Gengensai | Letter
I have read your precious letter. It has been very cold these days but I am pleased to know that you are well.
When you came from far that night, it has been long since you have visited last. However, as it was a busy time we could not give you good enough hospitality. I am deeply sorry for that. Did you have any difficulties on the way home?
And then, when I wanted to visit you, you were busy. So I have tried to find another suitable occasion. Then your letter arrived, and I am ashamed of my laziness.
The last time we met you gave me the tea scoop made by [Takeno] Joo. I was so overwhelmed. I thought that it was too much for me, and I thought of declining your gift. But then I could not refuse your kindness either. And so I gratefully accepted the teaspoon and it will be our family’s treasure forever. I cannot express enough my gratitude on this piece of paper.
Also, I cannot be more grateful for what we received from you the other day: a salted bream from your hometown and freeze-dried tofu. For long they have not brought out the tofu from west mountains. Therefore, it was difficult to say when it would arrive. Then as you happened to find some you have sent it to us. Your consideration is beyond compare. It is the beginning of winter so we want like to taste it tonight. Thank you so much. The tofu will make us taste your kindness. And I hope this will make you smile.
Recently a piece of bamboo arrived from Kenninji temple. I humbly curved a teaspoon out of it. If you would think of a poetic name for it, I will name it. I would like to keep it for you. I will have to write to you properly on this subject though. I have been out all day and just came back home now. Forgive the rough writing please. We will discuss the details in person.
Please convey my warm greetings to your family also. The requested clothing made in Noto Inami has arrived. We keep it for you. And we wrote a letter to wish the best for your wise son.
This is a reply to Master Kane Gakun
Ink on paper
34 x 72 cm (13¼ x 28¼ in.)
Mounting 127 x 74 cm (50 x 29 in.)
Some wear to the mounting
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Gengensai was Urasenke's eleventh Grand Tea Master. Born into the Matsudaira family of Mikawa, one of the families related to the Tokugawa, he was adopted into the Urasenke family at the age of ten. His achievements were such that it is not an exaggeration to call him the restorer of the Urasenke school of tea. A man of uncommon character, Gengensai's tea students were many and came from all walks of life, including daimyo, imperial family members, court nobles, and samurai, as ordinary townspeople. (Chanoyu Quarterly 54:25)