A call for questions!

Hello everyone. One of the reasons I started Olfactory Rescue Service many years ago was that there were very few English language-based information sources on incenses from the East. Initially I began writing about incenses to journal my experiences with them, which I figured would help in some way to describe what was being imported in the USA and as a result have made new friends which has helped to open up various parts of the incense world to the community here. But amazingly enough over the years, I have never been contacted by one Japan-based incense seller or company until last weekend. Anna Pach, who works for Koh Gen/Kikuya Seishindo in Japan, got in touch with me and we had a good chat and I thought maybe this could be an opportunity to find out more about Japan and its many lines of incenses by way of an interview-chat. So while I will have my own questions of course, I thought it might be fun to open up questions to the community here. If there’s anything you want to ask Anna, you can either ask questions in the comments on this page or use the About page on the left to contact me and send questions anonymously. I will send her all of the questions in one e-mail that she will be able to answer at her leisure. I will leave up this request for a couple of weeks (or longer depending upon response) and send a reminder or two as well so that hopefully everyone has a chance. After this I will post the final document to ORS for everyone to read.


  1. Mike said,

    October 2, 2016 at 11:27 am

    Just a heads up, but I have received the interview, so it should be posted in the near future once I get a chance to get it ready for ORS!

  2. Mike said,

    September 16, 2016 at 7:38 am

    Hi just a quick note that I finally got all the questions off to Anna, so the article is moving along. Thanks to everyone who contributed. 🙂

  3. umenokaori said,

    August 30, 2016 at 6:44 am

    Not a question, but I just wanted to say that Koh Gen was my primary source for buying incense when I lived in Japan (and ORS was my primary source for what to buy!), and I loved their service. I’m so happy to see that they’ve since grown and added English resources to their offering. Nice work!

  4. Samantha Wallace said,

    August 24, 2016 at 7:17 am

    Please ask Anna to recommend a few good books on the history of incense in Japan.
    Thanks so much!

  5. August 22, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Hi Anna,

    Thanks for taking the time. I was curious to know what the requirements are for hiring a Japanese incense maker(Is there a name for the job?).

    Are there precedents for non-Japanese incense makers or is the work strictly kept to nationals? Do Westerners ever get hired as incense makers in Japan?

    As “Koh Do” enters the new millennium where “tradition” is often seen as “bigotry” do you see Japanese incense evolving for the time or do you see it as clinging tenaciously to tradition?

    • August 25, 2016 at 11:04 am

      My husband wanted me to revise the last paragraph but I can’t seem to edit it. I didn’t mean to sound offensive, I’m referring to a very real bias coming out of ‘tradition’. For instance, even if she has the best voice in the world, I doubt they would cast a skinny Asian woman as a Valkyrie in a Wagner opera – unless she wore a white people fat suit and blonde wig.

      I’ve encountered bigotry when trying to call Japanese incense companies because I don’t speak with a native accent – and that’s me trying to give them money! So I’m eager to know if this is something that’s even talked about in Japanese incense.

  6. Ryan Pratt said,

    August 18, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    What is the general price range of good-quality (NOT the high-quality agarwood) japanese incense? Is all nice japanese incense either sandalwood or agarwood, or are there other types of scents that are considered really nice? I heard from a friend that Hydrangea Tea scents from Awaji is fairly good, but I have only experienced sandalwood and agarwood from japan so far.

    • Kensboro said,

      August 26, 2016 at 9:51 pm

      I’m interested in this too… I really enjoy the Awaji Hydrangea incenses, as they’re very different from Agarwood/Sandalwood mixes.

      I’m curious what else is out there that is very different from the traditional Agar/Sandal based incenses?

  7. Mike said,

    August 4, 2016 at 8:25 am

    Thanks everyone for the questions and please keep them coming 🙂

  8. adrianbartoli said,

    August 3, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    In regard to the North American market, does the company have plans to change its product range, marketing, and customer education?

  9. Anna said,

    August 3, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    Hello everyone! Thank you very much for kind words and interest! Please, leave your questions here or send them to Mike and I will answer them all at once as Mike said 🙂
    Thank you very much!

  10. Marian said,

    August 2, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    Are the incense makers employed by Kohgen given free reign or are they presented with certain parameters (price point, type of incense, use of specific ingredients, etc.) that they are required to follow?

  11. August 2, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    This is a big question, and I don’t expect a complex answer….
    Can you comment on future of agarwood content and quality , and how are old companies dealing with formula changes and demands?

  12. Marian said,

    August 2, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    What a fantastic opportunity, Mike! From my personal experience Anna is a very diligent young woman who puts a lot of effort and time into answering questions with thoroughness and accuracy. I very much look forward to reading the questions submitted by ORS readers and to hearing Anna’s replies. Thanks very much for this great idea and for opening what has the potential to be a very unique dialogue!

  13. Anna said,

    August 2, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Mike, it is always a pleasure to talk with you 🙂 Thank you very much for this wonderful idea! I hope that we will be able to build a bridge between East and West and broaden the knowledge about Japanese incense.

Leave a Reply to Anna Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: