The Book of Teaby Kakuzo Okakura
The Book of Tea is a brief but classic essay on tea drinking, its history, restorative powers, and rich connection to Japanese culture. Okakura felt that "Teaism" was at the very center of Japanese life and helped shape everything from art, aesthetics, and an appreciation for the ephemeral to architecture, design, gardens, and painting. In tea could be found one… See more details below
The Book of Tea is a brief but classic essay on tea drinking, its history, restorative powers, and rich connection to Japanese culture. Okakura felt that "Teaism" was at the very center of Japanese life and helped shape everything from art, aesthetics, and an appreciation for the ephemeral to architecture, design, gardens, and painting. In tea could be found one source of what Okakura felt was Japan's and, by extension, Asia's unique power to influence the world. Containing both a history of tea in Japan and lucid, wide-ranging comments on the schools of tea, Zen, Taoism, flower arranging, and the tea ceremony and its tea-masters, this book is deservedly a timeless classic and will be of interest to anyone interested in the Japanese arts and ways.
About the Author:
Kakuzo Okakura an assistant curator at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts
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- 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.10(d)
Meet the Author
Okakura Kakuzo (February 14, 1862 - September 2, 1913) (also known as Okakura Tenshin) was a Japanese scholar who contributed to the development of arts in Japan. Outside of Japan, he is chiefly remembered today as the author of The Book of Tea.
Born in Yokohama to parents originally from Fukui, Kakuzo attended Tokyo Imperial University, where he first met and studied under Ernest Fenollosa. In 1890, Okakura was one of the principal founders of the first Japanese fine-arts academy, Tokyo Bijutsu Gakko (Tokyo School of Fine Arts) and a year later became the head, though he was later ousted from the school in an administrative struggle. Later, he also founded the Japan Art Institute with Hashimoto Gaho and Yokoyama Taikan. He was invited by William Sturgis Bigelow to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1904 and became the first head of the Asian art division in 1910.
Okakura was a high-profile urbanite who had an international sense of self. In the Meiji period he was the first dean of the Tokyo Fine Arts School (now the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music). He wrote all of his main works in English. Okakura researched Japan's traditional art and traveled to Europe, the United States, China and India. He gave the world an image of Japan as a member of the East, in the face of a massive onslaught of Western culture.
His book, The Ideals of the East (1904), published on the eve of the Russo-Japanese War, is famous for its opening line, "Asia is one." He argued that Asia is "one" in its humiliation, of falling behind in achieving modernization, and thus being colonized by the Western powers. This was an early expression of Pan-Asianism.
In Japan, Okakura, along with Fenollosa, is credited with "saving" Nihonga, or painting done with traditional Japanese technique, as it was threatened with replacement by Western-style painting, or "Yoga", whose chief advocate was artist Kuroda Seiki. Beyond this, he was instrumental in modernizing Japanese aesthetics, having recognized the need to preserve Japan's cultural heritage, and thus was one of the major reformers during Japan's period of modernization beginning with the Meiji Restoration.
Outside of Japan, Okakura had an impact on a number of important figures, directly or indirectly, who include philosopher Martin Heidegger, poet Ezra Pound, and especially poet Rabindranath Tagore and heiress Isabella Stewart Gardner, who were close personal friends of his.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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There are some people who just like all things Eastern as if it was a fad and they will enjoy this book. But I found that a pompous and resentful arrogance pervades this book. The outspokenness and cynicism takes refuge in the cryptic symbolic meanings in the Tea process that goutsiders don ft understand. h Rather than simply explaining the wonderful intricacies of wabi-sabi and tea the book seems almost angry and a little threatened by the un-indoctrinated. It is staunchly anti-western myopically focusing on the most extreme examples of consumerism and decoration. It makes Teaism appear cult like and a smug past time for the OCD than a microcosm of life ca living allegory of historic and philosophic principles for aesthetics and Taoist/Zen concepts. Artistic taste after all is subjective yet I observed a lot of value judgments here as to what is wonderful and what is a tragedy in art. However the book is written with a colorful poetic tone and has revealing insights into art forms and their effects of people such as Majestic art to make you feel small, vs. simple art to make one feel simple, clam, and just being. There is an interesting brief history of tea and its importance in countries around the world. There was a tantrum about cutting flowers that perhaps I failed to grasp but came across more over like a childish personal sympathy than anything meaningful. I learned from this book regardless of how much of it I disregarded. So I recommend it with a grain of salt. It missed the real meaning of the Tea process, for a book calling itself THE book of Tea.
Awesome book, much more in this than just a book about tea. It reveals a great deal about ancient Japanese culture and customs.
This edition was converted using OCR without any editing. Many letters are confused with special characters or similar looking letters or letter combinations. I do not recommend this version at all. It is very difficult to read. I expected a better edition from B&N.