Friday, November 29, 2013
Rikyu was not an easy person!?
I feel that Rikyu is now something of a fad. I found a magazine featuring Rikyu at a bookstore the other day but actually there were three of them. Of course, I bought all three, hahaha. We don’t know the true personality of Rikyu, but it’s interesting to read different opinions. I think that the occasion of the boom stems from the film coming out on Dec. 7, “Ask This of Rikyu”. I welcome this boom and hope that Chanoyu (The Way of Tea) gets more popular!
Rikyu is often introduced as an innovator. He contributed to the evolution of Chanoyu from luxurious to Wabi-Sabi style. For instance, he used a fish basket as a vase as if he is asking you “Isn’t this cool?” How modern he is! A tea master, Soshin Kimura illustrates Rikyu’s novelty like “At a wedding ceremony when everybody is wearing the morning dress, one came wearing a sophisticated washed-out linen shirt and jeans. He captured everybody at a blow.” I have no objection that Rikyu brought a new concept and created new values.
Rikyu is also known as a person with a keen aesthetic sense. Mr. Kenichi Yamamoto, the author of Ask This of Rikyu uniquely infers that Rikyu would not be an easy person to get along with. Rikyu might have sought beauty in every moment even in everyday living. I agree that Rikyu would be very particular about his aesthetics, but I’m not sure if he was stubborn; nobody knows. But then again, it’s very interesting to imagine that he was so.
When I read that Rikyu had an obsession with beauty even in daily life, a story of a grate figure came up in my mind. It’s Steve Jobs at a hospital refusing to wear an oxygen mask because he didn’t like its design. He asked them to bring five different options for the mask and he would pick a design he liked. I imagine that Rikyu would be a person like Mr. Jobs. Not only the obsession with design, they were both into Zen and also they were innovative. I think they are similar. What do you think? Rikyu and Mr. Jobs might have been stubborn but I regard them as people who had an insight into the nature of things and produced new values to the world.