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The History of Baieido Incense

The History of Baieido Incense
Incense offers various effects. It purifies air and sets their mind at ease. It has medicinal effects as well, such as strengthening the stomach and alleviating fever. Initially, people used it as herb medicine or spices.

Such benefits made incense the most valuable article in the trade with Ming(China), Spain and Portugal in Muromachi and Edo periods. In Sakai, too, people had a great desire and tried hard to obtain this precious product.

In the 1500s when increasing incense came to Japan from abroad, the incense sticks were introduced from China to Sakai for the first time. The incense stick was a simple form of incense powder developed to enjoy the smell more easily. It contributed enormously to the increase of the medicinal wholesalers in Sakai that dealt with herb medicines and incense from China, Later, they started to make the incense sticks themselves.

In 1657, the owner named himself as "Jinkoya Sakubei" and specialized in selling incense and incense sticks. "Jinkoya" is a name peculiar to Sakai. They authorized only medicinal wholesalers specialized in incense to use the name. Jinkoya Sakubei named his shop as "Jinsaku" by abbreviating his name. Jinsaku developed to be the big three in the industry with Jinpachi and Jinwa.

In the beginning of Edo period, Buddhism became popular among the people, and many enjoyed the incense. In Meiji period, the shop name was changed from Jinsaku to Nakata Baieido, which enjoyed patronage from the head temple of each Buddhist sect.

In this way, Baieido dedicated itself to making incense over the last 300 years. As each shop has its distinctive way of making incense sticks, Baieido also has its own method. These methods have been handed down from generation to generation.

It is the ardent desire of Baieido to provide the true smell to modern customers through the methods treasured since their establishment over 300 years ago.

*Written and translated by Kyozaburo Nakata of Baieido Corporation

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