DSCN4714Green Glazed Split Pepper Mukoudzuke (Ryokuyu Wari Sanshou) by Dou’nyuu

This month’s cover is from “Yugi Museum’s Famed Works”
Edo period (17th century) 8.5 cm tall, 12.3 cm in diameter
Editor and Text: KURABAYASHI Shigeyuki, Yugi Museum Curator

The name “split pepper” comes from the shape of the body, which triangular with large notches cut out of it like a sanshou peppercorn which has split open. On explanation says the design is from Hosokawa Sansai, and we can find precedents made for Ohdura and Ueno-ware. This work is quite large and closely resembles tea bowls made by Dounyuu and Kouetsu.

An uneven green glaze is placed over an extremely thin–to the point of disappearing–layer of paste. It allows the yellow colour of the paste to show through bewitchingly, contrasting well with the green glaze. The round base has three small feet and is stamped with Dounyuu’s 「樂」(raku) seal.

It is a ten dish set, which six done in a green glaze and four done in a thicker glaze. “Nonkou-ware Three-leaf Mukoudzuke” is written on the box lid. On the inside of the lid is written “Kanji-san Soushin” with artistic stamps. These refer to various Mid-Edo period Kyoto thread importers and the tea master Sakamoto Shuusai, who are mentioned in the “Record of the Restored Meibutsu of the House of Sen”. It is quite interesting that this work is called “three-leaf” as it is tradition of Shuusai, Karinaka Nakamura (a Kyoto Nishijin brocade merchant), and Yuasa (a Kyoto battery maker).

In this picture, the mukoudzuke holds abalone, young radish leaves, ginger, and rock nori dressed in vinegar, made by Kitchou of Kourai Bridge. The rice and soup bowls are kuro ichimoji wan and the tray is a kuro kamibari oritame zen. They are made by Watanabe Kisaburo II.


緑釉割山椒向付 道入作
監修・文 倉林重幸 湯木美術館学芸員
江戸時代(十七世紀)高8.5cm 胴径12.3cm


As always, you can click on me to make me bigger!

As always, you can click on the photo to make it bigger!

The Kouaka Chaki (lit. Red-Armour Tea Container) was favoured by the fifth Urasenke oiemoto, Jousou Soushitsu. It is hard to see from the photo, but it has a thin black lacquered body and a bright crimson lacquered lid. It’s shape is also a bit unusual.

How to Purify a Kouaka Chaki

  1. Clutching the folded fukusa in your right hand, pick up the kouaka chaki from above with you left hand.
  2. Change your grip to hold the chaki with your right thumb on top and your other fingers on the bottom.
  3. Place it on your left palm.
  4. Purify the chaki as if writing the character 「二」, first the far side.
  5. And then the near side. With the fukusa still clutched in your right hand, change your grip in the same way as before and then set the chaki down in the proper place, holding it from above with the left hand.




Nakabushi and Tenbushi Futaoki. Also, the hishaku’s gou is 1 sun 9 bu to 2 sun large with the ro and 1 sun 7 bu to 8 bu large with the furo

This month’s Tankou had an article talking about the differences between Furo and Ro. While the things it mentions are fairly basic, I think it is easy to get them mixed up, especially if you haven’t studied tea that long. Two differences that I forget/mix up still are shifting towards the kensui when retreating from the tea room, and the position of pointer finger when holding the hishaku. What other differences are there between furo and ro?

The Difference in Utensils Between Furo and Ro
A bamboo futaoki is generally used for hakobi temae, and the position of the bamboo joint differs from furo to ro. In furo, it is a “tenbushi” (the joint is towards to top) and in ro, it is a “nakabushi” (the joint is around the middle). There are also special futaoki with two or more joints. There is an anecdote which says that Rikyuu told his sons Douan and Shouan to make a futaoki. One of them made a “tenbushi” one and other made a “nakabushi” one. Both of them being beautiful so hating to discard either one, Rikyuu Koji designated them for different using depending on the furo or ro, it is said.

The size of the gou of the hishaku (the cup) also differs. On a whole, the gou used with the furo is smaller. However, if a hanging kettle or a tsutsugama is used with the ro, a smaller hishaku can be used along with it. The difference of the hishaku is not limited to just the size of the gou. The kiridome (end) of the hishaku handle also differs. In order that the front side of the handle is longer for the furo and shorter for the ro, the end of the hishaku is cut diagonally. The reason for this difference is because way the hishaku is placed is different: For the furo it is placed face up and for the ro is it placed face down.
There is a famous poem that can be used to remembering this:

At dusk a gentle breeze blows along the streams of Nara
The only sign of summer is the misogi purification

“禊祓ぞ夏の印” (written with different kanji) can also mean “a sign of summer is the handle cut towards you”.
Translator note!–> The above poem is the 98th poem in the famed collection called “Ogura Hyakunin Shu”

Question: What sort of different utensils are used depending of the furo or ro?

Answer: The furo starts in May when we welcome the hot weather, so we use many dogu that express cool and freshness. The charcoal is shorter and thinner compared to the ro, and since less of it is used, the charcoal utensils are smaller. The kettle becomes smaller and the furo is placed in the corner of the room in order that the guests don’t feel as hot. In reverse, in order to help the guests feel cool, utensils relating to water become larger. For example, as the height of summer is neared, the large “hira-mizusashi” is used. Just viewing it, the guests will be able to feel refreshed. And in the tokonoma a basket vase is used.

A Word from the Teacher
What other differences are there between furo and ro? Let’s take a look at Rikyu’s 100 Proverbs.

“With the furo, the charcoal in a vegetable basket, metal hibashi, a lacquered kougou, and burn sandalwood”
“With the ro, know to use a gourd sumitori, handled hibashi, ceramic kougou, and blended incense”

These teaches us that a woven sumitori, metal hibashi, a lacquered kougou, and wood incense is used with the furo. A dried and hollowed-out goard for sumitori, hibashi with wrapped handles, and ceramic kougou and blended incense is used with the ro. The ro sumitori is not limited to gourds, and baskets can be used too, but when first opening the ro, everybody knows to use a new gourd sumitori.

DSCN4699There is also the poem:

“The furo habouki is a right feather and a ro habouki is a left feather, of course!”

Whether the right side of the habouki feather is wider or the left side changes whether using it with a ro or furo. However, as you progress in your studies, you will find this is not always true such as in a gyakute room.






Tobacco Leaf Mizusashi

Tobacco Leaf Mizusashi

Learning From our Predecessors’ Aesthetic Sense
Maiolica Pottery to Dutch Tobacco Mizusashi

In the Edo period, after the shogunate closed the country to free trade, international trade was only allowed at Dejime Island near Nagasaki, to where the Dutch East India Company brought goods from all over Europe to Japan. The main trade goods were silk and spices, but Maiolica pottery made throughout Europe was brought as a private trade good. As Maiolica was a soft pottery glazed with tin and lead, various containers were selected as tea utensils. Especially pottery with large leaves glazed half in blue and half in yellow were happily called by tea men “Dutch Tobacco (Picture)” or “Tobacco Leaf”. The containers that were usually used as mizusashi were actually medicine jars. Once, on a pirate ship at a certain amusement park, I noticed a narrow Dutch tobacco mizusashi on the kitchen shelf. But it was a container for holding dry spaghetti. Just like that, it seems that not just trade goods entered Japan, but also everyday tools did too.


Here is Yae helping wounded soldiers during the Sino-Japanese War.

Here is Yae helping wounded soldier on during the Sino-Japanese War.

The Tea of Neesima Yae and Urasenke (Pt. 3)
As a Volunteer Nurse

On January 23rd, the 23rd year of Meiji, NEESIMA Jou, who had been running himself ragged establishing Doushisha University, died far away in Oh’iso. He was 47 years old. The cause was acute peritonitis, but on top of that illness was layered the stress of his work. (Cf. YOSHIMI ditto) Having spent 14 years together–good and bad–weathering the adverse social conditions towards Christianity, Yae was deeply grieved. She preserved a lamentative memorial book of “my most beloved friend” called “Notes on the illness on my beloved deceased husband Jou”. But even through this loss, Yae picked herself and without complaining renewed her efforts to pave the way for Doushisha’s operation.

One thing she did in April of the same year is become a member of the Japanese Red Cross Society, and work hard on the front lines as a volunteer nurse during the Sino-Japanese War. When the Russo-Japanese War broke out, again, she worked there. For her meritous service, she was awarded the Order of the Sacred Crown Seventh Class in Meiji 29 and then the Order of the Sacred Crown Sixth Class in Meiji 39, and she received numerous honours from the Japanese Red Cross. The Order of the Sacred Crown was established in Meiji 21 and until recently was an honour reserved for women. At the time of its creation, it had six classes and was awarded to members of the imperial family, but in Meiji 29 it was changed to eight classes and that is era when Yae was conferred the honour.

In the 19th year of Meiji, Doshisha with NEESIMA Jou as its first principle, founded the Doshisha Hospital along with the Kyoto Nurse’s College, very soon ushering in modern nursing education. The Japanese Red Cross Nurse’s Education School, which was the predecessor to the Charity Hospital started at the Kumamoto Western School, wasn’t begun until four years after this, in the 23rd year of Meiji. Yae’s aspiration as a volunteers nurse was likely to carry on through the Red Cross NEESIMA Jou’s dying wish to make the future a brighter place.


DSCN4113The Tea of Neesima Yae and Urasenke (Pt. 2)
From her Days in Aidzu to her Journey to the Capital

In the second year of Bunkyuu (1862) the prince of Aidzu, MATSUDAIRA Katamori received the order to safeguard Kyoto. Whether it was this year or not we’re not sure, but Kakuma also went to the Capital and was arrested in the fourth year of Keiou (1868). From his imprisonment inside the Satsuma Domain’s residence, Kakuma drafted a petition to the new government called “A Humble Opinion (Kanken)”. His previous self-awareness was recognized, and he worked hard at important posts such as adviser to the Kyoto Government, first Head of the Kyoto Gov. Council, and Head of the Kyoto Merchants Council. “A Humble Opinion” contained such topics such as “schools” and “women’s education”. Kakuma’s personal views on education were the same as NEESIMA Jou’s educational ideals. In the 8th year of Meiji (1875), the two sharing the same resolve founded Doshisha.

In the 2nd year of Kyoka (1845), Yae, who was the 17 years younger sister of Kakuma, was born in Aidzu to her artillery instructor father YAMAMOTO Gonpa and her mother Saku as the fifth child (third daughter). Saku became wealthy due to her enterprising spirit and it’s said not even Kakuma could match her wisdom. Kakuma, who had studied in distant Edo and Nagasaki, taught Dutch studies at the domain school Nisshinkan. Young Yae could recite the “Nisshinkan Youth Precepts” from memory. It was a family which valued Learning, I imagine.

On the occasion of the Boshin war, Yae, who was skilled in artillery, entered into Tsuru-ga-jo Castle although she was a woman and endured the seige for one month. Yae’s first marriage was aroundthe first year of Keiou when she was 20 years old. Her husband was her older brother’s school friend, the Dutch Studies scholar KAWASAKI Shounosuke. We aren’t really sure of Shounosuke’s whereabouts after the Boshin war, but it’s said he died in the 8th year of Meiji in Tokyo at the age of 39. (cf. YOSHIMI Naoto’s “Nishima Yae: A Lifetime of Love and Fight”, Kadokawa Bookstore, 2012)

On Sep. 22nd, the first year of Meiji, Tsurugajo Castle and Aidzu Domain surrendered. Nobody knew if Kakuma who was still in the Capital was alive or dead, so Yae, her mother, and niece turned toward Kyoto to determine if he were still alive. In the November of the 4th year of Meiji, they were able to again meet with her brother. (Cf. FUKUMOTO Takehisa “Nishima Yae” in “The Life and Times of the Siblings Yamamoto Kakuma and Nishima Yae”. Doshisha University, 1989.)

After the Meiji Restoration, the Kyoto Government immediately established primary schools, including education for women. According to the “Meiji Tennou Ki #2” (Yoshikawa Koubun Kan, 1969), on Sep. 3rd the fifth year of Meiji, the Emperor visited the “New English School for Women” in Dote-cho and Maruta-cho. The School for Women was founded “in the April of this year, for the purpose of teaching advanced handicrafts and English to the children of nobles and knights”. However, soon it was opened to common people too. Upon the opening of the school, Yae received the command of the Kyoto Government in February to serve as a probationary head of the woman’s school and instructor of weaving”. Around this time, Kakuma was deeply moved by the Bible “Tendou Sogen” translated into Chinese presented to him by the American missionary M.L. Gordon who was residing in Kyoto. Yae also studied this Bible. It was at the house of Gordon who facilitated her study that she occasionally meet a certain young man: Neesima Jou.

For Jou, Yae was a worthy conversational partner and he wrote to his American former teacher that she was a “handsome woman”. Thus the two were engaged in October of the 8th year of Meiji. Since she was becoming the life companion to a Christian, Yae gave up her position at the Women’s school. That year in November, Doshisha English School opened. Next year Janurary, Yae was baptised, and the missionary J.G Davis married Jou and Yae. Jou at age 32 and Yae at age 30 boldly took off. From here on, many previous scholars have talked at length about those two.

砲術の心得があった八重は、会津戊辰戦争のさいには、女子ながら鶴ヶ城に入り、一ヶ月の籠城に耐えた。八重の最初の結婚は二十歳の慶応元年ころ。夫は、兄の学友の蘭学者、川崎尚之助であった。戌辰戦争後の尚之助の消息はよく分かっていないが、明治八年、享年三十九にして、東京で歿したという(吉海直人『新島八重 愛と闘いの生涯』角川書店、二〇一二)。

Yae wrapped in Western clothing, photographed on November 3rd, the 21st year of Meiji. It was her birthday.

The Tea of Neesima Yae and Urasenke (Pt. 1)
by HIROSE Chisako, Professor at Doshisha Women’s College

The main character of the 2013 NHK Taiga Drama, NEESIMA Yae, was born in Aidzu during the Bakumatsu period. Her lord’s House fell into the predicament of the Boshin War, so as a women she joined the front lines of the battle, fighting with her own gun that she carried. Also, after moving to Kyoto, as the wife of NEESIMA Jou who helped found Doshisha, she exerted herself as a volunteer nurse during the Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese Wars. Futhermore, Yae had one more face, that as a student of Urasenke Tea Ceremony.

The chajin Neeshima Souchiku (Yae’s tea name), who put on the kettle nearly every week at her teahouse which Ennousai christened Jakuchuu-an [Hermitage in the Midst of Tranquility], was a pioneer for today’s female chajin, and had left many footsteps for us to follow in. In this months edition, let us introduce the Tea of Neesima Yae, who lived through the Bakumatsu all the way until the Showa period, along with the Tea of Urasenke during that time.

The mascot character "Yae-san" of Doshisha College.

The mascot character “Yae-san” of Doshisha College.

Many people know that Neeshima Yae (1845-1931) was the wife of Neesima Jou, the founder of Doshisha. But that she was the younger sister of YAMAMOTO Kakuma who worked as an advisor to the Kyoto Government on the modernization of Kyoto during the Meiji Restoration, less people realize. Yae, who happened to meet Neesima Jou (1943-90) through her brother Kakuma, along with people studying under Neesima Jou, were bound by fate with Urasenke. The ancestrial home of siblings Kakuma and Yae was Aidzu-han, the influential province in Tohoku, where they served for generations the House of YAMAMOTO, who were artillery instructors. Aidzu having allied with the shogunate and feeling the shame of defeat after the Boshin War, there was no encounter invited by the agitation of the Bakumatsu/Restoration period more unexpected than fate which led Yae to meet people in Kyoto. Truly, the union of Time, Place, People was a blessing bestowed upon Yae.

廣瀬千紗子 同志社女子大学教授




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