Cultural transmissions have always been important in the development of human civilization. Unlike countries, cultures have no borders and are open to diffusion and adoption in their new homes. Originating in ancient China, refined in medieval Japan, Chanoyu, commonly known as the Japanese tea ceremony, crossed the Pacific in the nineteenth century and has since found new homes around the globe. A delicate balance between conservative preservation and internationalization enabled Chanoyu to jump continents in an almost original form and to take root and develop while accommodating local conditions. Interestingly, acceptance abroad changed perceptions of the tradition in its homeland, Japan. This paper proposes to examine the globalization of the multidisciplinary tradition of Chanoyu, which has crossed both physical and psychological borders over the last century and a half. It also will show how its multifaceted aspect (spiritual, intellectual and artistic) has appealed to different global communities, thus allowing it to culturally adapt and function in new milieus, in other words, to globalize.
Based on comparative analysis in different parts of the world, I will also attempt to predict how the currently multicultural tradition of Chanoyu is likely to evolve under various cultural influences, and the ways it is likely to influence its new homelands in the 21st century.
Assistant Professor, Department of Modern Languages and Classics, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, NS, Canada
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