The Book of Tea Short Essay - Answer Key

Okakura Kakuzō
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1. Who began modernization in Japan? What did modernization do to Japan, according to the author?

The Japanese under Emperor Meiji in the second half of the 19th century were pursuing efforts to modernize. Modernization came with a price, namely, the destruction of the 'old' or traditional way of Japanese living. Students went to European universities, families adopted Western dress and learned to sit in chairs, and some tried to eat beef, although it was forbidden by Buddhism.

2. Did all Japanese accept modern, Western attitudes and behaviors? How do you know this?

Many did not accept efforts of modernization. There are several rebellions documented from this time period, and many more scholars and others who attempted to preserve the old culture. One of these is the author of the Book of Tea, Kakuzo Okakura.

3. Describe Okakura's education.

He studied at an English-language university, and was fluent in three languages - Chinese, English, and Japanese. He studied under a Harvard-educated American, Ernest Fenollosa, who was instrumental in halting Westernization in Japan and preserving parts of the old culture. This was necessary, as in the fever to modernize, many Japanese treated heirlooms and traditional art as little more than junk.

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