Randy Channell Soei
Came to Japan in the early 80’s to study Budo (martial arts). In Japanese budo he is a 6th dan renshi in Nito Ryu, 5th dan renshi in Tamiya Ryu iaido, 5th dan in Kyudo and holds dan grades in iaido, kendo and naginata.
He began his studies in Chanoyu (the way of tea) shortly after arriving to balance his martial training, but as time went on tea came to take over as the main focus of his studies. In 1993 he was granted permission and received a scholarship from the previous Oiemoto of the Urasenke tradition, Dr. Sen Genshitsu to study at the Urasenke Gakuen Professional College of Chado, where he studied for three years. While there he attended innumerable tea related events and functions. He later received his Kyoju (professorship) from the current Oiemoto, Sen Soshitsu XVI, Zabosai.
Since graduating in 1996 Soei Sensei has been involved in hundreds of tea gatherings, conferences, demonstrations, presentations, lectures and galleries. He is often featured in newspaper and magazine articles and also makes frequent radio, podcasts & TV appearances. (Currently featured on CNN) He has written for many publications and his bilingual (J/E) book on tea “The Book of Chanoyu~Tea the Master Key to Japanese Culture” was on Amazon’s bestseller list.
In 2007 he opened ran Hotei, a small Japanese café / gallery near the Nijo Castle and in 2010 launched his own original line of matcha.
He is a professor at Doshisha University in Kyoto and holds lessons in the way of tea at Nashinoki Shrine just east of the Imperial Palace in Kyoto.
Aside from his regular lessons in Kyoto he lectures across Japan and has spoken for a wide range of interest groups from Dentsu research teams to the Young President’s Organization. He has also lectured for overseas universities as well. Harvard, Yale, Colgate, Georgia and Brown to name but a few.
From 2016 until 2021 he was an Ambassador of Hospitality for Kyoto as selected by the mayor and in 2023 was appointed to the council of the Japanese Cultural Affairs Office.