A Brief History of Tea in Utah

Sauki sensei
Sauki Tamae was the first women of Japanese descent to receive the governor's award from the state of Utah for her almost single handed efforts in spreading tea and its related arts with in this region. She was also a highly accomplished flower master of the Ikenobo and Ohara schools. She was a master of the Urasenke school; studying under the venerable Tan-tan-sai before she came to Utah in the late 1920's. She, and her family suffered world war two at the Topaz internment camp during that time, but she still studied the way of tea even though she had to endure harsh conditions. One of the guards took pity on her and helped her fashion utensils needed to practice temae (procedure for making tea). She used dried milk and dried cocoa instead of matcha.

Those precious utensils remain in the Nishikawa family collection. After the war, she and her family stayed in Salt Lake. She did not have many students during this time but she still practiced the way. She passed away in 1998 at the age of 98. She is considered by many to be a lasting example of grace, serenity, talent, determination, and wisdom. She is greatly missed.

Randy Burks
I became interested in Asian arts through the hobby of bonsai while attending the University of Utah. Thanks to the illustrious professors Dr. Lennox Tierney, Dr. Anand Yang, and Prof. Dorothy Bearnson, I was able to study Japanese garden design, flower arrangement, art history, Asian history, Pottery, Sumi-e ink painting, basketry, and other related subjects. Through Dr. Tierney I was introduced to the venerable Sauki Sensei, who taught cha-no-yu. Later I was able to get a scholarship and attend the Midori-kai program at Urasenke in Kyoto with the help of Sauki Sensei and Dale Slusser Sensei from Los Angeles. I graduated in 1995.Many thanks must also be given to Kishimoto Sensei of Fujisawa city Japan and her gracious students for their support and encouragement. I have kept in contact with the talented Kathy Lyons and Austin Babcock who reside at the Llama foundation near Taos New Mexico. They are not only good friends but excellent teachers of the way. There are many other teachers that I am grateful for but there are too many to mention.

I retain the certification to study temae up to the Sei- Hikitsugi level. On December 6th 2005, I received the tonsure and was ordained a Zen Buddhist monk at the Kanzeon Zen Center 'Hoshin-ji' here in Salt Lake City. Due to complications and a falling out between the Sanga group and its former teacher, I consider myself an itinerant monk.

Haruko 'So-sei' Sadler Sensei
Haruko 'So-sei' Sadler Sensei, is the highest ranking tea teacher (tea master/mistress) of the Urasenke school in the state of Utah. She began her study of the way of tea at the age of 8, being instructed by her Great Aunt. She was taught the Omotesenke school tradition and then switched to Urasenke school at age 19. She grew up in the Kawasaki city area of Kanagawa ken (prefecture) in Japan. She was awarded her teaching certificate and tea name 'So-sei' from Urasenke in Japan. Sadler Sensei came to America in 1998 and lived in New Mexico. While living in there, she taught Japanese language studies, gave demonstrations in elementary schools, and instructed in flower arrangement arts as well. She taught at the 'Life long learning center' for 3 years. She came to Springville Utah in 2005 after marrying Mr. Sadler. She holds certificates and a teaching license from the Nippon Ka-do kyo- kai; being given the flower name"Haruka". She also learned the 'Sogetsu style' of flower arrangement from her grandmother. Her goals are to introduce more people in experiencing Japanese culture and art. She has also played the koto since 4th grade.

Jack Christensen
Jack Christensen lives in the Salt lake city area and was schooled in the tradition of the Sohen-ryu school of tea. He was taught this rare tradition from the wife of the priest in the Nichi-ren school of Buddhism. He was a teacher at East High School for many years. He is the author of many children's books (one of which is about the way of tea for children) and a prolific collector of various objects of art used for tea. He is also a master of the art of Chinese paper cut techniques. He continued in his studies writing books and sharing the arts of Asia. He has since passed on.

Kathy Leons Sensei and Austin Babcock Sensei were classmates with Randy Burks while he was studying at Urasenke in the Midori-kai classes. They have visited Salt Lake City a few times to help in "spreading peace through a bowl of tea". The reason that they are featured in the history of tea in Utah is because of their example and influence to countless people in the way of tea. Their dedication, spirit, generosity, graciousness, and friendship, have always been a catalyst for change in the lives of everyone that they have met and taught. I consider them to be two of the finest teachers in the U.S. They currently live at the Lama foundation near Taos in New Mexico. They have received their Tea names from the teachers at Konnichi-an, and regularly visit japan to continue their practice. They have also jointly saved the life of a classmate during a time of danger and uncertainty while they were still in Midori-kai. Those who know these fine teachers are truly fortunate indeed.

Kishimoto So-kie Sensei is a wise and highly accomplished teacher who lives in Fujisawa city in the Kanagawa Ken prefecture of Japan. She brought 16 of her students to Salt Lake City Utah in order to help promote the way of tea in the mid 1980's. Even though the group could only stay for two weeks, they participated in a demonstration of Cha-no-yu [hot water for tea] at the University of Utah. Her continued interest in our group and generous support have been a godsend. She can easily be considered one of the finest teachers to visit from Japan, and her influence and helpfulness have assisted in shaping tea culture in Utah state.

Gary Caddiwalledar Sensei, must be mentioned due to his world wide influence and congenial nature in the study of tea. Students from as far away as Kenya, Australia, Germany, Russia, Egypt, France, and other points around the world, have benefited from his humorous and wise teachings. His ability to impart the spirit of tea to such a wide variety of people form so many diverse countries bespeaks his great talent for teaching and his boundless spirit in sharing a tasty bowl of tea with the world. The international world of tea studies owes a huge debt to this humble man. And his friend Joseph is a chef that can make the mouth water from his culinary delights. This dynamic friendship forged in hosting makes a tea gathering truly a once in a lifetime experience.

No history of tea can be considered complete with out the mention of Dr. Lennox Tierney, Professor Emeritus at the University of Utah. For decades this eloquent man has taught thousands of students in the arts of Asia and the history of the other half of the globe. Without his gentle instruction, Utah would be the poorer for it. He has been single-handedly instrumental in the establishment of the Asian art history branch of studies at the University. He has led countless students on trips to India, China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, and Taiwan, just to name a few. His collection of artefacts could easily fill an entire museum, and his love of sharing his knowledge has been a driving force in the enrichment of Utah as an international cultural center. He knew Sauki Sensei, introduced Randy Burks to her for studies, and has promoted tea culture more then most. He is truly the master. He regrettably passed away on June 12, 2015 at the venerable age of 101 years.