Ueda Soko School (上田宗箇流)
Ueda Soko School is one of the tea ceremony schools and also one of the buke sado (the tea ceremony of samurai family) which has been handed down in the Ueda family, the former chief retainer of the Asano family in the Hiroshima domain. It is also simply referred to as Ueda School. The head family is in Nishi Ward, Hiroshima City, and the name of hermitage is Wafudo. The head family has a foundation called Ueda School Wafudo, and an organization of fellow students, named Wafudo, as well.
The founder Shigeyasu UEDA, a busho (Japanese military commander) famous for his prowess, worked under Hidenaga NIWA at first, and then for Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI.. He learned tea ceremony from SEN no Rikyu, and then he became a disciple of Shigenari FURUTA. He is so well-known as a warrior that there are not so many episodes of him as a master of tea ceremony, but judging from the gardens he made on the premises of Tokushima-jo Castle and Nagoya-jo Castle, and from the excellent hand-made tea utensils including bamboo tea scoops and tea bowls, it seems that he was good at both the literary and military arts. There was an episode: when he was temporarily hiding in the bamboo woods during the Siege of Osaka, he saw a beautiful bamboo, and he started whittling it into a tea scoop. The enemy soldiers were scared by his fervent manner, and ran away, and the tea scoop, named 'Teki Gakure' which means enemy runaway, is said to be the one he made at the time. In 1619, following Nagaakira ASANO, he moved to the Hiroshima domain, since then, the Ueda family has stayed in Hiroshima all the way to the present day, experiencing the Meiji Restoration and the Atomic-bomb attack.
In the samurai family style, the host must not wear anything on his left waist, because his left waist is to be saved for the swords, so he has the fukusa, or silk cloth, on his right waist, and has required movements on his right lap. One of the characteristics is that there are many straight line motions, for example, handling a bamboo ladle. In Ueda Soko School, the men's style of serving tea is distinctly different from women's, and the women's style has some similarities in basics to the counterpart at three Senke Schools, and the women's style of serving tea at Omotesenke School is different from the above mentioned.
For example, in the women's style, a rest for the kettle lid, or futaoki, and the bamboo ladle must be inside the rinse-water container called kensui, while in the men's style, the rest for the kettle lid must be inside the rinse-water container, and the bamboo ladle must be held in the right hand, which is, namely, (horse riding ladle way.)
Furthermore, a woman must vertically fold a tea cloth three times, and horizontally four times, while a man must fold it diagonally, which is called in Urasenke School, 'Chidori Chakin' meaning plover tea cloth.
The Chronological Order
The Chronological Order of the Ueda Family
The Ueda family did not directly instruct tea ceremony to the disciples as is the case with daimyo (Japanese territorial lord), and had the Nomura family and tne Nakamura family work as the entrusted instructors giving a stipend of 100 koku. However, when the 17th entrusted instructor, Seido KAKEI died in 1955 after the war, the system was abolished, and the head family has been directly teaching the desciples since then.
The Chronological Order of the Entrusted Instructors of tea ceremony