Chado Urasenke Tankokai Boston Association
The Japanese tea ceremony group of Greater Boston
In 1956, the Urasenke Boston chapter was established with the late Minoru Horiuchi, DMD as its first president. Only three years later, in 1959, Kyoto became Boston's first Sister City, and in a generous gesture of friendship, Kyoto donated an authentic Kyoto-style Japanese townhouse (Kyomachiya) to the Boston Children's Museum. Today, the Children's Museum honors this connection by granting the Chado Urasenke Tankokai Boston Association (formerly the Urasenke Boston Chapter) special access to the townhouse to give introductory demonstrations for visitors and also hold chado practice sessions.
Boston's long history of promoting and protecting Japanese traditional arts made it a natural choice for the location of an Urasenke chapter. New England's strong tradition of sailing and trade through the 19th century helped to make Boston an early center of imported arts and goods from Japan. New Englanders William Sturgis Bigelow, Edward S. Morse, and Ernest Fenellosa were early Japan specialists as well as Harvard University graduates. Through their patronage and donation they created the Boston Museum of Fine Arts' collection of Japanese art and artifacts, including many tea utensils and antiquities, the largest in the world outside of Japan. Through the influence of Fenellosa and Bigelow, the important Japanese intellectual Okakura Kakuzo (Okakura Tenshin) became the head of the Asian art division at the Museum of fine Arts in 1904, and it was in Boston that he wrote his most famous monograph: The Book of Tea.
Today, the Chado Urasenke Tankokai Boston Association is active throughout the New England area, offering classes and demonstrations under the guidance of Hounsai Daisosho, Urasenke 15th generation former Grand Master, and Zabosai Iemoto, Urasenke 16th generation Grand Master. As is the motto of Hounsai Daisosho, the group strives to bring "peacefulness through a bowl of tea" to the region.