The Samurai Green Tea Fundraising System
No matter how much we love kendo, the costs involved in it can at times put a strain on even the deepest of wallets. Buying a quality set of bōgu can require a big financial commitment, and we’ve all spent good money on a shinai only for it to break after a few training sessions. An even greater expense are the costs involved in travelling to major competitions.
With the exception of kendoka from the major kendo countries such as Japan, Korea and the U.S., many competitors receive little or no financial support from their federation and will have to largely pay their own way to compete in major competitions like the WKC. In order to help meet the costs of travel, some competitors or federations will undertake activities like sponsored suburi- athons. It is also difficult for small clubs and federations to purchase the equipment necessary to carry out their activities. With these issues in mind, J-Concepts and Kendo World have collaborated to bring you the Samurai Green Tea Fundraising System to help you raise money for your club, federation or competition travel expenses.
So what exactly is the Samurai Green Tea Fundraising System and how can it help you?
First, Samurai Green Tea comes from Makinohara City in Shizuoka prefecture. This is the heart of Japan’s “tea country”, and is an area synonymous with the finest green tea. Strongly linked to kendo, this tea actually comes from plantations founded by samurai-come-tea grower, Chūjō Kageaki, whose fascinating story follows. One canister of Samurai Green Tea contains 20 freshly-packed tea-bags that can be used to make hot or cold tea. You would order a minimum of one pack of 24 canisters of Samurai Green Tea for $312, which includes postage to anywhere in the world. This works out to be $13 per canister. Next, sell them at the RRP of $19.95, and the profit you make can then go towards paying for travelling expenses, new club bōgu, or whatever it is that you need to raise money for.
A unique feature of this product is that you are able to personalise it. Create your own label from scratch or use one of our templates. Once you have placed an order and submitted the label artwork, the tea will be picked and packed, and then labels will be affixed to the canisters. You will receive your totally original canisters of Samurai Green Tea 10–20 days later.
The Samurai Green Tea Fundraising System Process
Of course, Samurai Green Tea need not only be bought for fundraising. It can also be used as a commemorative gift to give to friends or family.
Members of Canterbury Kendo Club that were selected to represent New Zealand at the 16th WKC in Tokyo used the Samurai Green Tea Fundraising System to help finance their trip to Japan. Here’s what they had to say about it:
“The Samurai Green Tea was a low cost and hugely beneficial aspect of our fund raising efforts to get to the 16th WKC. The option to customise the label made it simple to sell to club members, family and friends. Additionally, as it is green tea, people needed little convincing of its practical value in comparison to other fund raising items we were selling.” – Blake Bennett
“Fundraising has always been a tricky one for the Kendo Club. Over the years and campaigns, inevitably the same friends and family get asked for money or labour at various sausage sizzles and suburi-athons etc. This time, it was really nice to be able to offer them something back for their support. Even better, something relevant to kendo with the custom label and link to Japanese culture, and really good tea, too. A great fundraising tool that we will certainly be using again.” – David Wong
So, why not ease the financial burden on your club or federation and partake in the samurai legacy at the same time?
If you are cold, Samurai Green Tea will warm you. If you are too hot, it will cool you. If you are depressed, it will cheer you. If you are excited, it will calm you. Each cup of Samurai Green Tea represents an imaginary voyage. It is liquid wisdom with all of the health benefits Japanese green tea is famous for. Samurai Green Tea is the real deal.
Contact Graham, your tea and fundraising consultant, at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how he can help you raise money for your federation or club.
J-Concepts 1082-1 leyama Kawane-cho, Shimada-shi, Shizuoka, 428-0104 JAPAN
Tel.: +81 (0)80-3689・ 5978
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“A true warrior, like tea, shows his strength in hot water”
Chūjō Kinnosuke Kageaki (1827-1896) was a paragon of greatness whose exploits bridged two epochs in Japanese history. A stalwart samurai and master swordsman of the feudal age, he was destined to become an entrepreneur extraordinaire in the modern era.
A direct retainer of the Tokugawa shogunate, Chūjō learned several styles of swordsmanship including Yamaga-ryū and Tamiya-ryū from the eminent master Kubota Sugane, and was even appointed instructor of kendo at the shogunate’s military academy, the Kobushō. He also studied Shingyōtō-ryū, Hokushin Ittō-ryū, and learned Ittō Shōden Mutō-ryū under the tutelage of legendary Meiji statesman and swordsman, Yamaoka Tesshū. All of these schools produced some of Japan’s most accomplished swordsmen, many of whom would play a prominent part in the creation of modern kendo.
As a trusted vassal of the shogun, Chūjō was in the thick of the action during the turbulent bakumatsu era. Many samurai were outraged that the shogunate had buckled to foreign pressure to open Japanese ports. Under the slogan “sonno joi” (Revere the emperor, expel the barbarians) a growing number of subversive loyalist samurai sought to restore imperial rule and ending over seven centuries of warrior hegemony. During this violent period, Chūjō served as one of the directors of the Roshigumi, a select group of rōnin recruited to protect shogun Tokugawa Iemochi’s procession from Edo to Kyoto to engage in “a wee chat” with the emperor in 1863.
Nevertheless, once set in motion the tide of change was to prove unstoppable. One of the most significant events in Japanese history, the Meiji Restoration of 1867-1868, brought an end to the Tokugawa shogunate and samurai rule, replacing it with an imperial government under the Emperor Meiji. The Meiji period saw dramatic social change and unbridled adoption of Western technology and ideals as Japan embarked on a frantic quest to modernize. Class distinctions were subsequently dismantled, and the status of samurai existed no more. Tokugawa Yoshinobu was the last shogun. Given no part to play in the Meiji government, he retired to Shizuoka with many of his vassals, as his ancestor Tokugawa Ieyasu did centuries before, and the trusty Chūjō headed his corps of bodyguards as he made his way there.
Reclassified as “shizoku”, in 1869 the government gave stipends to former samurai to make the transition from privileged class to ordinariness less excruciating. However, due to the massive financial burden on the nation’s coffers, shizoku were eventually forced to exchange their stipends for government bonds in 1876, leading to the impoverishment of many. Although a considerable number were able to re-establish themselves in new careers—91 percent of Meiji political leaders were from samurai stock, as were 70 percent of cultural leaders, and 23 percent of business leaders—most of them lacked any tangible skills to prosper in the modern age. Many invested their meagre stipends into establishing family companies, but lacking any real business acumen, scores of shizoku start-up enterprises failed miserably, leaving once proud samurai broke and destitute.
Chūjō’s story, however, is one of heart-warming success. Aged 42, and without any meaningful prospects of employment, he eventually settled in the undeveloped region of Makinohara. Even with no previous experience in agriculture, he was astute enough to recognize the potential for exporting tea and silk. Encouraged by his mentors, the Meiji luminaries Yamaoka Tesshū and Katsu Kaishū, he and his former charges committed themselves to carving out a tea plantation in the barren hills of Makinohara. The families of 250 former shogunate retainers accompanied him on this ambitious undertaking, and together they prepared a 1,425 hectare site for cultivation. Prior to his arrival, green tea was the reserve of only the wealthy, with most of the premium tea being cultivated in Kyoto and its surrounding areas. Because of his foresight, charismatic demeanour, and ability to convince others that there was green gold in those Makinohara hills, the region was turned into Japan’s prominent tea producing locality. The tea plantation now covers about 5,000 hectares, accounting for 10 percent of all tea fields in Japan.
Chūjō is still revered as a hero in the region for his keen business sense and success in creating an enduring tea producing industry, which is now the pride of Shizuoka prefecture. While he was growing tea, he actively engaged in his other passion, kendo, and was an immensely popular teacher with an undying willingness to teach it to all comers. Testament to his importance and influence in the area, visitors to nearby Shimada City’s train station can see a statue of Chūjō proudly gazing out over the vast region that he turned into the tea mecca of Japan.