When a host invites guests and holds a tea gathering, he does so wholeheartedly and, in order to satisfy the guests, puts a great deal of energy into the preparations.
When he holds a tea event, putting together a set of utensils, preparing tea and serving food in a tea room, the host of course keeps a written record of the tea gathering and the guests also make records. These are called 'chakaiki'.
Chakaiki are left by both the guests who remember the gathering and their enjoyment of the utensils and by the host as a memorandum and an appreciation. These records of the host displaying utensils in the tea room and the guests being guided by the host in their enjoyment of the tea gathering are like the script of a play in which the actors play their parts in their own way.
As for the history of chakaiki, they began during the time of Rikyu's youth, in the Tenbun period (1532-54). The voluminous tea records of Rikyu's time called the 'yondai chakaiki' such as the 'Tennojiya Kaiki' of the Tsuda family of Sakai and the 'Matsuya Kaiki' of Matsuya Genzaburo of Nara, do not merely give lists of the utensils but are also authentic records of appreciation. Chakaiki are very important records in terms of the history of tea devotees and also of the history of art.
Sometimes the things that make up a tea gathering, namely, the tea garden, the tea room and the people who attended it, quickly disappear, leaving only a name to posterity. But a tea gathering whose utensils and utensil co-ordination are recorded in a chakaiki can be transmitted to us over a long period of history. Then that gathering of long ago can be recreated not only in memory, but sometimes, when the utensils that live longer than humans have been carefully handed down to us, it is possible even to recreate the actual tea gathering itself.