About Dragon Ball and the Japanese Tea Ceremony and Zen

Dragon Ball is very popular around the world. In fact, the spirit of traditional Japanese martial arts permeates this work.
Dragon Ball is a manga/anime work that depicts the adventures of collecting Dragon Balls, which grant seven wishes. The main character, Son Goku, and his unique friends meet, strengthen their bonds, and fight powerful enemies, which is the reason for its popularity.

At the heart of this work is the philosophy of “Budo” (martial arts). This “zero way” is similar to the Japanese tea ceremony and Zen.

Dragon Ball and Martial Arts

First, Sun Wukong trained and honed his skills from the Turtle Hermit. This dedicated master-disciple relationship is the very essence of the master-disciple bond in martial arts.

Furthermore, Goku gradually becomes stronger as he engages in heated battles with powerful enemies. This spirit of “training and training oneself over and over again” overlaps with the basic philosophy of budo.

In addition, Goku learns the bonds to his friends and the spirit of justice through the battles for his life. Kame-Sen’nin explains, “Winning is not the only aspect of budo. Martial arts go beyond winning and losing; they are about cultivating the mind.

In this way, the basic spirit of budo, namely “the bond between master and disciple,” “training and growth,” and “cultivation of the mind that transcends victory and defeat,” is strongly projected in Dragon Ball. In this story of adventure and battle, Japanese traditions are alive and well.

Commonalities between Martial Arts and Tea Ceremony

The ancient traditional Japanese culture of budo and the tea ceremony have one thing in common: Zen, which is at the root of both.
First, in both, it is important to “put one’s heart and soul into what one does. In the martial arts, training the mind and concentration create a powerful stroke. In the tea ceremony, too, beauty is created by putting one’s whole heart and soul into one’s manners.
Another commonality is the “respect for propriety. In the martial arts, it is essential to respect others and observe etiquette. In the tea ceremony, too, consideration for one’s guests is required even before going up to the tea room.
In addition, there is the spirit of “ichigo-ichie” (a meeting once in a lifetime). In martial arts, it is essential to give one’s best in the moment. In the tea ceremony, too, it is a once-in-a-lifetime tea ceremony that can only be held at that particular moment.
Thus, martial arts and tea ceremony share the same philosophy of “training the mind, respecting decorum, and cherishing each and every encounter.

These spiritualities, acquired through rigorous training, may be the pride of Japanese culture.

Difference between Martial Arts and Tea Ceremony



On the other hand, there are differences between martial arts and the tea ceremony.

In martial arts, the goal is to hone one’s skills and overcome adversity. The tea ceremony, on the other hand, is about improving oneself in a quiet environment by being friendly with one’s guests.

In the martial arts, one cultivates energy and perseverance, while in the tea ceremony, one finds peace of mind. Although they are both activities to master the “Way,” they are opposite in their manifestations.

Because we value what we cannot see, we empathize with them.


The “invisible” is alive and well in both the martial arts and the tea ceremony, and this is why they have attracted sympathy from all over the world.

Those who see the tea ceremony for the first time may find it difficult to understand.
The complex etiquette, the mysterious artifacts, and the profound taste that is achieved in silence. At first glance, the tea ceremony may seem irrational and difficult to understand.

The tea ceremony emphasizes a worldview of “wabi and austerity. The tea ceremony is about finding “beauty in simplicity,” without the use of extravagant decorations. In other words, the invisible is respected.

The tea masters also find great meaning in nature, such as flowers and shadows. A single flower represents the seasons, and a ray of sunlight symbolizes the passage of time.

It is the mindset of the tea master to see the essence of life in the smallest details of nature. This “natural truth” can never be captured only by outward appearances.

What is most important is the “heart-to-heart contact” between the tea master and his guests. It is not through words, but through the sharing of manners through tea and the atmosphere that fills the space, that people can understand each other.

The tea ceremony cannot be described only in terms of what can be seen. This is because the tea ceremony values things that cannot be seen. Beauty in simplicity, the providence of nature, and the exchange of hearts. I believe that these things strongly appeal to people’s hearts.

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