Sōmu Shachū・宗梦社中

Adam features on this Japanese documentary from 30:18 (Japanese):

Characteristics of the Ueda Sōko Tradition of Chanoyu

The Ueda Sōko Tradition of Chanoyu is:

  • a warrior class school of chanoyu (tea ceremony) that originated in the Momoyama period (1568-1598). The warlords of this period lived in a ruthless time where the fear of death was present in daily life. The tea of the Momoyama period samurai class is therefore a style of tea that seeks quietude for the mind and strength of spirit

  • a warrior class tradition of tea ritual (chanoyu) that continues unbroken from the Momoyama Period of Japan (1573 ~ 1603) to the present day. The current Grandmaster, Ueda Sōkei continues a direct bloodline from Ueda Sōko, the founder of the School

  • a tradition where the unique aesthetics of Ueda Sōko can be seen - aesthetics that combine influences from Rikyu’s pursuit of tranquility and Oribe’s pursuit of beauty in change and variation. This result is an aesthetics that values dignity, elegance and contrasts
  • the only tradition of Japanese tea ceremony that has restored its headquarters (Iemoto) to the original layout of the Edo Period samurai residence, complete with the tearoom complex ‘Wafūdō’ and shoin reception building. The Ueda school also holds many historical tea equipage, artefacts, and ancient texts with great significance for the history of chanoyu
  • a tradition known for the dignified, elegant movements that make up its tea preparation ceremony. This is achieved by composing movements of straight lines, eliminating all unnecessary movements and grounding the movements of the ceremony (temae) in set forms found in sword and archery training. The Tradition emphasises the yin/yang balance in the practitioner which usually results in a more powerful aesthetic for men and a softer aesthetic for women (in line with samurai culture of the Momoyama Period)
  • a tradition that emphasises integrating the central nervous system of the body with the breath and utensils during the temae and all procedures in the tea room
  • a tradition that emphasises the responsibility of the host - the host must be able to conduct a chaji (full-length tea gathering) on their own without assistance 

    For more in-depth information on the characteristics of the Ueda Ryū, follow this link

16th Grandmaster, Ueda Sōkei 上田宗冏

Sōkei was born in Hiroshima in 1945. He graduated from the Faculty of Economics of Keio University.


Sōkei became the successor of his uncle, 15th Generation Grandmaster Ueda Sōgen and inherited the position of Grandmaster of the Ueda Sōko Tradition of Chanoyu in 1995.


He received the Buddhist name of Sōkei from Harada Shōdō Rōshi, Chief Priest of Sōgen-ji temple, Bizen.


Sōkei has designed and supervised the building of many tea houses in Japan, China and Germany. One of his significant contributions to the history of chanoyu and the Ueda Tradition is his reconstruction of 'Wafūdō', the Ueda Clan tea complex that originally existed on the grounds of Hiroshima Castle before being obliterated in the Atomic Bombing of 1945. The current home of the Ueda Tradition is a faithful and rare recreation of early Edo Period tea culture, thanks to Sōkei's efforts. 


He is the author of ‘The Ueda Sōko Tradition of Chanoyu’ (with Ueda Sōgen, published by Dai-ichi Gakushū-sha), ‘The Tea of Ueda Sōko’ (published by Kōdan-sha) and ‘Go-yudan naki yō’ (Kadokawa Publishing Co.) among other publications.