In the 14th century tea drinking spread from the temples to the samurai class and then into the lives of the common people.
In the 'Shasekishu', a collection of Buddhist tales, there is the following story. A certain cowherd, seeing a Buddhist priest drinking tea, asked if he might have some. The priest said that tea was a kind of medicine that had three good effects. It relieves drowsiness, improves digestion and inhibits sexual desire. Hearing this the cowherd said that he didn't want that kind of medicine and fled. 'Shasekishu' was written at the end of the Kamakura period. In this story the cowherd did not become a lover of tea, but there is a suggestion that at this time tea had spread from daily life in temples to the samurai class and then into the world of ordinary people. By this time tea was being drunk not as a medicine but as a preferred drink and the culture of tea drinking was established.
The popularization of tea brought an increase in demand which caused an increase in the number of places it was planted and the amount of tea produced. As a result, famous tea growing areas and ranks of tea appeared and the game of 'tocha' (in which many cups of tea were served and prizes awarded for identifying the type of tea and the area of its production) became popular. Especially in the Nambokucho era (the period of Northern and Southern Courts, 1336-92 which was a period of internal disturbances) Sasaki Doyo, a daimyo known for his ostentatious lifestyle, enjoyed giving tocha gatherings, displaying the art works that were brought by ship from China (karamono) and giving gorgeous prizes to the guests. The details of this are given in the 'Taiheiki', a famous war chronicle.
In the 15th century there were two main developments in the culture of tea. The first was a kind of banquet called a chakai. The word chakai first appears in the 'Kissa Orai' (Letter on Tea drinking) and its form was very much like the basic form of chakai that was established in the time of Sen no Rikyu. The second development can be seen in documents which established the way of formally decorating a room under the Ashikaga Shogunate, such as the 'Kuntaikan Sochoki' (Register of the Shogunal Family, Left and Right Volumes), in which there is a record of the way to prepare a tea room and the utensils used. During this time tea moved from the age of from being consumed as a luxury item to the time of 'chanoyu', an activity which had its own philosophy and form.

Font size 小 中 大

Back Page     13     bt_next_2.gif