Takeno Jōō

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Statue of Takeno Jōō in Daisen-kōen, Osaka, Japan

Takeno Jōō (武野 紹鴎, 1502–1555) was a master of the tea ceremony and a well-known merchant during the Sengoku period of the 16th century in Japan. His name has come down in Japanese cultural history because he followed Murata Jukō as an early proponent of wabi-cha, and was chanoyu teacher to Sen no Rikyū.

It is believed that the family descended from the Takeda clan who were guardians of Wakasa Province. His father, Nobuhisa, changed the family name to Takeno, and after roaming the country, settled in Sakai, where he built up a thriving business dealing in leather goods used by warriors. Nobuhisa married the daughter of a priest of Kōfukuji temple in Yamato Province (present-day Nara Prefecture), Jōō's mother.[1]

While carrying on the family business in Sakai, Jōō, whose common name was Shingorō (新五郎), did religious duty as an attendant at the Hongan-ji temple in the Yamashina region of Kyoto. In 1532, he took the tonsure and came to be known as Jōō. Evidence shows that until the age of thirty-five, he aspired to become a teacher of renga (group poetry composition involving verse-linking). In Kyoto, he was able to learn the secrets of waka (Japanese poetry) from the aristocratic master of the art, Sanjōnishi Sanetaka. Being extremely wealthy, Jōō was able to amass an impressive collection of classical works on the art of waka.[2]

In Kyoto city, chanoyu (the Japanese tea ceremony) had suddenly risen in prominence, and Jōō became interested in developing a style that was suited to the people's customs in Sakai rather than Kyoto. Sanjōnishi and his renga circle were influential in this development, as was the Zen training that Jōō underwent.

Two of his important chanoyu pupils in Sakai were the wealthy merchant Imai Sōkyū, who was married to his daughter, and Sen no Rikyū. Eventually he became reputed as the foremost chanoyu master in Sakai.

When he died in 1555, his legitimate son, Takeno Shingorō (a.k.a. Takeno Sōga 武野宗瓦; 1550–1614), was a mere six years old. Shingorō inherited his father's fabulous estate, and in time he too became known as a tea master. Imai Sōkyū acted as his guardian.


  1. ^ Genshoku Chadō Daijiten (Japanese encyclopedia of the Way of Tea). Tankosha, 1975. ISBN 4-473-00089-3
  2. ^ Genshoku Chadō Daijiten