charcoal, and the incense woods are heated at a lower temperature.
Kodo is a smokeless way of enjoying incense.
Kodo groups and individuals around the world are beginning
to learn and respect this ancient Japanese tradition
and eloquent expression of an aromatic art.
to Kodo becoming a formal ceremony there were the Incense
Contests of the 11th century where compounds of kneaded
incense called Awaseko were used. Later, informal games
called Koh Awase were played in Japanese homes. Lady
Murasaki Shikibu in her epic novel, "The Tale of
Genji," writes about incense and incense making
contests by the nobles of the Heian courts. It was from
these games Kodo takes its true origination.
Kodo is based on these earlier informal incense contests
and games. It is said The Shogun Yoshimasa Ashikaga (1443-1490)
asked his trusted advisor, Sanetaka Sanjonishi (a scholar
and poet), to evaluate
and classify all of the incense they used and devise
several games and rules for parties to appreciate and "listen" to
incense. Later, incense schools were set up to pass down
the early incense contests mentioned in "The Tale
of Gengi," we go to the naming of the six varieties,
or aromas of aloeswood, called the Rikkoku. This occurred
sometime later, perhaps even as late as the Edo period,
and may have been devised by the Kodo genius Yonekawa
Johaku. This is not for certain according to Japanese
expert, Professor Jinpo. Rikkoku literally means "Six
there are two main schools remaining in Japan. They are
the Oiye-ryu and Shino-ryu schools. The Shino school
is in the tradition of the Samurai and Soushin Shino,
and the Oiye school in the tradition of the poet Sanetaka
by David Oller of Esoterics, LLC