When all the guests had settled in the room, she started the ceremony by asking each of them to compose haiku, a short poem, and to write it down on the blank scroll, During the intermission, while the guests were relaxing outside the room, she announced the latter half of the ceremony by playing a samisen cheerfully. This style of announcement was so fresh and unique that the guests enjoyed it very much. When they returned to room they found a vase without any flowers. The guests supposed that the tayu were the best flowers for the day. Takahashi made tea so delicately the guests said it was as if they had seen Rikyu himself making tea. After the tea ceremony, the guests became more relaxed and started drinking sake. [Ihara (1682) 1996, 198 198-99]

Although tea ceremonies held at ageya are apt to be thought of as a simple commercial means to entertain guest, it is clear that the tea performed by tayu was not merely a prelude to other intimacies. Rather, it was full of deliberate and ingenious devices invented by the tayu to create a sophisticated personal relationship with each guest. The tayu followed the strict procedures for making tea and used special tea utensils and rooms, Clearly, both the chanoyu practiced by the tea schools and that practiced by the tayu had important personal and commercial ramifications, and both inspired artists, poets, and novelists through their use of ritual. Given the approbation that extant literature and artworks of the period seem to give to the practice of chanoyu by tayu, one is led to wonder what prevented ordinary women from performing it mare frequently and openly.

Confucian Thought and Edo Period Women

As noted at the beginning of this essay, the relatively small number of Edo period women who are documented as performing chanyou is often attributed to the pervasiveness of Confucian thought. The Confucian perspective on chanoyu however, ambiguous, as a brief survey of literature intended for die education of women and girls will demonstrate. Onna daigaku (Instruction for Girls) was first published between 1716 and 1736, and it is representative 0f texts aimed at Edo period women and girls. The following passages are especially relevant to the practice of chanoyu:

From her earliest youth a girl should observe the line of demarcation separating women from men, and never, even for an be allowed to see or hear the least impropriety. The customs of antiquity did not allow men women to sit in the same chamber, to keep their wearing apparel in the same place, to bathe in the same place, or to pass anything to each other directly from hand to hand.... Of tea and wine she must not drink over much.... She should strictly adhere to the rule of separation between the sexes. [Qnna daigaku 1980, 202-5]

Women in the Edo period followed these rules so that their behavior would not be misunderstood by others. Some literary works deal with such "misunderstandings" resulting specifically from chanoyu. Perhaps the most noteworthy of these is a bunraku puppet play written by Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653-1724) and titled Yari no Gonza kasane katabira (The Double Suicide of Archer Gonza) first performed in 1717. Osai, the heroine of the play, is the wife of a samurai tea master whose family has passed down a secret temae (the advanced procedures of chanoyu). The hero, Gonza, a young samurai who has been asked to serve the guests at a formal tea gathering to celebrate the wedding of his lord's son. In order to make a good impression cm his lord, Gonza asks Osai to show him the documents describing the temae. She finally agrees, on the condition that Gonza marry her daughter and join her family, and she asks him to meet her in the tea room late at night. When someone spreads insinuating rumors about their meeting, however, the couple is driven to a double suicide even thought there was nothing illicit in their behavior (Chikamatsu 1998,585-687).

From the play we learn that Osai knew where her husband kept the record of the secret temae, although she seems not to have learned the procedures herself. This is in keeping with what we know of the women of the Sen family, who appear to have supported the male tea practitioners in their family but were not expected to perform cbanoyu themselves.

Onna chohoki (The Record of Women's Great Treasures) is a unique text read by women at all levels of society from about 1700 to 1850 (Arima et al. [1692] 1989). It treats the everyday lifestyle of women in considerable practical detail, Volume 4 specifically encourages women to learn some arts: "Calligraphy. Composing poems.... Playing board games. Practicing the art of incense. Practicing chanoyu. Composing linked verses and haiki.... Studying hairdressing, Studying the proper way to discipline maids." While it is clear that this influential book encouraged women to learn chanoyu, it contains no description of tea other than that provided under the heading "How to Drink Tea": "You should take a Chinese tea cup from the teacup stand with your right hand. After drinking, transfer it to your left hand and then put it on the tatami mat. The waitress takes it and places it back on the teacup stand. When the tea is hot, you should sip the tea moderately, and not wave the cup around" (Arima et al. [1692] 1989,51). Onna describes how to drink tea in a social setting, but if clearly has no detailed information on the specific feature of chanoyn. In contrast Otoko chohoki (The Record of Men's Great Treasures), written by the same author, described the detailed procedures for chanoyu and illustrated how to place tea utensils (Nihon Shigaku Kyoiku Kenkyujo 1985,142-46).

In another text for women published in 1787 (fig, 4.15), Onna kuku no hoe (First Instructive Songs for Women), the author remarks that Generally speaking, chanoyu has spread over Japan since Rikyu perfected its style; It is not bad for men to enjoy it,but it cannot be good for women to do so. However, it may also not be good for women to know nothing about it. This is why women should know a little chanoyu and it may be good for women who have much free time to learn it. However, it is not good for women to be addicted to it.

Men with a particular interest in chanoyu belonged to a tea school and increased in rank there, but women were not expected to gain either advanced skills or school rank. Women seem to have learned the basics of chanoyu just In order to learn proper manners, to appear cultivated, and to gratify their family, or, in the case of servants, to serve their masters. Thus, it seems that Confucian views of proper behavior for women at least prevented them from performing chanoyu among people outside the family and from using tea rooms and tea utensils freely.

The of the Edo Period

By the end of the Edo period, in the mid-nineteenth century, the number of women who learned chanoyu seems to have increased (figs, 4.16,4.17). In 1825 women's names appear in the list of followers of the Horinouchi school, which was part of the Omotesenke (Geinoshi Kenkyu Kai 1976 715-30). Nineteenth-century textbooks for women give more details of chanoyu (e.g., Onna shorei ayanishiki 1841 and other texts; see also Omori 1993, 290-95), and nuns and wives of Buddhist priests had chanoyu lessons in the countryside (Takai 1991,37-41).

On an individual level, some remarkable women - often members of the Emilies of wealthy merchants and fafmers—learned chanoyu as a sophisticated accomplishment (ftg.4.18). Their teachers were most commonly the wives of Buddhist priests or mms who ran temples themselves. Among these talented and exceptional women was the poet Otagadki Rengetsu (1791—1875). She was adopted by the Dtagaki, a samurai family serving at Chion-in Temple in Kyoto. From ages eight to sixteen, she served the Matsudaira family as a lady-in-waiting at Kameoka castle in Tanba. Surrounded by other cultivated women,f she developed talent in the areas of poetry and calligraphy. It is probable as well that she had the opportunity to learn chanoyu in this environment and would have had access to more refined tea utensils than many other women.

As her adoptive family did not have an heir. Rengetsu eventually returned to her home. "There she married twice, her second husband dying when she was only thirty-two, It was at this time that she became a Buddhist nun,adopting the name Rengetsu (Lotus Moon) and establishing a reputation as a ers - learned chanoyu as a sophisticated accomplishment (fig. 4.18). Their teachers were most commonly the wives of Buddhist priests or nuns who ran temples themselves. Among these talented and exceptional women was the poet Otagaki Rengetsu (179-175). She was adopted by the Otagaki, a samurai family serving at Chion-in Temple in Kyoto. From ages eight to sixteen, she served the Matsudaira family as a lady-in-waiting at Kameoka castle in Tanba. Surrounded by other cultivated women, she developed talent in the areas of poetry and calligraphy. It is probable as well that she had the opportunity to learn chanoyu in this environment and would have had access to more refined tea utensils than many other women.

As her adoptive family did not have an heir,Rengetsu eventually returned to her home. There she married twice, her second husband dying when she was only thirty-two. It was at this time that she became a Buddhist nun,adopting the name Rengetsu (Lotus Moon) and establishing a reputation as a poet. She is known to have taught poetry to tayu in Shimabara, and she wrote at least one poem inspired by the area. Rengetsu later began to make tea ware for use in the Chinese-inspired sencha tea ceremony (see Graham, this volume, for an in-depth discussion of sencha). Some of the tea utensils she made for herself still survive (Fister 1988,144-55). The reclusive life that Rengetsu led as a nun allowed her the freedom to develop her natural talents.

Although the Sen schools were very influential in the Edo period, they were not considered proper for the samurai class to attend as samurai could not be subordinate to the commoners who ran the schools. The school considered appropriate for samurai was the Sekishu school, founded by the daimyo, or domain lord, Katagiri Sekishu (1605-1673). Sekishu did not follow the iemoto system and establish a house and hierarchy like the Sen; rather, when a student was sufficiently talented, he was recognized as a master and allowed to establish his own school One such Sekishu master, Oguchi Sho'o (1689—1764), was the author of Toji-no-tamoto (Senior Lady's Sleeves), a text on tea for women dated 1721 (Nomura 19B5,188-223). Using Rikyus wife Soon as an example to demonstrate that women had the necessary character for chanoyu, he proceeded to describe tea utensils, procedures, and manners for both the hostess and guest. Although he emphasized that women should observe strict manners with men in order to avoid misunderstandings, he did describe the way in which a woman should share a cup of tea with a man: she should put the cup on the floor and pass it to the man instead of handing the cup to him directly, Thus, Oguchi clearly imagined women not only hosting tea gatherings, but also entertaining men at them.

In the records of a prominent later follower of the Sekishu school, school, we can see that this actually happened. Ii Naosuke (1815-1860), a member of a powerful domain family and a major political figure, recorded more than 170 tea gatherings in his life, including 34 tea gatherings with women present (Tanihata 1996). As noted earlier, there are very few such records, so these are very valuable.

There were normally five participants, including Naosuke, and on average two were women. There are thirty different female names, most of them occurring several times. Some of these women were members of Naosuke's family, including his two concubines, and many of the rest were ladies-in-waiting. The other male and female guests may have been friends.

Eight of the thirty-four gatherings were conducted by hostesses, and Naosuke's daughter hosted two of the eight. The hostesses seem to have chosen the tea utensils themselves, and while these were neither time-honored nor valuable, they revealed a seasonal sensibility and refined tastes. Women also preferred to use personally significant utensils, for instance gifts from or pieces made by Naosuke.

While we know that Naosuke sometimes taught his style of tea to ladies-in-waiting himself (Nakamura [1914] 1978,40) and that he personally followed the guidelines in Toji-no-tamoto, women of Naosuke's school seem not to have been given either rank or title. They were, however, treated as followers of the school, their attendance was recorded, and records of tea gatherings run by women were maintained just as for men's gatherings.

Naosuke was a consistent advocate for samurai culture as practiced in chanoyu and attempted to restore the spirit of the Japanese warrior (Tanimura 2004,137-50). Through his promotion of womens tea, he portrayed an ideal, spiritual mentality for samurai women (fig, 4.19), and he encouraged women to develop a sensitivity to their surroundings (Tanimura 2001, 202-3). With the beginning of the Meiji period in 1868, however, samurai culture was effectively destroyed, and the Sekishu school lost its influence, Despite this, respectable women continued to learn chanoyu as a proper accomplishment (fig. 4,20). The stance toward it, however, gradually came to approximate that of Western families in the Victorian era toward piano lessons (fig. 4.21), In other words, chanoyu gradually became a social nicety devoid of much of its original content and purpose.

This trend toward trivializing the performance of chanoyu by women was maintained until the years following World War II. The defeat provoked revolutionary social changes in Japan, and instead of just enjoying themselves through the performance of chanoyu, women became eager to gain rank and title in a specific tea school. Discussing the population of the chanoyu community in 1998, sociologist Etsuko Kato has noted that "a high ranking chanoyu teacher of the Urasenke school in Tokyo teaches 300 pupils, about 15 of whom are men while about 285 are women practitioners" (Kato 2004,98-99). Most female tea practitioners today are housewives who are not particularly wealthy. They turn to chanoyu as a field where they can achieve and be formally recognized by an authority, the head of the tea school. One has to wonder, again, however, how far the true meaning of chanoyu, of creating a relationship over a cup of tea, has been preserved, At present, the popularity of chanoyu among younger women seems to be eroding, as further social changes offer them an ever-expanding array of careers and pastimes.

The Sacred in Women's Tea

There is at least one instance in which women may have led via a rather unexpected route, back to its numinous beginnings and away from the pursuit of rank and status. In a Catholic convent located in Kamakura, near Tokyo (fig. 4.22), there arc several tea rooms. These range from a room of fifty-four tatami mats to one of only two tatami mats. They are not open to the public. The main tea room is called the Reiners Room, after the priest who founded the mission. Above the entrance door of the tea room, there is a wooden board written by a female tea master of the SekishQ school (fig. 4.23). The transom bears a copy of the founder's signature and exhortation (fig, 4,24), and a scroll written by a Zen monk hangs in the alcove. On the built-in desk beside the alcove stands an abstract sculpture of the Virgin Mary in prayer. It is a simple room with a peaceful atmosphere (fig, 4.25),

The tea rooms arc special places for nuns to pray and meditate, particularly during retreats. They learn the procedures of the Sekishu school, but when they can make tea following the procedure without thinking, they stop taking lessons. They do not seek rank in the school, and the school respects them so much that it would never require this of them. The tea rooms are places for nuns to pray for peace in the world and to communicate with God.

The encounter between the nun and God has in this case replaced the interaction between host and guest central to chanoyu. Ii Naosuke said that the final aim of his tea was to grasp the absolute reality that makes up the phenomenal world. He called this dokuza kannen (seated alone In meditation). The nuas seem to have independently rediscovered his concept and to have restored the "sacred" to the experience of chanoyu, The history of women's chanoyu is long and complicated, and it remains partially obscured. In the peaceful tea rooms at this convent, however, the true meaning of chanoyu is preserved.