Ceylon Tea-loving Japanese Toshiki Horie pays landmark 70th visit here
*Pioneered promotions in Japan’s Kansai region exactly 40 years agoApril 29, 2012, 7:19 pm
By Ravi Ladduwahetty
A group of Sri Lanka tea-loving Japanese businessmen led Toshiki Horie are in Sri Lanka to mark the 145th anniversary of Ceylon Tea and to further promote friendship with tea growers in Sri Lanka. His visit coincides with the 60th anniversary celebrations of Diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Japan.
Sinhala-speaking Horie runs two tea establishments in Osaka, "Tea House Musica" and the "Ceylon Tea Centre." He first started tea promotion with the cooperation of Ceylon Tea Bureau in Tokyo in 1971. Popularly dubbed as "Mister Tea" Horie indeed pioneered the promotion of Ceylon black tea in Kansai region 40 years ago. He used to love Nuwara Eliya tea from Sri Lanka and as such, that agro-climatic region received prominence in his inventory. Even today, he is an avid lover of Nuwara Eliya teas with a genuine passion to promote good quality Ceylon tea.
Horie, who on his landmark 70th visit to Sri Lanka, was responsible for erecting a monument at the Loolecondera Estate in 1977 in memory of late James Taylor, known as the "Father of Tea Industry in Ceylon." Whenever Horie travels to Sri Lanka he never forgets to visit the Mahaiyawa Cemetry close to Kandy where the soul of Sir James Taylor rest in peace. He has taken many Japanese tea lovers to see the tomb of James Taylor and always pays his last respects which is a quality beyond most humans living in Sri Lanka.
His late father, Kenichi Horie, started the tea saloon "Musica" in 1952. But Toshiki Horie was responsible in many ways converting a substantial population of Japanese Green Tea drinkers to the virtues of drinking Black Tea. He undertakes many educational tea seminars and classes in Kansai region where Osaka is the capital city. Horie ( Junior) has authored many books on tea. Tea House Musica is located in a place called Dojima which is an area within Osaka. His tea shop is so famous that any letter or package addressed to him with the name of the tea house and Dojima is sufficient for the mail to reach to him. By the evenings, the Tea House Musica is full of tea connoisseurs and tea lovers. He makes it a point to talk to every customer as much as possible and explain the virtues of black tea.
His tour in 1975 began with a "Drink Pure Ceylon Tea" campaign. This was followed by "Drink more Pure Ceylon Tea" and later in 1977 he campaigned under the slogan, "Drink More and More Pure Ceylon Tea." He believes firmly in top quality seasonal teas such as Nuwara Eliya, Uva and Dimbula brewed and consumed as loose tea. He hates RTD - tea (Ready to drink Tea) which according to him is thriving today due to convenience. He also prefers to promote tea in natural form rather than adding flavours to distort the taste.
The delegation of Japanese tea shop owners led by Horie will visit tea-growing areas and meet those involved in the trade to gain further knowledge of the present situation in the industry and promote friendship among tea growers. The officials of Sri Lanka Tea Board are arranging a special meeting with Horie to felicitate his long standing contribution to Ceylon Tea and the industry.
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