Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Stanford University Press (November 28, 2012)
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #943,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #374 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Beverages & Wine > Coffee & Tea #1649 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Customs & Traditions #2325 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Gender Studies > General
Kristin Surak’s Making Tea, Making Japan is one of the most transformative volumes I have read in some time, and deserves a reading beyond those who most obviously must engage it -- those who study Japanese society and those who are interested in nation formation. Surak’s analysis of the tea ceremony suggests something new about cultural power too, and therefore deserves an even broader audience.The tea ceremony has somehow survived radical transformations of Japanese national expression while at the same time ensuring a sense of continuity that phases of isolation, westernization, imperialism, postwar defeat/recovery, and democratic and peaceful internationalism would seem to deny. There is something about this tea ceremony that is remarkably resilient, on the one hand, and generative, on the other.It is resilient because it is reproduced over time. Yes, the experts and principal practitioners may shift from upper class men to housewives, and it may articulate very differently with various kinds of power, from militarists to commercial houses. It remains recognizably the same in practice over time, but it is more than resilient. It is generative.Tea ceremony practitioners are able to use this ceremony to express a kind of power that is not just about the manipulation of force or the distribution of resources. It expresses, in that Durkheimian sense, a kind of collective effervescence that is not only in the moment of ritual, but present in the anticipation of its performance, in the immaterial residues left on its artifacts, in the contemporary aura of its historical endurance.In a seminar at Brown University, Surak explained that resilience and generativity of practice in terms of the contradictions that the tea ceremony embodies.
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