"When one takes affection—or perhaps desire—and seeks to conceal it as much as possible, push it down as deep inside as possible, rather that emotion will surface with a certain refinement."Japanese Modern Literary Novelist Junichiro Tanizaki Extract from “Love and Lust”, 1931
Hiding appeal inside leads to sublimation
There is a creative and avant-garde aesthetic sense that exists within the DNA of the Japanese living in these modern times. In opposition to the appeal of a gaudy radiance like the sun or light, this is a mysterious beauty, like phantoms of the moon or shadows. Rather than the rich sounds of an orchestra, it provides an exaltation like the minimalistic rhythm of mechanical sounds. It leaves an impression deep in the brain, like a movie that avoids a clear depiction of subsequent events, going out with reverberations rather than a happy ending. It creates its own quiet world, like a single flower vase placed in a room, rather than a garden filled with brilliantly colored blossoms. Lust that oozes out from within; strength when elegantly repressing emotions; quiet emotions concealed within a sidelong glance. “Hidden beauty” has the appeal of bringing creativity to knowledge and stimulating new thoughts.
Fragrance of Shadows
Creates “hidden beauty”, drifting quietly like a shadow that imparts the mysterious beauty of the moon and darkness
With the fragrance harbored deep inside gradually diffusing. Rather than a fragrance that is instantly gorgeous, this is one that slowly expands its influence. A fragrance as delicate as a sharpened blade, and as fragile as a taut thread. A complex and mysterious fragrance with “Hidden Japonism 834” as its core, which is itself centered around the sacred fragrance of agarwood. The Fragrance of Shadows soothes the heart while drawing out sexiness, fostering strong feelings amid the quietness of moon and shadows.
Brand Founder Muneki Hashimoto
Creative Designer Tomoyuki Yonezu
The birth of “TOBALI”
A Japonism contemporary fragrance that charms with “hidden beauty”.
2017, Tokyo. As Japanese, we desire limitless stimulation and excitement, as we rapidly absorb and amplify trends from around the world, lining the sky with skyscrapers, with everything operating in coordinated regulation. On the other hand, we also have traditional aesthetic sensibilities such as “Zen”, “Fuzei” and “Wabi-sabi” speaking within us—mental virtues providing stability to the heart that are a fundamental part of our DNA. For those of us living in these modern times, the general view is that “appeal” should be easy to understand and represented logically, but our ancestors had a culture of valuing the beauty that appears when appeal is purposefully hidden inside. Key cultural Japanese figures, including Zeami, Junichiro Ta-nizaki, Yoji Yamamoto, and Nobuyoshi Araki, have at times compared this beauty that appears through concealment to shadows and shade, femininity, and embarrassment; that appeal is something which achieves sublimation through concealment. We have chosen to define this as “hidden beauty”. The mysterious beauty, like phantoms of the moon or shadows, that appears when appeal is purposefully concealed inside. “Hidden beauty” brings creativity to knowledge and stimulates new thoughts. This is a creative and avant-garde beauty—different from appeal that, like a gaudy, flickering light, speaks to our primal nature.
We selected fragrance as our means to represent “hidden beauty”. This is because, from among the five senses, the sense of smell is the one closest to the inner-self. Furthermore, Japan has had a culture of enjoying fragrance as art for more than 1100 years, with the Imperial family and nobles having thrown their fortunes into competing for the ultimate fragrance. Above all, story has been passed down of the legendary fragrance “Jowa no Onimashime”(“The Binding of Jowa”) formulated by Emperor Ninmyo (810 - 850), said to have given off a truly wonderful scent. In order to express the “hidden beauty” of Japan by obtaining the “core of the most appealing fragrance”, we have worked alongside Nippon Kodo—a central player in Japanese fragrance with 400 years of history of their own—to unravel the threads of 1100 years of fragrance art and successfully recreate “Jowa no Onimashime” in our modern age. Based on this revelation, we have created the fragrance core “Hidden Japonism 834”. We then used the two methods of perfume and candles to present “hidden beauty”. Each perfume has been given two opposing faces expressed through fragrance in order to represent “hidden beauty”, such as “Sed “Seductiveness & Intellect”, “Strength & Affection” and “Elegance & Insanity”. Hiding seductiveness through intellect and keeping it from view serves to sublimate that which is fleetingly seen. For the candles, things like “Zen”, “Quiet” and “Shadow” have been expressed through fragrance, in order to lead the way to “hidden beauty”. A deep breath of the fragrance “Zen” calms the heart, with the sublimation of one’s appeal leading to the realization of “hidden beauty”. We have named the moon-like, shadow-like aroma of “hidden beauty” the “Fragrance of Shadows”.
This “hidden beauty” has been visualized by Tomoyuki Yonezu from EROTYKA TOKYO PARIS. A creator active on the frontlines of both the field of fashion and high fashion, his style is influenced by the arts unique to Japan. His inspiration comes from the white vessels used to store offerings to the gods, white Japanese paper used to wrap the bottles for sacred wine, Mino ware pottery that is respected artistically around the world, and even Japanese candles, burning with a unique flame. He reconstructs traditional Japanese culture using a modern reinterpretation, realizing “hidden beauty” with just a pure white melody.
“TOBALI” is a Japanese word that was created more than 1000 years ago. It can mean a cloth used to hide something, or hanging silk used to divide a space and offer concealment.
Being hidden by a veil, allowing only glimpses to be seen, both increases the appeal of what lies on the other side and sublimates that attraction. Therefore the name “TOBALI” was chosen.
The Binding of Jowa Produced by NIPPON KODO since 1575
Japan’s foremost and long-established fragrance seller that laid the foundation for “Kodo” culture—the traditional art of incense. They have led the culture of Japanese fragrance for more than 400 years and possess a large number of precious fragrance materials, including aloe wood. They provide support for Japanese fragrance culture in a wide variety of ways, including inheriting traditional incense techniques and transmitting them to the world, and producing “Meinichiko”, the incense used everywhere from performances by Kansai Yamamoto to national ceremonies. Finding common ground in the concept of TOBALI, they brought together all of their inherited knowledge and technology and achieved the modern recreation of the secret “Jowa no Onimashime / The Binding of Jowa” from 1100 years ago—now the core fragrance.
Japanese Candles Manufactured by KODAIKOKUYA since 1865
A long-established store from Fukui Prefecture, responsible for making the Japanese candles that have formed part of Japanese lighting culture for 150 years. Characterized by plant-derived wax and a core of Japanese paper, these traditional Japanese candles are made individually by hand, Even today, they still provide illumination in sacred places such as temples and shrines, and have been featured in the media as Japanese traditional technology that deserves protection. TOBALI scented candles are created using traditional Japanese candle manufacturing methods.