4th East Asia Tea Culture Symposium and 4th Panel Discussion on Culture and Peace in East Asia

In commemoration of the University of Hawai’i Centennial, the 4th East Asia Tea Culture Symposium and the 4th Panel Discussion: Culture and Peace in East Asia were held at the University of Hawai’i on November 3-4, 2007.

The events featured international scholars, artists, and influential leaders from China, Japan, Korea, and for the first time in their history, Europe and the U.S. Organized by Chado Urasenke, Japan’s premier school of tea ceremony, the events are annual gatherings that have been held in Tianjin, China (2004), Seoul, Korea (2005), and Tokyo, Japan (2006).

The Symposium and Panel Discussion were held for the first time in Hawai’i in 2007 with both events free and open to the public. Sponsors and supporters included the University of Hawai’i, Chado Urasenke, the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu, the United Nations Association of Japanese, the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu, and the East-West Center.

The Symposium began with welcome remarks by UHM Chancellor, Virginia Hinshaw, greetings from Japanese Consul-General in Honolulu, Toshio Kunikata, and an opening Symposium keynote address by 15th generation Grand Tea Master of Urasenke, Dr. Genshitsu Sen. Symposium speakers then discussed traditional East Asian culture and its potential role in fostering peace and understanding in Asia and the Pacific.

Dr. Paul Varley, Emeritus Sōshitsu Sen XV Distinguished Professor of Traditional Japanese Culture and History, gave the Panel Discussion keynote address on “Japanese Culture and Changing World Views of Japan.” Other notable speakers during the events included Dr. Sen who spoke on the spirit of Chado, the Way of Tea, and its promotion of world peace; Dr. Wayne Farris, Sōshitsu Sen XV Distinguished Professor of Traditional Japanese Culture and History, who spoke on “One Man’s Approach to the Study of Tea and the Japanese Tea Ceremony”, a look at tea from a social and economic perspective and as an agricultural product and commodity; Tokumasa Miyagi, President of the Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts, who spoke on Okinawan pottery; Dr. Xiao Li, Assistant Dean, Business School, China University of Political Science and Law, on “Court Tea Ceremony during the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) Dynasties”; Dr. Herbert Plutschow, Professor, Jōsai International University, on “A Ritual Approach to the Study of Chanoyu”; Dr. Jeon-Yull Park, Director, Institute for Korean and Japanese Culture, Chung-Ang University, on “Japan’s Tea Culture in the Tearoom”; and Dr. Yukihiro Kurasawa, Professor, Takarazuka University of Art and Design, on the philosophy of Wabicha.

The Symposium on Day 1 focused on traditional arts and culture, while the Panel Discussions on Day 2 explored cultural diplomacy, a key element of international relations within East Asia and between East Asia and the rest of the world. Over 200 participants were in attendance.

A complete list of presenters and presentations for both events can be found at: http://www.hawaii.edu/cjs/urasenke.html