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Cultivating Chado Abroad

Cultivating Chado Abroad: Reflecting on the Transmission of Chado in the US

Event Type
Japan House
wifi event
Apr 19, 2024   4:00 - 5:30 pm  
Bruce Hamana, Kimiko Gunji, Omar Francis, Janet Ikeda, and Margie Yap
Originating Calendar
Japan House Events

On Friday, April 19 at 4PM Central Time, the Japan House at the University of Illinois is hosting an online panel discussion called Cultivating Chado Abroad: Reflecting on the Transmission of Chado in the United States. It will be focused on reflections of teachers of chado (Japanese tea ceremony, also referred to as the Way of Tea) and their views on the status of the transmission of the Way of Tea in the United States as well as the usage of tearooms, collections, and associations. Dr. Genshitsu Sen, the 15th generation grandmaster of Urasenke, actively promoted spreading the Way of Tea around the world post-WWII and generations of students and teachers were nurtured under his efforts. In addition, it is through his generosity that many tearooms were established throughout the world. Tea ceremony is one of the most iconic art forms associated with the traditional cultural heritage of Japan and deeply intertwined with cultural practices and material culture. It strongly emphasizes oral transmission in the traditions and skills passed from teacher to student and is often viewed as intangible cultural heritage with limited material records besides the special collections of tea ceremony equipment. This symposium will bring together a group of speakers, each representing different experiences and perspectives, for panel presentations and a moderated conversation on their approaches to sharing the Way of Tea and what they view for the future regarding the transmission of Chado and the care and preservation of their teaching collections and settings with topics such as the rise of technology and the impact of COVID. Following the panel discussion, there will be a moderated Q&A session.

This online panel discussion is co-sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Heritage and organized by Diana Liao, RBS-Mellon Cultural Heritage Fellow and Japan House's Education and Engagement Specialist.


About the Speakers

  • Bruce Sosei Hamana is a student and teacher of the Urasenke Tradition of Chanoyu. He worked for nearly thirty years in the International Affairs Department of Tankokai, Inc., the membership organization of Urasenke, where he helped to coordinate the overseas activities of the organization which includes over 100 affiliates all over the world. He was also the director of the Midorikai program from 2003 until 2015. Midorikai is the the foreign students division of the Urasenke Gakuen Professional College of the Way of Tea, which was established to train students to teach chanoyu in their home countries. In 2020, he wrote the book 100 Beautiful Words in the Way of Tea and is currently collaborating on a book about the 72 micro-seasons and contributing a chapter on seasonality in chanoyu in a Japanese aesthetics textbook. He has a chanoyu practice for foreign and Japanese students and teaches chanoyu at the secondary and college level. In 1998, Hamana accompanied Dr. Genshitsu Sen, 15th Generation Grandmaster of the Urasenke School of Tea, to the grand opening of Japan House as his official translator.
  • Kimiko Gunji is Professor Emeritus of Japanese Arts & Culture in the School of Art & Design, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and taught from 1979-2011. She was also Director of Japan House at the University of Illinois from 1998-2011. She is a Full Professor of the Ikenobo School of Ikebana for Japanese flower arranging and Chapter President of the Illinois Prairie Ikenobo Ikebana Group. She holds the tea name, or chamei, Souki, from the Urasenke School of Tea and serves as President of the Chado Urasenke Urbana-Champaign Association. She also holds a teaching certificate of nihon buyo (Japanese classical dance). Gunji has received numerous awards for her teachings as well as for her contributions to promote Japanese arts and culture. Among them were the University of Illinois Campus Award of Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in the Field of Ethnic and Folk Arts, and the Commendation from the Foreign Ministry in Japan for her contribution to promote and strengthen the ties of friendship and goodwill between the United States and Japan. The most distinguished award she received is the Order of the Rising Sun from the Japanese Government, which was bestowed by the Japanese Emperor. Currently she teaches Japanese traditional arts to local students as well as to the community members at Japan House at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She also gives lectures/demonstrations on Japanese arts and culture at various colleges and universities as well as many different organizations. Her wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets) book, The Art of Wagashi, was published in April 2019.
  • Omar Francis is a licensed instructor in The Urasenke Tradition of Chado, commonly known as the Japanese Tea Ceremony. First introduced to Chado at the University of Illinois (USA) in 1992 by Professor Kimiko Gunji, he was later admitted into the Midorikai program for a year of intensive training at the Urasenke headquarters in Kyoto, Japan. Since then, he has continued his studies as a member the Chicago Association of Urasenke, taking part in many educational and cultural activities. Francis Sensei is currently teaching at the Japanese Culture Center in Chicago, IL. Francis is also an adjunct instructor who teaches ARTJ 397: Zen, Tea, and Power, an online course for university students at the University of Illinois for Japan House.
  • Marjorie Yap has been a student of Tea since 1982. She spent an intensive year studying chado in Kyoto, Japan, at the Urasenke Chanoyu Institute. Marjorie received her Chamei (tea name) “Soya” and teaching credentials from Japan in 2000 from the 16th generation Urasenke Grandmaster. She has assisted teaching the art history class, Chado and Japanese Aesthetics, at the University of Washington. She also has guest lectured at Portland Community College on Tea Ceramics and at Sarah Lawrence College on The Tea Ceremony and Theater Arts. She has performed Tea Ceremony at the Portland Japanese Garden and for numerous public and private events both in the U.S. and in Japan. She continues to teach Chado in her home in NW Portland in her tearoom, Issoan.
  • Janet Ikeda is Associate Professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. She teaches Japanese literature, language and a course on the art of the Japanese tea ceremony. She is the founder of the Tea Society at Washington and Lee University in which students and the community studied Japanese tea ceremony since 2006. She is also responsible for establishing the Senshin'an Tea Room in the Reeves Center. After years of studying tea in Japan, Professor Ikeda decided to further cultivate her passion for the art form and teach a class at Washington and Lee. In the class's infancy, Professor Ikeda used her own utensils, cups, bowls, and teas as she taught this class out of a normal classroom. As the class and society gained popularity, the Tea Society and tea room have gained many generous donations from alumni and fellow enthusiasts. Professor Ikeda now teaches a 4 credit semester course studying texts relating to the art of tea, Japanese Buddhism aesthetics, and food culture, along with practical work on the ceremony in the tea room. Students learn the intricacies of the basic tea ceremony and eventually build to put on their own ceremony in the Tea Room at the end of the semester.



How do I participate in this online event?

Please register and join via Zoom. You may need to create a Zoom account in order to join the presentation.

Questions about accommodations or accessibility?

Please email if you have any questions.

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