Military Review

Samurai and tea

Chalking of cicadas.
With me tea drank

My shadow on the wall ...
Maeda Fura (1889 - 1954's) Translation by A. Dolin

Modern ideas about the occupation and leisure of Japanese samurai are, in general, quite stereotypical. And stereotypes in our time are automatically superimposed on any image of the historical and literary hero of Japanese novels.

Samurai and tea

Japanese tea house.

It is not surprising that samurai are just as good swordsmen, who definitely will not deny themselves the pleasure of contemplating their magnificent armor. Perhaps, in the hours of rare leisure, they found time to throw some poetic lines, at the same time combining their not too frequent inspiration with thoughts about the irreversibility of death and inventing various ways of happy "leaving" from life. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Many samurai did not hold a sword in their hands. Most likely, the Buddha’s teaching was taken literally by them. But even those who were famous for their military exploits didn’t always represent bloodthirsty murderers and “thugs” obedient to their master, in doodles by dozens of heads carrying their masters.

Tea house in the forest.

The Japanese today, despite the rapid rhythm of their lives, still find time to think about the meaning of their existence, about the frailty of life. The annual tradition of admiring flowers - hanami - as a centuries-old tradition that emerged during the Nara period (710 - 784), acts as a distinctive feature of the Japanese samurai, a sophisticated and sophisticated warrior.

The difference between samurai in peaceful life and on the battlefield is clearly visible. We got up in the morning - went to bed in the evening. Everything here is like the rest. Demonstration of their social status obliged to pay special attention to their toilet, for example, hair. They admired flowers, watched the sunset, could laugh heartily at the performances of the Kobuki Theater. Sometimes, of course, they drank sake, flirted with young women, did not deny themselves the use of excess food. However, a particularly developed sense of beauty distinguished these warriors from warriors from other regions of Eurasia. That is, the education of the samurai was, so to speak, very extraordinary in the opinion of those same Europeans, since the natural conditions surrounding the students were also not quite ordinary.

Cavaliers and ladies at the tea ceremony. Artist Mitsuno Toshikata (1866-1908).

Competent possession weapons, horse riding, hunting and playing chess - the only thing that was required of the knights of Western Europe. Everything! The skills of a good knight, the Arab knights Faris, included the ability to "appreciate the nobility of horses and the beauty of women." Surprisingly, the horses in the "list of interests" of the Arabs held a leading position compared with women. But in the rest of the literacy they are seriously inferior. Charlemagne was illiterate. His assiduous attempts to add letters never taught him to read and write. But nevertheless among them there were quite good poets and storytellers, as, indeed, among Japanese samurai. Already from early childhood began their journey to quality education. And further education was no exception. Many samurai received it when they were in the service of their master. Unfortunately, the opinion of the knights was formed in such a way that for a long time they understood literacy as the lot of the clerics, but not the lot of their own kind. Home education ended for them the honorary title of a knight or squire. But the samurai continued their studies after 18 years in educational institutions such as gymnasiums. There, the Chinese language replaced Latin in European universities.

Now it is clear that the samurai had enough time to combine military business with leisure. The Spartans knew nothing more than leisure and war. The same European knights, feudal lords, almost exactly copy the life style of the samurai, bypassing them a little at the educational level. After a grueling, hard day, having made another feat in the name of the country and his master, calm and good rest were indispensable. And here it should be emphasized that a very important source of restoring inner peace of mind of the Japanese knights was freshly brewed tea. Hot and fragrant. He was the only one - he warmed, soothed, charged with energy, helped to seriously relax in moments of spiritual relaxation. The obsession of the Japanese with such ordinary tea reached the point that they connect the flowering of their centuries-old culture directly with the activities of the religious Buddhist school of Zen, and only because the monks of this Buddhist school brought tea to Japan from China and drank it at night to get rid of drowsiness.

To the spring, even if it is located somewhere far away in the forest, a neat wooden bucket for water is surely attached.

This custom was adopted by samurai. For this, the tradition of tea ceremonies - tiado (“the way of tea”) was developed. The participant of the tea ceremony required extreme concentration, renunciation of all that was bad, spiritual reunion with nature. Tea houses - Tysitsy, located away from the hustle and bustle of city life; conducting a Japanese ritual required an intimate atmosphere and communication in private. Tea drinking is, first of all, a meeting of friends and good acquaintances who have common tastes and inclinations. The organization of the appropriate atmosphere for friendly communication sets its conditions for achieving this comfort: simplicity, cleanliness and compliance of a certain situation with specific guests. The host is the host of the ceremony. Soon there was a need for a professional tea ceremony organizer. Such professionals enjoyed prestige among the highest aristocracy and among the samurai.

A set of dishes for the Japanese tea ceremony:
Natsume - a ceramic cup for weakly brewed tea;
Tiasaku - bamboo or wooden teaspoon;
Tyavan - a teacup;
Iassen - a whisk for whipping tea;
Mizukashi - a vessel for brewing water;
Hisaku - ladle, which is poured hot water into cups;
fucus - the cloth with which the owner rubs the tea utensils;
Kobukus is a fabric on which a cup with hot strong tea is served to the guest.

A well-trained tea master should be able to quickly navigate and solve taste problems. Arranged "tea well-being" helped reconcile even the most violent enemies. Artfully decorated bouquets of flowers, a scroll with beautifully written hieroglyphs or engravings are the main details of the interior that define the theme of the ceremony.

A teapot with the image of a raven, XV-XVI centuries. Tokyo National Museum.

Along with the dishes, special attention was paid to vases in which small bouquets of flowers were made out. The specificity of the tea ceremony's detailed arrangement is very well revealed by a case from the life of a Japanese samurai, Ued Shigeasu, who, under the fire of his enemy, at the risk of cutting off the vending bamboo trunk, to make a small vase for a tea house. The only material used to make these vases is bamboo and ceramics.

Chirikane black lacquer lacquer painted with gold powder. Weight 1,312 g. Size 30 × 52,5 cm.

Tableware for the tea ceremony should not be fanciful. High-quality manufacturing of dishes was not an easy task. A skillfully made cup or caddy was sometimes valued above a good sword. As a rule, the tea ceremony took place against the background of a specific live sound, which was produced by a cast boiling kettle on a brazier or tripod. Sometimes iron bars of various sizes were placed on the bottom of the kettle, which could regulate the sound palette coming from the kettle. On a smoothly polished tray often served light snack, corresponding to the season, the mood and taste of the guest. Low lintel forced, bent over to eat on a tray, and thereby equalized all the "growth".

Lacquered teapot with emblems of the Tokugawa house, XIX century Art Museum Tokugawa, Nagoya.

After eating, you had to rinse your mouth and hands, and only then drink tea, slowly, enjoying the taste and smell of "green drink". As a sign of politeness and gratitude, it was worth wondering where the dishes came from and what kind of craftsman she was made. Naturally, praise her. After all, each cup was distinguished by the uniqueness of its shape and its pattern. Among them were not even two identical. Cups with shcherbinki were considered the most valuable and were intended for especially noble guests.

Japanese for tea. 19th century woodcuts

Dry tea leaves were measured with a special bamboo spoon and poured boiling water from the kettle in porcelain cups. The green liquid was whipped with a bamboo whisk until a light green foam appeared. Another spoonful of cold water and everything was ready to enjoy ordinary Japanese tea. Of course, the recipes of the masters were a little different.

Japanese antique table of the middle of the last century - hakumi. Specially designed for cha-no-yu, it is made in the style of chirikane and coated with brown varnish, followed by polishing. Size 47 × 18cm.

Then the fashion for tea moved to Europe, there were tea clippers with a maximum speed of delivery of new tea from Asia. But this история requires a separate conversation, in which the samurai warriors have no place.

The authors thank the company "Antiques of Japan" for the photos and information provided.

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  1. cobalt
    cobalt 31 July 2015 07: 38
    I also like it when everything is so simple, harmonious, you know, sincerely.
    1. iouris
      iouris 3 August 2015 17: 50
      There are two problems. No clean water or real tea.
  2. parusnik
    parusnik 31 July 2015 07: 49
    Little spider hanging over a cup of tea
    The scent sighs
    Glittering Web
  3. Nester
    Nester 31 July 2015 09: 09
    Such a poetic nation, every step is a ritual, every action is a ceremony. Calligraphy, tea ceremony, harmony with nature, etc., etc. And at the same time, bloodthirsty, not knowing mercy thugs, perverts in the end ...
    1. The comment was deleted.
    2. Decathlon
      Decathlon 31 July 2015 11: 40
      Irrevocably smokes away.
      Like a hisaku dipper.
      Kuril Islands
    3. washi
      washi 31 July 2015 13: 15
      Quote: Nester
      Such a poetic nation, every step is a ritual, every action is a ceremony. Calligraphy, tea ceremony, harmony with nature, etc., etc. And at the same time, bloodthirsty, not knowing mercy thugs, perverts in the end ...

      And read the guide to psychiatry. There is a diagnosis.
      And they will cure me .....
  4. Vladimir
    Vladimir 31 July 2015 09: 36
    Yes, indeed, Eastern wisdom and discretion can teach a lot of things, for example: If the mind is polished like a mirror, then there is no need to take a sword in your hands: it is worth thinking and learning.
  5. Russian Patriot
    Russian Patriot 31 July 2015 09: 40
    A nation of contrasts. It seems like quiet and humble people, but their TV shows and ads. .. This is beyond good and evil. On the one hand, a wonderful distinctive culture, and on the other, endless anime series. They remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki very well, but they obey the Americans in everything. I refuse to understand the Japanese.
    1. zubkoff46
      zubkoff46 31 July 2015 13: 29
      And how many people have plagued and with what cruelty in World War II ...
  6. Major_Vortex
    Major_Vortex 31 July 2015 09: 44
    Not only were yapi tea brought from China, but Zen himself came to Japan from China, where he was called Chan. Chan Buddhism is a Chinese invention. A lot of what the Japanese brought and adopted from neighboring China.
  7. Jääkorppi
    Jääkorppi 31 July 2015 09: 53
    Great article in the context of Japan series !! But you don’t have to give the Kuril Islands !!
    1. kalibr
      kalibr 31 July 2015 21: 41
      There will be more, stay tuned ...
  8. AAV
    AAV 31 July 2015 10: 15
    Many thanks to the authors for the article.
    After reading it, you are convinced once again that, as the famous hero of "The White Sun of the Desert" comrade Sukhov said:
    "East is a delicate matter!"
    In my opinion, the special value and attractiveness of the article is that it allows you to get away from stereotypes in views on the culture of Japanese samurai and learn new aspects of this culture.
  9. cth; fyn
    cth; fyn 31 July 2015 12: 36
    Slowly, well, at least a little bit, but I learned a new one, Vyachaslav thanks interestingly writes. Green tea and really cool coffee will be, there is a mountain of caffeine! In addition, it is not so harmful to zoology, on the contrary, it helps the kidneys, so hehe, do not indulge in the path with a green tea)
  10. Moryag
    Moryag 31 July 2015 14: 23
    Thanks to the author, easy, interesting, informative! hi
    Of course, it’s tea, it’s tasty and healthy, but at least kill it, a country and a people with such a rich culture, traditions, which have developed a cult of veneration of their ancestors ... sorry to water (and not tea at all) your ancestors, with your dressing before fsha, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki ... I don’t understand them, not once. request

    PS: Drink tea! wink
  11. RiverVV
    RiverVV 31 July 2015 14: 43
    The author is naive. The tea ceremony for the samurai was an aesthetic ritual, but no more. And completely optional in life. Like clean cowards every day. If you consider yourself a sophisticated person - climb into the tea house. But if there are three hundred garrison in the castle, and there is only one tea house, then it is clear that all the aesthetics did not work out. Therefore, if an ordinary soldier wanted tea, then he did not bother in the shade on the walls, but went to the kitchen and drank as much as he liked.

    Well, if there was a choice: drink tea, or sake, then it is clear that they chose. Hint: did not choose tea. Quality samurai loved to thump, including the most senior.
  12. Jager
    Jager 31 July 2015 14: 57
    An interesting and informative article. Indeed, we know very little about the culture of other nations. More precisely, they are very familiar with stereotypes. I would love to read something similar about the culture of our people. After all, by and large, we don’t know nicherta ...
    1. Free wind
      Free wind 31 July 2015 15: 54
      no problem winked ... Since ancient times, some groups of people loved tea, if they brewed it in the forest, then the vessel for tea was called CHIFIRBAK (liter tin can), the gentlemen, often called ZK, kindled a small fire, under the shade of mighty pines, and boiled water over a leisurely conversation, then tea leaves were added to the boiling water, Indian tea, second grade, of the Irkutsk tea-weighing factory was a great happiness, but the board of pressed tea rolled quite normally. The recipe for half a liter of water half a liter of tea leaves was carefully followed. a spoon for stirring tea was poetically called, VESLO. the resulting drink, CHIFIR, poetically swearing and burning, the amateurs drank from CHIFIRBAK, usually two HAPKI. the observance of the ritual of tea drinking was watched by two people, guardians or dubaks, the first brewing CHIFIR, the second time over-brewed tea VORYAKI, the third time or devilish. But seriously, the Russian people loved tea, and drank it in a special way. From saucers and always with lump sugar or jam, see Kustodiev's painting "The Merchant's Wife at Tea" someone publish a reproduction, drank tea in companies, but usually this is a family tea party.
      1. Major_Vortex
        Major_Vortex 31 July 2015 19: 38
        Quote: Free Wind
        no problem winked . Since ancient times, some groups of people loved tea ... CHIFIRBAK (liter can), gentlemen, often called ZK ...

        Chifir was never tea. Ask at least what a chifir is before writing nonsense. ZK in general, the masters were to extract alcohol from anything: bread was smeared with shoe polish and toothpaste was diluted with water ... But alcohol from this did not turn into tea, but only vice versa. Chifir is extremely harmful to the body. And tea is a healthy tonic drink that everyone drinks: Yap, Chinese, Koreans, and Russians. Even the British gulls drink. Although, in many European countries they don’t drink tea at all, only coffee.
      2. Aqela
        Aqela 31 July 2015 23: 12
        As far as I know, a tin can should not be a liter, but certainly - an old, tinned tin with rusty bald spots.
        Infa 100% - tovarisch in Kolyma in the 50s, the chervonets rewound. yes
        By the way, if you are such a connoisseur of the life of ZK, explain where could liter cans come from? There’s at least a crack, there’s no link anywhere to pack some canned food per liter ... It seems that the closest volume is about 1/5 gallon or 2 pounds (such canned meat and vegetable products), about 920 ml ...
        1. Ze Kot
          Ze Kot 1 August 2015 00: 27
          Quote: Aqela
          where could liter cans come from? There’s at least a crack, there’s no link anywhere to pack some canned food per liter ... It seems that the closest volume is about 1/5 gallon or 2 pounds (such canned meat and vegetable products), about 920 ml ...

          I don’t know how before, but in the army I saw condensed milk in cans of 3,9 kg. They are now sometimes found in stores. There is clearly more than a liter.
  13. projdoha
    projdoha 31 July 2015 20: 54
    Samurai - these are people who in Japan explained where they came from: From Amur I - said a Russian warrior hired to serve the emperor.
    1. kalibr
      kalibr 31 July 2015 21: 39
      The word samurai comes from the verb saburau - to serve. And then Cupid? If this is humor, then someone may not understand - so people are scared by all sorts of alternative people, and if you believe in it, then ... this is bad.
      1. projdoha
        projdoha 31 July 2015 21: 56
        Do you believe that samurai comes from saburau? then call it saburai))
        1. kalibr
          kalibr 31 July 2015 22: 12
          It's not about believing, but about the rules of Japanese grammar and word changes. We speak and write sushi and geisha, although the letter "w" is not in their language, we must say geisha and sushi. A verb and a noun are different words. In addition, there were no Russians on the Amur when the samurai were already there ...
          1. cth; fyn
            cth; fyn 1 August 2015 08: 27
            And doshirak-doshirak
          2. projdoha
            projdoha 1 August 2015 10: 15
            Colleagues, I do not believe in all this, but simply admit that the samurai can be from Amur I, and also admit that it can form from the verb saburau. I also admit that saburau came from the noun samurai. I also admit that 300 years ago white people lived on the island of Hokkaido, who were driven out by the Japanese (they multiplied very much)
  14. pacific
    pacific 9 August 2015 03: 31
    The article is interesting and informative. To the author +.

    ... tea clippers appeared with the maximum speed of delivery of a new crop of tea from Asia.

    Small clarification:
    At first, the clippers took drugs - opium, mainly to China and, to some extent, directly to England. It was the speedy delivery of opium that served as the beginning of the famous clipper races. But, since the opium trade was illegal, both in China (fully) and in Europe (partially) - the cunning Anglo-Saxons, these races were called tea races, as well as clippers. Moreover, after the unloading of Burmese opium in Guangzhou, the clippers were really loaded with tea.

    Something, unlike opium, somehow it doesn’t matter how quickly it is delivered to the consumer. For example, Russia about 150 years (18th and 19th century) before the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway drank Kyakhtinsky (Chinese) tea, which fell on the consumer in the 2nd or even 3rd year after collection.