@47 days until Hiroshima Summit: Ueda Soko Ryu

by Yu Yamada, Staff Writer

Ueda Soko Ryu is a school of Buke-sado, a Japanese tea ceremony practiced by samurai families. The school’s originator is Soko Ueda (1563-1650), a warrior and master of tea ceremony. In 1619, when Nagaakira Asano, the head of the former Hiroshima domain made a triumphal entry into Hiroshima Castle, Soko also came to Hiroshima as Mr. Asano’s retainer. Since then, his school has been handed down in Hiroshima for more than 400 years. What is special about Ueda Soko Ryu is that it has linear and streamlined movements.

Sokei Ueda, 77, now serves as the school’s 16th grandmaster. It is a rare case in Japan that a Buke-sado school has been handed down by the originator’s family for generations. About 5,000 people have been practicing or supporting the Ueda Soko Ryu in total.

The school is based at Ueda-ryu Wafudo located in Nishi Ward, Hiroshima, which has replicated the structure of the home the Ueda family resided in within Hiroshima Castle during the Edo period. It has also contributed to the cultural restoration of Hiroshima since the city was destroyed by the atomic bombing.

(Originally published on April 2, 2023)