400 years of tradition

KAPAA — Steeped in more than 400 years of tradition, Grand Tea Master Genshitsu Sen XV honored Kauai on Friday.

“On this very week, the Chado Urasenke Tankokai, Kauai Association was formed,” said Ed Coan.

“This is a very special occasion, having the Grand Tea Master perform a tea ceremony as part of the 25th anniversary commemoration.”

The Kapaa Hongwanji Mission was filled to capacity as people of Kauai were joined by visitors from Japan.

“Some of the people who live in Japan will go their entire lives without witnessing the Grand Tea Master officiate at a tea ceremony,” Coan said. “The people will make this trip for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with the Grand Tea Master.”

Sachiko Grollman of the Chado Urasenke Tankokai, Kauai Association, said later in the day the Kauai group performed a tea ceremony and tea exchange with the Japanese group at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa as part of the 25th anniversary commemoration for Kauai.

“We are blessed with fine weather for this Tea Ceremony because Kauai is known for being more rainy than the other Islands,” Sen said through interpreter Maya Perry following the solemn ceremony. “The heavens are smiling on us.”

Sen of the Urasenke Tradition offered two cups of Sacred Tea during the ceremony: one for those who have died and another for peace.

“We are honored to have Dr. Genshitsu Sen XV here on Kauai,” said David Iha of the Chado Urasenke Tankokai, Kauai Association.

Iha said that during World War II, Sen was a kamikaze pilot but was never called to duty.

Coan said Sen’s arrival to Hawaii marked the start of Urasenke as an international event.

The Grand Tea Master, known as the Wakasosho, the son of the then Grand Tea Master of Urasenke, arrived in Hawaii as an exchange student to the University of Hawaii in 1951, states the Urasenke Hawaii website.

His trip was encouraged by his father, Sen Soshitsu, and James Fujikawa who would become the first president of the Hawaii Shibu, or official branch of Urasenke in Hawaii.

Fujikawa said he was taken aback by how chanoyu, or the way of tea, brought his spirit peace and tranquility.

“I didn’t know anything but to sit in the chashitsu, or tea room,” Fujikawa said on the website. “It was like drinking iced water on a hot day. It was better than medicine. It was as if my spirit had taken a shower.”

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