Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura

This week has been rather hectic, so here's another short review. I read The Book of Tea and it's only 74 'pages' on my iPad, so a really quick read.

The Book of Tea is what its title says. It's a discussion of the Japanese perspective on tea. It has 7 chapters:

- The Cup of Humanity
- The Schools of Tea
- Taoism and Zennism
- The Tea-room
- Art Appreciation
- Flowers
- Tea-masters.

There's also a mini-biography of the author, which helps explain why he wrote the book.

The author's love of tea comes across very clearly in this book - as does his disdain for the West (although his life seemed to tell a different story). I really enjoyed the whole book and learnt a lot from it. Plus, I really love the language in it, like this passage:

Translation is always a treason, and as a Ming author observes, can at its best be only the reverse side of a brocade - all the threads are there, but not the subtlety of colour or design.

And by the way, this was originally written in English. So you can be sure that you're getting the original, not a translation without subtlety or colour.

If you like tea, you should take a look at this. I borrowed it from the NLB e-reads app, so if you have an account, you can get it straight away (if you don't, you can make one if you're an NLB member).


  1. I am not really a fan of tea, but find the ritual aspects tied into it rather fascinating. This sounds like an interesting book.

    1. Oh, then this would be right up your alley! There's a lot about the meaning behind the tea and things like that (not so much about the drinking part)


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