Highlights from the 3rd Annual Los Angeles International Tea Festival & Tea Ceremony Demonstration

Japanese tea ceremony demonstration led by Masayo Sebata


On Saturday, September 28, the Los Angeles International Tea Festival returned to JANM for its 3rd year! This year’s Tea Festival was even more successful than in previous years, boasting an extended 24 participating tea vendors, more exciting workshops, and an extension into the Courtyard.

JANM also had a free Japanese tea ceremony demonstration in conjunction with the festival, presented as part of the Tateuchi Public Programs Series.

The Japanese tea ceremony is called chanoyu or sado in Japanese. The ceremony was presented on behalf of Chado Tea Room and Hamano Shachu from Urasenke. The group performed a choreographed ritual of preparing and serving tea together with traditional Japanese sweets.

The tea ceremony demonstration involved five participants—Chieko-san, the narrator who guided the audience through each step of the ceremony, assistant Mrs. Kawata, hostess Mrs. Masayo Sebata, and two guests.

The tea ceremony began with a brief history of the Japanese tea ceremony, and the importance of tea in Japanese culture. After the introduction, Chieko-san narrated the proceedings of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony as it was being performed on stage. The tea ceremony was concluded by a Q&A session, where the group answered a variety of questions relating to the Japanese tea ceremony. The Tateuchi Democracy Forum enjoyed a full house that evening, where an enthusiastic audience was able to view a beautiful tea ceremony performance, and learn more about the Japanese tea tradition.

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Check out these photos from the 3rd Annual Los Angeles International Tea Festival at JANM and the tea ceremony demonstration!

Chado’s lovely display of their wide variety of teas.
The tea festival is packed with indoor vendors!
Visitors excitedly make stops from booth to booth.
A group of tea-enthusiasts sample a cup of hot tea.
Chado gives an enlightening introduction to tea.
An eager audience awaits the next tea vendor presentation.
Two guests, dressed is beautiful fall kimonos, help demonstrate the ritual of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
Mrs. Sebata cleans off the chashaku (tea scoop) with a chakin (red silk scarf).
“Every action in a Japanese tea ceremony is intentionally calculated,” Chieko-san explains as the hostess instructs one of her guests to begin eating her traditional Japanese sweets.
Mrs. Sebata uses her chakin (red silk scarf) to meticulously wipe off a chawan (tea bowl).
The hostess carefully pours hot water into the mizusashi (water jug).
The assistant gracefully carries a bowl of hot chrysanthemum tea to the guests.
The sensei (teacher), hostess, and narrator answer a variety of questions relating to the Japanese tea ceremony from the audience.

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Photos by Tsuneo Takasugi, R.M. Murakami, and John Esaki.

Esther Shin

Esther graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in the Summer of 2013 with a Bachelor's degree in History and a minor degree in Japanese. She was the curatorial intern at JANM for the 2013 Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Internship Program, and has also completed a marketing internship at the museum. Esther currently works as a Development Assistant for JANM.

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