The Ideologies of Japanese Tea

Subjectivity, Transience and National Identity

This provoking new study of the Japanese tea ceremony ( chanoyu) examines the ideological foundation of its place in history and the broader context of Japanese cultural values where it has emerged as a so called ‘quintessential’ component of the culture. It was in fact, Sen Soshitsu Xl, grandmaster of Urasenke, today the most globally prominent tea school, who argued in 1872 that tea should be viewed as the expression of the moral universe of the nation. A practising teamaster himself, the author argues, however, that tea was many other things: it was privilege, politics, power and the lever for passion and commitment in the theatre of war. Through a methodological framework rooted in current approaches, he demonstrates how the iconic images as supposedly timeless examples of Japanese tradition have been the subject of manipulation as ideological tools and speaks to presentations of cultural identity in Japanese society today.
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Table of contents

Preface; Acknowledgements; Introduction: Tea, Aesthetics and Power; 1 What Is Twenty First Century Tea?; 2 Inventing the Nation: Japanese Culture Politicizes Nature; 3 Lethal Transience; 4 Japanese Harmony as Nationalism: Grand master Tea for War and Peace; 5 Wartime Tea Literature: Rikyu, Hideyoshi, and Zen; 6 Grand Master: Iemoto; 7 Tea Teachings as Power: Questioning Legitimate Authority; 8 Teshigahara's Rikyu as Historical Critique: Representations, Identities and Relations; 9 Lethat Transience as Nationalist Fable: Kumai Kei's Sen no Rikyu: Honkakabu Ibun; 10 National Identity and Tea Subjectivities; Endnotes; Bibliography; Index

Readership

College/higher education

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