Omotenashi おもてなし

Omotenashi おもてなし, meaning  ~ hospitality; reception; treatment; service; entertainment, experience.

Omotenashi in Japanese society.

In Japan, there is an age-old culture of omotenashi – a tradition which originates from sado (tea ceremony). Its essence embodies the Japanese mindset of warmth and kindly care towards their visitors, while expecting nothing in return. This gracious hospitality has become synonymous with life itself within this remarkable country.

Myanmar democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi (right) receives a bowl of green tea from Japanese tea master Genshitsu Sen at a tea ceremony in Kyoto during a 2013 visit to Japan.

Originating from Sen no Rikyu – grandfather of traditional Japanese tea ceremony etiquette- omotenashi implores hosts to look after their guests with meticulous attention to detail and consideration for individual needs. The concept also speaks deeply on a spiritual level; treating each ‘Chakai’ (Japanese Tea Ceremony) as an irreplaceable once in a lifetime experience between host & guest that should be celebrated sincerely. This custom dictates that each experience should be treasured as “ichigo ichie” – an opportunity that only happens once. Hosts are expected to act with sincere consideration for their guests’ needs during these special occasions.

Omotenashi in the Dojo.

We are dedicated to creating an atmosphere of respect, hospitality and appreciation in our dojo. Viewing each student as a special guest, we recognize the importance and uniqueness of their experience by embracing “ichigo ichie” – that is, every moment has its own singular beauty never to be repeated again. As dojo operators, teachers and hosts, we strive for genuine hospitality wherein all attendees’ needs are met with sincere consideration during this one-of-a-kind event.

Joining a martial art class is an extraordinary and life-altering experience. New students may not fully appreciate the immense value that such a commitment brings, while those of us who have been involved for longer might take it for granted. Even something as simple as attending a singular class can make all the difference – it could be part of an exciting long-term investment or, alternatively, just another step towards walking away from martial arts altogether.

Our dojo offers students the opportunity to represent our school, as well as promote a martial lifestyle through their ‘word of mouth.’ Likewise, negative experiences have a lasting impact on the reputation of our dojo. So never discount the importance of Omotenashi.