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Posts Tagged ‘ii naosuke’

Tea is Not Tea

Thanks to Mindy Landeck for introducing me to this wonderful poem & piece of calligraphy by Ii Naosuke, which reads:

茶非茶、非非茶、只茶耳、是名茶

Cha wa cha arazu, cha ni arazaru ni arazu,
tada cha nomi, kore cha to nadzuku.

Roughly:

“Tea is not tea. It is not not tea.
Just drinking tea, that is what we call tea.”

The title of my blog here has changed from “A Man with Tea” to “Nubui Kuduchi,” but, even so, when I saw this, I remembered it had been way too long since I had blogged about tea at all, and this is the perfect sort of thing to post about about tea.

I am a bit surprised to learn that Ii Naosuke – most famous for his political role as chief of the Shogunate Elders, who supported the ‘opening’ up of the country to trade & formal relations with Western powers, and who was later assassinated just outside the castle – was a major tea guy, at all. But, then again, so many of these daimyô engaged in various cultural pursuits. I am not surprised, though, that such a piece of calligraphy would be done as a gift for his Zen teacher. Thanks again for sharing this, Mindy!

(Image of 19th century public domain object reproduced in a book… not sure on the citation, though. Sorry!)

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