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Japan Tours and Life Style

The Trilogy of Kado, Sado and Shodo in Japanese culture

Historically, Japanese people found spirituality in a flower, a cup of tea, an ink-written message, and Japanese incense. This has evolved into a Japanese tea ceremony, Japanese flower arrangement, Japanese calligraphy, and Japanese incense, and many Japanese people continue to master these old Japanese arts.

When it comes to Japanese art, there are several “do” (ways of…) in Japan, including Sado, Kado, Shodo, and Kyudo. These “Ways” depict Japanese culture and are hence classified as art. Every “way” embodies a Japanese tradition, but each “way” is distinct. Because I am particularly fond of Sado and Kado, I shall focus on these two “ways”.

As with Aikido and Budo, the name of our application “TABIDO” suggests that we want you to become a travel master. In that perspective, there are three “do’s” as Japanese traditional arts. Sado (tea ceremony), kado (Japanese-style floral arrangement), and shodo are three of them (calligraphy).

Kado: Flower Arrangement

 

Kado: Flower Arrangement
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Kado (Japanese-style flower arrangement) is an art form that involves cutting, arranging, and appreciating seasonal plants in a flower vase to show their beauty. In ancient times, flower adorning culture began with giving flowers in front of a Buddhist altar. Flowers were then viewed as precious life rather than beautiful items. Finally, the narrative of kado began. Kado is a flower arrangement that is similar to a western-style flower arrangement. However, kado differs from flower arrangement in that it emphasises consciousness and attitude toward flowers, as well as polite behaviour. Japanese tradition has survived in certain locations. “Ikebana,” the practice of easily decorating flowers, expanded during and after the middle Edo era, and numerous schools arose. Recently, a free and original “Ikebana” style has evolved, which deviates from the traditional manner. Japanese history and culture are intertwined with not just the tea room and an alcove in a guest room, but also with flowers displayed in hotels, etc.

Historical Technique Inspired by Buddhism

Unfortunately, there are no records of how or when Kado or Ikebana originated; yet, it is thought to have originated from Buddhism. According to one interpretation, the roots of Kado are floral tributes paid to Buddha or the dead.

Kado
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The representative of the school that continues the Kado legacy is commonly referred to as an “iemoto.” Senkei Ikenobo, the eldest iemoto and the first leader of the Ikenobo school, was also a monk. This is how you can tell Kado had some sort of relationship to Buddhism.

There are currently around 300 Kado schools, according to reports. The primary three schools that represent Japan are the Ikenobo, the Sougetsu school, and the Ohara school. Ikebana culture flourished throughout Japan and eventually became renowned in Europe near the end of the Edo period. Unlike Western flower arrangements, the various methods of Kado-Ikebana impacted many people outside of Japan.

How is the Arrangement Made?

However, as previously stated, Ikebana is more than merely arranging plants to make them appear attractive. Understanding the artist’s heart and being able to honour and respect nature will allow you to love the works of art much more.

You might be able to see a Kado expert arrange flowers on the spot at select events. If you are lucky enough to get this opportunity, pay attention to the master’s motions and the strategies he employs during the procedure.

Ikebana was initially designed to be displayed in the Japanese room’s tokonoma region. As a result, arrangements were made to be seen only from the front, albeit Ikebana may now be found in museums and galleries. Regardless of the variances, all schools use flower scissors to cut the plants and arrange them in a balanced arrangement in a flower vase.  As a result, strategies and procedures with greater adaptability have been used to suit the location (Note: rules and techniques vary by the school).

Sado: Japanese Tea Ceremony

 

Sado Japanese Tea Ceremony
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Sado translates to “The Way of Tea.” The Tea Ceremony, also known as cha no yu, is an important and well-known component of Japanese culture. Every gesture is synchronised, and every move has a significance – comprehending The Way of Tea is a difficult task.

Sado (tea ceremony) is a culture in which guests are served green tea in line with traditional style and etiquette rules. It is supposed to have originated in China during the Tang Dynasty. Sado founded a spiritual culture known as “Wabi / Sabi” on the Zen concept. Sen no Rikyu mastered it entirely and founded “Wabi-cha”.

Sado emphasises not only the enjoyment of tea as a whole but also the concentration of one’s mind on brewing tea in a quiet area, such as a tea room, to reflect on oneself and enhance one’s soul. Furthermore, there is a word in sado called “Ichigo Ichie,” which suggests that we should give our best for the person in front of us because we may only see him/her once in a lifetime. Among the many regulations of Sado, the most important is to drink tea, embrace such spirits, and respect others. Sado tradition has also lived in a tea cafe and tea garden. These are things you should enjoy as well.

What is needed for the Tea Ceremony?

  • Fukusa- is a two-ply silk cloth that is used to clean tea items.
  • Kaishi- a little piece of washi, or Japanese paper, used to serve the sweets. It can be placed next to the guest if they are unable to consume all of the sweets. When drinking weak matcha, the bowl is wiped clean with a finger before being cleansed with the kaishi. The kaishi is used to wipe the bowl directly after drinking strong tea.
  • Chaikin- is a tiny, rectangular cloth used to clean the tea bowl.
  • Tea Caddy (Natsume)- a tiny, covered container used to store weak powdered tea.
  • Chair (Porcelain Caddy)- a porcelain container used to store strong powdered tea.
  • Tea Whisk (Chasen) – a tool used to evenly spread powdered tea in hot water.
  • Chaikin (tea cloth)- a wet linen cloth used to wipe the tea bowl.
  • Tea Bowl (Dhawan)- the size and style of the tea bowls used in the ceremonial vary based on the season.
  • A ladle (hishaku)- is a tool used to pour water. It is smaller in the summer and larger in the winter. Its shape and dimensions, like the tea dish, change with the seasons.
  • Chagama (Tea Kettle)- used to boil water.
  • Tea Scoop (chashaku)- used to scoop tea from the caddy into a bamboo-made dish.

 

The Process:-

Every sado school has its method of serving tea. The term temae refers to doing all of the numerous actions in a full Tea Ceremony. The following is a brief description of a general protocol that does not include any actions particular to school, season, or time of day:

  1. Using the scoop, pour the green tea from the caddy into the dish.
  2. Using the ladle, pour boiling water into the bowl.
  3. Use a whisk to combine all of the ingredients.
  4. If you are the guest, bow and lay the bowl on the palm of your left hand with your right hand.
  5. Using your right hand, rotate the bowl three times clockwise.
  6. Using your right hand, wipe the bowl where your lips touched it, rotate it counterclockwise, and return it to the host.

Completing the Ceremony:-

Aside from a flawless performance while pouring the tea, there are a few more factors to consider when doing so:-

The Tea Room: the ceremony cannot take place anywhere else. A Tatami room is required because the positioning of the mats, for example, influences the position of the host and guests.

Clothes: Formal attire is required to honour the ceremony. While the host will almost always wear a kimono, depending on the type of ceremony, attendees may also wear Western formal attire, such as a suit, if not a kimono.

Hanging Scroll: A hanging scroll can be found in the tokonoma alcove. They frequently have a picture or calligraphy on exhibit, with relation to the wedding itself.

Floral Vase: A hanaire is a miniature vase that holds a flower arrangement and is presented in the tokonoma. Seasonal flowers are utilised in conjunction with bamboo, rattan, or earthenware.

Meal: fresh, seasonal items are used to prepare a small meal that emphasises the season in which the ceremony is conducted.

 

Shodo: Japanese Calligraphy

 

Shodo Japanese Calligraphy
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Shodo (calligraphy) is another major traditional Japanese culture. It is an art form to write kanji and kana characters, as well as words, with a brush and ink using a specific font type. Many people work as shodo artists now that it has been recognised as an art form. At the same time, so do has permeated Japanese culture; for example, they write New Year’s cards with a brush and ink.

There are three major writing styles. Because the block (kaisho) style is the most fundamental and easiest to master, beginners usually start with it. After mastering this style, practitioners commonly progress to the semi-cursive (Kyosho) style, before moving on to the cursive (sosho) style. It usually requires a lot of practice to become proficient in the sosho style.

A typical calligraphy session includes learning about the history of the trade before being taken through the methods involved. Participants are then allowed to practise writing specific sets of kanji under the supervision of the instructor. In the end, participants are frequently permitted to take some of their work home with them. Lessons normally last 1-2 hours and range in price from 2000 to 5000 yen per person. Reservations are frequently necessary.

History

Emperor Qin Shi Huang (220-210 BC), the first Qin emperor, charged his prime minister, Li Si, with developing a consistent script to aid newly unified China’s relations with Japan, which did not have a written language. This marked the beginning of a centuries-long process of transforming characters from Chinese calligraphy into Japanese forms and symbols. Shodo had all of its basic forms before the end of the Han period in 220 AD. The earliest known calligraphic inscription in Japan may be found on the halo of the Medicine Buddha statue at Horyu-ji, a famed Buddhist temple in Ikaruga and the world’s oldest wooden structure (completed in 607 AD).

China also played an important part in shodo’s long-term influence and popularity in Japan. They introduced Mahayana Buddhism, including multiple volumes of Buddhist material, to Japan around the sixth century AD. During the early Heian Period (794-1185), three visionary calligraphers spread the impact of shodo—and Buddhism—in Japan and set the stage for the creation of Japanese calligraphy free of Chinese influence. They became known as the “Three Great Brushes,” or sanpitsu (the “Three Great Brushes”). Kukai (774-835), a Buddhist monk, created the kana syllabary, or phonetic system, using the Chinese characters kanji. It is still used to write the Japanese language. Emperor Saga (786–842), a staunch admirer of Kukai, assisted Kukai in establishing the Shingon School of Buddhism by awarding him To-ji, Japan’s first Buddhist temple (built between 588 and 596).

Tachibana no Hayanari (782–844) was a Japanese government official, calligrapher, and member of the Tachibana clan, which was an important kuge (court nobility) family throughout the Nara and early Heian periods.

Historians usually regard Ono no Michikaze’s (894-966) compositions as the first distinctively Japanese calligraphic forms.

Flowers and plants in kado represents the heaven, earth, and humans, and must be arranged in a balanced manner. Flowers, grasses, trees, and various types of vegetation are used. This is distinct from flower arrangements. Because flowers’ beauty and lifespan are limited, Japanese people strive to enhance their beauty. This exemplifies the Japanese sense of beauty! It is popular as an enrichment lesson among various generations. Exhibitions of ikebana are presented in department stores, post offices, and train stations.

The Tea Ceremony, on the other hand, is not something that can be taught quickly. While learning and following the sequence is simply a matter of memorising what to do, sado requires a whole different mindset. To execute sado correctly, you must first grasp and accept the wabi-sabi ideology. Pupils are taught by older students who are only taught by an approved teacher. A “circle” must be formed if one wishes to learn the Way of Tea. Sado circles can be found as private schools or communities. In Japan, almost every middle or high school has a Tea Ceremony Club devoted to sado.

For Shodo, it is also suggested that “Kodo (incense burning)” be included in the three “do’s” rather than shodo. Kodo is a session where you can appreciate each other’s unique incense. During the lesson, guests are asked to estimate several fragrances based on guidelines. However, that is not the intention. The most important thing is to indulge in diverse fantasies via smells. As a result, rather of “sniffing” the aroma, we should say “listening” to it.

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