Hibi Reinvents Incense


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Hibi Reinvents Incense

Two Japanese crafts meet in the strike of a match upon fragrant wood.

An incense stick you can set alight with one quick, easy motion: Japanese brand Hibi’s novel concept was born from the merging of two traditional crafts based in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture.

The Kobe Match Corporation, one half of the Hibi equation, was founded in 1929 in Himeji and was among the companies that made this region of Japan famous for its high-quality matches, after match manufacturing technology was introduced from Europe in the early Meiji era. Meanwhile, on Awaji Island, a location renowned for its westerly wind—ideal for drying incense—Daihatsu Corporation has spent over 80 years producing the aromatic incense sticks so popular across Asia. The two companies first encountered each other in 2011 and embarked upon a unique collaboration: the idea of incense that could be lit up with the strike of a match.

Photo by Tiana Wang

Naming the brand Hibi, Japanese for ‘day to day,’ the creators envisioned a product easily woven into the fabric of daily life. Simple, sleek boxes adorned with the logo of two adjacent Chinese characters for ‘day,’ come in a choice of several soothing scents and size options, with each containing a set of specially designed matches and a disk of incense that releases a waft of fragrant smoke upon strike.

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