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The Book of Tea: Okakura Kakuzo Hardcover – June 20, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Benjamin Press (June 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983610606
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983610601
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

For those of us who, for years, have loved and been influenced by Okakura's prose and philosophy, this new edition brings fresh insight and clarity to the work. With sensitivity, admiration and profound appreciation for Okakura, Bruce Richardson unravels the complex and intriguing story that lies behind the original Book of Tea. All tea lovers will treasure this beautiful and valuable work. --Jane Pettigrew, London author

Georgia O'Keeffe loved The Book of Tea. The similarities between her own life and the Japanese tea ceremony were obvious- her constant manner, her humility, her exactness, her utterly respectful exactness. --Christine Patten, author of Miss O'Keeffe

Georgia O'Keeffe loved The Book of Tea. The similarities between her own life and the Japanese tea ceremony were obvious- her constant manner, her humility, her exactness, her utterly respectful exactness. --Christine Patten, author of Miss O'Keeffe

Okakura was such a charismatic genius he is called by the Japanese tensin which means teacher; which he certainly was. But they have no word for bridge person, any more than we do in English, yet this describes the essence of Okakura's life work. He bridged cultures that seemed worlds apart, interpreting Japan and Asian ways to the West and in Japan itself finally achieving the honored status of tensin. The Book of Tea is only the best known of his monuments. What a life story is now revealed to us!

Bruce Richardson resurrects Okakura's life and times by means of exquisitely chosen and reproduced illustrations. It is rare for writing as exquisite as Okakura's to be illustrated just as exquisitely and this Benjamin Press Edition of The Book of Tea is in its own right a landmark in the art of bookmaking. We look through Mr. Richarson's educated eye at period photos and portraits from the time Okakura at 24 sailed from Yohohama to San Francisco in 1886. Already an enfant terrible in the Japanese art world, he was eager to discover new worlds - America and Europe - where his impact was to prove scarcely less epochal than it had been on his abandoned native soil.

Richardson also shows us how Okakura inspired and influenced several generations of American genius--very much including Frank Lloyd Wright and Georgia O'Keeffe--through The Book of Tea. Why has all this been kept secret up til now?

This new edition represents a work of generosity and love on the part of Bruce Richardson: It is a beautiful work of art in tribute to a beautiful work of art. --James Norwood Pratt's review in TeaTime magazine

From the Inside Flap

Okakura Kakuzo was born in the bustling seaport of Yokohama in 1862, only eight years after Commodore Perry's "Black Ships" pried open Japan's international trade gates. Christian missionaries taught him to speak English and sing Methodist hymns, while Buddhist monks schooled him in Confucianism and drinking green tea. Working alongside his teachers at Tokyo University, all imported from New England, Okakura helped save Japan's artistic traditions from being tossed aside in favor of modern Western aesthetics.

By the turn of the twentieth century, Okakura had made his way to Boston, where he became the Director of the Asian Arts Department at the Museum of Fine Arts and the favorite companion of Back Bay society's grande dame,  Isabella Stewart Gardner. Okakura found tea to be the perfect metaphor for interpreting the Japanese art spirit to a Boston culture thirsty for a counterpoint to America's headlong rush into materialism and wealth. The Book of Tea was first published in 1906 and has never been out of print. It is one of the most influential books ever written for those looking to infuse the tea spirit into their lives.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Jessup on July 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
On reading "The Book of Tea" newly published by Benjamin Press.

If you can have two or three or four cups of tea then you can have several editions of the classic "The Book of Tea." This new one could be your Best One. Or maybe you've never really read or bought an edition of this philosophical, poetic, and seemingly ancient book. This one -- after you read Bruce Richardson's introduction -- would be the one you really read, and savor.
It is both pleasant and penetrating to slowly read Bruce's clear and original take on Okakura. Sipping his short introduction reveals the story of how Okakura "came to tea" as the metaphor for bringing the spirit of an Eastern aesthetic thought to a growing Western materialism.
What makes this edition a useful and elegant addition to your library is that you too will feel Okakura's passion for this humane world view, captured in a cup of tea, as you will also feel that same passion in Bruce's deeply thought, originally researched, retelling of this story.
That alone would be enough to make any thinking tea drinker want this book. The added extraordinary photographs, art and scholarship sweeten the pot, just right.

Duncan Newcomer, New Harmony, Indiana
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By kennethb on September 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Okakura Kakuzo was an important influence on the Gardner circle to this day and his insights brought a clarity to the movement toward the modern age and the wisdom of the past setting a precursor to the spirit of the modern soon to emerge at the Armory show. this book, only outwardly about tea, calls to the artistic spirit in all. a good edition of a timeless classic belonging in the library of every artist- though it will spend most of its time in studio, or at bedside.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great book for anyone who enjoys learning more about the mingling of eastern and western cultures. Okakura made a statement in the Boston area, and he influenced many greats such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Georgia O' Keeffe. This book was a gift, and it surprised me, you can't judge a book by it's cover!
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By karen getchell on January 30, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My neice enjoys tea and was delighted with this book. Now she has more knowledge about teas and will appreciate tea even more.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joop Zappeij on September 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The condition of the book was perfect.
The content met the expectations.
The transport went very quickly.
The receiver was happy with our gift.
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