Chanoyu: a Korean connection?

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Chanoyu: a Korean connection?

by William » Sep 20th 15 1:14 pm

Hi guys!
I created this new topic because I would like to discuss of chanoyu and a possible Korean connection.

Premise: in this thread I would like to discuss only of chanoyu and closely related topics, relegating to another thread all the religious correlations between these countries which, though important, are likely to create a big mess if everything is discussed into the same discussion.

Now, these are (some of) the key arguments that in my opinion demonstrate a possible correlation between chanoyu and Korea.

1. The seeds to cultivate tea. The essential thing, since without tea wouldn't exist any ceremony. Officially, tea seeds have been brought in Japan by Eisai during the late eleventh century/early twelfth century. This seeds, according to the official version, have been brought from the Chinese Song dynasty to Japan; firstly planted in the garden of Shōfuku-ji, then to Toga-no-ō, lastly in other localities; from this point onwards, these seeds spread all over the country.
There is just one problem: if these seeds really came from China, they wouldn't have arrived still biologically alive in Japan, since the biological life is between 7 and 14 days for this kind of seeds; instead, if the seeds arrived from the south-eastern coast of Korea, they would have arrived within 7/10 days (at most). E.g., the travel time with a small boat between Fukuoka and Pusan (https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pusan) or Ulsan (https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulsan) is of 24/36 hours, since the current of the sea from these Korean localities will bring you in Fukuoka without any considerable effort.

2. The processing method. There isn't a single historical evidence demonstrating that during the Song dynasty the Chinese knew how to steam the tea leaves, that is a necessary passage in order to make Koicha drinkable.
Daniel Burkus (http://chanoyu-to-wa.tumblr.com) smartly found out an interesting fact that is actually true. Korean knew the processing method of steam, because they used it with ginseng. Korean merchant used to sell in China red ginseng for a much more higher price than the typical ginseng that was normally available there. The Chinese paid such higher price because the red variety was considered of much higher quality (and much more rarer, since not a single plant of red ginseng has ever be found in China); thus the price has been maintained extremely high for centuries. There is one thing the Chinese (so the buyers) didn't knew. Red ginseng isn't a biological variety, is just the result of a processing method. The ginseng's roots are steamed in a basket made of wood for a certain amount of time and et voila, red ginseng was ready to be sold. Of course this processing method has never been revealed to the counterpart, so the Chinese mistakenly assumed that the red ginseng was a Korean variety, so available only there. This fact actually demonstrate that in Korea, the steaming method applied to food was knew (since long before the arrival of the seeds of tea in Japan), on the contrary of the Chinese, that continued to pay such a high price since they were unaware of this processing method.

3. Tea-mill. Has any of you ever view an antique tea-mill? Even the modern ones share the same pattern. What is the pattern present in such mills? Simple. The symbols present in tea-mills actually is the Korean symbol for the sun’s power. If you compare them with mills made in China during the same period, not a single one made in China share this symbols; so we can conclude that the mills made in order to process tencha leaves probably came from Korea.

There are other points I would like to discuss in future, but for now let's limit for these three!

Thanks for your time,
William.

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Re: Chanoyu: a Korean connection?

by JBaymore » Sep 20th 15 1:58 pm


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Re: Chanoyu: a Korean connection?

by William » Sep 20th 15 2:12 pm

Exactly which data from the many present there, in your opinion would demonstrate that the seeds brought from Eisai came from China?

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Re: Chanoyu: a Korean connection?

by kyarazen » Sep 20th 15 2:35 pm

William wrote: 2. The processing method. There isn't a single historical evidence demonstrating that during the Song dynasty the Chinese knew how to steam the tea leaves, that is a necessary passage in order to make Koicha drinkable.
Daniel Burkus (http://chanoyu-to-wa.tumblr.com) smartly found out an interesting fact that is actually true. Korean knew the processing method of steam, because they used it with ginseng. Korean merchant used to sell in China red ginseng for a much more higher price than the typical ginseng that was normally available there. The Chinese paid such higher price because the red variety was considered of much higher quality (and much more rarer, since not a single plant of red ginseng has ever be found in China); thus the price has been maintained extremely high for centuries. There is one thing the Chinese (so the buyers) didn't knew. Red ginseng isn't a biological variety, is just the result of a processing method. The ginseng's roots are steamed in a basket made of wood for a certain amount of time and et voila, red ginseng was ready to be sold. Of course this processing method has never been revealed to the counterpart, so the Chinese mistakenly assumed that the red ginseng was a Korean variety, so available only there. This fact actually demonstrate that in Korea, the steaming method applied to food was knew (since long before the arrival of the seeds of tea in Japan), on the contrary of the Chinese, that continued to pay such a high price since they were unaware of this processing method.
just some food for thought, with regards to the ginseng aspect, I had designed an experiment for undergrads to qualify ginseng age/quality using chromatographic means, it is obvious that the steaming of ginseng causes the breakdown of heavy ginsenosides, i.e. rb1, rg1 etc, into the more volatile re1/e2 etc. but this changes the medical and clinical properties. i'll not go into details but on pubmed or science direct you can find information on the different effects of raw ginseng, dried/aged ginseng and steamed ginseng :)

as for steaming.. zee chinese have been steaming leaves for use in Tang Dynasty, it is a critical step in the manufacture of Zheng Qing Long Tuan, or rather Steamed Green Dragon Ball tea. this continued to the song dynasty, of which song dynasty author, 赵汝励, in 北苑别录 wrote that there are six critical steps in manufacturing the long tuan tea, of which the first step is to steam the maocha. (蒸茶、榨茶、研茶、造茶、过黄、烘茶)~

but all in all you have to note that it is also mentioned that in song dynasty, there were variations and further development to the techniques, of which there were over fifty variations/changes in the processing during the reign of one of the emperors as a tribute tea. you can find more information in : 悠香古韵:茶典故 which you can buy the Ebook off google. i haz it but have not really had time to read it.

hope the info helps!

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Re: Chanoyu: a Korean connection?

by kyarazen » Sep 20th 15 3:10 pm

with regards to tea mills, here are a couple of song dynasty resources for your consideration

1) song dynasty Liu Song Nian's 刘松年- 撵茶图 Nian Cha Tu, currently kept at Taipei's Palace Museum

Image

this could be representative of how tea is being made in the song dynasty, and the wares used.

2) song dynasty, shen an lao ren, 审安老人, drew a pictorial book on the wares used/described in lv yu's chajing called 茶具图赞

Image

this is the tea mill that was drawn and described, which is similar to that in the painting as above.

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Re: Chanoyu: a Korean connection?

by William » Sep 20th 15 3:26 pm

Thanks for these helpful posts Kyarazen; the exploration just began! :D

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Re: Chanoyu: a Korean connection?

by chrl42 » Sep 20th 15 3:37 pm

1# - The tea trees in Korea, were also brought from China, too..around the similar time with Japan, probably similar region (Zhejiang or Jiangsu maybe)

Actually this is the most interesting topic in Korean tea communities these days, the origin of tea trees in Korea..normal belief was Mr. Kim (almost half of foreign students in China was Korean during Tang) brought the seeds from China, and spread in Hadong's Ssanggye temple..

New theory is the first foreign queen, madam Heo (許黃玉) from Sichuan China, brought the tea seeds into Korea circa the Jesus' period..indeed there are Big-Leaf-Varieties are grown in some places of south-east Korea. But major varietal is similar that to Zhejiang varietals.

2# - is quite unknown to me, the Chinese didn't know how to steam a tea leaf? :roll: Korea was quite famous for ginseng indeed..Koryo was famous for gingeng and celadons..but hey, north-east China' ginseng is reported to be no worse than Korea's in quality..


This is quite interesting topic..hope it to be keep updated :)

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Re: Chanoyu: a Korean connection?

by thirst » Sep 20th 15 4:12 pm

As a source for generally steaming tea leafs (making no claim here of it yielding similar results), it’s actually mentioned in my translation of the Chajing as the first step after plucking


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Re: Chanoyu: a Korean connection?

by chrl42 » Sep 21st 15 2:02 am

Looks like the OP has some errors..

First, the first tea seeds of Japan, it's been said it was Saicho who brought from Tang China, circa 8th century..

Aisai seems who spread the seeds, perhaps different seed from Saicho's..the record says Aisai brought tea seeds from Mt.Tiantai of Zhejiang province. Now, the follow-up has a very interesting info.

After analyzing the DNAs, it looks the Korean varietal (of Mt.Jiri) and the varietal of China's Mt.Tiantai are the same!

However, I don't know the DNAs of Japan vatietals, and even if their major vatietal is the same as Mt.Tiantai's..it doesn't mean there is a chance they are directly from Korea, because Tiantai mountain is a quite remarkable mountain of buddhism, Mr.Kim might have brought the seeds from there as well..more studies should be done.


As long as a Korean history..

Korean Kim Dae-ryum was the 9th-century man who seems to have brought tea seeds from China..that is later than Japan (Saicho), but the tea had existed before him,

According to Records of Three Kingdom, "tea seed was brought by Kim Dae-ryum, yet tea itself had existed (in Korea) before that" (and many dredge up 'Heo's story according to that text..)

Not only that, China's Jiu Hua Shan Zhi (Records of Mt.Jiu Hua) records, "Jin Di Cha is Di Zang (Korean legendary monk) himself brought from Shilla (Korea) - 据《九华山志》记载,九华山茶中的“金地茶”即金地藏“自西域(误,应为新罗)携来”之种。"

Di Zang was a Korean monk who moved to China, settled in Anhui Jiuhua mountain and became the bodhisattva there, Di Zang came to China a century earlier than Kim..once again the origin story of Kim is opposed..

Things like this are quite controversial and being updated even to these days..many buddhist historical texts are left in mystery and remained to be verified...I shall update more if I get a new info :)

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Re: Chanoyu: a Korean connection?

by steanze » Sep 21st 15 4:49 am

I don't know much about these topics and I am reading the post with interest. I just wanted to observe that there are two separate questions at stake, one is about whether the tea seeds were originally brought to Japan from China or from Korea, and the other one is about the cultural influences of China and of Korea on the Japanese chanoyu. It seems quite possible that the two have different answers: tea seeds might have been brought to Japan well before the development of chanoyu, in which case the question of whether these seeds came from China or from Korea has little relevance to settle the question of the origin of the cultural influences on chanoyu.

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Re: Chanoyu: a Korean connection?

by chrl42 » Sep 21st 15 8:31 am

History always has its frontal views and side views..one should never believe whatever written in texts etc..otherwise one could end up believing stories like "Confucius was Korean" or "Japan colonized southern Korea during the 4th c." or "white people built the yellow river civilization" etc..which is terrible just to hear, but those too, were based on 'facts'.

I feel many of those Korean connections with Japanese Chanoyu, in many ways, are seemingly side views, but matter of fact, the facts indeed.


the premise given..here are what I found :)

According to 東大寺要錄, it said Kyouki (行基, 668~749) planted the tea tree in Japan during Denpo period (天平時代)..Kyouki was a Korean monk, the Japanese called them a Dorai-jin, which means immigrants. Some people focus on it, because that was about the earliest time, that wrote about planting of tea tree (a century earlier than Saicho).

Another topic that some tea drinkers are focusing on is wabi-cha (草庵茶), is originated from Korea. Wabi-cha is known to be created by Sen Rikyu and is an essence of Chanoyu.

They say wabi-cha was handed down from Kim Si-sup, Kim Si-sup is a very famous Korean scholar..often credited as 'prodigy' (like wrote a fantastic Hanzi (Kanji) poem when he was a kindergartener that pleased the King of early-Chosun etc)..he was an avid tea drinker.

The story goes..

In 1460's, a Japanese monk named Juncho visited Kim, who had turned into a buddhist monk at that time. A legendary scholar, yet turned into a monk, abandoned everything visual..hidden in a temple in Kyungju drinking tea without any extravaganza device or environment. The visual just was a shock to Juncho..they chatted for long, Juncho visited Kim more than twice since that. Kim Si-sup wrote a beautiful poem about that event..

Juncho came back to Japan, and taught Kim's teaching to Murada Shuko 村田珠光, Murada then handed it down to Sen Rikyu, Sen Rikyu later perfected the wabi-cha.

Possible, since many Japanese scholars and monks often visited Korea and had scholarly conversations..but I still think even it's true, to say Kim was a father of wabi-cha, still seems a lot biased.

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Re: Chanoyu: a Korean connection?

by Tead Off » Sep 21st 15 11:51 am

I've never read anything on Wabi-cha nor have seen/heard any references to it as a similar practice in Korea of Chanoyu. I find it odd that nothing has survived to this day if there really was something like Chanoyu there. It is not really a Buddhist tradition, although monks drank tea there, and has little to do with the Teachings of Buddhism. But, somehow, the Japanese developed this practice and incorporated it into their culture. Tea drinking has taken place in Asia for centuries, yet it is only in Japan where it has taken on a 'spiritual' meaning. It's only in recent times that the Koreans are making an effort to 'spiritualize' it. Whereas in China, there is no formality associated with drinking tea, but more of a social, free-spirited occasion. For me, I see Chanoyu as more of a Japanese cultural creation that grew out of the very strict and militant class system that existed in medieval times. I strongly doubt that farmers were practicing tea ceremony. It was more like a formal entertainment for the elite class. It's amazing that the 'sabi-ness' of the Korean bowls were actually accepted into Japanese society because of the highly developed skills of artisans. When you look at Kamakura art, it is very sophisticated. Then you look at a buncheong bowl, they really don't go together. I wonder if it was thought of as a novelty at first and became some Lord's fetish? Sort of like how grunge came into fashion. :D

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Re: Chanoyu: a Korean connection?

by chrl42 » Sep 21st 15 12:31 pm

Tead Off wrote:I've never read anything on Wabi-cha nor have seen/heard any references to it as a similar practice in Korea of Chanoyu. I find it odd that nothing has survived to this day if there really was something like Chanoyu there. It is not really a Buddhist tradition, although monks drank tea there, and has little to do with the Teachings of Buddhism. But, somehow, the Japanese developed this practice and incorporated it into their culture. Tea drinking has taken place in Asia for centuries, yet it is only in Japan where it has taken on a 'spiritual' meaning. It's only in recent times that the Koreans are making an effort to 'spiritualize' it. Whereas in China, there is no formality associated with drinking tea, but more of a social, free-spirited occasion. For me, I see Chanoyu as more of a Japanese cultural creation that grew out of the very strict and militant class system that existed in medieval times. I strongly doubt that farmers were practicing tea ceremony. It was more like a formal entertainment for the elite class. It's amazing that the 'sabi-ness' of the Korean bowls were actually accepted into Japanese society because of the highly developed skills of artisans. When you look at Kamakura art, it is very sophisticated. Then you look at a buncheong bowl, they really don't go together. I wonder if it was thought of as a novelty at first and became some Lord's fetish? Sort of like how grunge came into fashion. :D
I don't know why, I feel to see any hatred or bias towards the Koreans in your comments as always..(and you manage to sell Korean arts :lol: )

The Koreans often say, everyone at least has one talent...before I never found that in you..now I found, you are really genius at provoking :D Geez.

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Re: Chanoyu: a Korean connection?

by Tead Off » Sep 21st 15 1:47 pm

I'm not sure I understand what you are saying, but I enjoy trying to figure it out. :D Please don't take anything I say as true. Only meant to provoke some thought, not bad feelings. You know I have a soft spot for Koreans.