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Japanese Tea Culture


Chakiribushi is a song represent Shizuoka tea. The lyric goes "chakiri, chakiri, chakiriyo" in light and uplifting rhythm. This word chakiri is also used for the words something about Shizuoka. It is choreographed as the group of girls with simple kimono and red sash, picking tea leaves and singing the song. You may think this is the traditional way of picking tea leaves. However, if you see their hands action carefully, you can that is not the action to pick tea leaves by hands. They are using scissors and cutting the leaves.
"Chakiribushi" was introduced in 1927, and it was a forerunner of promotional song in Japan. Shizuoka Railroad Co., built a big amusement park between Shizuoka city and Shimizu city, and asked a poet, Hakusyu Kitahara to make a song for them as an advertisement. Hakusyu put some dialect and the tradition of Shizuoka into the song. And it was the time the method of picking tea leaves was changing from by hands to the method using scissors. In his home in Kyusyu, he had never seen people using scissors to pick tea leaves, and it amazed him. That's why he also described this new style of picking tea leaves.

(Yoichiro Nakamura)