Lesson 12  Leisure―華道と茶道、書道



Flower arrangement is also called Kado, or the Way of flowers. Japanese flower arrangement had its origin in early Buddhist flower() offerings() and developed into a distinctive(特有の) art form from the 15th century, with many styles and schools. The attention given to the choice of plant material and container, the placement of the branches, and the relationship of the branches to the container and surrounding space distinguished this art from purely decorative uses of flower.

Buddhist ritual flower offerings [供華(くげ)] were introduced to Japan from China early in the 7th century by Ono no Imoko [小野妹子], from whom the Ikenobo [池坊] school of arranging claims descent(相続者). The important three-element offering [三具足] placed in front of a Buddhist image consisted of an incense(お香) burner flanked(並べる) by a candlestick(燭台) and a vase of flowers. These flower offerings were arranged with the main stem() approximately one and a half times the height of the container and set vertically(垂直に) at its center; two additional stems were placed symmetrically(対称的に) to the left and right.

Aside(〜とは別に) from religious offerings, there is no record of any systematized form of flower arrangement in Japan prior to the late 15th century. From the tradition of three-element offering developed the style known as “standing flowers” [立花(りっか)], a more sophisticated(洗練された) arrangement that sought to reflect the majesty(主体性) of nature and from which all later schools of Japanese flower arrangement derive. During the 16th and 17th centuries, although the Ikenobo school predominated(優勢である), various school of standing flowers rose and flourished under the patronage(庇護) of the aristocracy(一流の人々).

In the late 16th century, a new form of flower arrangement called “fling into” [投げ入れ] emerged for use in the tea ceremony. An austere(質素な) and simple form was required for the flower arrangements used in the tea ceremony [茶花] rather than the increasingly elaborate(手の込んだ) standing flower styles. Sen no Rikyu [千利休] (1522-f1591) is regarded as the founder of both the ritualistic(儀式的な) tea ceremony and the accompanying fling into style of flower arrangement, in which a single vase might hold only one flower disposed(配置する) with simple elegance.

The late 17th century saw the emergence thriving(繁栄する) merchant class and a shift away from aristocratic and priestly forms of flower arrangement. A growing demand for simplification of the increasingly contrived(不自然な) standing flower styles gave rise to a new form of arrangement called “living flowers” [生花(せいか)], basically consisting of three main branches arranged in an asymmetrical(非対称的な) triangle. Whereas standing flower expressed the majesty of nature by symbolic representation of a landscape, the ideal in living flowers was to convey(伝える) the plant's essence(本質). Living flowers combined the dignity of standing flowers with the simplicity of fling into style, and by the end of the 18th century it had become the most popular style. Diverse(様々な) angles of placement and varying lengths of branches define(定める) the styles of the various schools of living flowers. Early in the 19th century, the three main branches used living flowers became commonly known as “Heaven” [], “Earth” [], and “Human” []. The height of the Human varies, but the Heaven is two-thirds as high as the Human, while the Earth is one-third as high.  



Tea ceremony is a highly structured method of preparing powdered green tea [抹茶] in the company of guests. The tea ceremony incorporates(組み入れる) the preparation(調理) and service(供応) of food as well as the study and utilization(活用) of architecture, gardening, ceramics, calligraphy, history, and religion. It is the culmination(極致) of a union of artistic creativity, sensitivity thought, and social interchange.

According to tradition, Bodhidharma [達磨], who left India and introduced Zen Buddhism to China in 520, encouraged the custom of tea drinking for alertness(精神を研ぎ澄ますこと) during meditation(瞑想). In Buddhist temples during the Tang dynasty [唐王朝] (618-907), a ritual was performed using tea in brick form [(せん)(ちゃ)]. This was ground(挽く) to a powder, mixed in a kettle with hot water, and ladled(柄杓で) into(注ぐ) ceramic bowls.

Buddhism was brought to Japan sometime in the first half of the 6th century. During the Nara period (710-794), the influence of Chinese culture included the introduction of tea in conjunction(〜とあわさって) with Buddhist meditation. Early in the Kamakura period (1185-1333), the Japanese priest Eisai [栄西] (1141-1215) returned from Buddhist studies in China, bringing the tea ritual practiced in Chinese Buddhist temples during the Song dynasty [宋王朝] (960-1279). In this ritual, called “four heads” [四頭(よつがしら)], powdered green tea is whisked(かき回す) in individual conical(円錐状の) bowls called “heaven eye” [天目]. The bowl is supported on a lacquered(漆塗りの) stand. Eisai also brought tea seeds from the plant that was to become the source of much of the tea grown in Japan today. Although wild tea grew in Japan, it was considered inferior, and the tea grown from Eisai’s seeds became known as “true tea” [本茶].

In Sakai, south of Osaka, there was a group of wealthy merchants called “warehouse school” [納屋衆]. Out of this tradition came Takeno Joo [武野紹鴎] (1502-1555), who taught the use of the stand for the tea() utensils(道具) [台子(だいす)], as well as a sensitive connoisseurship(鑑識眼) and the aesthetic sensibility known as wabi. His influence was widely felt but was most important in his instruction of his student Sen no Rikyu.

Rikyu transformed the tea ceremony, perfected(代用する) the use of the stand, and substituted common Japanese objects for the rare and expensive Chinese tea utensils used previously. Tea was no longer made in one room and served to guests in another, but rather was made in their midst. Many people began to practice the tea ceremony following the precepts(訓示) and example of Rikyu.

Rikyu's successor, Furuta Oribe [古田織部] (1544-1615), introduced a decorative style that some considered superficial(表層的な). Oribe's pupil Kobori Enshu [小堀遠州] (1579-1647) continued the grand style and was teacher to the Tokugawa shoguns, moving freely among the nobility(貴族階級), while also designing gardens and teahouses.

There were many masters of tea, with heirs(相続者) and followers who eventually gathered into schools. Ura Senke [裏千家] and Omote Senke [表千家] are the leading schools in Japan today.



In Japan, as in other countries in the Chinese cultural sphere(領域), calligraphy is considered one of the fine arts. In China, the birthplace of the East Asian tradition of calligraphy, the three disciplines(学芸分野)poetry, calligraphy, and paintingwere considered the proper attainments(熟達すること) of every cultured person, and excellence in writing thought to be a manifestation(現れ) of the practitioner's character.

The history of Japanese calligraphy begins with the introduction into Japan of the Chinese writing system in about the 5th century AD. Initially the Japanese wrote in Chinese, but they soon began using Chinese characters in new ways to suit the requirements of their native language. The poetry anthology(名詩選集) Man'yoshu [万葉集], for example, was written using Chinese characters to convey either Japanese words or syllables(音節). The latter phonetic(音声的な) method of writing is now known as man'yogana [万葉仮名]. This practice ultimately led to the creation in the early 9th century of Japanese kana that were used either alone or in combination with Chinese characters. The Japanese kana script was in wide use in the 10th century and emerged as a major calligraphic form after the 11th century. Nevertheless, for a long time the Chinese language retained(保つ) its status as the literary language of the elite and to varying degrees it was favored in later periods as well.

Various types of Chinese-character script [書体], representing the historical development of writing in China, are practiced. Archaic script [篆書] is traditionally used for carving official() seals(). Clerical(書記の) script [隷書], was once used for official documents. These are very ancient Chinese scripts and did not come into extensive use in Japan until the Edo period (1600-1868), when Chinese historical studies received much attention. More common is block-style script [楷書], perhaps the most popular style since the characters are easily recognizable. Running-style script [行書], is created by a faster movement of the brush and some consequent(必然的な) abbreviation(省略) of the character. This script is frequently used for informal writing. Grass-writing script [草書] is a true cursive(続け書きの) style that abbreviates and links parts of a character, resulting in fluid(流れるような) and curvilinear(曲線からなる) writing. In grass-writhing script, variations in the size of different characters may occur in a brush stroke, and some characters may be joined to the next, creating rhythmic and artistic forms.