It is not clear that tea was introduced to Japan, but there is a story that the emperor gave tea to a monk in the palace in the first year of Emperor Shomu (729 AD) in the early Nara period, so at least around that time.
It can be inferred that the tea species were transmitted by the envoy to Tang (China).
The tea plantation in Omi Sakamoto is known as the oldest tea plantation in Japan, and it is said that the tea species that the monk Saicho brought when he returned from Tang (China) were planted.
Kissa (drinking tea) appeared in the literature in the early Heian period. It is said that when Emperor Saga went to Karasaki in Omi in April of the 6th year of Konin (815 AD), the monk Eichu of Bonshakuji brewed tea and offered it to the emperor.
It is believed that Eichu traveled to Tang (China) at the end of the Nara period to learn Kissa’s method.
“By Nihon Koki”
In Tang (China), Lu Yu wrote the third volume of “The Classic of Tea” around 760 AD, 130 years before the arrival of Eichu.
The emperor encouraged the cultivation of tea species due to the event that Eichu offered sencha.
This increased tea production and spread the Kissa culture to the court noble community.
Song-style matcha (tencha) came to Japan in the early Kamakura period in place of Tang-style dantcha (Tea made by kneading tea powder).
This was brought about by Zen monk Eisai, who returned from Song (China) and introduced the Rinzai sect to Japan.
Eisai wrote two volumes of “Kissa-yojoki” (Drink Tea and Prolong Life, A Note on Drinking Green Tea for Good Health).
He explained the merit of Kissa and explained how to grow tea and how to make matcha.
In the second year of Kempo, the third shogun, Minamoto no Sanetomo, was sick because he drank too much alcohol.
At that time, Eisai prayed and offered matcha and “Kissa-yojoki” as a good medicine.
Minamoto no Sanetomo, who drank matcha, was delighted that his illness had improved and read “Kissa-yojoki” presented by Eisai to greatly praise the benefits of matcha.
The Song-style matcha method introduced by Eisai during the Kamakura period was mainly practiced among temple monks, but it was not so popular in the general public in Japan.
This spread to the general public in Japan after the arrival of the Tocha game that was held in the Song dynasty at the end of Kamakura, and its heyday was from the Nanbokucho period to the middle of Muromachi period.
This Tocha is also gradually becoming Japanese under the influence of Japan’s climate and customs, as well as traditional entertainment such as uta-awase and renga.
Doyo Sasaki and Norisuke Akamatsu are famous as tea masters in the early Muromachi period.
After that, Yoshimitsu Ashikaga, the third shogun, designated Uji Shichien and opened the base of Uji tea.
The era of Yoshimitsu Ashikaga was still the heyday of Tocha, but the tastes of the tea ceremony room and the tea ceremony have become remarkably Japanese.
Around the middle of the Muromachi period, during the time of the sixth shogun Ashikaga Yoshinori, a tea ceremony was enacted by Noami.
As a result, the solemn tea ceremony in the upstream samurai society began.
The banquets and gambling were wiped out, and the tea room was transformed into a quiet beauty hall of fame centered on the hall of the Shoin.
It was Juko of the same era who advocated the true way of tea, making the etiquette of tea a matter of mind rather than form. Therefore, Juko is called the founder of the tea ceremony.
Also, instead of the hall of the Shoin, the four and a half tatami mats of thatched hut are regarded as a true tatami room, which is called Sukiya.
At the end of the Muromachi period, Japan changed completely due to the Onin War.
The authority of the Ashikaga Shogunate was lost, and the famous tea ware that was introduced to the Shogunate was handed over to emerging daimyo, temples, and wealthy merchants.
In particular, the town of Sakai developed as a center for land trade and China-Nanban trade.
Takeno Jōo appears in such an environment. The standard for Takeno’s connoisseurs was the style of Wabi-Sabi.
After that, when Nobunaga Oda proceeding to the capital, the situation changed completely again.
The town of Sakai belongs to Nobunaga, and famous tea ware from all over Japan were bought by Nobunaga one after another.
At the same time, Sakai’s tea ceremony masters approached Nobunaga and taught his vassals the tea ceremony.
Nobunaga also said that tea ceremony is politics, encouraged his vassals to learn the tea ceremony, and gave the famous tea utensils instead of the territory to those who were successful in the war and allowed them to hold tea ceremonies.
As a result, the tea ceremony was valued as politics, and the tea ceremony became more popular, and Imai Sokyu, Tsuda Sokyu, and Sen no Rikyu were selected to become Nobunaga’s tea masters.
Sen no Rikyu became Nobunaga’s tea master, then served Hideyoshi Toyotomi, and the tea ceremony was finally completed here.