This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia. (July 2014)
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The san-Senke derive from Sen Rikyū, and it was not until after the era of his grandson, Sen Sōtan, that the three separate lines of the family came into being. Three sons of Sōtan each became heirs to the family name, Sen, and to the family profession of teaching the Way of Tea that their mutual family founder, Rikyū, had developed.
The original tea room of Urasenke was built by Sen Sōtan when he was contemplating retirement and having his third son take over the headship of the Sen house. He built this retirement tea room on land located next to the Sen house, on the north. It has the name "Hut of This Day" (今日庵,Konnichian?), and from this the entire historical Urasenke estate, which is located on Ogawa street in the Kamigyo ward of Kyoto, directly north of the Omotesenke estate, is referred to by this name.
The head (iemoto) of this line carries the hereditary name Sen Sōshitsu. The present head of Urasenke is Zabōsai Genmoku Sōshitsu. He is the 16th generation in the line.
The Choose Your Own Adventure book: Mystery of Ura Senke (nº 44), by Shannon Gilligan, deals with the theft of one of the Ura Senke school's most fabulous tea ceremony bowls, worth millions of yen on the black market. The protagonist and their friend Kenichi Doi (whose older brother Takashi is an Ura Senke school apprentice) start investigating the case.