Rooted in Buddhism, incense are an essential component of Japanese funerals, as well as home altars where we reflect on and remember our loved ones. Thought to purify the space and create a tranquil mood, it’s a tradition that hasn’t changed for hundreds of years. And neither has the shape of incense. So when Japan’s oldest incense-maker asked how they can innovate on something so unchanged, the answer was to redesign them as a celebration of individual life.

Craftsman of Kameyama Incense Masanobu Takada

“Incense of Memories” was a collaboration between Kameyama, Japan’s oldest incense maker, and digital agency Wunderman Thompson Tokyo. The two companies worked together over several years developing prototypes. The hardest part, as it turns out, was finding the right balance of thickness, angles and density to create accurate human forms without extinguishing the flame. It was a process that took over a year and a half.

“Whether it was hiking, reading, golfing, or surfing, by giving form to a loved one’s hobbies, this new product allows people to feel the vivid presence of those they love in a positive light as they pay their respects from their own home or at the grave,” says the digital agency. “This is the essence of ‘Incense of Memories‘ “.

The product officially went on sale earlier this month. For now there are only 4 varieties but each come with 5 sets of incense and come with an incense stand. They’re available through the Kameyama Incense online shop for 2750 yen.