The course integrates an interrogation of tea’s history with practical experience in tea room etiquette. The course examines critical incidents in the development of nstitutionalised tea instruction, with the intention of identifying the trajectory of tea’s self-presentation as the embodiment of the nation. Tea films will be read as documentary outlines of tea practices and as critical comments on certain aspects of tea pedagogy and the use of culture as a national ideology. By the end of the course, students are expected to be able to enter a tea room, inspect the scroll and flowers, and cross the tea room to inspect the kettle and hearth before returning to their designated position. Students should also be able to distinguish between thin and thick tea serving procedures and utensils. Students will learn the basic rules for eating tea sweets and a simple tea serving procedure using a tray, and will be required to serve tea to each other.
This course gives an overview of the poetics and politics of tea. It introduces the history of tea’s development in Japan by referring to English language tea scholarship and representations of tea in Japanese cinema. It is in the context of this national development that the Nambo Ryu School of Tea, based here in Fukuoka, is introduced.
The course is suitable for students who are interested in learning the grammar of the tea ritual and understanding how tea synthesised a broad range of material practices to create a distinctive national culture. It is designed to give students a sense of the cultural context of tea’s development that should provide some framework for interpreting other Japanese cultural practices. Readings will include translated chapters from 茶の湯と筑前 利休らの足跡と「南方録」の系譜 by 松岡博和. Students will receive an introduction to the serving procedures of the Nambo Ryu School of Tea and will be assessed on their performance of basic tea room etiquette.