The “Japanese Tea Conference Global Tea Party,” organized by the Global Japanese Tea Association, was held on July 22, 2023, at the Tokyo International Exchange Center in Odaiba, Tokyo. The event featured upcoming Japanese tea evangelists who will take flight into the world, and it was themed “Spreading Japanese Tea to the World.” Let’s report on the highlights of this event.
The Global Japanese Tea Association was established in 2019 with the aim of “expanding the circle of Japanese tea around the world.” Based in Kyoto, the organization disseminates information about Japanese tea to overseas audiences and conducts events such as tea-producing region tours and overseas Japanese tea seminars to promote the charm of Japanese tea. It currently has around 800 members from 50 countries.
In 2022, the Global Japanese Tea Association launched the “Japanese Tea Evangelist” project with the goal of promoting Japanese tea worldwide. This project involves Japanese university students planning to study abroad becoming tea evangelists and engaging in tea promotion activities in their host countries. Before studying abroad, these Japanese tea evangelists learn about Japanese tea through tea-producing region tours and similar activities.
They then bring tea utensils and tea leaves provided by the Global Japanese Tea Association to their host countries and carry out their own activities to promote Japanese tea. In 2022, the first group of 26 university students was selected as the inaugural Japanese tea evangelists and conducted activities in 15 countries, including Europe and North America.
The “Japanese Tea Conference Global Tea Party” on this day, the first part featured an introduction to the activities of the Global Japanese Tea Association, reports from the first group of Japanese tea evangelists, and an introduction to the second group of Japanese tea evangelists who are planning to study abroad from autumn 2023 onwards.
The first group of Japanese tea evangelists, who had conducted activities in 15 countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Ireland, Sweden, and Taiwan, had 8 members participating in this day’s event.
They reported on their activities, including tea events at their host universities and introducing the atmosphere of tea gatherings to host families and friends. They also presented their unique proposals and reflections on promoting Japanese tea in both English and Japanese.
For 2023, the second group of 30 Japanese tea evangelists was selected from 13 universities, and they will conduct activities in countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Switzerland, and Turkey starting in autumn.
Thirteen members of the second group participated in the event. They introduced themselves and shared their thoughts and goals as Japanese tea evangelists.
One of the Japanese tea evangelists, Gentaro Fujita from Hitotsubashi University, will study at a university in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, from autumn 2023 for a year. Fujita has had a fondness for Japanese tea since middle school and, even as a university student, obtained the qualification of a Japanese Tea Instructor in 2022.
He expressed his enthusiasm, saying, “I want to convey the charm of Japanese tea to the people in Israel, not just its deliciousness but also its cultural appeal.”
In the second part of the event, the Japanese tea evangelists held an interactive session where they served Japanese tea to the participants.
The Japanese tea evangelists and participants enjoyed tea together, making the venue lively and vibrant.
On July 29, 2023, a similar “Japanese Tea Conference Global Tea Party” was also held in Kyoto. Please keep an eye on the achievements of the Japanese tea evangelists shaping the future of Japanese tea.
Global Japanese Tea Association（一般社団法人国際日本茶協会）