Born in Shizuoka, Miya Shinma divides her time between France and Japan, but her perfume range is devoted to her country of birth. The finest French and Japanese techniques are used in the elaboration and production of Miya Shinma perfumes, thereby ensuring their excellent quality. On the bottle, the name and image of the perfume appear as calligraphy on Japanese Hanshi paper, emphasizing a very personal style, a blend of originality and simplicity.
Dr. Onur: How did it happen that you decided to become a perfumer – what was the „epiphany moment“?
Miya Shinma: The epiphany moment was when I knew the work of a perfumer is just as the work of the compositor of the music. It was a Sunday, I was reading a magazine, and I found an article about a French perfumer. He talked about the work of perfumer and he said that the composition of the perfume is just like as the composition of the music. Until then I did not know what is the perfumer’s work, but at that moment, I felt intuitively that the creation of perfumes is my way of expression, and I was sure.
At that time, I have just finished my studies and started to work in a company. I was happy but repeating same things every day gave me the questions, “what I want to do exactly, how I would like to be”. I was looking for how I express my emotions, and I thought the work of perfumer is perfect for me, because I have learned the music from I was 3 year’s old, and I love to play the organ, the piano, also I learned about the composition.
Dr. Onur: You are living between Paris and Tokyo – which culture gives your essence sense?
Miya Shinma: I am in Paris mostly, but I feel that I am living in 2 cultures at the same time. However, as I was born in Japan, my essence sense is always based in Japan.
Dr. Onur: Apart from your eau de parfum, you offer other fragrant forms like perfumed fragrant fans, perfumed green tea, perfumed pearls, kokoroba, incense. Specially the incense ceremony Kōdō is counted as one of the three classical Japanese arts of refinement. Did your collections evoke this old Japanese spirit and culture?
Miya Shinma: Yes, completely as you say, I created my collections as the homage for the old Japanese spirit and culture. I got a chance to see Japan from France, and I became more sensitive for Japanese culture. It is very strange that we find the importance, the beauty and goodness when we have distance. I learned about Tea ceremony in Kyoto when I lived in Japan, off course I was impressed deeply by old Japanese spirit and culture at that time, but it was not enough for thinking about the creation of these collections. The distance from Japan gave me this idea and I started to learn about my culture in France. Then I found a lot of old literatures talked about the incense and scents of nature, I also recognized that we Japanese keep these culture and tradition still now.
Dr. Onur: Your identity and spitit is expressed by your fragrance, which is part of your culture and universe of plentitude. Could you please explain me your deeply correlation to the Japanese music, calligraphy and literature?
Miya Shinma: Music: Japanese music is constituted by original Japanese musical scale with Do, Re, Mi, So, La. And we can say that the essence of Japanese music is the original rhythm, which is made with the silence „Ma“ between the notes. My formula is very simple and I try to make the note which remain delicately but deeply in the mind. I think my olfactive scale, rhythm and taste is influenced by these elements of Japanese music.
Calligraphy: I make perfume etiquette labels with a kind of calligraphy. It is the idea to express my emotions in visual in my own way. Calligraphy was also my favorite lesson when I was little, my professor often said to me that each character(Alphabet) must be drawn with a lot of emotions and in my own way.
Literature: The first perfumes I have created HANA, TSUKI, KAZE were inspired by Japanese traditional poem. Japanese traditional poem is often telling about love stories, and their expression is very romantic for me. The expression in traditional poem is really pure and delicate.
I want to continue to create perfumes with these traditional literature to appreciate and look for the emotions which is simple but true.
Dr. Onur: What are your favourite raw materials and what do they express?
Miya Shinma: My favorite raw material is Hinoki, Japanese Cypress, because of its gentle scent. In Japan we consider that Hinoki is the king of wood, and Japanese temples are often made by Hinoki.
Personally I love the bathtub made by Hinoki. If you will be in this kind of bathtub, you will feel the soft touch of Hinoki and you will be surrounded by the vapor Hinoki scented.
Hinoki give me feeling of “Gentleness” and “Confidence”.
Dr. Onur: Could you explain us your creation process? When did you find the real image of a fragrance?
Miya Shinma: I think I already smell its fragrance, when I feel to make a fragrance. But I need something to do for making the formulation; writing a poem. One time my emotion is translated in short words, very clearly I know which raw materials must be used for the creation, and I make a list of raw materials, and I write down their dosage. I mixed the raw materials myself and I analyze the result each time. Sometimes I finish very quickly but sometimes very long. I continue this procedure until I realize my own melody.