Origin of Chasen
Chikumeido (竹茗堂) - Takayama Chasen's traditional tea wreaths that have been made in Ikoma, Nara Prefecture, Japan for over 500 years
Ikoma is a city in Nara Prefecture, better known as the birthplace of traditional handicrafts for the tea ceremony, the widely known Chasen, a bamboo matcha whisk, and Chashaku , a measuring spoon for tea. True Takayama Chesen is an art that has a very narrow range of uses.
Chikumeido is a leading manufacturer of chasen tea whisks and teaware in Takayama, Nara, and has been producing chasen using the Isshi Soden technique for generations, and has now consolidated and worked hard with over 50 craftsmen.
... Until 1450
Surprisingly even for the Japanese, the history of the Takayama Chasen (高山茶筌, tea whisk), which Tikumeido has adopted to this day, dates back 500 years (1336-1573) to the Muromachi period and the time of Yoshimasa Ashikaga.
At that time, Sozei Nyudo, who lived in Minatomata, Nara, was widely known as a master of renga (Japanese communal poetry). Through calligraphy, he became close friends with Murata Juko, a tea ceremony master who lived nearby.
When Juko Murata first invented the tea ceremony, Nyudo Sozei was asked to create a stirring vessel suitable for the tea ceremony, and he worked hard to create a tea whisk.
After that, Juko, the inventor of the tea ceremony, had the opportunity to see a tea whisk made by the then Emperor Gotsuchimikado in Kyoto. In addition to praise for its thoughtful design, the Juko received the name "Takao".
Impressed by this, Sozei Nyudo worked hard to create a tea whisk and brought it to his hometown to keep it a secret from his family.
The tea ceremony pioneered by Juko was also established as a "wabicha" by the famous Sen no Rikyu and became the basis of the tea ceremony that continues to this day known as Chado.
In other words, the Takayama Tea Wreath was already completed before Sen no Rikyu established the tea ceremony.
– Sengoku period, the great samurai wars, 1467-1615:
Takayama Tea-whisk Company donated 200 bottles of tea whisks at the Great Tea Ceremony in Kitano organized by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI and Iemitsu TOKUGAWA, one of the greatest governors and people who created Japanese military culture.
Why did historical samurai commanders conduct tea ceremonies? Sen no Rikyu says:
"Tea is not just about boiling water, making tea and drinking it."
This is the spirit of Zen in the sense that we should focus on what is in front of us and appreciate every moment. There are different ways of serving tea in the tea ceremony, and it is said that you can unconsciously "cultivate the spirit" by following each procedure.
One of the thoughts about the tea ceremony is the spirit of "Ichigo Itie (a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity)": in those days, before going to war, the host invited his friends to a small tea room where everyone gathered to drink tea together. However, it was a difficult time when I might not see the person I had tea with today, but it actually happened. Therefore, it is quite clear that the spirit and manner of hospitality under the name "to treat the enemy as best as possible" was established in the tea ceremony. Nobunaga spread the value of tea among the samurai by giving them expensive teaware as decorations and honors at tea parties after they risked their lives in war.
In Yorisige Takayama's generation, the secret tea whisk was allowed to be made and sold.
After that, annual payments to the imperial family continued for a long time until the Meiji Restoration.
Care and storage of the whisk:
Be gentle with your dear Chasen.
You will notice that it is slightly stuck to the box, easily remove it from the box
Before use, wet the bottom of the handle with hot water to dissolve any remaining glue. When using the chasen for the first time, you can soak it in warm water to soften the bamboo. Immediately after making the matcha, please wash your chasen without soap or with a sponge.
Be sure to carefully wipe the whisk with a towel and carefully clean the teeth with your fingers if there is any matcha left. Keep the whisk away from sunlight or damp places to keep it in excellent condition.