Historical Development and Contemporary Perspective of the Japanese Urasenke Way of Tea as Practiced in California

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“Mr. Morris’ introduction to the art and science of tea is a fine example of anthropological research. His tender treatment of the topic is concise, yet delightfully humanistic. The descriptive and historical sections of this work provide an adequate introduction to the art of tea – not too technical for the uninitiated reader, not overly simplified for the tea ‘master.’ …. Mr. Morris researched his topic well, including prerequisite summaries of aspects of Chado necessary to comprehend the significance of the art within Japanese culture. His description of a typical ceremony is presented with just enough detail to impart the spiritual nature of the event as well as its somber, yet powerful elements. The anthropological perspective is effectively applied by demonstrating the symbolic significance of the artifacts, clothing, philosophy, and physical movements of this elaborate ceremonialized ritual. The focus of the study and perhaps the greatest benefit of the anthropological research strategy is Chapter VI of the paper, The Japanese Way of Tea in Southern California…. The people, the location, the attitudes and behaviors of participants in tea ceremonies in Southern California provide the passion and sensitivity with which tea ceremony aficionados will readily identify…. It will serve as both a reference piece as well as a fine example of the application of anthropological perspective and methodology to a key feature of Asian culture.” – Adrian Novotny, Long Beach City College

“Focusing on a contemporary Urasenke Tea school in Southern California, Morris explores the ways in which this ancient, traditional and highly formalized ritual has been adapted to function within a modern cosmopolitan society…. Morris also explores and compares the role that Tea plays in the lives of students from Urasenke schools in Tokyo and Southern California….Kent Morris has written an enjoyable, and interesting exploration of the history and philosophy of the Japanese Tea tradition, and how it has persisted by being adapted over the years to meet differing human needs in response to cultural change.” – Jill Weisbord, Long Beach City College

Table of Contents

Table of contents (main headings):
Foreword; Introduction
1. History of Tea (China, Japan, and the West)
2. The Urasenke Way of Tea (School Structure; Teacher-Student Relationship)
3. Classification of Tea (Types of Chaji; Yearly Cycle of Tea)
4. Description of a Typical chaji (clothing & Accessories; Setting; Utensils; Food and Drink; Etiquette & Action)
5. Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Tea (Shogo Chaji Interpreted; Spiritual & Philosophical Roots; Wabi; Symbolism)
6. The Japanese Way of Tea in Southern California (Methods & Problems; Background; Urasenke Southern California; Physical Environment; Tea School Structure, Adaptation, Dynamics; Activities; Student Characteristics & Motivations; Case Studies)
7. Conclusion
Appendix; Bibliography; Index

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