Match manufacturing technology was introduced from Europe to Japan at the beginning of the Meiji era (1868 -1912). Before long, the match manufacturing industry grew and matches made in Japan became an export item because of their high quality. The area stretching from Kobe to Himeji in Hyogo Prefecture prospered especially, as a cluster of match manufacturers were able to take advantage of the geographical proximity of Kobe Port, making it easier for them to do business with foreign trading partners.
Taking advantage of these distinct characteristics, it was in Himeji that the Kobe Match Corporation was founded in 1929. To this day, match production is still the local industry, and it is said to have a 75% share of Japan’s total match production. Unfortunately, lighting a match, once a common scene in daily life, has gradually disappeared.
Awaji Island is said to account for the production of as much as 70% of domestic incense and incense sticks. The techniques in incense production were brought to Awaji from Sakai City in the Senshu area in 1850s at the end of the Edo period. It became firmly rooted as Awaji Island is well-suited for the production of incense because of its “west wind”, a special feature of the area which is ideal for drying incense. Daihatsu Corporation has an 80 year history of incense production— a venerable company that was first established in Sakai, and later relocated its production base to Awaji Island. Since its foundation, it has been manufacturing innovative products, such as incense with an aroma prepared by a French perfume manufacturer. The oriental culture of ‘Burning Incense’ attracted attention throughout Europe and the company has played a positive role in in introducing incense culture by exhibiting their products at overseas trade fairs. “Connecting Japan and the World through the spirit of the enjoyment of Fragrance”—This has been Hibi's unchanging hope from the time of the company’s founding.
It all started with the encounter of two traditional industries, ‘Designing a way to enjoy fragrance' — The incense of Awaji Island and the matches of Harima : These two traditional industries of Hyogo Prefecture first encountered each other in 2011. The collaboration started with the idea of an incense that could be lit as if striking a match and was followed by 3 years of trial and error. An aromatic product with the properties of strength and fragrance was developed, resulting in Hibi 10 minute aromas.