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The writer follows tea drinking practices from their arrival in Japan to the time of Rikyu, thinking about at each stage the appropriate historical modifications and their significance for the Way of Tea. Shortly soon after its arrival in the course of the Heian era (794-1185), tea was celebrated by Japanese poets, who attributed the same spiritual characteristics to the beverage as had their Chinese contemporaries. During the medieval era, however, tea started to consider on a distinctively Japanese character. Eisai (1141-1215), the founder of the Rinzai sect of Japanese Zen Buddhism, accentuated the medicinal facet of tea and noticed it as a implies of salvation in a spiritually degenerate age (mappo).
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