Fukagawa Geisha and Tea Ceremony – Sado

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Fukagawa Geisha and Tea Ceremony – Sado

by A Rim You

As the first woman known to have called herself Geisha was a prostitute from Fukagawa, Fukagawa distirct’s Geisha culture has developed more than other districts.

Among those various culture, tea ceremony is one of the most famous geisha culture in Fukagawa. Some Fukagawa geisha choose to study tea ceremony as part of their arts and do body training with traditional dresses.

Drinking green tea is a symbolic culture of Japan. During the Nara period (710-7994) tea plants were grown in Japan and mainly consumed by priests and noblemen as medicine. Tea was very rare and highly valuable from the Nara period to the Heian period (794-1192). Since the Muromachi period, Japanese developed their tea culture by creating tea ceremony as green tea became more accessible. This was a brief history of Japanese tea culture.

The tea ceremony is commonly performed by Geisha at the beginning of their 5 year apprenticeship. The art of its performance is called sado. This tea ceremony shows both Japanese aesthetics and cultural value of respect for the guest.

Sado does not limited to the tea itself, but instead, is composed of a range of stages: artwork, flower arranging, interior decorating and calligraphy. There are three main paths of sado:

  • Omotesenke
  • Urasenke
  • Musha no kojisenke

To fully master the elements of tea ceremony, it commonly takes almost 2 years to complete.

There are numerous steps for preparation of tea ceremony. Simple steps are:

  1. Opening the door
  2. Presenting the sweets
  3. Bringing in tea utensils
  4. Greetings and clothes
  5. Cleaning the Chashaku
  6. Remove Futa from the Kama
  7. Cleaning the Chasen
  8. Warming the chawan
  9. Scoop Macha into the Chawan

As shown above, tea ceremony is a very methodical, slow and meaningful activity where every hand gesture and movement of the utensils must be focused.


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