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Jun 26, 2010 10:23 PM

did you know about the history of kaiseki

hi, this post is for kaiseki beginners like myself:)

to begin with...i found some posts about kaiseki and became interested in it because they told wonderful things about experiencing kaiseki. but then i came to think about the tradition in japan. japan is known for its simplicity and elegance. so what the person described was different from the idea of traditional japanese. so it lead me to read a book about original form of kaiseki. (actually i read only one book and did not even read a whole thing because it was too long. so it might be a bit inaccurate.)

kaiseki was originally named cha kaiseki. if i remember correctly, it was introduced as a kind of snack after the tea ceremony. and it was very frugal. there were six or seven courses but i believe it was often only three courses that were served. i forgot what they were but maybe miso soup, rice and something else. the reason cha kaiseki was introduced is that the ceremony lasted very long and they simply got hungry. (it is just my guess.) you know tea ceremony started because there were so many wars and a person thought we have to make a place where people can talk to each other without hatred feeling. so basically it is a get to know each other with respect place. so people talked for a long time and got hungry.

so in short, modern kaiseki is different form the original. i do not know why they changed. maybe because of money and change of life style.

btw, have you ever heard the sadou was created based on the life of christ?
the entrance of the chashitsu was very small because the christ said something like you have to be humble in order to get into heaven. also once you got into the chashitsu, there is no hierarchy. everyone is equal. the ash at the hibachi represents the christ ash. even though he was not cremated. and there were many tea cups that had christian symbols on them but i have never seen one.

well, chow blog lead me to learn about japanese food and culture. it is so informative.
thank you:)

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  1. No the chashitsu has absolutely nothing to do with the life of Christ , there are a lot of reasons why kaiseki has evolved beyond 3 and rice of chakaiseki but foremost among them is probably tht talented chefs wanted to stretch out and offer a more enjoyable experience to their customers.

    1. I think you may want to finish reading that book.

      1. There is nothing here that is accurate. Please post the primary source you are referencing.

        1. reading the replies, i feel like i should have done more research or finished the book before posting. sorry.

          i found the book in the library and i cannot remember the name of the book.

          and as for the christianity, it might be a wishful thinking but i did hear it from my paster at the church. so i just wondering if anyone else has heard about that too...but maybe not.

          humm, i like how modern kaiseki became what it is now and i agree that talented chefs always try to push their boundaries. but i just thought it is sad to forget about how it came about. if japan was a peaceful country, i believe there was no such things as sado.
          one of my acquaintance goes to sado once a year and tells me how wonderful the ceremony was. and i agree with that. but i feel like asking did you really feel the spirit of sado. i mean you can copy the ritual but you cannot copy the tradition, right? humm, i just feel like it is more like a ritual centered they lost the tradition...
          anyway. i should stop complaining.
          thanks everyone.

          1 Reply
          1. re: yumyumyumyum

            First of all, the tradition of kaiseki was established by devout Buddhists who were trying to balance a simple meal to counter the rather strong effects of bitter tea flavoring. It was later elaborated upon by the merchant class as, more or less, a distraction and pastime. Most of Japanese modern political history, between the introduction of kaiseki and the Meiji Restoration, was determined by the samurai class. They, for the most part, could give a shit about food and tea ceremony and pretty much held the merchant class in contempt as an antithesis of what they stood for. And second of all, it is my opinion, that Christian sources, especially Western ones, tend to overstate the influence and importance of Christianity on Japanese culture and history. It's always "wishful thinking" in this regard on the part of Christian commentators. So no offense, but yeah, you should stop complaining. Your welcome.