Rikyu was tea master to Nobunaga and Hideyoshi and so chanoyu made an entry into the world of politics in the time of Nobunaga. Chanoyu was one of the pleasures of the daimyo and they competed to have the best tea masters close at hand.
It is thought that as the grandson of Rikyu, the 3rd generation Genpaku Sotan was asked by the shogun and by many daimyo to work for them. However, Sotan, fearing a recurrence of Rikyu's tragedy, decided never to accept employment by a daimyo and devoted himself so wholeheartedly to a life of honest poverty that his nickname became 'wabi Sotan'. He spent his whole life embodying the wabi that Rikyu originated, without being swayed by social conditions.
In the 17th century society moved from the age of civil wars into the Edo period under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate. Stable social conditions brought about changes in chanoyu also. Sotan had 4 sons, and thinking of the social status of Sado in these newly stable conditions , he decided to send them to work as tea masters for daimyo, in contrast to his own posture as a tea practitioner.
Sotan's 3rd son Koshin Sosa (1613-72), who from an early age had been groomed as a successor to Sotan, was employed as a tea master by the Tokugawa of Kii Province, one of the three branches of the Tokugawa family. The first generation Lord of the Kii domain, Tokugawa Yorinobu was deeply learned in chanoyu and made much of Koshin as a direct descendent of Rikyu. The hollyhock crest tea bowl that has been handed down at the Iemoto to the present day is known as the one that was used when Koshin offered tea to Yorinobu.
From this time the successive Iemotos of Omotesenke continued to serve as tea masters to the Kii Tokugawa family, which had a great effect on chanoyu.

Back Page     38     bt_next_2.gif