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Cultural Demonstration: Kō-Do, The Way of Incense

Photo courtesy of Kihachiro Nishiura

Over the centuries, incense has grown to become part of art, meditation, and self-awareness in Japan. Kō-Do (the Way of Incense) has developed as a Buddhist offering ritual for the purification of body and mind. It is also prominently featured in The Tale of Genji, the 11th-century Japanese literary masterpiece which is often called the world’s first novel. In this demonstration, inspired by the Genji-kō works in our current exhibition, Noritaka Tatehana: Refashioning Beauty, Kō-Do Master Kihachiro Nishiura will discuss the customs of “listening” to incense by recognizing the aromas and appreciating their fragrances to develop a heightened sense of self-awareness.