We’ve been engrossed in the world of incense discovery for a while now and our appetite for new incense hasn’t diminished a bit. We explored (tip of the iceberg we’re sure!) India, Marrakech, Dubai and Oman for scents. This time, we thought we’d start with a different incense tradition...the wonderful world of ‘Kodo’ - the ‘way of fragrance’. That’s incense the Japanese way to you and me.
We love the Japanese attitude to incense, it's history and their faith in healing scents. Here's a bit about it..
Kodo is highly respected as one of the three classical arts of Japanese refinement, the other two being ‘kado’ for flower arrangement, and ‘chado’ for tea ceremony.
Our favourite Japanese incense, Nippon Kodo, dates it’s origin to over 400 years ago when Juemon Takai, a noted perfumer, introduced the art of incense appreciation to Japan’s Imperial Court. Different blends were used for different times, occasions or seasons, fitting the mood of the moment. Whether that be for prayer, as medicine or for luxury.
Since then in Japanese tradition, there are 10 virtues, or benefits of incense burning. These ten virtues have been passed down from the fifteenth century (the Muromachi period) and are still cited today as uniquely capturing the spirit of incense.
The TEN VIRTUES of KOH
It brings communication with the transcendent.
It purifies mind and body.
It removes impurity.
It keeps one alert.
It can be a companion in the midst of solitude.
In the midst of busy affairs, it brings a moment of peace.
When it is plentiful, one never tires of it.
When there is little, one is still satisfied.
Age does not change its efficacy.
Used everyday, it does no harm.
This new interest in Japanese incense has, in fact, bought us back to the source of what incense is about, how it benefits us and why we love it so much. In the quest for something new, we found something old and true; and we’re very glad we did.
You can find Nippon Kodo Japanese incense sticks here in the UK.