Kobori Enshū (aka Kobori Masakazu, 1579 - 1647) was a high-ranking vassal, who served the Tokugawa Shogunate in the early Edo period and played an active role in a wide range of activities in culture, politics and administration. As a commissioner in charge of construction, he was passionately engaged in architecture dedicated to the Shogunate or the Imperial Court, and in designing teahouses and gardens. They have been acclaimed until today for the high aesthetic value. Enshū learned tea ceremony under Furuta Oribe and established buke-cha when he served as a teacher of Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third Shogun. Enshū’s particularity was underlined by his familiarity with the court culture which blossomed during the Heian period and ha-pun, a way of writing letters invented by Fujiwara Teika.
Our school dates back to Kobori Masayuki (1583 - 1615), brother of Enshū. Masayuki is not known as much as Enshū because he passed away at a young age. Before sickness took his life in Enshū’s residence in Kyoto, he served Tokugawa Ieyasu as a vassal.
He learned tea ceremony from his brother Enshū and mastered the highest level. Since then, the Kobori Enshū School of Tea has handed down his aesthetic sense from generation to generation. Today this role is passed on to Kobori Soen, Grand Master XVI.