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The Kabutomon gate to the historical Urasenke Konnichi-an estate in Kyoto
Tea utensils used by iemoto Sen Sōshitsu XV

Urasenke (裏千家, lit. "the rear Sen house/family") is the name of one of the main schools of Japanese tea ceremony. It is one of the san-Senke (three Sen houses/families); the other two are Omotesenke and Mushakōjisenke.[1]


The san-Senke derive from Sen Rikyū, and it was not until after the era of his grandson, Sen Sōtan, that the three separate lines of the family came into being. Three sons of Sōtan each became heirs to the family name, Sen, and to the family profession of teaching the Way of Tea that their mutual family founder, Rikyū, had developed.[2]

The original tea room of Urasenke was built by Sen Sōtan when he was contemplating retirement and having his third son take over the headship of the Sen house. He built this retirement tea room on land located next to the Sen house, on the north. It has the name "Hut of This Day" (今日庵, Konnichian),[3] and from this the entire historical Urasenke estate, which is located on Ogawa street in the Kamigyo ward of Kyoto, directly north of the Omotesenke estate, is referred to by this name.

The head (iemoto) of this line carries the hereditary name Sen Sōshitsu.[4] The present head of Urasenke is Zabōsai Genmoku Sōshitsu. He is the 16th generation in the line.

Headmasters [5]Edit

Sen Sōshitsu XV (2007)
Generation name religious pseudonym
1st Rikyū Sōeki (1522–91) 利休 宗易 Hōsensai 抛筌斎
2nd Shōan Sōjun (1546-1614) 少庵 宗淳
3rd Genpaku Sōtan (1578-1658) 元伯 宗旦 Totsutotsusai 咄々斎
4th Sensō Sōshitsu (1622–97) 仙叟 宗室 Rōgetsuan 臘月庵
5th Jōsō Sōshitsu (1673-1704) 常叟 宗室 Fukyūsai 不休斎
6th Taisō Sōshitsu (1694-1726) 泰叟 宗室 Rikkansai 六閑斎
7th Chikusō Sōshitsu (1709–33) 竺叟 宗室 Saisaisai 最々斎
8th Ittō Sōshitsu (1719–71) 一燈 宗室 Yūgensai 又玄斎
9th Sekiō Sōshitsu (1746-1801) 石翁 宗室 Fukensai 不見斎
10th Hakusō Sōshitsu (1770-1826) 柏叟 宗室 Nintokusai 認得斎
11th Seichū Sōshitsu (1810–77) 精中 宗室 Gengensai 玄々斎
12th Jikishō Sōshitsu (1852-1917) 直叟 宗室 Yūmyōsai 又玅斎
13th Tetchū Sōshitsu (1872-1924) 鉄中 宗室 Ennōsai 圓能斎
14th Sekisō Sōshitsu (1893-1964) 碩叟 宗室 Mugensai 無限斎
15th Hansō Sōshitsu (Sen Genshitsu) (b. April 19, 1923) 汎叟 宗室 Hōunsai 鵬雲斎
16th (current iemoto) Genmoku Sōshitsu (b. June 7, 1956) 玄黙 宗室 Zabōsai 坐忘斎

In popular cultureEdit

  • The Choose Your Own Adventure book: Mystery of Ura Senke (nº 44), by Shannon Gilligan, deals with the theft of one of the Ura Senke school's most famous tea ceremony bowls, worth millions of yen on the black market. The protagonist and their friend Kenichi Doi, whose older brother Takashi is an Ura Senke school apprentice, start investigating the case.[6]


  1. ^ Urasenke Chado Textbook, p. 200. Supv. ed., Genshitsu Sen and Soshitsu Sen. Tankosha Publishing Co., 2011. ISBN 978-4-473-03696-4,
  2. ^ Urasenke Chado Textbook, p. 119
  3. ^ Urasenke Chado Textbook, pp. 118-119
  4. ^ Genshoku Chado Daijiten [Color-illustrated Encyclopedia of the Way of Tea], entry for "Urasenke," p. 106. ISBN 4-473-00089-3. (In Japanese)
  5. ^ Urasenke Chado Textbook, pp. 118-119
  6. ^ "Item - The Mystery of Ura Senke - Demian's Gamebook Web Page". Retrieved 2019-10-04.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Urasenke at Wikimedia Commons