Sen Lectures

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The Soshitsu Sen Distinguished Lectures on Japanese Culture (or simply Sen Lectures) were established by an endowment of $500,000 from the Urasenke Foundation of Kyoto, Japan. Named in honor of Hounsai Sen Genshitsu, Former Grand Master (Iemoto) Sen Soshitsu XV, of the Urasenke School of Tea, this public lecture series is held annually at Columbia to "increase American awareness and understanding of Japanese culture". The series began in 1988 with a lecture by Dr. Soshitsu Sen XV entitled "The Heart of Tea."

In addition to lectures, the event sometimes hosts additional activities, including film series, panels, exhibitions, and theatrical performances. The lectures are hosted by the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture.


  • 2007 Natsuo Kirino, author
  • 2006 Genshitsu Sen, tea master
  • 2005 Setouchi Jakucho, author and Buddhist nun
  • 2004 Beate Sirota Gordon, former director of performing arts at Japan Society and Asia Society
  • 2003 Bunzo Torigoe, scholar of Bunraku and Kabuki
  • 2002 Tadashi Suzuki, experimental theater director
  • 2001 Burton Watson, translator of Japanese and Chinese works
  • 2000 Makoto Ooka, poet and literary critic
  • 1999 Fosco Maraini, professor, writer, and photographer
  • 1998 Edwin McClellan, professor and translator
  • 1997 Soshitsu Sen XV, Grand Master of Urasenke
  • 1996 Kobo Abe Commemoration (symposium, performances, film series, and exhibitions)
  • 1995 Tadanori Yokoo, graphic designer
  • 1994 Taeko Kono, novelist
  • 1993 Kanze Noh Troupe (performance and symposium)
  • 1991 Ryotaro Shiba, novelist
  • 1990 Donald Keene, professor and translator
  • 1989 Toru Takemitsu, composer
  • 1988 Soshitsu Sen XV, Grand Master of Urasenke

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