By Kristin Surak
Why did an activity as mundane as tea preparation and drinking become one of the potent symbols of Japan? How does the tea ceremony enable Japanese culture to be experienced, not just by foreigners, but by the Japanese as well? Kristin Surak unravels these puzzles in her award-winning book Making Tea, Making Japan: Cultural Nationalism in Practice. To mark its release in Japanese as MTMJ: 日本らしさと茶道, she joined Hayato Hosoya, Academy Fellow at Chatham House, in conversation to explore the relationship between culture and nation. With over a dozen years of tea training between them, Dr Surak and Mr Hosoya reflected on the position of the tea ceremony within an ever-changing Japan.
Kristin Surak is an Associate Professor of Japanese Politics at SOAS, University of London and Fung Global Fellow at Princeton University. Her research on international migration, nationalism, and political sociology has appeared in leading academic and intellectual journals. She received the 2014 Book of the Year Award from the American Sociological Association’s Asia Section for Making Tea, Making Japan. This work is the first comprehensive exploration of the tea ceremony that addresses its historical transformation and current manifestations. Dr Surak has been an invited fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; Clare Hall, Cambridge University; and the European University Institute. She comments regularly for the BBC, The Economist, Sky TV News, Channel News Asia and other global media sources.
Hayato Hosoya is an Academy Fellow at Chatham House focusing on cyber security and export control. From 2014 to 2016, Mr Hosoya worked as a diplomat in the North East Asia Division of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he conducted in-depth research about the security issues in the Korean Peninsula and led one of the economic sanctions projects against North Korea. Mr Hosoya is involved in various aspects of Japanese culture, from its philosophy to its art and practiced tea ceremony. He received his Master of Public Policy from the University of Oxford and BA from the University of Tokyo.