2018 / Japanese American Cultural and Community Center to host “KOU-DO: Way of Fragrance” workshop, July 14

KOU-DO: Art of Fragrance

KOUDO: Way of Fragrance

Tea Room at
Japanese American Cultural & Community Center
244 South San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, California 90012

Saturday, July 14, 2018
Workshop: 1:00 – 3:00 PM
Donation is suggested

The workshop will be led by Rev. Shinetsu Fukushima from Choko-ji Temple of Soto Zen School in Saitama prefecture, Japan.

KOUDO: Way of Fragrance is the art of appreciating Japanese incense, and involves using incense within the tearoom.

One of the three classical Japanese arts of refinement, alongside flower arrangement and tea ceremony, it includes all steps of the tradition, from the tools used to the activities performed.

As recounted in folk tales, agarwood first arrived in Japan when a log washed ashore a bank on Awaji Island in 595. The people that found the log noticed how splendidly fragrant it became when put next to a fire and alerted local officials of their discovery.

Incense began development in Japan in the 6th century as a result of the Silk Road, at the same time that Buddhism arrived in the area.

Although otherwise stated by legend, agarwood officially arrived in 538, included in supplies meant to be used for the construction of a temple.

A ritual known as sonaekou was soon established, and kouboku, the combination of fragrant wood and aromatic substances such as herbs, began to be burned in religious ritual.

The use of incense continued to grow among court nobility, and fragrant scents played a key role within Heian period (9-12th centuries) court life, and was even featured in the 11th century scroll, the Tale of Genji.