Thursday, July 4, 2013

Incense That Kills Mosquitoes Represents Difference in East vs. West Philosophy...

There is a kind of incense that the Japanese (and many Asians) burn that wards off or kills mosquitoes and flies. It's called "Katori Senko" in Japanese. "Senko"means "incense." "Ka" means "mosquito" and "tori" means "to take or kill." Hence the name Katori  Senko, "Incense for killing mosquitoes."

Eastern method of handling mosquitoes: incense

I think that Katori Senko is wonderful. When I first came to Japan, I was so surprised to see such a product for the first time in my life. It was very pleasant smelling (I love the smell of incense) and it really worked! It was so pleasant not to have to spray chemicals on my body and face or spray them around the area where the children were playing.

I remember just hating the idea of things like "Yard Guard" that my father would spray around the yard when we were having a barbeque or the medicinal taste of some spray that my mother would spray on our faces to keep the mosquitoes off. Off course spraying chemicals on your children's bodies or in the area they play in cannot be good for their health!

Western method of handling mosquitoes: chemicals

With Katori Senko, none of that is necessary. Just light a few coils and place them around the area where you plan to be outside and no more mosquitoes!

Katori Senko was first made in 1885 and is made of natural ingredients. It is wonderful and it represents, for me, some of the wonderful things about Japan that I love.

I also think that there is something else; a microcosm of the entire world represented in this small package. It is a mirror of our world and it greatly represents the difference in thinking between western and eastern peoples. Whereas, in the west, if there is a problem with food, health or insects, western philosophy and medicine are quick to react with chemicals; while in the east, a more holistic approach is taken to many of our problems. This is why things like Acupuncture, Tai-chi, and, of course, Katori Senko come from the east.

Of course, I believe that we westerners have much to learn about patience and a more holistic approach to our troubles from our eastern brothers and sisters.

I believe "Katori Senko type of thinking" - eastern philosophy - being more utilized in the west, especially in the United States, could greatly go to help cure many of our ills.

For more go to the company web site:

This is a great way to kill mosquitoes, a "mosquito killing incense" that kills them by blocking their air ducts, or whatever the nasty bugs breathe through. A famous brand since 1890!
As an alternative to the ubiquitous citronella anti-bug candles, these incense-like bug repellent coils (known as katori senko (or mosquito killing incense) will actually kill the annoying bugs by blocking their breathing holes with smoke particles. Has a nice blend of herbs and floral deterrents, including eucalyptus, that give off a pleasant aroma that is mild and non-irritative. This purchase is for a kit that includes 10 incense coils and a coil stand (burning it on a plate away from flammable materials is recommended). A great Japanese item with a cool retro Gold Cock packaging!

You just gotta love the retro packagaing AND the retro English! Very typical and cool 1980's Japan! (Of course, for English, I suppose we could teach these good folks a thing or two!)

I love Katori Senko! Try it! You will too! The smell is summer in Japan!


Anonymous said...

I definitely agree that this is better than chemicals, but I'm using it right now and there's no ventilation in my room so I feel like I'm suffocating. Also, it smells like cigarettes, so my brain keeps telling me that it's bad for me. The information you have here reassured me though. Eucalyptus is often used in aromatherapy.

I hope they didn't change the recipe so smokers would feel better because of the familiar smell.

mike in tokyo rogers said...

Dear Anonymous,

You'll find, in a closed room, that you only need to burn the incense for a moment than you can put it out. Katori Senko kills mosquitoes immediately. If your room has no ventilation, light it. Let it burn for a minute, the extinguish.

Faré said...

Just because it's plant extract doesn't mean it's not a chemical.

To make a fortune: combine the relevant essential oils with an aerosol diffuser. Because you're not burning them, you can be much more efficient with the chemicals.

Anonymous said...

"The smell IS summer". Yeah, for me, too, it has a Proustian "In-Search-of-Time-Past" kinda quality, like the smell of newly laid tatami and certain flowers.

And now I come to think of it, wasn't there an advertising slogan something along those line? "Kinchouru no natsu, Nihon no natsu"?

cmichalakis said...

uuuuuummmmm you can find that stuff pretty much everywhere.....

Also, correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't all incense, smoke, etc repel insects by hiding the scent of people?

Anonymous said...

I brought up with Katori senko and use it in Australia. It just doesn't work much against Aussie mozzies.

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