"Kinin-date" Serving Tea to Nobility


I am interested in the way different schools conduct kinin-date. I am interested because I feel this temae has a place for developing the host’s heart towards the guest, despite the temae losing its relevance outside feudal times.

I would deeply appreciate an education from the tea community on the various ways you conduct kinin-date, whatever the school or practice.


As a start, the Ueda Ryū has two forms of kinin-date currently (used to be shin/gyō/sō versions before shin/gō/sō for all temae was removed).

  1. Ōbukusa-atsukai. The kinin is served cha while using an ōbukusa (large dashibukusa/shikibukusa) under the chawan during the temae.
  2. Tenmoku-atsukai. The kinin is served in a formal shin temae with a tenmoku chawan. (fukusa in shin for purifying the chashaku, chaki, chasen tōji is shin, the works).

Looking forward to your replies _/\_


  • Elmar
    I have never herd of the first – putting down and maintaining a fukusa under the chawan during the making of tea, i.e. replacing the tenmokudai. I only know of the second from seeing presentation tea at shrines, and from the chanoyu-to-wa blog. Fascinating question, Adam. I presume you’ve done the youtube search, no? e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYG6va173Bw. I personally have a couple of videos if you are interested in what I have archived over the years.
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In Urasenke there are four kinin related temae. That is one set of koi- and usu-cha for when the kinin comes alone and one set for when the kinin comes with attendants. If the kinin comes alone the host need to have an assistant help bring utensils to the kinin. If the kinin brings one or more attendants the last guest will bring things back and forth between the kinin and the host. The host will ask permission to serve the attendants koicha, and if this is given the host will go to mizuya and fetch a regular chawan. The kinin will be the first to haiken this chawan, after all the attendants have had tea.

We are thought that all utensils should be brand new when serving a kinin. I think if your going to be orthodox about it the room should be new too. Therefore in Urasenke we use a white porcelen chawan for serving the kinin. The chawan is placed on top of a plain unpainted wood stand. We do not place any kind of cloth between the stand and the teabowl.

In Urasenke kinin temae with some minor adaptations could be used for a tea offering or for a memorial service. In particular I think kinin date kio tsugu, as the temae for kinin with attendants are called, is very nice for a memorial. The kinins tea could be given to the spirit of the deceased, and the attendants tea could be served to the people physically present in the room. For this we would have a photo of the deceased in tokonoma, and bring the tea offering to tokonoma.

I also see kinin temae as a useful teaching tool, as it helps prepare the students for doing dai tenmoku temae, which is one of the shikaden (secret tema).

I also believe that it is a good window in to past customs and the seperation of a kinin and the rest of the world. Most evidently seen when the kinin is placed appart from the other guests on kinin tatami, while the other guests / attendants would sit in the regular place. And having the tsume be a servant to bring the kinin tea.


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Dear Adam, you restless soul,

I think Marius pretty much defined the overall position taken in Urasenke.

We have indeed kinin date (kinin alone) and kinin kyotsugu (kinin with attendants). Both Furo and Ro.

They are part of Konarai (small teachings).

Kinin date

Here either a hanto from the house, or a hanto from kinin will be used to serve kinin with the tea prepared by the host. The hanto will enter after teishu sits hishaku down (opens the door and waits for permission from kinin). Hanto will sit behind teishu (hands on the floor).

I am not going into details – they are so perfect but it is not the place here to do this. Suffices to say that the temae challenges the souls of the participants with another of the very many “apparent” contradictions in chado. All equal at heart and yet the confucian sense of fully grasped servitude must be present. How is that done? As you know: practice enough and you’ll find out.

Dogu is ordinary. Since the gestures do not put a sustained stress on the “respect” shown in upper temae when using tenmoku and lacquered dai. This will go a bit against the approach taken in your school. But the respect is there – middle way. Wamono is used, wamono is the feeling.

For usucha fukusa is used to support chashaku at haiken. For koicha shifuku replaces fukusa.

There is a bow with the sweets from the door, in all cases.

More details of course but we stop here.

Kinin kyotsugu

Same concepts, good bye to fukusa and shifuku as helpers at haiken. The o-tomo boys remove the grant for such a gesture. They mingle in teh process of serving kinin and there are a number of consequences due to this fact. This makes kinin kyotsugu an excellent temae to perform. The understanding / feeling of serving two categories of people, equal at heart but not at rang, where they do share some things but not others. The temae is challenging when kinin may go for a second bowl while also doing haiken of the o-tomo chawan, the circulation of sweets, the timing, all make the temae a charming moment. I love it.

Now is your turn my friend, How is it in Ueda Soko space of miracles?

  • Marius Frøisland
    You do not put the chasen on the fukusa ;) so I changed it to the chashaku
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