ABOUT | awaji koh-shi incense

AWAJI ISLAND

Awaji Island incense is born from traditional incense manufacturing methods, strict quality management and the skill and pride of the koh-shi. This is the deep world of incense that simply can not be imitated by modern mass production methods. Please enjoy the luxurious moments that Awaji Island Koh-shi incense will create for you.

Awaji Island is the leading manufacturer of incense in Japan, currently responsible for 70% of all of Japan's incense. The history extends back to 1850 in Ei of the city of Awaji in 1850 when Senshuu Sakai manufacturing technology was introduced. At the time, Ei was a military run trade port for the Tokushima Clan, which opened the door to the import and sale of raw materials used in making incense. Over time, the incense made in Awaji Island became renowned throughout Japan. The main reason incense manufacturing took root in Awaji Island is because of its nishi-kaze (west wind). This strong seasonal wind hampers the fishing industry, giving rise to the necessity for cottage industries such as incense making. This wind is also great for drying incense. Skillful use of nature is the secret to Awaji Island's incense making. That skill and spirit have been passed on to the Awaji Island incense of today.

HISTORY

The history of incense in the Awaji Island extends back to 1850 when, Tatsuzo Tanaka, who is from Ei of the city of Awaji, encountered the incense manufacturing technique in Senshu Sakai (which belonged to the current prefecture of Osaka). Spotting the potential of the incense, Tatsuzo returned to Ei with a skilled craftsman and began making incense from the raw material of “powdered cedar leaves” purchased from Awa (which belonged to the current prefecture of Tokushima).

At the time, Ei was a military-run trade port for the Tokushima Clan, with military buildings and boat houses built around the area. There was heavy shipping traffic through the Port of Ei, homeport to more than 100 ships and boats. Most of the ships were engaged in trade between Nagasaki and Hirado in Kyushu and Hyogo and Sakai, which gave Ei access to markets in Kyushu for most of its products, and raw materials were transported by ship returning from Nagasaki.

The main reasons why incense manufacturing took root in Awaji Island were that:

(1) The climate was suitable;

(2) It was conveniently located for the import of raw materials and the final product transport;

(3) The strong seasonal wind hampered the ships leaving the port, giving rise to the necessity for cottage industries;

(4) Inexpensive labor was available among the sailors and the wives of fishermen’s families, as a side business during farmers’ slow seasons.

These factors largely contributed to the expansion of incense making.

KOH-SHI - 香司 -

Master Of Fragrance----------
Koh-shi is word for the person in charge of the entire process of incense making, from the mixing stage to the bundling stage. In other words, a koh-shi is an incense meister.

Traditional production and skill---------
Awaji Island incense is born from traditional incense manufacturing methods, strict quality management and the skill and pride of the koh-shi. This is the deep world of incense that simply can not be imitated by modern mass production methods. Please enjoy the luxurious moments that Awaji Island Koh-shi incense will create for you.

  • KATSUHIKO NAKANISHI

  • TAKAYUKI YANO

  • YUJIRO HUJIWARA

  • MINORU HUKUNAGA

  • SIGEAKI MIYAWAKI

  • HIROSHI ISHII

  • TAKESHI SARAIKE

  • MASARU TANAKA

  • MASASHI TSUKUDA

  • KENZABURO HEGAWA

  • YASUHIDE OHANA

  • CHOSAKU SHIMOMURA

  • MITSUNORI KINTO

  • YASUHITO YOSHII