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Tea, a drink said to have a history of around 1,300 years in Japan, was introduced from China with Buddhism and, under the influence of Zen philosophy, evolved into a unique Japanese culture known as of “chanoyu” (tea ceremony). In addition to the ceremony, tea has also been passed down as an indispensable custom in people’s daily lives, providing them with a quality taste rooted not only in Japanese culture but also in Eastern ideologies and aesthetics.

The custom of drinking tea gives people some peace of mind even in the midst of busy times. This may be what has caused a new tea culture to emerge in Tokyo during the pandemic, with a number of unique teahouses that fuse art, tea and meditation launched last year. Japan’s EN TEA HOUSE is one of those teahouses that represents “today’s tea”.

Enso, a form of Zen calligraphy, in which a circle is drawn in one stroke, is the signature of this tea house. The “Kuusho”, an abstract calligraphy in space that TeamLab has been writing since its inception, remains static in space, but as the point of view moves, it creates a moment where it appears to be a circle. The depth, speed and power of the ink marks of calligraphy are reconstructed in three dimensions in space through a new interpretation, and then rendered into two dimensions through the logical structure of “hyper-subjective space” from TeamLab.

Photographed by Kei Inoue, Ayako Sasaki, Keita Tsuchida, Yoonji Choe (teamLab Visual team) © teamLab Inc. All rights reserved

EN TEA in Japan, born in 2017, is a project that began when Hirotoshi Maruwaka, a producer of products and projects related to Japanese culture, and Shunichi Matsuo, the current tea master blender of EN TEA, joined met in Paris. Based in a “satoyama” (an undeveloped forest near a populated area) in Kyushu, on the border of Saga and Nagasaki prefectures, the project focuses on spreading the essential enjoyment of tea as a culture with a new interpretation. It should be noted that EN TEA is dedicated to creating specialized tea bag products. In fact, it is very difficult to brew a good cup of tea from tea leaves. “When we used to hold a tea class, we asked participants to bring their own teapots, and we were shocked to find that most of them were unusable,” says Maruwaka.

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