Sōshitsu is the name of the head, or iemoto, of the Urasenke school of Japanese tea ceremony. Sen is the family name and Sōshitsu is the hereditary name assumed by the successor upon becoming iemoto. The first person in this line of the Sen family to use the name Sōshitsu was the youngest son of Sen Sōtan; in other words, a great-grandson of Sen Rikyū. He is generally known as Sensō Sōshitsu (仙叟宗室), without mention of the family name, and is counted as the fourth generation in the Urasenke family line. The current head of Urasenke is the sixteenth generation, Sen Sōshitsu XVI, who is distinguished by his tea name, Zabōsai.
The kanji character for 'sō', 宗, in the hereditary name may be interpreted to mean 'family core'. Like the head of Urasenke, the heads of other schools of Japanese tea ceremony also have hereditary names beginning with this kanji character. For example, the head of the Omotesenke school traditionally carries the name Sōsa, written 宗左, and the head of the Mushakōjisenke school is Sōshu, 宗守.
List of Urasenke tea masters
- Sen Rikyū (1522-1591)
- Shōan Sōjun (1546-1614)
- Genpaku Sōtan (1578-1658)
- Sen Sōshitsu IV (四代目千宗室?, 1622-1697)
- Sen Sōshitsu V (五代目千宗室?, 1673-1704)
- Sen Sōshitsu VI (六代目千宗室?, 1694-1726)
- Sen Sōshitsu VII (七代目千宗室?, 1709-33)
- Sen Sōshitsu VIII (八代目千宗室?, 1719-1771)
- Sen Sōshitsu IX (九代目千宗室?, 1746-1801)
- Sen Sōshitsu X (十代目千宗室?, 1770-1826)
- Sen Sōshitsu XI (十一代目千宗室?, 1810-1877)
- Sen Sōshitsu XII (十二代目千宗室?, 1852-1917)
- Sen Sōshitsu XIII (十三代目千宗室?, 1872-1924)
- Sen Sōshitsu XIV (十四代目千宗室?, 1893-1964)
- Sen Sōshitsu XV (十五代目千宗室?, born 1923)
- Sen Sōshitsu XVI (十六代目千宗室?, born 1956)
- Sen, Sōshitsu. (1998). The Japanese Way of Tea: From Its Origins in China to Sen Rikyū, p. 231.
- Sen, p. 187.