Over the past week, my knowledge of tea in Japan has definitely grown and has provided me with a much greater understanding of the history of tea in general. Before, this week all I knew about tea in Japan was that Japan had a tea ceremony that they take very seriously, and that matcha is from Japan. However, after this week the biggest takeaway was the shocking connection between the effects of tea in Japan and China. Previously, we talked about China and how when tea was introduced, there was a large economic boom that followed and gave birth to the Gold Age of China. When connecting it to our discussions about Japan I noticed that tea went hand in hand with a 300 yar economic transformation. Where the agricultural innovations allowed the population stabilizes, and that gave way to a large burst of art, literacy, and a general renaissance of Japan.
Connecting it even further to the rest of the semester, it seems that tea’s introduction and continued consumption has major effects on societies, and I began to wonder why that was the case. It was then that I realized that tea has this effect because it gives people access to a safe drinking source. That access to safe methods of hydration allowed for a population increase. As most people learn when they study history in other western nations, when a population has stable access to food and drink, you tend to see this economic boom follow. This is due to people are no longer allotting mass resources to the production or resourcing of food, so there is then availability in the society to push forward other things. This is where advancements in art, literacy, mass government, technology, and other advancements occur. This goes hand in hand with these large economic Golden Ages. Suddenly it begins to make sense why we see this pattern form every time tea is introduced into a society and why people might tend to consume it as much as they did.