Besides all the kami and youkai, there have been some famous humans here too. Today I’d like to introduce the man on the banner of this blog, the seventh lord of Matsue, Matsudaira Harusato, a.k.a. Matsudaira Fumai (1751-1818).

He’s frequently referred to by his artistic name with an honorfic noting his status: “Fumai-ko”

The Matsudaira clan was not the first to rule Matsue, but they did have the longest succession of leaders during the relatively peaceful Edo period (1603-1868). Fumai is known of course as the ruling lord for 39 years, but also well known as a tea master–so much so a master, in fact, that his created the Fumai-ryu tea ceremony style. He was well known for collecting tea ceremony objects, and he designed the Meimei-an Tea house northeast of Matsue Castle.

When he took office, rumors were spreading about the Matsudaira clan soon losing power because of their terrible financial situation. He therefore enforced several strict budgetary measures and had the region focus on raising and using local products, such as ginseng and cotton. He encouraged thriftiness among the common people, and is credited with introducing Bote-Bote Cha to the local diet to make the most of limited food resources.

Rustic peasant cuisine turned local speciality: azuki beans, mushrooms, tofu, rice, and any other seasonal bits of food boiled in a frothy tea. Add flowers if desired! I like the idea, but I can’t say I’d enjoy eating this everyday… or ever again.

Fumai’s measures turned out to be very successful, and the Matsudaira treasury was built back up.

However, he was a hobbyist–and tea can be an expensive hobby. The amassed fortunes didn’t wind up lasting long because he dipped into the treasury to splurge on old tea tools. But we still get to enjoy those tools today!