I have been hearing the keyword “gender equality” more and more often.
“Gender-equality” refers to the idea that individuals should be free to act, speak and make choices based on their own will, without being bound by socially defined “male” or “female” images.
In fact, the tea ceremony uses different tools and different manners for women and men.
This is also because they have different skeletons based on biology.
In this context, I will think about gender freedom and the tea ceremony.
１：Tea Ceremony and Gender
In the history of the tea ceremony, men have been involved in the tea ceremony for longer than women.
This is partly because of the history of Japan, but also because women had almost no human rights.
The tea ceremony flourished during the time of the samurai, but by the end of that era, there was a fear that the tea ceremony culture would die out.
The idea of how to pass on the tea ceremony was to develop the tea ceremony for women, and the program was incorporated as a training program for brides at girls’ schools.
The first woman who tried to incorporate the tea ceremony in women’s education was Atomi Kayei.
She was the founder of Atomi Gakuen, a school that still exists today.
At the Atomi Girls’ School, which opened in 1875, she incorporated tea ceremony into the curriculum as part of women’s education.
２：Manners and Gender
Thus, the tea ceremony has gone from being something that many men do to something that women also do.
In order to make it easier for women to practice tea ceremony, changes were made from those for men.
For example, the size of the utensils is a little smaller for women, and there is a difference in the way the tea ceremony is performed between otoko-demae (male tea ceremony) and onna-demae (female tea ceremony). (Of course, there are differences between schools.)
It is said that each of them has been composed and handed down to the next generation so that they can perform the manners in the most beautiful way.
３：Jander Equality and Tea Ceremony
Now that you have come this far, you can see that gender has remained in the history of the tea ceremony.
However, times have changed, the 21st century. How will the traditional tea ceremony change or remain the same as the concept of gender freedom spreads?
It is only my opinion, but I am sure that from now on, people will be allowed to choose and do the tea ceremony of their choice, not based on gender differences.
The reason for this is that there are men who have feminine bodies and vice versa. Some men have feminine bodies and vice versa, and some have gradations of gender identity.
That’s why I hope that the terms “man’s point of view” and “woman’s point of view” will become just words, and that the essential axis will be passed on.
Is gender equality a return to the roots of humanity?
From this point on, I would like to talk about my experiences at an all-girls school from junior high school to graduate school, but looking back, growing up in an environment full of women, I was not familiar with the idea of coexisting with men.
Therefore, even though I was a woman, I still had to do the heavy lifting at the cultural festival, and I think I learned the importance of being independent even if I was a woman.
Independence here means not only financial independence, but also mental independence.
Because there was no such thing as the opposite sex during my adolescence, I feel that the theme of my life was “how to face myself within the same sex”.
After that, when I became a working adult, I was naturally required to coexist with men as a member of society, which sometimes puzzled me and caused me to have problems because I was a woman.
Especially in the physical sense, it is clear that there are differences, and it is also true that there are physiological phenomena and mental changes that are affected by these differences, so I don’t think it is a good idea to unify everything in a gender-free manner.
I don’t know what the future of our society will be, but I hope that it will become a world that is easier for each and every person to live in.