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The Book of Tea (1906)

by Kakuzō Okakura

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,830705,028 (3.84)60
Cooking & Food. New Age. Philosophy. Nonfiction. HTML:

The Book of Tea discusses the impact of "Teaism" on all aspects of Japanese culture and life. Kakuzo elaborates on the relationship between tea ceremony and Zen and Taoism. He also talks about the tea masters and their contribution to the tea ceremony. Kakuzo spoke English from an early age, and so was able to make his writings accessible to the Western mind.

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» See also 60 mentions

English (58)  Spanish (3)  Danish (3)  French (2)  Japanese (1)  German (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (69)
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
Charming little book about tea, its history, the Japanese tea ceremony and arts in general. ( )
  TheCrow2 | Nov 21, 2023 |
In direct contrast to The Wisdom of Tea, in which we are taken on a 25 year journey of a Tea practitioner from their very first lesson, in The Book of Tea we are given the history of Tea itself and its associations through the ages with Eastern religions and philosophy.

As such, this book is wonderful and it makes one realise that there is so much more to Tea than simply throwing some tea leaves in a pot.   There are some great passages in this book where Kakuzo has some wonderful rants about western culture which are a delight to read.   One can really get a vision of just how coarse the Devon Cream Tea in a sea side cafe -- not forgetting morning tea in mother's finest china with a biscuit -- is when compared to Japanese Tea in a traditional tea hut, even though the English will proclaim these two tea ceremonies of theirs as the height of culture.

A must read for all who enjoy reading about Japan and its culture, and anyone who enjoys a cup of tea, however you may take it.   Written over 100 years ago and is as relevant today as it was when it was written. ( )
  5t4n5 | Aug 9, 2023 |
Until I read this book, I had no idea about Teaism or other of the wonderful things that surround tea culture in the East. Although I am an avid drinker of tea, the idea of it linking to ikebana, architecture and other manifestations of the Japanese and Chinese culture escaped me. But Master Kakuzō makes it all so clear.

If you are looking to learn how to steep the perfect cup of tea, or where it is grown, or about its varieties, this is not your book. It is not a manual, it provides no instructions. Yes, it will tell you about the tea room, or about the different schools of tea, or about the tea masters or the past. But only with a wider objective: It is a book about philosophy, about art, about culture and, most of all, about understanding: understanding of the Eastern mind and aesthetics, of the reasons behind the standpoint of the East, of a different (from the Western viewpoint) life stance. So it will also tell you about Taoism, or flowers, or pottery.

Review from Library

Moreover, it provides a much needed reminder of what is important in life, and a lesson on how to face life as it comes. In this sense, it is timeless. As is in so many other senses.

Regarding the present edition by [a:Natalio Cardoso|14675885|Natalio Cardoso|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1613668897p2/14675885.jpg], many references in the original book would be lost to the Western reader were it not for the annotations, comments and other notes, sometimes historical or mythological, sometimes cultural in a broader sense, included herein. I have had the pleasure to read it in its (much welcome) ebook version, so finding references and comments is easy.

It has become one of my bedside readings, and will be revisited many times.
  TallyChan5 | Jun 17, 2023 |
A lesson on the importance and usefulness of ritual, when done for good reasons. ( )
  mykl-s | Jun 8, 2023 |
I’ll admit I requested The Book of Tea by mistake. Blame old age, rush, or whathaveyou, but I misread something, I understood something else, and I went in expecting tea-related pictures.

Imagine my surprise when those traditional Japanese kettles I was dreaming of never materialized. My tea fields? Sorry, wrong book. Still, my perplexity was short-lived: The Book of Tea turned out to be an informative tale, steeped in history and culture. All in all, a lucky mistake.

[Keeo reading @ Bookshelves & Teacups] ( )
  TissieL | May 3, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (87 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kakuzō Okakuraprimary authorall editionscalculated
Faber, WillIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sen, Hounsai GenshitsuForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Soldevila, CarlesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Steindorff, MargueriteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Steindorff, UlrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vloemans, AntoonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage.
The whole idea of Teaism is a result of this Zen conception of greatness in the smallest incidents of life.
One day Soshi was walking on the bank of a river with a friend. "How delightfully the fishes are enjoying themselves in the water!" exclaimed Soshi. His friend spake to him thus: "You are not a fish; how do you know that the fishes are enjoying themselves?" "You are not myself," returned Soshi; "how do you know that I do not know that the fishes are enjoying themselves?"
Rikiu was watching his son Shoan as he swept and watered the garden path. "Not clean enough," said Rikiu, when Shoan had finished his task, and bade him try again. After a weary hour the son returned to Rikiu: "Father, there is nothing more to be done. The steps have been washed for the third time, the stone lanterns and the trees are well sprinkled with water, moss and lichens are shining with a fresh verdure; not a twig, not a leaf have I left on the ground." "Young fool," chided the tea-master, "that is not the way a garden path should be swept." Saying this, Rikiu stepped into the garden, shook a tree and scattered over the garden gold and crimson leaves, scraps of the brocade of autumn! What Rikiu demanded was not cleanliness alone, but the beautiful and the natural also.
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Cooking & Food. New Age. Philosophy. Nonfiction. HTML:

The Book of Tea discusses the impact of "Teaism" on all aspects of Japanese culture and life. Kakuzo elaborates on the relationship between tea ceremony and Zen and Taoism. He also talks about the tea masters and their contribution to the tea ceremony. Kakuzo spoke English from an early age, and so was able to make his writings accessible to the Western mind.


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