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by Okakura Kakuzo

Introduction by Bruce Richardson

2011 Illustrated Edition


The Book of Tea 2011 EditionDiscover the fascinating character of Okakura Kakuzo and the story of how he came to write one of the twentieth century’s most influential books on art, beauty, and simplicity—all steeped in the world’s communal cup of tea. His incredible journey took him from Yokohama to New York, Paris, Bombay, and Boston, where his life intertwined with such luminaries as Rabindranath Tagore, John Singer Sargent, Henry James, John La Farge, Isabella Stewart Gardner, Ezra Pound, and Henri Matisse. His writings influenced the work of such notable artists as Frank Lloyd Wright and Georgia O'Keeffe.

American tea writer Bruce Richardson includes many historical photographs and illustrations in this updated edition of Okakura’s classic text, along with unique insight into how Okakura's philosophy continues to inspire today’s tea culture. Plus, Richardson includes an all-new chapter on America's thirst for Japanese tea during the late 1800s, illustrated with archival photographs.


Published by Benjamin Press
Retail: $19.95  $18.95 on sale

Hardcover with jacket, 104 pages, 50 illustrations

ISBN 978-0-9836106-0-1


A beautiful work of art in tribute to a beautiful work of art. 

Read James Norwood Pratt's full review.


For those of us who, for years, have loved and been influenced by Okakura's prose and philosophy, this new edition brings fresh insight and clarity to the work. With sensitivity, admiration and profound appreciation for Okakura, Bruce Richardson unravels the complex and intriguing story that lies behind the original Book of Tea. All tea lovers will treasure this beautiful and valuable work.

-Jane Pettigrew, London

The Book of Tea Backcover

I had read about Okakura and visited the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum, but never realized the importance of the relationship between the two and how they embodied the bridge between East and West.  Nor, until now, had I taken the time to read the entire book.  How I wish that I had read it before I visited Japan where I learned that “Zen is another word for tea.” 

The chapter titled The Cup of Humanity contains a sentence that seems ripped from today’s headlines, “The heaven of modern humanity is indeed shattered in the Cyclopean struggle for wealth and power… Meanwhile, let us have a sip of tea."  I’m resisting the urge to swallow this book whole, and forcing myself to savor it one cup of tea at a time.

Elizabeth Knight, author of "Tea with Friends"








Available in these fine gift shops -

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

The Smithsonian's Frear/Sackler Galleries, Washington

The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe


Those who cannot feel the littleness of great things in themselves

are apt to overlook the greatness of little things in others.

- Okakura Kakuzo







Okakura Kakuzo The Book of Tea 2011 Edition



"Georgia O'Keeffe loved The Book of Tea.

The similarities between her own life and the Japanese tea ceremony were obvious- her constant manner, her humility, her exactness, her utterly respectful exactness."  

- Christine Patten, author of Miss O'Keeffe


TEA Magazine Review


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