Toyotomi Hideyoshi largely influenced Sen no Rikyu’s rise in political
power. Hideyoshi was on a mission to unify Japan, after he succeeded Oda
Nobunaga. Rikyu was Nobunaga’s tea master, but Hideyoshi finally met Rikyu
in 1570. Hideyoshi was interested in the arts, such as the tea ceremony
and No theater because he needed to legitimize his leadership. He
used the arts to make him seem like an appealing leader, especially because
he was not born to an aristocratic family.
Hideyoshi practiced both types of tea: wabicha and the aristocratic tea ceremony. He built the Taian for wabicha and the Golden Tearoom for the aristocratic tea ceremony. He made both tea houses transportable, so he could show people his rich cultural background. In 1585, he was appointed Kampaku, and Imperial Agent. He organized a tea ceremony for Emperor Ogimachi (1560-1586) at the Imperial palace, to celebrate his new position. (An artist's rendetion of Rikyu and Hideyoshi having tea in the Taian.) The tea ceremony at the Imperial Palace was the most significant event in which Hideyoshi and Rikyu participated together. Hideyoshi was responsible for helping Rikyu attain political power. Conversely, Hideyoshi used the tea ceremony to gain the support and acknowledgement of the community.
Home Table of Contents Next Page