Nanporoku (1690) – Memoranda of the Words of Rikyu –

In “Reevaluating Rikyū: Kaiseki and the Origins of Japanese” Eric C. Rath writes the following about Nanporoku

Nanporoku (Nanpo’s record), said to be a transcript of teachings Rikyu¯ certified as authentic. Tea scholars admit that Nanpo¯roku, presented as a collection of seven volumes of transcripts of Rikyu¯’s oral instructions and tea ceremonies by a mysterious (and entirely fi ctitious) disciple named Nanpo, was in fact created by the samurai litterateur Tachibana Jitsuzan (1655–1708), who posed as the rediscoverer of these lost texts.

The following is said about the topic in “Making Tea, Making Japan”

The dubious discovery in the same year of a set of Rikyū’s writings, Nanpōroku, and the subsequent composition of the collection One Hundred Gatherings of Rikyū, helped to codify doxic principles purportedly derived from the founding father of the practice.

The Enjoyment of Tea by SEN Genshitsu 15th Urasenke Oiemoto and Wind in the Pines by Dennis Hirota both quote Nampōroku in such a way to make the reader believe that it contains Rikyus teaching.

Scholars seem to accept that Nampō is a fictious character, but many of them chose to conveniently “forget” it when they want a source for Rikyus teachings.

Nampo Sokei is the name of the author of this book if the books it to be believed.

Book One: Oboegaki Once, when Rikyu had been speaking of chanoyu at Shuun-an, I asked,” You often remark that, although chanoyu has its roots in [the formal tea employing] the daisu, when considering the deepest attainment of its spirit, nothing surpasses the informal tea held in a small room. Why should this be so?” Rikyu responded: “Chanoyu of the small room is above all a matter of performing practice and attaining realization in accord with the Buddhist path. To delight in the refined splendor of a dwelling or the taste of delicacies belongs to worldly life. There is shelter enough when the roof does not leak, food enough when it staves off hunger. This is the Buddhist teaching and the fundamental meaning of chanoyu.

Also No. 20: The meal for a gathering in a small room should be but a single soup and two or three dishes; sake should also be served in moderation. Elaborate preparation of food for the wabi gathering is inappropriate. Needless to say, harmonizing strongly and lightly flavored dishes should be understood in the same way as that of the thick and thin services of tea.

And #21: The handai  飯台 First the host carries the handai in and wipes it clean with a cloth. He then puts the shaped rice in rice bowls, covers them, and places them on top of soup bowls. In this manner he lines up on a tray as many services as there are guests, carries them in, and raises them to the handai. The soup he serves from a soup pitcher.

Qoutes from Nampōroku

[Chanoyu] is nothing more than lighting a fire, boiling water, and drinking tea. There should be nothing else. It is just because of this that the Buddha-Mind becomes manifest.

– Wind in the Pines

“In the summer, [provide a sense] of coolness, in the winter, [impart a sense] of warmth; set the charcoal so that it boils the water, make the tea so that it tastes good. This is the whole secret.”

– Qouted from “The one taste of truth: Zen and the art of drinking Tea”


Some notes from chabana page:

8. Concerning flowers that should not be used in arrangements for chanoyu, there are the doggerel verses:

hanaire ni irezaru hana wa chinchoge 沈丁花 miyama shikimi太山樒

keitou no hana 鶏頭

Among flowers banned from the flower vase are sweet daphne (D. odora), mountain anise (Illicium religiosum), and cockscomb ( ).

ominaeshi 女郎花 zakuro 柘榴 kobone 河骨 kinsenka 金盞花 senreika 仙藜花  o mo kirau narikeri

Patrina (P. scabiosafolia), pomegranate ( ), candock (Nuphar japonicum), marigold (Calendula arvensis), and balsam ( ) are likewise rejected.


Namporoku, Tachibana Jitsuzan “recreating” Rikyu: 7. Concerning the flowers for a small room, it is always best to arrange one or two stems of a single variety, with lightness of touch. Of course, it is alSO permissible to arrange them SO that they have a soft fullness, depending on the flower. In its fundamental intent, however, chanoyu rejects favoring solely the spectacle of flowers. When the room size increases to four-and -a half mats, two varieties may be used, depending on what they are.

9. It had been a long maintained custom to shun the display of flowers in the night gathering, but Joo and Rikyu, upon close consideration, decided it permissible, depending upon the flower. Colorful flowers are on the whole unusable, but white flowers are not unpleasant. A wide variety of flowers may be adopted…In using flowers for celebrative gatherings, one must give this matter special attention.

28. For the flower container in a small room, a length of bamboo, basket or gourd is best. A metal vase is generally most appropriate for the four-and-a-half mat room; depending upon the circumstances, one may also be used in a small room. Rikyu’s flowers (from Tennojiya, Sokyu, Kamiya; (by way of Mori Tomio, Shosetsu Chabana Zufu)+Matsuya kaiki): Winter: