As it’s called “Cha no yu” (Hot water of tea), it is indispensable to boil water in chashitsu (tea room or tea house).
In the summer, the “fuuro” (wind fire pot) is placed in a well-ventilated place far from the guests without embedding ro in order to prevent heat buildup. Summer in Japan is sweltering, so you try to prevent the heat from staying indoors, but the temperature drops very much in winter. Therefore, you use a “ro” (fire pot) that is embedded in cut tatami-mats in winter.
Ro is embedded after cutting tatami-mats or the floor, and setting the robuchi (fire pot rim), which accommodates the part like a square box called a “rodan” (炉壇 or 炉段) inside. Ashes are laid in the rodan, the trivet is placed, and the caldron is placed on it.
The traditional ro is a “subitsu” (炭櫃, 巣櫃 or 素櫃) with the sides of the hinoki cypress box covered with soil, and is also called the “honrodan” (本炉壇). One side is about 1 shaku and 4 sun (approximately 42.42 cm). The soiled areas are plastered every year.
Materials such as iron, stone and pottery are used for ro. The fuel to set the fire is charcoal. Firewood is not suitable for chashitsu because it emits a lot of smoke. Japanese architecture is basically made of wood, and chashitsu is no exception. As a result, some chashitsu were destroyed by fire or later rebuilt.
Ro that is important for chashitsu is also important for humans themselves. People have made great strides by manipulating fire. The fire was also a means of cooking and protecting themselves from animals. Also, by warming up with fire, it has become possible to advance into cold regions. Mankind has long seen a landscape with fire.
Feasts took place and festivals were held around the fire. Fire has been sacred to humans since the primitive age. Its remnants can be seen today at festivals around the world.
The powerful but soft light of the fire that illuminates the darkness of the night and the sound of the red-burnt wood popping while scattering the sparks are dreamy. It may be said that the ro leads to the original experience of human beings.
Ro of chashitsu is basically for boiling water. It also helps to keep warm in winter. However, that’s not all. Ro infuses breath into chashitsu and lights the human soul.
Author: Takuya Nagata.Amazon ProfileFollow @nagatackle
Novel writer, Creator. Graduated from UCA, the UK’s university. Discussed Japanese minimalism in the senior thesis. Founder of “MINIЯISM” (minirism), the art movement that contributes to the development of societies, such as ecology and lifestyle. Covered various fields as a writer in different parts of Europe, and later launched the knowledge hub “The Minimalist.”
Once travelled to Brazil and trained football at CFZ do Rio (Centro de Futebol Zico Sociedade Esportiva) in Rio de Janeiro. Played soccer for the Urawa Reds (Urawa Red Diamonds), one of the biggest football clubs in Japan, and toured Europe. Retired at a young age and voyaged alone to England. Established careers as journalist, football coach, consultant, etc. across Europe such as Spain. Knowledgeable in creative and technology fields as well. The founder of “Propulsive Football” (PROBALL), the world’s first-ever competitive mixed football, facilitating diversity and spirit for equal participation in society.