Updated: Jan 12
Ichi-go ichi-e (一 期 一 会? Literally "once, a meeting") is a Japanese phrase that describes a cultural concept often linked to the famous tea master Sen no Rikyu. The term is usually translated as "only for this time," "never again," or "an opportunity in life."
Ichi-go ichi-e is related to Zen Buddhism and concepts of transience. The term is particularly associated with the Japanese Tea Ceremony, and is often written on rolls that are hung in the tea room. In the context of the tea ceremony, ichi-go ichi-e reminds participants that each meeting is unique.
The term is also repeated a lot in the budō (martial way). It is sometimes used to warn students that they are careless, or that they frequently interrupt techniques halfway to "try again," instead of going ahead with the technique despite the error. In a confrontation to death, there is no opportunity to "try again." Although the techniques must be tried many times in the dojo, each one must be seen as a singular and decisive event.