Nippon Kodo's devotion to making fine incense follows a long and honored tradition that started more than 400 years ago and can be traced back to Juemon Takai, better known as Koju, a skilled artisan in the art and the principal provider of precious rare and exquisite aromas to the Emperor of Japan and his Court.
Many of those pleasing and enduring high-quality incense fragrances, which the company continues to produce to this day, are based on the original formulas created by Koju and later by Yujiro Kito, who was hailed as the genius of fragrance during the Meiji restoration period in the 19th century - around the time that Japan opened its doors to the world and began to modernize itself.
Brought to Japan in the eighth century by Buddhist monks, who used the mystical aromas in their religious ceremonies, "Koh," as incense is called in Japanese, passed into the realm of the aristocracy centuries later as a source of amusement and enlightenment as they "listened to the fragrance" in their parlor games.
It wasn't until the 14th century in the Japan's Muromachi Era that incense reached the height of its popularity with the upper and middle classes of Japanese society, who used it as a mark of distinction and sophistication and to dispel unpleasant odors. It was around this time that samurai warriors began perfuming ; helmets and armor with incense before going into battle as they prepared to meet their fate.
Now, incense promises to become even more acceptable and desirable as a new dimension in gracious living that opens up a whole new world of spiritual awareness and understanding.
Our 5 Commitments To Quality
Nippon Kodo's products have unique fragrances. These fragrances come from tying together closely guarded preparation skills that are more than 400 years old with the sensitivities of modern perfumers. We inherited our skills through writings on the mixture of aromatic woods by Takai Juemon, an incense preparer who supplied the Emperor of Japan in the Japan's Tensho era (late 16th century). Perfumers with Japan's best noses and instincts interpret and evolve that tradition to create exquisite fragrances.
THE SKILLS OF
Becoming a fully qualified incense craftsman takes a very long time. Skilled craftsman must sense very slight differences in daily weather and air conditions and in natural aromatic materials. And they must have sensitive hands capable of making tiny adjustments to the amount of moisture used in kneading. Incense craftsman have acute senses and gentle hands.
Soft, freshly kneaded incense cannot be cut easily. Incense bends and shrinks during drying, and is delicate, brittle and easily broken when finished. An experienced craftsman carefully finishes each product with attention to all aspects of the production process : kneading, cutting, selection, and rolling.
Valuable natural aromatic materials come from the goodness of the Earth. Even today, when materials can be hard to obtain, our researchers take it upon themselves to find and gather high-quality materials from around the world through our long - cultivated network. We create our incense by using these materials generously and effectively. But more than simply using these materials, we also engage in forestation and other forms of conservation in Southeast Asia to protect the environments from which they come.
We believe that passing on an intangible cultural activity requires practicing it with a mindset oriented toward preservation for future generations. At Nippon Kodo, we strive to convey the quality of Japan's beautiful traditions with the feeling of pride and respect. We hold lessons on incense burning and engage in activities designed to communicate the significance of Japan's traditional customs. We are taking Japanese tradition to the future in forms that fit with the times.
THE HIGHEST LEVEL
Because we want people to use our incense with a sense of familiarity and peace of mind, we have established reproducible measurement methods for the world of incense making, which previously lacked safety standards. Using equipment that collects constituents in the air after incense are burned, we conduct regular safety tests with globally standardized measurement technology from Denmark.