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FOUNDATION SEATTLE BRANCH
Transmitting the living art of Chado, the Way of Tea,
through harmony, respect, purity and tranquility
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SHOSEIAN TEAHOUSE- History
"Arbor of the Murmuring Pines"
by Bonnie M. Mitchell

Shoseian teahouse had its beginnings in the spring of 1981 with the
reconstruction of the teahouse that was destroyed by fire in 1973. The
original six-mat teahouse was built by the Shimizu Construction Company
of Tokyo and donated to Seattle by the citizens of Tokyo.

Tantansai, the 14th generation head of the Urasenke Konnichian Chado
tradition of Kyoto, Japan, named the teahouse Wakeian, "Arbor of Peace
and Tranquility," in a special ceremony in 1959.

Following the fire, the teahouse site remained vacant for eight years.
Arboretum volunteers Mr. Kenneth Sorrells and Mr. James Fukuda sought
contributions and their efforts were rewarded with an initial donation of
$30,000 and a subsequent pledge of $100,000 matching funds from Mr.
Prentice Bloedel, a major contributor to the Garden. A fortuitous meeting
with Tantansai's successor,
Soshitsu Sen XV, led to the donation of the
balance of funds for the teahouse construction along with continuous
support for a course in Chado studies at the University of Washington.

Japanese-born carpenter Mr. Fred Sugita was hired to undertake the
construction of the teahouse and to equip it with running water,
electricity and storage so that it would function as a classroom for Chado
studies. The teahouse was completed in 1981 and named Shoseian,
"Arbor of Murmuring Pines," in a special ceremony officiated by Soshitsu
Sen XV.

In 1982 Japanese garden specialist Mr. Richard Yamazaki reestablished the
surrounding garden that features stepping stones, a purification basin,
and a covered shelter for visitors waiting to enter the teahouse.
Arboretum volunteers gathered moss from the Cascade mountains to
carpet the ground beneath the tall canopy of Japanese maple trees that
surrounds the mountain-like hermitage.  

Grand Master Sen envisioned Shoseian as an urban retreat where all
would be welcomed to experience renewal through the Way of Tea.
To that end, he dispatched Bonnie Soshin Mitchell from Urasenke
Headquarters to serve as the teahouse manager and program coordinator.

In 2011 the Seattle Parks Department assumed responsibility for the
teahouse maintenance and management, e
nding the 30-year
public-private partnership with Urasenke Foundation.

The daily care of the tearoom and garden are essential to reveal the
innate beauty of the natural materials of the architecture and
environment.  It is by means of constant polishing that the teahouse and
surrounding garden acquire the valued patina that gives it warmth and
beauty.

The teahouse includes a six-mat tearoom with a recessed alcove, a
four-mat entrance space, and a small adjoining kitchen. The floors are
covered with tatami mats and the clay walls are plastered to reveal the
wooden structure of posts and beams. Opaque sliding doors separate the
interior spaces and shoji sliding screens of translucent paper separate the
interior from the exterior spaces.

The roof that extends over the patio to create a transitional space
between the tearoom and garden is unique to Shoseian. The underside
of the roof reveals the skillful joinery of posts and timbers that is a
hallmark of Japanese architecture
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U  R  A  S  E  N  K  E
FOUNDATION SEATTLE BRANCH
Transmitting the living art of Chado, the Way of Tea,
through harmony, respect, purity and tranquility
.
Home | Chado | About us | Demonstrations | Events | Membership | Study | Links | Contact | Bulletin | Calendar
shoseian
history