My name is Thomas Ekholm and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at Göteborg (Gothenburg) University, Sweden. I have a masters degree in Japanese and equivalent of a kandidate in history at Lund University, Sweden. Due to the university rules I was not able get a degree in both Japanese and History as they are within the same faculty. At first I planned to study up to Master level in history, but the chance of starting these Ph.D. studies made me change my mind.
My research is centered around the missionaries and tea during late 16th and early 17th century. What I want to find out is political connections (if any) between the Jesuit missionaries and the chanoyusha (which some refer as to tea masters).
As we all know, the Jesuits adapted to many Japanese customs in order to be able to preach. They started to serve sake to guests and wear silk instead of the normal Jesuit robe just to mention some. The part of this adaption in which I have more interest, is the policy to bring the chanoyu into their own residences.
As for the Japanese rulers, chanoyu was a social tool. It was used for political negotitations between Daimyo and Daimyo-merchants sometimes used chanoyu as means to meet. The chanoyusha sometimes got a lot of influence due to them knowing and sometimes instructing Daimyo in the art of chaoyu, Sen no Rikyu and Imai Sokyu are two famous ones. The rulers, especially Toyotomi Hideyoshi, used the chanoyusha for his own political agenda. Did the Jesuits do the same and try to use chanoyusha to get influence or protection from the daimyo?
This was a short explanation of my research project. Any comments, questions or advice? Don’t hesitate to write.