Coronavirus Casting Shadow over Japanese Traditional Culture

Society Lifestyle

Tokyo, March 4 (Jiji Press)--The spread of the new coronavirus across Japan is casting a shadow over the country's traditional culture, including tea ceremony events.

Amid fears of infection, people are increasingly refraining from drinking powdered green tea from a shared bowl at tea ceremony events, as well as sharing a glass with others when drinking alcohol in the prefectures of Kochi and Okinawa,

Due to the risk of COVID-19 infection, the western prefecture of Kochi on Thursday called on locals to stop for the time being the "kenpai" practice of passing one's used glass to another person and pouring sake into it for the latter to drink and the "henpai" practice of offering sake in the same glass in return.

"Infection cases have already been reported in the prefecture," a prefectural official said. "Although the practices of kenpai and henpai are part of established traditional culture in Kochi, we ask our citizens to act with a sense of crisis."

A similar drinking custom is seen on the island of Miyako in the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press