Scents and KIMONO
Suppose you are in Kimono (着物), do you feel like to wear Western perfume or cologne? Well…I would prefer to wear Okoh (お香, Japanese incense).
In ”Genji Monogatari (源氏物語, The Tale of Genji, an famous literature in Heian era)”, there is a description of Okoh smoldered in order to transfer its scent to Kimono. Interestingly, it was a common practice among the noble men and women in the Heian (平安) era, to make an original blend of scents as they please.
In Kyoto, there are many incense stores which are nice to shop around. Some even provide customers with opportunities of creating your original Nioi-bukuro (匂い袋, sachets, shown in the picture below).
Aside from its pleasant scent, Okoh is good for the effect of insect deterrent. Isn’t is nice to put natural fragrance instead of chemical moth balls in your closet?
The oldest record of Okoh can be found in Nihonshoki (日本書紀, translated as The Chronicles of Japan, and is the second-oldest book of classical Japanese history) written in the era of Prince Shotoku Taishi (聖徳太子). The book says: In Awaji island (淡路島), one day people put a driftwood on fire, and a very favorable scent filled the air. People were surprised and dedicated the driftwood to the imperial court, and it became the origin of Okoh.
Japanese culture has a deep connection with Okoh indeed. Let’s enjoy the Okoh scent in sophisticated manner and be a fashion leader of Kimono.