Student Question

What is the real reason for Kikuji's invitation to the tea ceremony in "Thousand Cranes"?

Quick answer:

Kurimoto Chikako was a mistress of Mr. Mitani's father. When Mr. Mitani and his first wife died, Kurimoto felt that she was being ostracized by Mrs. Ota who is the current wife of Mr. Mitani and mother to Miss Ota (who is supposed to be the bride in "Thousand Cranes"). In order to get back at Mrs. Ota, Kurimoto arranged Kikuji and Miss Inamura's meeting with hopes that they would meet each other and fall in love (which they did). To further add to her revenge, Kurimoto served the tea bowl that Mr.

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In the story, Kikuji was invited to the tea ceremony by Kurimoto Chikako, his father's (Mr. Mitani's) one-time mistress. Kurimoto invited Kikuji because she wanted him to meet a young lady who was taking ceremonial tea lessons from her. In reality, Kurimoto had arranged the miai (or prospective bride-viewing) to spite Mrs. Ota, who was also another of Mr. Mitani's mistresses.

Kurimoto's jealousy was predicated on the fact that Mr. Mitani had left her for Mrs. Ota when he was alive. Accordingly, Mr. Mitani reportedly kept Mrs. Ota as his mistress until the day he died, while Kurimoto was relegated to the background as a sexless but "convenient fixture." To act insult to injury (where Kurimoto was concerned), Mrs. Ota stayed youthful-looking and beautiful even as she, Kurimoto, struggled to embrace her ambiguous feminine identity.

When she made her invitation to Kikuji, Kurimoto understood that Mrs. Ota and her daughter would be in attendance. Nevertheless, Kurimoto reveled in her ability to upstage Mrs. Ota; she wanted to show her nemesis that she still had some influence over Kikuji's life. As if to indicate her spiteful intentions, Kurimoto used a specific tea bowl to serve Miss Inamura. Miss Inamura was the girl Kikuji was supposed to meet; she wore a thousand-crane scarf to the tea ceremony. The bowl itself had been initially owned by Mr. Ota. Upon Mr. Ota's death, the bowl was inherited by Mrs. Ota; she later gave the tea bowl to old Mr. Mitani (her lover). Mr. Mitani then gifted the bowl to Kurimoto Chikako. Essentially, Kurimoto's use of the tea bowl was a tactless move on her part.

So, the real reason Kikuji was invited to the tea ceremony had very little to do with courtesy. Kurimoto ostensibly invited Kikuji so that he could meet with Miss Inamura. However, Kurimoto's real intentions were to make Mrs. Ota jealous of the supposed influence she still has in Kikuji's life.

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What was the real reason Kikuji was asked to go to the tea ceremony?

The Japanese tea ceremony is an important aspect of Japanese culture and customs. It involves the preparation and serving of powdered green tea. The ceremony is conducted formally or informally with minor differences in setting to suit the different situations.

In the story Thousand Cranes, the protagonist Kikuji Mitani was invited to a tea ceremony by Chikako Kurimoto, his late father’s former mistress. After receiving the invitation he thought the ceremony was being conducted to honor his father. Kikuji later learned that the ceremony was organized so he could meet with Yukiko Inamura, Chikako’s student. Chikako wanted the two to get to know each other for marriage purposes. Kikuji is impressed by Yuriko’s beauty but is unable to take his attraction to the next level. He views Yukiko as part of the past that he was trying to break away from because she was Chikako’s tea ceremony student, a ceremony he associated with the past.

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