Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Event: Japanese Kodo (Incense Ceremony) Workshop

The Department of Anthropology, CUHK held a workshop on kodo, the Japanese incense ceremony on 23 Nov 2012. This workshop is a part of the Kodo Series organized by the department. Souhitsu HACHIYA, the designated Head Master of the 21st generation of Shinoryu kodo-- one of the two leading kodo schools in Japan, was invited to lead the workshop. 

Mr. Hachiya introduces kodo history.
As the first part of the workshop, Mr. Hachiya gave a talk on the history as well as the inheritance and contemporary development of kodo. Together with sado (tea ceremony) and kado (flower arrangement), kodo is one of the three “geido” (the classical arts of refinement) in Japan. Kodo has a history of about 800 years, the longest among the three. The use of incense first came to Japan from China as a part of Buddhist rituals in the Tumulus Period (approximately 300 CE-552 CE). It gradually developed into etiquette of the upper classes, combining waka (short poem) with artistic properties, environmental arrangements and incense practices, stimulating participants’ imagination and artistic creation. As its formalities came to be developed and shaped, Kodo finally established itself as a unique art in Muromachi Period (approximately 1337CE to 1573CE). There are two main schools remaining in Japan: the Shino School and the Oie School. The Shino School is in the tradition of the samurai, putting more emphasis on crafting the inner self, while the Oie School is in the tradition of aristocracy, putting more emphasis on manners, formality and literal aspects of kodo.  

Kodo performance
Mr. Hachiya stressed that the appreciation of incense is not done by nose but by heart. In fact, it is called “listening to incense” in Japanese. Through the fragrance of incense, people listen to the voice of nature, communicate with it, and achieve harmony. “Forget your existence as human being and the incense’s existence as a piece of wood. Feel the connection with it equally as parts of nature,” said Mr. Hachiya. And it is through this way that one learns and improves the inner self. However, the development of kodo is now facing huge challenges as wild agargwood is becoming rare due to the environmental deterioration and unsustainable consumption of agarwood. The Shino School has been experimenting in increasing the amount of agargwood tree in a natural way.

Photo: Fred Choi
 After the talk, Mr. Hachiya demonstrated the performance of kodo in the main hall of Cham Shan Monastery, where participants learned to listen to incense and nature. 

Mr. Hachiya shows kodo instruments.
受香港中文大學人類學系邀請,日本志野流香道流派第二十一代傳人蜂谷宗苾先生于1123日再次莅临香港,舉行了日本香道文化一日工作坊。此次工作坊是兩依藏博物館贊助的香道文化系列活動之一,不少校內外嘉賓都出席了本次活動,包括香港文化博物館館長鄒興華先生、助理館長林錦源先生、中文大學藝術系系主任莫家良教授、中文大學學生事務助理主任霍偉基先生、玄陵基金會行政主任梁小姐、日本友人Maeda Megumi小姐等  

Charts of Genjiko (源氏香)
上午蜂谷宗苾先生在本系介紹了香道的歷史演變及現今的傳承和發展。香道與花道、茶道並稱日本的三大“雅道”,而其歷史又是三者中最悠久的,從室町時代道最終確立至今已長達八百多年。 源氏物語一書就描寫了當時的熏香盛會,其中記載的五十二種組香,漸漸發展為現在的源氏香。


Mr. Hachiya demonstrated how to hold the kodo cup firmly.
Listening to  incense
Breath out to the left

Q&A Section
Cham Shan Monastery
To know more about Shinoryu Kodo, please visit their website.

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