WANOBI – Beautiful Japan Chashitsu Exhibition Creating a New Style of “SOU”
Takenaka Carpentry Tool Museum|
June 29 – July 28, 2019
7-5-1 Kumochi-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe 651-0056, Japan
English Guided Tour Saturday, July 27, 2019 at 11 AM – 2 PM
A New Era for Tea Blends Traditional Japanese Artistry With Modern Global Enjoyment
It’s a new era, and just as Sen no Rikyū shook up the tea ceremony in the 16th century, WANOBI – Beautiful Japan Foundation seeks to showcase tea-related traditions and Japanese artisans with a modern interpretation at the Takenaka Carpentry Tool Museum in Kobe June 29 – July 28, 2019.
Chashitsu – Creating a New Style of “SOU” is a comprehensive art exhibition embodying the essence of traditional Japanese Chanoyu – the Way of Tea – with a contemporary feel for modern patrons to enjoy.
“This exhibit invites people to relax and enjoy traditional tea ceremony artistry in an approachable way,” said Yuko Sangu, executive director of WANOBI – Beautiful Japan, a general incorporated foundation located in Kobe, Japan promoting traditional Japanese artisans. “People think of Japanese tea ceremony as very strict and formal. This exhibit says, “‘Don’t be afraid of tea ceremony. Be comfortable and just enjoy its beauty and hospitality.’”
This is the first large-scale exhibition for WANOBI. The museum’s main floor will be transformed into a Chashitsu, tea room made of washi paper showcasing the essential utensils in a tea ceremony made by nine traditional Japanese artisans. Alongside the tea room is a scaled-down karesansui (dry garden) and traditional kimono display, which embody the essence of Chanoyu. Additional artwork by the nine WANOBI artisans will also be exhibited. Explanations are in Japanese and English.
WANOBI’s new interpretation of SOU will present a fresh look into the world of Chanoyu. “We hope that people who are already fond of traditional Japanese culture will find our exhibition refreshing,” Sangu said. “We also wish to appeal to a younger generation and non-Japanese who may be unfamiliar with Chanoyu.” The word sou is a character taken from the kanji真行草 (shin-gyou-sou), which has its origins in traditional Japanese calligraphy and is used to represent various arts, including Chanoyu. Sou is the more casual approach, and the exhibit aims to take it even further.
Tea utensils have developed with the tea ceremony since the 15th century, which as a whole have contributed to the development of Japanese arts. Chanoyu is performed as an intricate artistic custom with the emphasis being on form. However, the real essence of Chanoyu, Sangu said, lies in its hospitality and its use of seasonal themes as a means of entertaining guests. This spirit of Chanoyu is embodied in the variety of utensils used to prepare and serve the tea such as the tea bowl, tea caddy, whisk, kettle, water jug, and lid stand; as well as in the ornamental features like the hanging scroll, flower vase, incense container, or sweets’ dishes. The design and layout of the tea room, the waiting room, and the tsuboniwa (small garden) are also by extension an integral part of the tea ceremony.
For centuries Kobe has been a point of contact between the East and West and, as a consequence, has also been at the heart of where new foreign cultures and traditional Japanese culture have combined. Now that the Heisei Era has ended and the Reiwa begins, this is an appropriate time to organize an exhibition in Kobe comprising high-quality artworks of traditional Japanese culture for a modern era that have been created by WANOBI’s nine artisans:
- Michiko Inagaki:Kyo-nui Embroidery artist, Kyoto City, Kyoto
- Toshio Iwamoto: Japanese Garden designer, Okayama City, Okayama
- Shinichi Okura: Lacquerware artist, Sanda City, Hyogo
- Makoto Okuno: Washi (Japanese paper) artist, Ryujin Village, Wakayama
- Naoe Koide: Bizenware Pottery artist, Setouchi City, Okayama
- Kazuhiro Suzuki: Jidaigire Textile Artist, Kyoto City, Kyoto
- Tsukimi Sonobe: Kimono designer, Takarazuka City, Hyogo
- Tango Tanimura: Chasen artisan, Ikoma City, Nara
- Zentaro Tsuchida: Shippo Cloisonne artist, Nishinomiya City, Hyogo
Today, just as Sen no Rikyū devised, tea ceremony is about bringing people together as equals. Leave your sword or prestige at the door. A New Style of Sou invites patrons to enjoy in comfort the sanctuary of sharing tea together blended with the beauty of Japanese art, culture and hospitality to brings about good conversation, peace and harmony in this global new era.
WANOBI – Beautiful Japan Chashitsu Exhibition Creating a New Style of “SOU” DETAILS
Title: Creating a New Style of “SOU”
Dates: June 29 – July 28, 2019
Address: Takenaka Carpentry Tool Museum
7-5-1 Kumochi-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe 651-0056, Japan
TEL 078-242-0 216 / FAX 078-241-4713 https://www.dougukan.jp/?lang=en
Opening Times: Tuesday to Sunday, 9:30 – 16:30 (last admission 16:00)
Closed: Mondays (The following day when Monday falls on a national holiday)
Admission: The Tea Room exhibition is free of charge and open to the public. Additional fee for Takenaka Carpentry Tool Museum access.
Access: The Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum is located near the Shin-Kobe Station on the foot of Mount Rokko in Kobe. This station is accessed by Shinkansen bullet train or subway. Limited free parking available.