Tea master honored at panel discussion on traditional arts

Ms. Sosei Shizuye Matsumoto

Madame Sosei Shizuye Matsumoto will be recognized during a program titled “Ritual + Improvisation in Los Angeles” on Saturday, December 1 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, 244 S. San Pedro St. in Little Tokyo.

The Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) Traditional Arts Roundtable Series (TARS), in partnership with the JACCC, the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, and the Japanese American National Museum, will begin its season in honoring Matsumoto, a 1994 National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellow, and the Urasenke School of Chado.

A Japanese tea ceremony will be held in the JACCC teahouse at 1 p.m., followed by a conversation with Matsumoto students from Urasenke School. The program will also include community reflection engaging the needs and interests of local artists, cultural practitioners and those who support this work. This community reflection will help inform the organization of the six roundtables remaining for the season, each taking place at the JACCC through June 2019.

To RSVP, email tars.losangeles@gmail.com. This event is free and open to the public, but places are limited.

Partial funding for this program was provided by the Asia Pacific American Initiative Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. The TARS series in Los Angeles is generously supported by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. Additional support provided by the California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

About Madame Matsumoto

Chado is a complex series of hundreds of steps designed around the act of serving tea and requires mastery of all necessary physical equipment as well as acute sensitivity in the disciplined interaction between its participants. When practiced well, the natural setting, the delicately crafted tea utensils, the simple elegance of the decorations, and the smooth, steady movements of the participants combine to remove the host and guests from the pressures of the outside world and place them in an atmosphere where everyone finds inner peace and tranquility.

Historically, the chado has left its mark on many other art forms. In the 16th and 17th centuries, for example, tea masters influenced the shaping of some of the finest ceramic teaware, always favoring the simple, rustic and understated over the highly finished and refined.

In the United States, the most influential teacher and accomplished chado master is Sosei Shizuye Matsumoto. She was born on February 11, 1920 in Honolulu. After high school in Los Angeles, she enrolled at the French American Fashion Design School and graduated in 1941. At this time, she also began training in the “way of tea”. She moved to Kyoto and for six years trained under Tantansai, 14and– grandmaster generation of the Urasenke school of Chado, and Soshitsu Sen, 15 years oldand– grandmaster generation.

After World War II, Matsumoto saw that there were few tea ceremony practitioners in his new home in Los Angeles, but his desire to start a school was thwarted by unsettled times, Native Americans Japanese returning from war camps. In 1951, she was invited to the signing of the US-Japan peace treaty in San Francisco, where for four days she served tea to more than 3,000 US and Japanese officials, including President Harry Truman and Prime Minister Shigeru. Yoshida.

Later that year, she began teaching Urasenke tea ceremony in Los Angeles, convening the first ever tea ceremony classes in the United States; one of his ceremonies is shown in the 20th Century Fox film “East Is East”.

In the 1950s, Matsumoto introduced the chado to millions of Americans through appearances on CBS and NBC television programs. In 1968, she was invited to present the tea ceremony at the Olympic Arts Festival in Mexico City. His over 40 years of teaching and lecturing across the country have resulted in over 120 chado teachers and thousands of other tea ceremony devotees. Over the years, his students have included people born in Japan and the United States interested in learning the ancient ceremony.

Matsumoto exemplifies the character of a chajin or “tea person”. Not only does she know and can teach all chado procedures, but she also exhibits the true spirit of self-discipline and compassion for others that only a few students are able to achieve. In 1989 she received the title meiyo shihan (honored master) of his instructor Soshitsu Sen. This is the highest teaching certificate available to tea ceremony instructors.

She has lectured and demonstrated extensively throughout Southern California as well as the Southwest. In recognition of his long services to the preservation of Japanese culture, Matsumoto was awarded the Fifth Order of Merit (Order of Sacred Treasure, Gold and Silver Rays) from the Emperor of Japan in November 1990.

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