The history of candle #3

-3- The hallmark and the status quo of Japanese traditional candles

The main material of Japanese candles is Japan wax tree. This trees are growing wild naturally in East Asia only. Moreover, only the trees that grew in Japan become a candles.

Craftsman left an ingredient analysis to scientist. As a result, they’ve gotten a one answer. 6% one ingredient was included in the tree that grew in Japan. It’s called “Japan acid”.

If Japan-wax tree have not Japan acid, craftsman couldn’t make candles.

The hallmark of Japanese candles are;

1. All Handmade
2. All vegetable wax
3. Powerful but soft lights
4. Long burning
5. Stand up to the wind
6. Low soot

Sootless is important.
Because sootless candles don’t give damages to other Buddhism items and temples’ tools (Japanese Candles will give you long use of Buddhism items from 5 to 10 years at least).

Nowadays, Japanese candle studios are only 20. At half of 20 studios, there are no successors. But, Technique of Japanese candles won’t go out for the time being.

We’ve got more serious situation.
The farmers of Japan wax tree are decreasing incredibly from this side.
I mean, Japanese candles will go out in the near future from this side.

So, I want to get you to have more chance to use Japanese candles.

The history of candle #2

-2- How to make Japanese traditional candles

Output of Japanese style candle are decreasing now. Not be in demand, Japanese candles were pushed out by mass production (paraffin candle) from the market. Because the process of candles are a time‐consuming job, and it might be a little high price.

The main material of Japanese candles is Japan wax tree. That’s one of vegetable wax candle. This trees are growing wild naturally in East Asia only. Moreover, only the trees that grew in Japan become a candles (say later).

One; The farmer of Japan Wax tree harvest a nut, crush it, and extract wax from it. They send them to candle craftsman.

Two; Craftsman winds around paper and an igusa plant (one of rush) to thin wood stick (= wick). He soak wax into the wick.
—-”For that reason, Japanese candles have strong wick and burn till the end.”

Three; He rolls sticks on his hand that have wax. If inexperienced person, it would get burned. (See also the pics).
He repeats to dry and add wax. For that reason, Japanese candles have some rings like an annual rings of a tree.

The history of candle #1

-1- outline of Japanese & western candles

Candles are an essential tools for Christian and Buddhism religious services. These days, generally, also we are using western style candles which have string wick in Japan. Western style candle have possibility to be introduced to Japan by missionary in the Middle Ages (Christianity, Catholicism, was introduced to Japan at that period). However, Western style had gained popularity since Meiji period (from 1868). Japanese people had used Japanese style candles till that period.

Candle were introduced to Japan from China along with Buddhism. At that time, at Europe and Asia, candles were beeswax which are made of honey. In Heian period (8th – 12th century), pine‐tree gum took the place of honey, in Muromachi period (14th – 16th century), vegetable wax (Japan wax tree) took the place of them.
Meanwhile, in western (Europe), animal wax took the place of honey, for example whales and pigs.

However, Japanese Buddhism had never used western style candles, because Buddhism prohibited taking of life (Japanese people had never ate meat except fish till Meiji period basically). And it needed not importation.

Since Edo period (17th ? 19th century), Japan wax tree were introduced to the domain of Shimazu (in what is now Kagoshima pref.) from Ryukyu Kingdom (in what is now Okinawa, Japan). And output was increased.

On the other hand, in western, paraffin wax candles were developed, output was increased incredibly. This paraffin wax candles have been used since Meiji period.