The Way of Tea: A Japanese Art Performance at Bowdoin

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Grégoire Faucher ’16 and Yuko Eguchi

The Asian Studies Department on Tuesday night organized a tea ceremony demonstration, or chado in Japanese, which translates to “the way of the tea.” Influenced by the philosophy of Zen Buddhism, the core teaching of chado is to attain a spiritual state of selflessness and peacefulness through making and sharing one bowl of tea.

Yuko Eguchi, a Bates College alumna and a Ph.D. student of ethnomusicology at the University of Pittsburgh, has over 23 years of experience with this traditional Japanese art. Her talk in Kresge Auditorium on the history of tea was followed by the performance of a tea ceremony and tea tasting for the audience.

Eguchi’s presentation outlined the history of tea dating back to 12th century, following its journey from China to Japan. From tea gambling to the relationship between Zen and tea, Eguchi elaborated on the cultural richness and traditions surrounding tea ceremonies. The famous tea master Sen no Rikyu, who lived in the 16th century, played an important role in developing the way of the tea. He practiced wabi-sabi philosophy, which means finding the beauty in simplicity and imperfection.

Bowdoin students who study Japanese language and culture played an active role in the performance by assisting Eguchi with preparing tea and sweets for the audience. The event was open to the public, and attracted many Bowdoin students as well as Brunswick residents.

Yuko Eguchi will be performing a music and dance performance tonight at 6:30 p.m. at VAC Beam classroom.

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