The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzō

Two rings surrounding a person on a purple background.  Two open white pages on an orange background.  A black background with a white W.  A black background with a white symbol, that has a black play symbol in the middle.  A black background with a white tentacled cat.

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The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzō was written in English for a Western audience. Okakura meditates on the importance of chadō, or teaism (also known as the Way of Tea) and its role in Japanese life. Chadō is one third of the three classical arts of Japanese refinement: kadō, or the art of flower arrangement, and kōdō, or the Way of Fragrance, are the other two.

In The Book of Tea, Okakura links the importance of teaism to the Japanese way of life. He contends that teaism has ingratiated itself into Japanese life – from its importance in historical events, to the impact of the philosophy that underlines its effect on Japanese art & architecture.

He talks about religious topics such as Zen and Taoism, as well as important people in the history of tea. Of special import is Sen no Rikyū, a 16th century tea master that had the most significant impact on the Way of Tea. He is the progenitor of OmotesenkeUrasenke, and Mushakōjisenke, the three head houses of the Way of Tea.