Way of Tea in Japanese History & Culture

Course Number: ASAN 323/HIST 323
Course Title:Way of Tea in Japanese History & Culture
Course Description: This course focuses on various aspects of the formal preparation of tea, or chanoyu. Students will explore the visual and material culture of tea, its history, the ritualized act of preparing it, and the usage of tea in Buddhist contexts. Students will also examine how tea is related to contemporary notions of hospitality and manners in everyday Japanese life, as well as to aesthetic sensibilities. Visits to tea-related sites will be incorporated into the class schedule.
Learning Objectives: In the literature on Japanese art and taste, the Way of Tea (Chadō/Chanoyu) is understood as the quintessential Japanese expression. It is widely known in the West as the "tea ceremony", but for the Japanese it is much more than a ceremony. This course aims to examine its history and its present form to help contextualize the Way of Tea. Students will gain knowledge of Japanese social, political, aesthetic, and spiritual values that center on tea culture, while further adding to and enriching the cultural basis of students engaged in a liberal arts education.