Media Kakuzo Okakura The Book of Tea

ISBN 13: 9780486200705

The Book of Tea

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9780486200705: The Book of Tea

Kakuzo Okakura, who was known in America as a scholar, art critic, and Curator of Chinese and Japanese Art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, directed almost his entire adult life toward the preservation and reawakening of the Japanese national heritage — in art, ethics, social customs, and other areas of life — in the face of the Westernizing influences that were revolutionizing Japan around the turn of the century.
This modern classic is essentially an apology for Eastern traditions and feelings to the Western world — not in passionate, oversentimental terms, but with a charm and underlying toughness which clearly indicate some of the enduring differences between the Eastern and Western mind. Okakura exhibits the distinctive "personality" of the East through the philosophy of Teaism and the ancient Japanese tea ceremony. This ceremony is particularly revelatory of a conservative strain in Japanese culture; its ideals of aesthetic tranquility and submission to the ways of the past find no parallel in the major cultural motifs of the West.
Not only does he discuss the tea ceremony and its rigid formalities, and the cult and patterns of belief surrounding tea and tea-drinking, but Okakura also considers religious influences, origins, and history, and goes into the importance of flowers and floral arrangements in Japanese life — their proper appreciation and cultivation, great tea-masters of the past, the tea-room with its air of serenity and purity, and the aesthetic and quasi-religious values pervading all these activities and attitudes.
Okakura's English style was graceful, yet exceptionally clear and precise, and this book is one of the most delightful essay-volumes to the English language. It has introduced hundreds of thousands of American readers to Japanese thinking and traditions. This new, corrected edition, complete with an illuminating preliminary essay on Okakura's life and work, will provide an engrossing account for anyone interested in the current and central themes of Oriental life.

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Review:

That a nation should construct one of its most resonant national ceremonies round a cup of tea will surely strike a chord of sympathy with at least some readers of this review. To many foreigners, nothing is so quintessentially Japanese as the tea ceremony--more properly, "the way of tea"--with its austerity, its extravagantly minimalist stylization, and its concentration of extreme subtleties of meaning into the simplest of actions. The Book of Tea is something of a curiosity: written in English by a Japanese scholar (and issued here in bilingual form), it was first published in 1906, in the wake of the naval victory over Russia with which Japan asserted its rapidly acquired status as a world-class military power. It was a peak moment of Westernization within Japan. Clearly, behind the publication was an agenda, or at least a mission to explain. Around its account of the ceremony, The Book of Tea folds an explication of the philosophy, first Taoist, later Zen Buddhist, that informs its oblique celebration of simplicity and directness--what Okakura calls, in a telling phrase, "moral geometry." And the ceremony itself? Its greatest practitioners have always been philosophers, but also artists, connoisseurs, collectors, gardeners, calligraphers, gourmets, flower arrangers. The greatest of them, Sen Rikyu, left a teasingly, maddeningly simple set of rules:

Make a delicious bowl of tea; lay the charcoal so that it heats the water; arrange the flowers as they are in the field; in summer suggest coolness; in winter, warmth; do everything ahead of time; prepare for rain; and give those with whom you find yourself every consideration.
A disciple remarked that this seemed elementary. Rikyu replied, "Then if you can host a tea gathering without deviating from any of the rules I have just stated, I will become your disciple." A Zen reply. Fascinating. --Robin Davidson, Amazon.co.uk

From the Inside Flap:

This modern classic invites the reader to discover a unique tradition that has come to symbolize the wisdom, beauty, and the elegant simplicity of Asian culture. The author celebrates the Way of Tea from its ancient origins in Chinese Taoism to its culmination in the Zen discipline known as the Japanese tea ceremony-an enchanting practice bringing together such arts as architecture, pottery, and flower arranging to create an experience that delights the senses, calms the mind, and refreshes the spirit. Tea was first used as a medicine and an alchemical elixir by the ancient Chinese Taoists, who praised its spiritual powers. Buddhist monks made drinking tea part of a tradition honoring the founder of Zen; this ritual was later refined in the performance of the Japanese tea ceremony as a meditative practice. "The Book of Tea describes the rich aesthetic of Asian culture through the history, philosophy, and practice of brewing and drinking tea.
This edition contains an introduction by Sam Hamill that provides historical insight into the significance of the tea ceremony within Zen Buddhism.

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Book Description Dover Publications Inc., United States, 1964. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. This modern classic, The Book of Tea, is essentially an apology for Eastern traditions and feelings to the Western world -- not in passionate, oversentimental terms, but with a charm and underlying toughness which clearly indicate some of the enduring differences between the Eastern and Western mind. Okakura exhibits the distinctive personality of the East through the philosophy of Teasism and the ancient Japanese ceremony. This ceremony is particularly revelatory of a conservative strain in Japanese culture; its ideals of aesthetic tranquility and submission to the ways of the past find no parallel in the major cultural motifs of the West. Bookseller Inventory # AA99780486200705

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Book Description Dover Publications Inc., United States, 1964. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. This modern classic, The Book of Tea, is essentially an apology for Eastern traditions and feelings to the Western world -- not in passionate, oversentimental terms, but with a charm and underlying toughness which clearly indicate some of the enduring differences between the Eastern and Western mind. Okakura exhibits the distinctive personality of the East through the philosophy of Teasism and the ancient Japanese ceremony. This ceremony is particularly revelatory of a conservative strain in Japanese culture; its ideals of aesthetic tranquility and submission to the ways of the past find no parallel in the major cultural motifs of the West. Bookseller Inventory # AA99780486200705

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Book Description Dover Publications. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. 76 pages. Dimensions: 8.4in. x 5.8in. x 0.7in.That a nation should construct one of its most resonant national ceremonies round a cup of tea will surely strike a chord of sympathy with at least some readers of this review. To many foreigners, nothing is so quintessentially Japanese as the tea ceremony--more properly, the way of tea--with its austerity, its extravagantly minimalist stylization, and its concentration of extreme subtleties of meaning into the simplest of actions. The Book of Tea is something of a curiosity: written in English by a Japanese scholar (and issued here in bilingual form), it was first published in 1906, in the wake of the naval victory over Russia with which Japan asserted its rapidly acquired status as a world-class military power. It was a peak moment of Westernization within Japan. Clearly, behind the publication was an agenda, or at least a mission to explain. Around its account of the ceremony, The Book of Tea folds an explication of the philosophy, first Taoist, later Zen Buddhist, that informs its oblique celebration of This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9780486200705

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