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The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzo: Expanded Edition

The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzo: Expanded Edition

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The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzo: Expanded Edition Information


by Okakura Kakuzo

Introduction by Bruce Richardson

2024 Expanded Illustrated Edition, Autographed by Bruce Richardson

Discover the fascinating character of Okakura Kakuzo and the story of how he came to write one of the 20th century’s most influential books on art, beauty, and simplicity—all steeped in the world’s communal cup of tea. Born in 1862, 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. He eventually became the Asian Arts Director at The Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

The original 1906 text from The Book of Tea has been translated into 40 languages and can be found in the libraries of philosophers, artists, and teaists around the world.  With this new Benjamin Press edition, tea historian Bruce Richardson brings a fresh insight into how Okakura's philosophy continues to inspire today’s tea and art cultures. When you understand the life of Okakura, as presented in the new introduction, you begin to comprehend the depth of the work. 

This expanded edition includes many historical photographs and colored illustrations, such as examples of Hokusai's Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji. Plus, Richardson includes an all-new chapter on America's thirst for Japanese tea during the late 1800s, illustrated with archival photographs of Japanese tea production in the 19th century.

This edition is used in collegiate Asian Studies and Fine Arts programs nationwide. It is also available in art museum gift shops.

Published by Benjamin Press. Call 800.765.2139 for wholesale information
Hardcover with jacket, 104 pages, 50 illustrations

ISBN 978-0-9836106-0-1

Watch Bruce Richardson's lecture on Okakura Kakuzo at the 2019 Northwest Tea Festival.

Norwood Pratt says "This is a beautiful work of art in tribute to a beautiful work of art."

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

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, The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, The Peabody Essex Museum

Those who cannot feel the littleness of great things in themselves are apt to overlook the greatness of little things in others.

- Okakura Kakuzo

Customer Reviews

Based on 10 reviews
Five Stars

Great combo of the literature and traditional woodblock prints as illustration.

Amazon Customer
Five Stars


Wonderful Book

Very happy to own this wonderful book.

It's not just about a cup of tea!

A great book for anyone who enjoys learning more about the mingling of eastern and western cultures. Okakura made a statement in the Boston area, and he influenced many greats such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Georgia O' Keeffe. This book was a gift, and it surprised me, you can't judge a book by it's cover!

karen getchell (
Gift to my grown niece

My niece enjoys tea and was delighted with this book. Now she has more knowledge about teas and will appreciate tea even more.