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Wartime Tea Literature: Rikyū, Hideyoshi And Zen

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Chapter Summary

The preface of Kuwata positions Rikyū as a hidden founder of Japanese culture. According to Kuwata, Rikyū was a man who lived through his emotions. Post-war Japan was fond of its harmonious self-image, with tea as the distinctive icon of Japaneseness, changes in the popular perceptions of the relationship between Rikyū and Hideyoshi, and the connection made between the conduct of Rikyū and early twentieth century Zen were two movements that saw tea positioned in a militiarized sense of national identity. This brief review of wartime tea literature reveals a complex flow of attitudes, from joyously patriotic through deliberately neutral to active criticism of the war rhetoric. The advanced practice of tea involves making allusions to both public and private meanings, and tea masters were adept practitioners of moving across this public continuum of war discourse that changed over time.

Keywords: early twentieth century Zen; Hideyoshi; Japanese culture; Kuwata; Rikyū; wartime tea literature



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