Do all tea school use a kyojo (certification) system and what are their respective levels and temae?

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Urasenke has a system of kyojo (permissions to study). Do all tea school use a kyojo system and what are their respective levels and temae?

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The qualification or grading system is something shared by all schools of chanoyu, as far as I know. It was introduced by the Sen families as a way to systemise their teachings as well as a revenue source. It was quickly adopted by other chools of chanoyu for the same reasons. Here is an excerpt from a manual of the Ueda Sōko Tradition, a samurai-class school of chanoyu from Hiroshima, which continues a style of chanoyu heavily influenced by Furuta Oribe:

“In the middle of the Edo Period the number of people practicing chanoyu was increasing. The Sen Traditions of Tea were the first to establish the Iemoto system around this time. Then during the Bunka and Busei Eras (1804-1819) the Sōden grading system was established, again by the Sen Traditions. The Ueda Sōko Tradition spread wider than just the Samurai class of Geishū (Hiroshima). The Ueda Sōko Tradition was practiced by regular townsfolk and people throughout the Kansai and Chu-Shikoku regions. This called for a new level of formality around the teaching of the School. The retainers of the Ueda Tradition, Nomura Sōkyū, Nomura Yokyū, and Nakamura Taishin established a new Sōden System in 1839 (Tenth year of Tenbou Era).

This new Sōden System placed Ueda Sōko’s style of Tea into a form that was able to be transmitted in a systematic format through generations. It dictated the highest license, the Shin Daisu, was to be kept in the Ueda Family and the other licenses were to be issued by the Chaji Azukari (delegate retainers of the Ueda Tradition’s teaching). In the ‘Sōko sama o-kikigaki’ or ‘Notes from Sōko’, there is the record ‘Sōko received a license from Oribe’. This shows the Ueda Sōko Tradition transmitted through generations is a style of chanoyu heavily influenced by Oribe, and part of this tradition has the Shin Daisu as the highest license achievable.”

You can see from this the Ueda School calls the qualifications or licenses ‘sōden’ written 相傳 or 相伝 emphasising verbal transmission of these important teachings.

Also, you can see that a consciousness of teaching ‘secret’ temae was in place early on, with evidence of Oribe teaching the shin daisu temae to Ueda Sōko. One would suspect Rikyu did the same for Oribe.

The Ueda Ryū has a small number of sōden, five in total with the Grandmaster only holding the highest sōden, passed on through generations of Iemoto. Just as Oribe passed on to Sōko.

The order is:

  1. Satsūbako茶桶箱の伝 = Satsū tea box transmission
  2. Karamono唐物点の伝 = Chinese/ foreign tea caddy transmission
  3. Bondate karamono盆点の伝 = Tea caddy on display tray transmission
  4. Daitenmoku karamono台天目の伝 = Daitenmoku tea bowl with Chinese/foreign tea caddy transmission
  5. Bondate daitenmoku盆点台天目の伝 = Tea caddy on display tray used with daitenmoku tea bowl

The Bondate daitenmoku is also referred to a ‘Kaiden’ indicating ‘all teachings’ 皆 = kai/all 伝 = verbal transmission

6. Midare真之台子乱飾の伝 =Formal daisu stand with ‘midare’ arrangement of equipage (shin daisu only for Grandmaster)

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As far as I know, all the Sen family schools use them. I am most familiar with Omotesenke and Urasenke as well as a few smaller schools such as Edosenke.

  • JOHN LEON LARISSOU
    Omotesenke currently has nymon, naraigoto, kazari mono, satsubako, karamono, daitenmoku, bonten, midare, shindaisu. midare is the last for women. Midare and Shindaisu are in effect only available in Japan.
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As far as can be told from the existing translations of the Rikyu Densho I have seen, Rikyu insisted that what he wrote as temae instructions were often to be kept secret, but the densho never mention a hierarchical system of licenses.  These are (as ably said in the above posts), a later invention.

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