Would you use a hirajawan for koicha?

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Often in class I have used a hirajawan for usucha but have never for koicha. Would you use it for koicha?

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I would think most of the time, no. However, there is precedent in using a bowl with a similar shape. Konnichian at Hatsugama uses a set of three bowls called the “Shimadai.” Most commonly they are sold in sets of two. Of course, it depends on the set, but the bottom bowl (they are used stacked like kasanejawan) is often quite hirajawan-esque. See these or look at this Google image search results for others. These are, of course, designed with koicha in mind.

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Recall that the original, and ideal, shape for koicha is the tenmoku, which is an almost conical shape.  I have used flatter chawan for koicha, as long as the interior cross section is more or less conical. I find flat bottoms chawan difficult, as the koicha tends to lump up and get stuck in the corners of the bottom.

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I was taught that the hira chawan [& tsutsu chawan] were only for usucha. However as Elmar points out, the shape of the inside of the bowl is more important. Also the number of guests and hence the amount of tea and water in the bowl make a big difference.

So I guess my answer would be in general no but perhaps yes in the right circumstances with the right bowl.

I would caution that while tenmoku bowls may have been original, I would dispute calling them ideal. The large modern tea whisks and often thicker modern koicha make using those conical bowl tricky. Compare the shape of raku bowls with tenmoku and you will see what I mean. Rikyu is said to have designed the Raku bowl and if he did or not they are simply easier to use. I can say that while learning to make koicha in a tenmoku bowl for the Daitenmoku temae I had some awful experiences. There are special tenmoku chasen with shorter brushes and longer handles that may change this but my understanding is that they are no longer used. I actually have one but have never used it.

  • JOHN LEON LARISSOU
    I recently watched a video off of NHK where one of the Omotesenke sosho uses a raku hirachawan for koicha.
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I suppose that I have to join in somewhat hearty agreement with what has already been posted. I would add that if I only had a hirajawan, then I would use it for koicha as making and serving koicha is more important than the chawan it is made in. Personally, I believe that the shape of the typical raku chawan makes it much easier to prepare koicha than in a tenmoku chawan. I also believe that a hirajawan makes kneading more difficult than whisking. Consequently, if I had a choice of chawan, I would not choose a hirajawan to prepare koicha even in Summer.

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If one wants to make suicha (i.e. koicha for more than 2 people), I would have to agree as well.  A flat bowl simply does not allow for a decent mixing without the tendency for slopping, even using extreme care.  However, I prefer to make koicha for the shokyaku alone, then make koicha for pairs of succeeding guests (assuming there are any).  And my koicha tends to be a bit thinner than the modern fashion, I believe, which also allows the flatter bowls to function well.

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If one uses hirachawan with arai-chakin, it is for usucha temae only. If it is not combined with arai-chakin, there is no restriction.

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Most hirajawan are not of the proper style to use in koicha, such as Kyo-yaki with decorations.  However i have seen raku hirajawan, so I assumed you might use that for koicha.  However, since the point of hirajawan is to let the tea cool more in the hot summer months, and one of the challenges of koicha is for it to stay hot until the last guest, i’m not sure you would want to even use a raku hirajawan.

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