Kissa Yojoki – the Book of Tea
Friday, 6 April 2007
The oldest tea book in Japan, Kissa Yojoki – How to Stay Healthy by Drinking Tea, was written by Eisai in 1211. Eisai was a famous Zen Priest, who had brought tea seed from China to Kyoto in 1191. He had given the seeds to a priest named Myoe Shopin who had made then into Uji tea. In the two-volume book, which Eisai wrote, the priest begins by saying “Tea is the ultimate mental and medical and medical remedy and has the ability to make one’s life more full and complete”.
The book describes the positive effects that tea has on the vital organs, particularly the heart. It praises the value of tea as a medicine in curing indigestion, quenching thirst, avoiding fatigue, working as a stimulant, undoing the effects of alcohol, and improving brain and urinary function. The book also explains the parts of the plant and the appropriate dosages and administration for specific ailments.
In 1214, Eisai, introduced tea to the Samurai. When the priest Eisai heard that Shogun Minmoto no Sanetomo drank too much night after night, Eisai presented a book he had written to the shogun about health benefits of drinking tea. That event changed the custom of the warrior class. Tea drinking became popular among the Shogun and the Samurai.