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Introduction: Tea, Aesthetics And Power

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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter of the book The Ideologies of Japanese Tea; Subjectivity, Transience and National Identity explains about tea ceremony (chanoyu) which is often considered to be the hallmark of Japanese taste. The inspirational figure behind this tradition is Sen no Rikyū (1522-91), the most famous of all tea masters, who perfected the wabi aesthetic based on tranquility, harmony and simplicity. This chapter attempts to integrate a range of standpoints now emerging in the fields of Cultural Studies and Critical Discourse Analysis, which between them have been revising our understanding of the discursive roles of tea in Japanese society. It explores the triangular relationship between truth, power and the self in tea ceremony as it is presented today. The chapter reveals how tea discourse, practices and organization attempt to construct certain forms of identity by locating the relationships between tea reason, domination and ethics in a wider cultural context.

Keywords: Critical Discourse Analysis; Cultural Studies; Japanese tea; Sen no Rikyū; tea ceremony (chanoyu); wabi



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