Ask This of Rikyu (Movie Review)

ask this of Rikyu
Image source: Amazon

In the past I’ve posted tea and tea book reviews. This will be the first movie review.

There are three Japanese movies about Sen no Rikyū.

I’ll start by reviewing the latest one: Ask This of Rikyū , (利休にたずねよ, Rikyū ni tazune yo), from 2013.

This movie is based on a novel with the same name written by Kenichi Yamamoto.

A good dose of fiction

While entertaining, the movie includes many scenes that aren’t historically accurate, to say the least.

The main one being that Rikyū in his youth fell in love with a Korean woman that had been taken captive.

Not only did this never happened, even the dress she is wearing is not from that era.

Unfortunately, this fictional character is very important in the movie’s plot.

Basically, the movie suggests that Rikyū further developed his wabicha ideals as a result of this tragic love affair.

I don’t want to bore you with all the historical mistakes in the movie, but I saw a long post (in Japanese, sorry) about it.


Another odd thing is how young Rikyū looks, even at the end of his life.

He’s not the person that I imagine Rikyū would look like.

What I liked about this film

The movie is well made. Most of the scenes look great.

I find captivating how the aesthetic sense of Rikyū becomes a powerful asset. His life is a quest for finding true beauty.

As Rikyū’s influence grows, the feudal lord Hideyoshi begins to envy him and finally decides to end his life.

I also liked the part when he meets with Chōjiro, which led to the development of the first Raku tea bowl.

While I’m not a practitioner of the Japanese tea ceremony, I admire its beauty.

In the same manner, when I prepare tea I also enjoy the beauty of the tea leaves and the teaware.

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