水曜日は、Heroes and Giants
「千利休/Sen no Rikyu」
千利休/Sen no Rikyu
Japanese sado or tea ceremony is now known worldwide.
Sen no Rikyu is the person who changed drinking tea into an art.
This happens just before the start of the Edo period.
Rikyu is famous for being a sado master.
But he also had a lot of political power during this period.
Rikyu was born in 1522 in Sakai, which is part of Osaka prefecture today.
He was a son of a rich merchant.
He studied under the tea master Takeno Joo.
Joo was not only an expert on tea but also knew a lot about Waka poetry and Zen.
He believed that making tea and Zen came from the same routes, creating peace of mind.
Rikyu learned a lot from him.
In his late forties, Rikyu became Oda Nobunaga’s tea master.
This wasn’t an actual government position.
He held many tea parties for Nobunaga and his guests.
By this time, Sado was very popular in Japan and Rikyu became famous.
Around then, he decided the size of the fireplace in the tea room.
He also started using a new type of tea bowl.
While working from Nobunaga, Rikyu was slowly developing his own style of sado.
Nobunaga died during the Honno-Ji incident so Rikyu started working for the new leader, Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
But what really happened during this time.
When Rikyu heard about the Honno-Ji incident, he rushed to Hideyoshi to help him prepare for his role as a leader in Kyoto.
He might have even given Hideyoshi money and soldiers for his army.
What we do know is Rikyu became important for Hideyoshi.
He was like a secretary.
After working for Hideyoshi for several years, Rikyu began to notice their idea was different.
Rikyu liked the idea of minimalism.
But Hideyoshi liked expensive things.
Also Rikyu’s idea of “Ichigo-Ichie” or “enjoy every meeting with a new person” didn’t match with Hideyoshi’s idea of “make money from every new person you meet.
Rikyu also did not like that sado was used as a communication tool in politics.
He thought it should be a form of art.
Soon Rikyu started to oppose Hideyoshi’s ideas.
Hideyoshi did not like this and in 1591 he ordered Rikyu to kill himself by Seppuku.
Usually, only samurais are ordered to do this.
So this may suggest that Hideyoshi thought of Rikyu as a samurai.
In later years, when Hideyoshi was building a tea room for a new castle, he said,
“I wish Rikyu could design this room.”
Maybe Hideyoshi was secretly sad that he had ordered Rikyu to kill himself.
Rikyu was a tea master who is famous for developing sado.
But he was also a well-respected person who was close to the great leaders of his time.